Keto Diet Basics, Benefits, and Side Effects

Understanding the keto diet basics. (Image credits: Pexels/Photo by Jenna Hamra)
Understanding the keto diet basics. (Image credits: Pexels/Photo by Jenna Hamra)

The Keto Diet is a popular diet that has made its way into the fitness industry. However, before dividing deeper into the keto diet, it is important to understand that there is no such perfect diet. Every individual has their own preferences and ultimately, weight loss and weight gain comes down to calorie deficit and calorie surplus, respectively.

What is the keto diet?

This is a diet where carbs are completely cut out. The only form of carbohydrates the body receives is from fat-heavy and protein-heavy foods.

In the keto diet, the focus is to provide the body with 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs.

Keto diet basics, benefits and much more.  (Image credits: Pexels/ Foodie Factor)
Keto diet basics, benefits and much more. (Image credits: Pexels/ Foodie Factor)

How does the keto diet work?

First, let’s understand how the basic rules of keto and how the body generates energy from food. Ideally, the body needs three macronutrients - fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The body breaks down these nutrients to generate energy, especially from the glucose it receives from sources of carbohydrates.

However, with keto, the body does not get glucose from carbohydrates to generate energy. As a result, it burns the stored fat to generate the required energy. Essentially, the idea is to push the body to burn stored fats. Once this level is achieved, it’s said that the body is in a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Benefits of a keto diet

The reason this diet is suggested is because it works and helps to burn excess stored fat for fuel. Apart from that, there are other benefits of following this diet.

Curbs your appetite

One tends to eat more when you have the appetite for it. However, when you follow a low-carb-diet, your appetite gets curbed. This results in a controlled eating habit, which ultimately helps in weight loss.

Improves blood sugar and insulin levels

A low-carb diet is potentially useful for individuals suffering from diabetes or with insulin resistance. A low-carb diet helps in moderating the levels, which lowers blood sugar and insulin levels significantly.

Can accelerate initial weight loss

With a keto diet, stored fat gets burned for fuel, which in itself is a form of weight loss. Additionally, a low-carb diet will initially accelerate the weight loss process when the primary source of energy shifts from using glucose to using stored fat.

Side effects of a keto diet

Potential side effects of the keto diet.  (Image credits: Pexels/ Engin Akyurt)
Potential side effects of the keto diet. (Image credits: Pexels/ Engin Akyurt)

It would be wrong to assume that keto is all bad. But when something is done outside of moderation, it usually has negative consequences. Similarly, for this diet, there are some side effects that must be kept in mind.

Keto flu

When you jump ship and move from a traditional diet to a keto diet, you may experience some stress such as headache, fatigue, nausea, morning sickness and others. Often, you will overcome these effects with time, but if the problem persists, you need to switch from a keto diet to another diet.

Digestive issues

Again, during the initial days of following the diet, you may experience digestive problems or even diarrhea. Most digestive issues occur because your body is not getting enough water or fiber. If you can moderate those, you may be able to avoid them.

Increased heart rate

When following a keto diet, you may need to reduce the amount of coffee you are drinking. There have been instances where individuals have faced a significant increase in their heart rate. You should not experience this after the first few weeks, but if it continues, you should increase the amount of carbs per day.

Things to keep in mind

When following the keto diet, there are a few factors to keep in mind to ensure you do not fall sick or ill because of it.

Keto pancakes.  (Image credits: Pexels/ Pixabay)
Keto pancakes. (Image credits: Pexels/ Pixabay)

Talk to your healthcare professional

Consult with your healthcare advisor to discuss your health status and goals before going for the keto diet. Restrictive diets like keto often require a definitive approach which can also involve monitoring and tracking.

Avoid following it for a long term

You may feel influenced to follow keto for the longer term. It is advised that you do not restrict daily carb intake for a prolonged period of time. Instead, consider following keto for a couple of months before switching back to a traditional diet.

However, increase carb levels steadily while making the switch.

Make a mindful approach

Plan the duration of your diet with the help of brief research and healthcare professionals. Make an informed approach and ensure discipline to follow the diet religiously and avail the benefits of keto diet.

Drink enough water

Keto diets can lead to a significant amount of water-weight loss during the initial phase. It is important for you to constantly hydrate yourself and protect the body from dehydration.

Avoid heavy workouts

When you have just begun the diet, there could be side effects. Try to follow a moderate and easy workout routine that does not over exhaust you while you deal with the side effects.

The diet is good for you but you need to be careful about how long you do it. If you are unsure about the calories and diet, it is best to consult an expert before trying the ketogenic diet.

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