What is the Low-Carb Ketogenic (Keto) Diet?
A Basic SummaryThe Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, adequate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet that deprives the body of carbohydrates and forces it to burn fat (rather than carbs) as the primary source of energy. All carbohydrates are converted to glucose by the human body, a simple sugar that powers many processes—including brain function. But while glucose is an important source of energy, eating too many carbs can lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The Keto Diet calls for a careful balance of calories from Fat and Protein (instead of carbs) to promote the body's metabolism of existing fat supplies for fuel—this is a process called Ketosis. There are a lot of nuances to the low-carb Ketogenic Diet, but the key features include:
- Eating a 60/35/5 ratio of calories: 60% Fat | 35% Protein | 5% Carbs
- Restricting carbohydrates to under 50 grams per day (but preferably under 20g)
- Any carbohydrates eaten should be from vegetables - not starches, grains, or sugars
- Dramatically increasing the amount of fat eaten (it's needed for energy & keeps you feeling full)
- Increasing the amount of water you drink (it suppresses appetite and helps the body metabolize fat)
- Using KetoSticks to monitor whether or not your body is in the fat-burning state of Ketosis
- Using MyFitnessPal (or a similar service) to track calories and fat/protein macros
How Your Body Handles Excess Carbohydrates and GlucoseAll the carbohydrates you eat are converted to glucose by the human body. Glucose provides valuable fuel for bodily processes and serves as the primary source of energy for brain function. But our body's relationship with glucose is complicated...
Glucose is a great source of energy, but it also causes the body release insulin in order to regulate glucose-levels in the bloodstream. The insulin helps your body store some of the extra glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen (in case it needs more energy later). The problem is, any glucose that isn't burned or turned into glycogen is stored as fat in the body.
What is Keto Flu?
During the induction phase of a Ketogenic Diet, most people experience a horrid “flu” that often makes people believe from the start that it isn’t right for our bodies. Consider it the first test in one of your many trials to come. The flu is a manifestation of your mental and physical dependence on carbohydrates and the body is essentially going through a phase where it has to learn to use fat as fuel. Keto flu can be treated by replenishing your electrolytes.
The flu-like symptoms should dissipate in a few days or weeks. But be warned: For as long as you eat low-carb, if you don’t take care to get enough sodium, potassium and magnesium (a.k.a. electrolytes) in your diet, you may experience fatigue, muscle twitching, headaches, muscle cramping, and in severe cases, arrhythmia. Leg cramps may be the most common sign that your electrolytes are out of balance. -via reddit/r/keto
Why I Started The Keto DietThe Ketogenic diet is fantastic. I love eating all the meats, eggs, and cheeses I want. But Jesus H. Christ do I hate cooking. That's why I created the KetoFlu blog. I'm going to share the quickest, easiest, and cheapest Keto recipes I can think of (or find on the internet). This isn't one of those blogs where the food looks like a culinary masterpiece. Nope. This is a blog for people who have better things to do than cook.
I started the Ketogenic Diet in March 2013. My dad passed away suddenly in October 2012 because he didn't take care of his body. As I dealt with his loss, I found myself in a vicious cycle of self-medication and over-eating. My body definitely paid the price. After parting ways with my girlfriend in early March, I knew I had to take control of my life (and body) again.
I discovered the Keto Diet on Reddit and thought it might be a good fit (I love meat and eggs). I officially started Keto on March 18, 2013 (yes, the day after St. Paddy's Day). You can view my progress via the myfitnesspal widget below.
Want to support my blog? Buy a custom-made Keto Diet t-shirt