Have you had a lot of trouble losing weight and keeping it off?
Many of us have had this issue, and there are a lot of diets out there that claim to provide the ultimate dieting experience.
Today, there are many unique ways to lose weight and keep it off. Fad diets are also very popular and each has varying degrees of overall success.
There are dietary systems like the paleo diet and even diets that require you to eat a set amount of meals in a day, and many people have found success with each.
Recently, a new dietary system has come into prominence; the ketogenic diet.
Being keto-friendly doesn’t take much; as a matter of fact, it requires a biological process that is as old as time: ketosis.
In the natural biological process that is designed to keep us alive, carbohydrates are stored as body fat in order to be used as energy when we need it; typically for fight or flight.
When you’re eating a lot of carbohydrates, your body has a source for powering your muscles because it has a go-to source for energy. When food is scarce, those carbohydrates are consumed as glucose, a biological process that’s called ketosis, which is the basis of this diet.
What Exactly is Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet?
The point of the ketogenic diet is to consume as little carbohydrates as possible and thusly force your body into behaving as if food is scarce.
During this diet, you’ll actually be eating fine and achieving a good level of nutrient intake, but your body will start to burn up fat reserves because it’s being tricked into thinking that you’re one step from starvation.
In my experience, this diet is great because it uses a died-in-the-wool natural process. Diets like the paleo and the Atkins diet are great because they don’t involve going too far outside of the natural nutrient process for humans.
Who Stands to Benefit from this Diet?
If you’ve had a lot of trouble with diet plans like Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers because this particular style of diet leaves you hungry and thusly more liable to snack, then the ketogenic diet may be for you.
With a ketosis-based diet, you can eat a plethora of amazing foods that taste great. With this excellent diet, you can even eat larger servings as long as you don’t leave the state of ketosis.
With a ketogenic diet you can create a batter out of pork rinds, create what ketogenic-friendly “rice” out of pulsed cauliflower or even eat traditionally diet-unfriendly foods like bacon. I find that with this diet, you have an excellent amount of options to choose from so that you never get bored and cheat.
It’s important to remember that a ketogenic diet requires a lot of discipline. Cheating is particularly devastating, because once you go off of ketosis just once; it takes time to return. This means that if you’re the type of person who might sneak a carb-rich treat from time to time, then it may just be in your best interest to try another diet.
On the other hand, if you feel you have the drive, then try ketosis!
On the web, one of the top resources for ketogenic recipes and dietary information is the Ruled.Me Blog. This blog was established by Craig Clarke, a person who has become a lead influencer for all things ketogenic; as a matter of fact, Craig lost more than 70 pound on the diet.
What are the Different Types of Ketogenic Diets?
The Keto Diet Blog explains that there are several types of ketogenic diets.
Here’s a list of the top four:
1) SKD – The Standard Ketogenic Diet:
This is the most well-known version of the keto-friendly diet.
This diet is very similar to the beginning phases of the Atkins Diet. It requires to you to greatly limit your carbohydrate intake.
With this type of keto diet, you’ll need about 20 to 50 grams of net carbs daily.
2) TKD – The Targeted Ketogenic Diet:
This method uses a system where you eat a certain amount of easily digested carbs on a daily basis.
Optimally, these carbs should have a high glycemic index, and they should be eaten before a workout.
This diet replaces muscle glycogen, especially because you are avoiding carbs that are liver glycogen replenishing.
This means that you only disrupt your ketosis during the workout and any additional carbs that you intake are effectively flushed from your system.
3) CKD – The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet:
This method is cyclical because of the fact that you alternate carb-free days with days of increased carb intake.
These carb-loading sessions usually last for about 24 hours.
This method optimizes fat loss, while simultaneously building muscle mass. As a result, this method is favored by bodybuilders.
4) TRKD – The Restricted Ketogenic Diet:
This version of the diet is considered strictly therapeutic and shouldn’t be used for casual weight loss.
Ketosis has been found to be a great state to fight cancer from, so this therapeutic diet is used to restore health.
Ketosis Can Help You Lose Weight
This is probably the most important aspect of a ketogenic diet and also why the diet itself has really taken off insofar as popularity.Ketosis is nature’s perfect way of burning fat and thusly helping you lose weight efficiently.
Your body is very good at surviving lean times. In our ancient past, it was often tough to find meals, so storing fat in good times and using it in lean times was the way to keep us alive.
In other words, the reason why we even become overweight is because of extended times of plenty. Since ketosis served as the answer to lean times, it’s value as a way to actually help us burn fat more efficiently than just combining diet with exercise can never be in doubt.
It’s simply biologics at work.
Ketosis: It’s Not for Everyone
Just like for everything, this type of diet doesn’t work for all people. If you’re looking to bulk up or are on a strength building regimen, then there are better dietary options for you.
Additionally, you have to have a high degree of discipline with this diet. This is because cheating will cause havoc with your internal system; the body isn’t meant to go through extremes, so once you start, you’ll have to stick with it for the long run.
How Ketosis Helps Diabetes and Prediabetes Sufferers
As it turns out, ketogenic diets are a great way to control and reduce the symptoms of diabetes and help manage prediabetes. These symptoms usually include heightened triglycerides and glucose levels, which can cause a plethora of symptom-related health conditions.
Those who suffer from diabetes and prediabetes also suffer from insulin resistance. Insulin is a chemical hormone produced in your body that allows for your body to convert carbohydrates into sugars like glucose that is then used for energy.
When you suffer from insulin resistance, your body starts having trouble managing its own glucose levels and absorption happenswith less efficiency. Amazingly, based on a study in 2005, it’s been discovered that ketosis will actually improve insulin sensitivity, which will allow your body to start to absorb glucose again.
This means that a ketogenic diet can help obese people with type II and prediabetes to reduce their insulin resistance. For more details on how this works, check out this great article on Ruled.Me.
The Ketogenic Diet’s Additional Health Benefits
On top of its benefits as a way to fight the symptoms of diabetes, a ketogenic diet has a few other great health benefits. As we mentioned earlier, there are certain types of ketogenic regimens that are being used as therapy for some forms of cancer.
For a more detailed write-up on how ketosis weakens cancer cells, check out this article from The Truth About Cancer. Additionally, a ketogenic diet also can also:
1. Clear up the skin
Without heightened insulin, excess sugars, and processed foods causing heightened oils in your skin, many people on a ketogenic diet find that they experience less acne.
2. Reduced chance of heart disease
Without heightened levels of fat, many ketogenic dieters find that they also experience great cardiovascular health.
3. Greatly reduce cravings
While in ketosis, the body produces ketones as a substitute for the carbs that it usually burns, which can result in less hunger pangs on a ketogenic diet.
For the Ketogenic Diet, Here’s What to Avoid
As you might imagine, there are several types of foods that are terrible for maintaining your body’s ketosis state.
Here is a list of a few:
- Rice: Rice is packed with carbs which will demolish your ketosis.
- Sugary-packed foods like soda, candy, and fruit juice: As they are packed with tons of sugar, these are a no-no.
- Fruit: These are packed with sugar.
- Condiments like ketchup, duck sauce, or sweet relish: These are also packed with sugars.
- Alcohol: There are many types of alcohol out there that are very bad for a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, here is a list of alcohol that you can drink while on a keto diet.
- Beans: Most beans and legumes simply have to much in the way of carbs to be keto-friendly.
- Diet Foods with sugar substitutes: While you might think that these are okay, they aren’t because they often have sugar alcohol, which can actually decrease your ketone levels.
Foods That You Can Eat
On the other hand, there are a plethora of great food choices that are all keto-friendly:
- Cauliflower Rice
- Peanut Butter
- Fatty Meats
The Keto Meal Plan: Some Options for a Week
• Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs – Bacon is keto-friendly, so combine some fried bacon with some eggs in order to reinforce your ketosis-state.
• Lunch: Keto Sushi – This sushi dish requires riced cauliflower. To rice the cauliflower, pop it in a food processor and pulse until it becomes rice-like.
Then place the “rice” in a pot and boil it like regular rice.
Once ready, just use some ahi tuna, cucumbers, some nori sheets, and a sushi roller to make your sushi.
• Dinner: Broccoli Chicken Zucchini Boats – This keto dinner calls for hollowed out zucchini halves and rotisserie chicken.
Throw in some broccoli for a ton of minerals and zero carbohydrates.
• Breakfast: Griddle Cake Casserole – This dish crafts a breakfast-friendly griddle cake. You’ll need some flaxseed meal, sausage links, maple syrup, and eggs.
This is a great dish for those trying to maintain their ketosis.
• Lunch: Chicken and Rice – This calls for more cauliflower “rice”. Just stir fry some chicken with onions and add it to the rice with keto soy sauce.
• Dinner: Wild Mushroom Rice Pilaf – Another “rice” dish. This time, you can use hemp seeds as a rice substitute.
Throw in some sliced almonds, parsley, and chicken broth for a pilaf flavor.
• Breakfast: Keto Cereal with Cacao Nibs – The folks at the paleo-friendly site, The Nourished Caveman, has a great idea for a cacao nib cereal.
This breakfast idea has an added bonus: it’s high in fiber!
• Lunch: Make a milkshake using stevia, peanut butter, and almond milk. For a little chocolatey goodness, toss in some unsweetened cocoa powder.
• Dinner: Zoodle Lasagna – Zoodles are spiralized zucchini. Simply take a zucchini, run it through a spiralizer, and boil it like pasta.
Once boiled, layer it like traditional lasagna and add your favorite ketosis-friendly ingredients, then bake.
• Breakfast: Keto White Pizza Frittata – This egg-packed breakfast is delicious and low in carbohydrates. You’ll need a dozen eggs, some sausage, frozen spinach, and some cheese in order to make this large and pizza-like breakfast option.
• Lunch: Kung Pao Chicken – I love Chinese for lunch; as a matter of fact, there are many great lunch-friendly Asian dishes on the keto diet.
You’ll need Chinese peppercorns, some ginger, and of course, chicken.
• Dinner: Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken – Traditional battered chicken will break your ketosis, so instead of using standard batter, try ground pork rinds instead.
You’ll need to brine your chicken in pickle juice, but once cooked, you’ll have a ketogenic recipe that’s perfect for a great dinner.
• Breakfast: Cream Cheese Pancakes – A great recipe from I Breathe I Hungry, this is a keto variation
of a classic breakfast.
Keto and fiber don’t always go well together, but this healthy breakfast has fiber in spades.
• Lunch: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup – You’ll have lots of leftovers with this soup dish. Simply use some chicken breasts, xanthan gum, cream cheese, and your favorite keto-loyal ingredients and cook in your slow cooker.
• Dinner: Pork Chops with a pork rind crust – Simply fry up some pork chops with a batter of eggs and ground pork rinds.
Serve with broccoli and hemp seed rice.
• Breakfast: Sausage omelet – Just load up some eggs with some sausage, onions, and black pepper. This is a protein-rich option for ketosis.
• Lunch: Shiitake and steak with “rice” – Stir fry some shiitake mushrooms with some sliced steak, toss in some cauliflower rice at the end and sprinkle with keto-friendly soy sauce.
• Dinner: Apple and Ham Flatbread – Another great keto recipe from Ruled.Me, this dish has sweet and savory down pat.
The dish combines apple slices and ham, and serves it on a pizza-like flatbread. Throw in some seasonings for delicious, Saturday night flavor.
• Breakfast: Sausage and eggs – Just fry up the two and combine on a plate. You can also add a bit of cheese to the eggs if you want.
• Lunch: Flax and almond trail mix – Combine these two foods for a delicious trail-friendly option.
• Dinner: Bacon cheeseburger soup – This soup idea is delicious and most of all hearty! It takes lean beef, bacon, some seasonings like chili powder, and tomato paste.
Cook in a stout pot and add some cheese to the top when you serve.
Snack Time: Ketosis-Friendly Snacking
I find that one of the coolest things about a ketogenic diet is the fact that it’s very snack-friendly. Just take some keto-friendly foods that you’d like to eat and chomp away. Just remember to not go over your prescribed net carbs and you’re golden. Here’s just a few of your keto-friendly snack choices:
- Seeds or nuts
- Fatty meat or fish
- Avocado or guac
- Full-fat yogurt
- Low carb shakes
- Cacao Nibs
- Riced Cauliflower
- Peanut Butter
Going Out on the Town? Here’s How to Stay Keto-Friendly
I love to eat out, and when I do, I always make sure to eat keto-friendly so that I don’t ruin my ketosis. One option that I love is going out to diners in order to have keto-friendly breakfasts at any time of the day.
Remember, eggs, bacon, and most sausage is all great when you’re trying to promote ketosis. With this in mind, grab an omelet or a frittata; just remember to avoid classic sides like home fries and hash browns.
If breakfast isn’t your thing, I find that most restaurants have meat dishes that you can order. To avoid carbs, just double down on the veggie sides and you’ll be in keto-heaven.
Some Ketosis Side Effects and How to Manage Them
Unfortunately, there are a few side effects when you start out on your new ketogenic regimen. One of the most noticed at first is a major change in the frequency of your bowel movements.
Ketogenic diets don’t always do a great job with fiber; and as a result, your regularity will notably change. This can also be caused by an intestinal flora imbalance caused by the dietary change of ketosis, this is normal for most dieters.
Additionally, you’ll most likely experience what many dieters call “keto flu”. Keto flu is symptoms can include reduced overall energy and cognition, hunger pangs, nausea, interrupted sleep cycle, and digestive issues.
Fortunately, these conditions will fade within the first few days of your dietary change. To expedite the process on both of these side effects, simply add fiber and dietary supplements to your diet that will ease your body’s transition.
Ketogenic Diet Supplements
Speaking of dietary supplements, some ketogenic dieters like to add supplements to their keto lifestyle so that they can “cover all the bases” so to speak.
Here’s a list of some that are popular for supporting ketosis:
These types of supplements will help balance out any lost minerals that you lose to ketosis, especially
during the starting out period.
2. Exogenous ketones:
Ketones are the main performer for a ketogenic diet. Using these exogenous ketones will boost your ketone level.
Caffeine is an appetite suppressant, an energy producer, and also can help you burn additional fat.
Creatine is a supplement that builds muscle. Those looking to bulk up, while also losing weight sometimes use Creatine as a balancing agent.
Whey provides excellent levels of protein, which is a key element when leading a ketogenic lifestyle.
6. MCT oil:
Another energy producer, Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil has the added benefit of helping your body produce valuable ketones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long will it take to reach ketosis?
Everyone is different. For the most part, it ranges from two days to seven for the ketosis process to begin in your body.
Once I’ve begun, can I eat carbs again?
Ketogenic diets don’t require you to never have a carb again, though it’s important that you eliminate them when you first start the diet.
On occasion, you can have some carbs, just don’t go above a set level, and omit them for awhile after your binge.
What about my muscle? Will I still be ripped?
Ketogenics are a great way to build muscle, actually.
Since ketogenic diets are high in protein, if you combine them with weightlifting, you should see some muscle building.
Now that I’ve been on the diet for a few days, my urine smells kind of sweet. Is this normal?
This is common.
As you undergo ketosis, your body will excrete a lot of its naturally generated sugars through your pee.
For some reason, I’ve developed really bad breath. What’s the deal?
This is a common side effect of ketosis. It’s also unavoidable, so try breath mints or sugar-free gum.
I don’t feel so good. I feel lethargic, weak, and I have terrible diarrhea. Should I be worried?
If you’ve just started your ketogenic diet, this is completely normal. This is the “keto flu” we mentioned before, which should only last a couple of days, so just take some supplements to ease off the symptoms a bit.