Carbohydrates and the Ketogenic Program
A low-carb diet will lead the body to break down fats in order to produce ketones, which will be used as fuel. The boost in ketone production is called ketosis, and this is a state wherein the body adapts as the dieter finally eliminates the carbs in his or her system. The transition to ketosis is the main reason why a ketogenic or low-carb diet works.
Although traditionally we have been advised to consume sufficient carbohydrates to avoid ketosis, the growing body of scientific evidence is showing that that may not be the healthiest diet choice.
So, let’s be really clear, there is nothing detrimental about ketosis. Forget about this misrepresentation so that you can make sound weight-loss decisions.
Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis
Ketosis is sometimes confused with an unrelated condition called ketoacidosis, which can be dangerous to your health. Ketosis is a normal state where the body uses fat as energy, while ketoacidosis is a condition that is linked to type 1 diabetes.
A majority of individuals on low-carb diets can endure ketosis without any issues. Following weight loss, carbohydrate intake may increased a little. So the decision to remain in ketosis or not is dependent on your weight loss and health goals. In many instances the health benefits of a keto diet really out ways the benefit of weight loss. Although they obviously go hand in hand.
You also might be cautious of ketosis due to a condition called “ketosis flu,” but this is not actually flu. In the first few days of the diet, some may have headaches, fatigue, nausea and constipation. You do not have to worry though, as it is only temporary—ketosis flu will only last for a few days. This happens because the body begins to adjust to the reduction of carbs.
Ketosis flu is brought about by the loss of water and salt, and this can be prevented if the dieter drinks 8 glasses of water every day, or by consuming a cup of bone broth.
What is a Low Carb Diet?
Even though there is no common definition of a low-carb diet, eating less than 130 grams of carbohydrates every day places you in a low-carb program. For example, if you eat 50-130 grams of carbohydrates every day, theoretically you are following a low carb diet. At this level however, you will avoid ketosis and will not benefit from the results anticipated from a low-carb diet.
The initial stage of a ketogenic eating program suggests 20 net grams of carbs per day. Net grams of carbs are calculated by deducting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs.
As discussed, the objective of the ketogenic diet is to encourage the body to get into ketosis and prevent the burning of carbohydrates as an energy source, and instead switch to the burning of ketones. This should happen as soon as you bring your carb levels to roughly 20 grams or less each day.
Many keto diet practitioners suggest up to 30 grams of carbs and some people can remain in ketosis while eating up to 50 grams per day. This upper level of 50 grams permits for a bit more flexibility in the diet as you can then boost the consumption of vegetables, nuts and dairy that may have a little more carbs.
When it comes to carbs for ketosis, one of the easiest methods to restrict carbs at the start of your diet is to go for foods that are very low in carbs.
Foods like red and white meats, fish, eggs, and oils are included on the no-carbs list. A majority of cheeses have low carb levels, with the exception of processed cheeses and the soft kinds.
You can also select from the majority of green and cruciferous vegetables.
However, steer clear of starchy veggies like beans, peas, corn, winter squash and potatoes. You can still have your fruit, though in the form of berries, which contain fewer carbs compared to other fruits in the market. For instance, you can have a half cup of seasonal raspberries for dessert, as it has 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to half an apple, which has around 8 grams of carbs.
For our comprehensive low carb shopping list, go here.
The ketogenic diet might be a bit challenging at first, but with good knowledge about the diet, great recipes, sound advice from your physician and dietitian, you will be able to endure the difficulties and acquire the success you can get from a known diet program.