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The Ketogenic Diet: What It Is, Benefits, and How To Get Into Ketosis

If you look back at the history of our ancestors, you’ll see that they consumed a diet that is the opposite of what we are told to consume today (low-fat, high-carb). Our bodies are inherently programmed to thrive on a high-fat, low-carb diet and adopting a ketogenic lifestyle is what will allow your body to do just that.

A ketogenic diet consists of a low-carb, adequate protein, healthy-fat approach to food and drink consumption. When you decrease your carbohydrate intake and subsequently increase your healthy fat intake, your body switches from a sugar-burning state to a fat-burning state, also known as ketosis. 

Ketosis is the metabolic state of burning fat for fuel. 

By decreasing your carb intake, you decrease the amount of glucose (sugar) coming into your body and therefore decrease the need for a constant release of insulin. By doing this, you allow your body to tap into its fat stores and begin burning ketones and fatty acids for fuel rather than relying on glucose. To lose body fat, you need to burn it for energy. If you’re constantly feeding your body carbs, you will have a hard time tapping into your body fat, making fat loss nearly impossible.

The scientific literature supporting a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet for weight loss and health is overwhelming. Studies show that a ketogenic diet can lead to not only significant and sustainable weight loss, but also aid in the prevention and possible reversal of several health-related diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Fatty Liver disease, and more. 

There are many benefits to following a high quality, whole-food based ketogenic lifestyle and becoming fat adapted. I like to say that weight and fat loss is just an added bonus on top of all the other benefits that lead to a higher quality of life.

What are the Benefits of Keto?

Sustained Weight Loss and Improved Body Composition

Not only has a ketogenic diet proved successful for substantial fat and weight loss in a relatively short period of time, but unlike other diets, a ketogenic protocol has shown to be sustainable and enjoyable. Weight loss means nothing if you can’t keep it off in the long term and that is why so many people have found success when adopting a ketogenic lifestyle.  

Improved Energy and Mood

Because fat and ketones provide a readily available source of energy and keto helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels in your body, you don’t have those constant dips and spikes in these levels throughout the day. This leads to a higher, yet stable energy level and enhanced mood all day long.

Boosts Cognitive Function, Mental Clarity, Focus, and Memory

This is probably the benefit I love the most! Being in a state of ketosis allows your brain to function at its most optimal level while simultaneously protecting your brain for long-term health. The human brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, so it’s no surprise that our brains actually prefer and thrive off of adequate fat and ketones. 

Improved Insulin Sensitivity and Decreased Inflammation

Switching from a sugar-burner to a fat and ketone burner reduces both the reliance on high insulin production and the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in your body that cause damage and inflammation - the primary driver of chronic disease. 

Enhanced Recovery and Increased Performance

Reduced inflammation, enhanced energy production and efficiency, muscle preservation, and cellular protection from being in a state of ketosis are just a few of the outcomes that result in improved recovery times between workouts and overall increases in exercise performance over the long term.

Disease Prevention and Treatment

The evidence continues to emerge as the ketogenic diet proves successful in reducing the severity and even reversing common diseases like epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and others.

Stabilized Hormones

When keto-adaptation occurs, many hormones in your body begin to heal and stabilize. This leads to various benefits including appetite control, enhanced fertility outcomes, less cravings, more energy, sustained weight loss and much more.

Anti-Aging and Enhanced Quality of Life

The lowering of oxidative stress and inflammation paired with the balancing of blood sugar, insulin and hormonal levels are just some of the key factors that demonstrate the anti-aging power of keto.  

How To Get Into Ketosis

Getting into a state of ketosis generally takes about 2-3 days for the average person. However, the transition can be difficult if you’re not implementing the right tools.

Make sure to follow these guidelines:

  1. Cut the carbs – Reducing your carbohydrate intake is the first step towards producing ketones. Aim for 50 grams or less of total carbs per day and adjust accordingly.
  2. Don’t Neglect Protein – Focus on consuming high-quality, nutrient-dense protein sources at every meal. Protein keeps us full, fuels our body, and is essential for maintaining our lean body mass.
  3. Consume enough healthy fats – Throw your fear of fat out the window and fill your body with the exact fuel you want it to start using for energy – fat! This will ease the transition to become a more efficient fat burner.
  4. Replenish water and electrolytes – When you reduce your carb intake, your body flushes out more water and takes sodium and other electrolytes with it. This can lead to symptoms of the “keto flu," discussed in more detail in this blog post.

Now, we're just scratching the surface here! If you want to learn how to individualize keto to fit YOUR specific goals and lifestyle, check out my Keto Kickstart program!

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