Did you know that nearly 70% of fad diets are unsuccessful? And of the 30% that do succeed, 65% of them end up gaining the weight back anyways!
We all know that fad diets don't work, so we're not sure why people keep wasting their time on them.
And it's no wonder fad diets don't work. The idea that you can live on a diet of zero carbs, or worse, 10 days of exclusive water with cayenne pepper and lemon, is ludicrous.
The key to taking charge of your health and losing weight in a healthy and sustainable manner is a practical diet paired with regular exercise.
What if we told you that there is a diet that allows you to eat cheese and even cake (don't worry, we've linked that recipe further down the page!). We know what you're thinking right now; "what is the keto diet and what's the catch?".
What Is the Keto Diet?
The brief answer to "what is the keto diet" is that it's a low-carb, high-fat diet. The purpose of is that the liver will produce ketones that will be used as energy.
Now let's look at the scientific explanation behind this diet.
On a regular diet, your body produces glucose and insulin when you eat food that's high in carbs. Your body then uses the insulin to process the glucose and convert it into fuel for your body.
When you lower the number of carbs you're eating, your body needs to search for an alternative fuel source and enters a state called ketosis.
When your body is in a state of ketosis, it means that your body is producing ketones. These are small fuel molecules produced from fat in the liver.
When you are on the ketogenic diet your body shifts completely from using glucose as an energy source to using the ketones leading to lowered insulin levels. This increases your bodies ability to access and burn off fat stores which is why this diet is a popular choice for people trying to lose weight.
How Was the Keto Diet Developed?
Now that we've explained what is the keto diet, you may be curious to know where it came from.
It will likely come as a shock to learn that not only was the ketogenic diet first popularized way back in the 1920s, it was actually developed as a therapy for epilepsy.
In 1921, endocrinologist Rollin Woodya discovered that ketones were produced by the liver in one of two ways. Either as the result of starvation or if patients followed a diet that restricted carbohydrates in favor of increased fat intake.
At the same time, Russel Wilder at the Mayo Clinic coined the term "the ketogenic diet" and prescribed it as a treatment for epilepsy.
Essentially, doctors had discovered that fasting was a short-lived but successful way to treat epileptics. The problem, of course, was that you can only fast for a few days at a time.
Over time, medical treatments for epilepsy were developed, however, many people found that either these treatments were unsuccessful or had harmful side effects. Although the keto diet is hard to adhere to, many patients reported that it was more successful for them.
What Are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?
Restricting what you eat is difficult. There's always going to be a birthday party or anniversary where you want to celebrate with sweets and a cocktail or two. That means that there needs to be a reason for you to sacrifice eating whatever you want.
Luckily, there are many benefits of following the keto diet.
Weight Loss and Appetite Control
These are the main reasons why people choose to follow this diet.
Weight loss occurs rapidly on the keto diet because your body is now burning fat instead of glucose. With less glucose and insulin in your body, fat cells are able to release water. The smaller fat cells move into the liver and become ketones.
The result is a big initial weight drop when you start this diet. However, this loss is temporary and where appetite control comes in.
When following any diet, it is important to remember that your body rapidly adapts to its environment. Once you limit the number of carbohydrates you are consuming, your body will quickly stop craving them.
By eating a high fat, low carbohydrate diet, your meals will keep you feeling satisfied for longer because the energy is consumed more slowly and efficiently.
Improved Ability to Focus
Many people who follow the keto diet also find that they have better focus during the day and the reason for this is pretty easy to understand.
Think about how you feel after eating a big plate of pasta. The term "food coma" comes to mind!
When we eat a carbohydrate-heavy meal, we experience a spike in our blood sugar levels. However, this spike is rapidly followed by a significant decline in energy. Riding this blood sugar wave makes it difficult to concentrate on your daily tasks.
Ketones, by comparison, are a stable fuel source so your mind and body are not affected by these swings in your blood sugar levels.
Before You Start on the Keto Diet
Let's get started with easy instructions with a keto diet plan for beginners. One of the most common questions that follows "what is the keto diet?" is how exactly does one get started. Before you start searching for recipes for your new diet, follow these steps to get started.
Talk to Your Doctor
It is always a good idea to consult your physician before undergoing a dramatic dietary change.
Ketosis is achieved by straining your metabolism and having a discussion about your goals and health situation will give you the best chance of success with the diet.
While many people have found ketosis to have benefits linked to neurological disorders and other illnesses, some preexisting conditions can lead to complications with this dietary change.
Spring (Kitchen) Cleaning
Once your doctor gives you the all clear, the next thing you need to do is get your kitchen ready. Having temptation at your fingertips is too much for most people to bare. We are mere mortals, after all.
Get rid of anything in your kitchen that is high in carbohydrates including candy, sugary drinks, bread and pasta. Next, head to the grocery store and stock up on low carb foods and snacks to stock your pantry with.
Now, you may experience significant pushback from family members who aren't keen to follow such a restrictive diet. With the idea of keeping the peace, you may want to keep one cupboard for the other members of your household but only if you have the willpower to resist it yourself!
Get the Right Tools
Don't worry, you don't need to buy a whole bunch of expensive products or anything but the one thing you should buy is ketosis strips. A box of 100 strips costs about $10.
You can use these strips to test if your body is producing ketones while you follow this diet. This is useful for both monitoring whether your changes in diet have been successful and making sure that your body isn't overproducing ketones.
Foods You Can Eat on the Keto Diet
Alright, now we've explained what is the keto diet, how it was developed and even how to get started. We've put together a keto diet food list to help you decide if this diet is for you.
When choosing food and snacks on the keto diet, make sure you look at each item's net carbohydrates. That is the number of carbs less the amount of fiber per serving.
Fish, Meat, and Poultry
These sources of protein are perfect for the keto diet because they are both rich in vitamins and, with the exception of some shellfish, carb-free.
When choosing your meat from the grocery store or butcher, opt for grass-fed meat where available because this meat will be higher in omega-3 fats.
We said it at the beginning, and we'll say it again now - cheese is perfectly acceptable while following the keto diet.
I know you're thinking, what is the keto diet and why haven't I heard of it before??
Cheese is low in carbs, rich in protein and high in fat making it perfect for the keto diet. And with literally hundreds of varieties out there, we can tell you right now, you'll soon be good friends with the person who runs your local grocer's cheese counter!
In fact, a glass or two of wine (depending on the wine), a martini or a whiskey neat are all okay as well, just keep an eye on those carbs! That said, avoid beer and cocktails which have much higher levels of carbohydrates.
We know, you're shaking your head in disbelief right now. But much like cheese, butter and even cream are high-fat, low-carb choices.
Both should certainly be consumed in moderation but this shows why so many people find success with the keto diet. The idea isn't to cut out every food you like to eat, but rather take a careful look at what you're eating and how your body processes food.
Ready to get Started?
Now that we've answered what is the keto diet, are you ready to get started?
If you don't have time for the grocery store and meal prep, don't worry. Keto Meal Delivery delivers great keto-diet friendly meals to the greater LA area.
Furthermore, the internet is awash with keto diet recipes. Oh, and here's that Keto chocolate cake recipe we promised. Good luck!