What is the Keto Diet?
Trending over the past few years has been the Keto diet. This diet is focused around high fat/low carb intake, which alters your metabolism into a state natural state known as ketosis. In this state, your body produces ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver, to be used as energy.
Ketosis is the goal of the keto diet. When you hit ketosis, the body realizes it’s primary source of energy (carbohydrates) has been depleted and starts to look for a new way to sustain itself. This leads to fat burning. Fat burning isn’t the body’s first choice when it comes to fueling itself because it is less efficient at using fat as energy. Thus, it has to burn more fat to do the same things it would do with fewer carbohydrates. For those looking to lose weight and shed fat, this is great!
How to Achieve Ketosis
- Restrict your carbohydrates.I focus only on net carbs. I recommend staying below 20g of net carbs to achieve ketosis. To make sure I don’t go over, I use MyFitnessPal to track what I eat.
- Restrict your protein intake.Most people understand why restricting carbs in important. However, people often think they can cheat the system and lose even more weight by replacing their carb intake with protein instead of fat. This will keep you from entering ketosis. Thus, I recommend .7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Use the higher end of the spectrum if you are lifting and trying to build muscle.
- Stop worrying about fat.Fat is the primary source of energy on keto – so make sure you’re feeding your body enough of it.
- Stop Starving. Keto is not achieved through starvation, just carb starvation. Restricting your caloric intake will decrease your metabolism and it will be much more difficult to lose weight.
- Diet and exercise go hand in hand. Couple 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week to increase weight loss.
How do I know if I’m in Ketosis?
Testing your ketone levels is the only actual way to know with certainty if you’re in ketosis. There are several methods you can use to check from the comfort of your very own home.
- Blood testing: This method of testing is the most accurate method of testing. You use a blood glucose meter, put a small sample of blood onto a strip and the meter will read your ketone levels. If you have diabetes, your current blood glucose meter may have the ability to read ketones already!
- Breath testing: Ketones show up on the breath (accompanied by an unpleasant odor), and you can test it using a breath meter.
- Urine testing: You can purchase urine strips that indicate your ketone level by color. If you have a pool, they look and read an awful lot like chlorine strips.
Ketosis can be seemingly counterintuitive and a difficult diet to start. However, once you come to accept that fats don’t make you fat you can achieve quick and healthy weight loss through the keto diet. If you’re interested in hearing about what your first week of the keto diet is like, check out my Keto Week One post!