If you have looked into diets that are targeted at weight loss, then chances are good that you have come across a ketogenic diet plan, also frequently referred to as a “keto diet”. What classifies a diet as keto, though? To understand that, first, it is necessary to know what carbohydrates are, and what they do to us when we consume them.
Carbohydrates are sugar molecules that are contained in many foods, such as bread, beans, potatoes, and pasta. For most people, carbohydrates are the main source of energy in their diet. However, eating an abundance of carbs can contribute to weight gain.
A keto diet is one way to counter such weight gain and promote weight loss by lowering the number of carbs that you consume. Rather than your body using carbs as its main source of energy, it primarily uses fat for this purpose.
Therefore, a keto diet must also include the consumption of an increased amount of healthy fats. When you are on a keto diet, it is important to track your macronutrients (“macros” for short), which are the nutrient groups that your body needs significant amounts of on a daily basis, such as fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Since the intake of these nutrients leads to better results, tracking them can help you stay on track with your diet. There are four main versions of keto diets: standard, cyclical, high-protein, and targeted. Although these versions differ from each other when it comes to their specifics, they all have the same principal goal of helping you lose weight.
Tips to Follow a Keto Diet Without Calculating Your Macros
Although some people find that calculating macros makes following a keto diet plan easier, there are several ways to find success with your keto diet without calculating all of your macros. One way to do that is to focus your attention on increasing your intake of protein-rich food. Whole foods like meat, fish, poultry, nuts, eggs, and cheese are all good sources of protein.
Another way to follow a keto diet without worrying too much about macros is to make reducing your carb consumption your main concern. In most keto diets, that means eating 50 grams of carbs or less in a given day—even less than the amount typically found in a medium-sized plain bagel.
You can replace the cooking oil that you typically use with coconut oil, or increase your intake of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, hemp hearts, and chia seeds.
It is also important to ensure that your body gets the right amount of salt each day when you are on a keto diet. Most keto diet specialists suggest that you consume somewhere between two and four grams of sodium per day.
Lastly, it’s always beneficial to get active whenever possible while you are on a keto diet, as physical activity will help your body to burn excess calories.
The Benefits of a Keto Diet
There are many advantages that a keto diet can afford you, some of which are well-known, while others are not. First and foremost, a keto diet can help you in a significant way with regard to your weight loss journey.
Shedding weight is one of the main things that usually attracts people to keto diets, as all such diets are an efficient way to get rid of excess fat. Losing up to ten pounds within the first week is certainly not unheard of, followed by one to two pounds per week from that point on.
In addition to this benefit, a keto diet can improve your heart health. It does this by lowering the number of triglycerides that you consume, which are a type of fat in the blood that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke when present at high levels.
A keto diet can also reduce your IGF-1 levels and blood sugar levels, which can lower your chance of getting cancer. In addition, if you suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome and have few, unusual, over-lengthy periods, a keto diet may be able to help normalize your menstrual cycle by improving the balance of your sex hormones.
Do you suffer from bad acne? A keto diet has been linked to acne reduction and improved skin health, too! One of the most shocking effects of a keto diet is that it can reduce the number of seizures experienced by those with epilepsy, especially with regard to children.
How Keto Diets Differ From Normal Diet Plans
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of diet plans that have been developed over the years, but the keto diet is truly quite unique. For multiple reasons, keto diets stand out in comparison to normal diet plans.
One of the main reasons is that keto diets help in resetting your metabolism and promoting metabolic flexibility. On a keto diet, you may increase your metabolism or maintain it at a steady pace, but at a higher rate than what you initially started out with.
As well, a keto diet is quite different because it typically focuses on macronutrient balance, whereas many other diets place their primary focus on calories. In many diets, it is also possible to maintain your consumption of carbohydrates, but on a keto diet, all sources of carbohydrates must be restricted.
The ultimate goal of a keto diet is to maintain a healthy weight. It is not a commercial diet, and anyone can follow it and achieve success.
Why a Keto Diet Is Superior to Other Diets
One of the biggest reasons that most people give up on a diet is that they fail to see noticeable results even after putting in the work and following their dietary instructions. However, with a keto diet, that is almost impossible. Within the first week of trying out a keto diet, you can drop a sizable amount of weight, and that speaks volumes as to how effective this diet can be.
Some people shy away from keto diets after hearing how intensive they can be with regard to tracking macronutrients. However, it is possible for a keto diet to succeed whether you track macros or not. As long as you learn which foods are high in carbs and cut those foods out, while learning about proteins and increasing your intake of them at the same time, you will be on a path to steady progress.
Additionally, substituting your oils, increasing your sodium consumption, and getting an adequate amount of exercise will all make a big difference. If you maintain your keto diet, you will see all kinds of benefits, from improved heart health to better skin to more manageable menstrual cycles and more.
You can even reset your metabolism on a keto diet, which you may have thought was impossible. For all of these reasons, keto diets have become increasingly popular and have helped millions of people achieve their health and weight goals.