What is Ketosis?

What is Ketosis?

Staff Writer
7 minute read

What is ketosis?

What is ketosis? Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about the keto diet. The keto diet has become all the rage over the past few years, and for a good reason. People are experiencing excellent results after following this diet. Their health is improving, their weight is decreasing, and their overall fitness levels are experiencing a major boost. 

If you are interested in finding out more about how to start keto diet, and if it’s right for you, keep reading! 

What’s a keto diet?

The ketogenic, or keto diet, is a high fat, low carbohydrate way of eating. It promotes cutting out almost all carbohydrates from your meal plan and replacing them with healthy fats. Doctors initially developed it to help children with epilepsy reduce the frequency and severity of their seizures. 

In a usual diet, the body gets its fuel from carbs. Carbs contain glucose which will act as the body's primary energy source. When carbs are cut from the diet, the body turns to the next most accessible fuel source - fat. It will use a combination of the fat consumed throughout the day and the body's fat stores to give you the energy you need to power through your busy day. During this process, your body begins to produce a chemical called ketones.

What is ketosis?

Ketosis refers to the metabolic state your body enters when it starts burning fat instead of sugars for fuel. As the fat is used, a byproduct called ketones begins to build up in your system. The primary type of ketone found during this state is called beta-Hydroxybutyrate. This chemical is produced in the liver, which releases it to the rest of the body, where it is utilized as an alternative energy source. 

During the keto diet, the only way to tell if you are burning fat for fuel instead of glucose is by checking the ketone levels in your urine. Ketone test strips can be dipped in a small urine sample to determine the level of ketones your body is excreting. The higher the reading, the more ketones your body is producing and, therefore, the more fat you are burning for fuel.

Can I have any carbs on a keto diet?

When you are following a keto diet, your intake of carbohydrates must be very low. When you eat any sugar sources, your body will switch off from burning fats and use the glucose in your system as energy instead. To sustain a state of ketosis, your carbohydrate intake will need to stay below 50g of carbs per day. Some people may even need to go lower than this, consuming less than 20g. To put this into perspective, two slices of white bread contain about 26g of carbs.

The fewer carbs you eat, the easier it will be to achieve and maintain a fat-burning ketosis state. 

What are the best foods to eat on a keto diet?

When planning how to start a keto diet, it's important to put some thought into your meal plan. You will want to keep foods on hand that are high in protein and fat and limit the amount of sugary or carbohydrate-heavy foods in your diet. 

Some of the best foods to stock in your fridge and pantry include:

  • Poultry

  • Beef

  • Fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel)

  • Whole eggs

  • Cheese

  • Butter

  • Plain greek yogurt

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Avocados

  • Oil (like olive, avocado, and coconut oil)

  • Low-carb veggies (like salad greens, onions, peppers, and sprouts)

  • Herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.

What foods should you avoid on a keto diet?

If you are considering this diet, it's essential to know what not to eat on a keto diet. As a general rule, avoid sugary foods, fruit, and fast and fried foods. 

Before starting, remove these foods from your kitchen:

  • Honey

  • Grains

  • Fruit

  • Starchy vegetables

  • All forms of sugar

What are the benefits of a keto diet?

Numerous studies have been conducted on the keto diet and its benefits to your body and overall health. One of the most common benefits of this way of eating is the amount of weight most people lose. A diet that is high in carbohydrates often results in significant weight gain. Training your body to function without excess carbs and use fat for fuel will allow the pounds to start dropping off. Filling up on healthy fats will also keep you satiated longer, curbing your appetite and reducing unhealthy snacking habits. 

Along with weight loss, a keto diet has also shown to:

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Lower cholesterol levels

  • Control blood sugar levels

  • Reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Improve your heart health

  • Decrease the incidence and severity of seizures

  • Minimize the risk of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

  • Prevent migraines

  • Reduce acne and improve the look and feel of your skin

Are there any risks to following a keto diet?

Switching from a regular diet to a keto meal plan can be a significant change for your body. If you are generally healthy, this lifestyle has minimal risks; however, you may experience some side effects, especially in the beginning. Also known as the keto flu, some people experience flu-like symptoms, including diarrhea and nausea. Other initial side effects include:

  • Low energy levels

  • Poor mental function

  • Increased hunger

  • Insomnia and sleeplessness

  • Upset stomach and digestive issues

  • Poor exercise performance

These symptoms are quite common and usually only last a short period of time. Many people find that slowly decreasing the number of carbs they eat over a few weeks will help minimize the discomfort they experience. This method gives the body time to adjust to these new dietary changes and teaches it how to better switch to using fat for fuel. 

While the ketogenic diet is usually a safe choice for most people, some serious long-term health issues can occur. Fatty liver, low blood protein, kidney stones, and vitamin deficiencies have been reported. Because of this, visit your doctor regularly and talk to them about your eating habits to ensure this diet is safe for you. 

Also, you may be wondering, "is keto diet good for diabetics?" A particular medication for Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, a severe and life-threatening condition. Anyone taking this medication or anyone who has diabetes should speak with their doctor before making any changes to their meal plan. 

If you are considering starting a keto diet, it's vital that you begin your journey armed with all the information you need. Start by slowly implementing healthy changes in your meal plan and gradually decrease the number of carbohydrates you consume. This will help ease you into the world of keto and reduce the symptoms of the keto flu. Another easy way to embrace the keto way of life is by enlisting the help of a meal prep company like Clean Eatz Kitchen

At Clean Eatz Kitchen, all of your meals are planned out ahead of time, prepared for you, and delivered right to your door. This takes all the hassle out of planning and preparing your food and allows you to eat healthily all the time. Their meals are created using the freshest and most wholesome ingredients and are catered to your specific dietary requirements. Whether you are gluten-free, on a high protein diet, or want to give keto a try, Clean Eatz Kitchen can help. Visit our website for more information on all our services and meal plans today!

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