When you're looking for a lifestyle change, a lot of people think you have to cut calories to lose weight. While that may be true in some cases, it's not true for all. Of course, living a sedentary lifestyle but eating more than you're burning will cause you to gain weight. Those are the things to take into consideration. But most of the time, you don't have to cut calories, you just have to switch what/how you're eating.
The ketogenic diet (also known as the keto diet) is not a new diet, but it's one that has become increasingly popular in the last few years. The reason it's becoming so popular is because it's known to shed fat fast without counting calories. Oh, and the diet keeps you full for SO long!
The keto diet works like this: you eat very low-carb, and very high-fat. You're not removing calories from your diet, you're just replacing them with fats. So it's not known as a low-calorie diet, but since your body looks for carbs for energy, it will start to burn fat for energy. This means your body is going into ketosis.
When you reduce your carbs and up your fat, your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis which is where your body does all that good stuff that I mentioned above. There are plenty of different ways to do the keto diet, one of which is carb cycling. High fat diets can be hard to maintain for a while, since your body does actually need carbs to survive. Here are the different types of the ketogenic diet:
- Standard keto diet: High-fat, moderate protein, very low-carb
- Cyclical keto diet: 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days
- Carb cycling: A mix between high, low and moderate fat days
- Targeted keto diet: Adding carbs around your workouts
- High-protein keto diet: Just a different version of standard keto but with more protein
There have been multiple studies shown that the keto diet can actually help you live longer. Also, since it turns fat into ketones in the liver (which help give the brain energy), it's a great diet to help prevent neurological diseases. It's a super effective way to lose weight fast, but the things you eat are the most important.
The ketogenic diet is not strict, but you can't really just eat without planning. The diet consists of food such as meats, fatty fish, butter/cream, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, avocados, cheese, lower carb veggies, etc. This diet is very different compared to a lifestyle change such as intermittent fasting, which is great for people who don't have a lot of time to eat. With the keto diet, you need to prepare, plan, and make sure you're getting enough food to see the results.
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While I personally hate using the term diet, the ketogenic diet is not really a lifestyle because it can't be maintained for a long time. Yes, I am sure a lot of people do it and that's great. However, your body needs carbs for energy, especially when you're shredded due to the keto diet. When there isn't much fat left to burn, you'll become super tired, low energy and won't be able to concentrate. However, most people do the keto diet and then transition into the paleo diet, which isn't the same thing but you do eat a ton of the same foods so it's easy to get the hang of.
Let me say this again, this is considered a diet but it's not a diet because you're not restricting yourself. The use of carbs and fats are reversed, and you're eating more fats and way less carbs to go into ketosis, which is where your metabolism goes crazy and burns a ton fat. With anything, you have to stick to it to get results. So in order for your body to get used to it, I would recommend doing this for about two months.
Just like with any diet, this one is not for everyone. If you're looking to do something like this, consider carb cycling. If you're looking to gain muscle, then this definitely isn't the diet for you since carbs and protein combined are essential to gaining muscle. However, if fat loss is your goal, then this is a diet that you should consider.
To get a better idea of the ketogenic diet, check out Abby Pollock's video below where she tries it for a week.