Recently, the Ketogenic diet has been on the news and all over the Internet. Maybe you have considered trying it but are hesitant because you don’t know much about it. OrthoIndy total joint specialist Dr. Eric Monesmith discusses the Ketogenic diet.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein and higher fat diet. Eating this way puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in a state of ketosis, the liver converts fatty acids into ketones, which become the main energy source of the body.
Eating a low carbohydrate diet results in naturally lowered blood sugar, which leads to lower insulin levels, improved metabolic function and if the carbohydrate level is low enough, leads to ketosis.
As a short-term survival mechanism in times of food shortage, ketosis has been an important historical metabolic function. However, as we have consumed ever-growing amounts of grain-based carbohydrates in our modern diet, it has been less important for survival.
Low carb diets
Low carb diets, including the primal, paleo and now keto diets, have become more mainstream as a metabolic technique to aid in weight loss and maintain a better body composition. What was once necessary for survival from food shortage has now become a technique to overcome our food addiction and abundance.
Dr. Monesmith has previously written about paleo or primal nutrition and its benefits. Ketogenic is the next step in his opinion. Simply put, the very low carbohydrates intake for extended periods of time will make your body ketogenic. Less than 50 grams of net carbohydrates per day over a few weeks will put you into ketosis. This is a good way to reset your metabolism and begin burning fat instead of sugar.
Metabolically speaking, burning of fat is how someone loses weight, as the fats stored in the body are then used for fuel. After approximately three weeks, healthy non grain based carbs can be added back into the diet and between 50 to 100 grams per day of total carbohydrate intake should allow for continued steady and easy weight loss without ketosis.
After a vacation or a long period of time when you cheat on the paleo plan and start going the wrong way, a quick period of ketogenic eating is a way to re-tune your metabolism.
Benefits of the ketogenic diets
Initially, you typically lose weight if you follow the diet precisely. Ketogenic diets can help people lose dramatic amounts of weight and quickly. Secondly, the Ketogenic diets improve hormonal balance. By getting insulin levels under control, other hormones in your body will begin to work better, you will feel better, energy levels improve, sleep cycles improve and the typical hunger pangs many people have during the day will disappear.