The keto diet is really a very simple concept, despite how much buzz you have likely heard about it, both positively and negatively. The idea is to replace carbohydrates with fat as your body’s primary source of fuel.
Once your body is accustomed to drawing on the fat that you have stored and the dietary fat that you consume, rather than storing away carbohydrates as fat, you will find that you lose weight quickly and keep the weight off. Many people also find that they have improved focus and energy while on the keto diet.
The human body is highly adaptable to different dietary conditions. Proponents of the keto diet argue that fat is really a better source of fuel for the human body than carbs, but we have become accustomed to consuming carbs through necessity.
When we eat carbs, our bodies turn them into glucose or blood sugar. This is the primary energy source for your body. The keto diet causes your body to use fat instead of carbohydrates by replacing the carbohydrates in your diet with fat. This causes your body to go through Ketosis, a time during which your body searches for the source of nutrients that it is suddenly lacking.
With some time and a bit of discomfort for you, your body will decide on fat as a new fuel source. While some cheating on your diet is okay, in general, you will need to remain on this low carb diet for your body to continue to view fat as a primary fuel source. Given carbohydrates, your body will go back to using them to fuel itself and store fat.
Ketosis is a metabolic state that your body goes into when your body is using fat for a primary source of fuel. Most people need to reduce carb intake to 50g a day to achieve Ketosis, but this varies from person to person. There are a number of ways that you’ll know that your body has gone into Ketosis for the first time, most of them not overwhelmingly positive.
- Lack of energy. Further on in the keto diet, many people report increased energy compared to their previous lives pre-keto, but during Ketosis, most people experience lethargy and reduced energy as the body struggles to find a new source of fuel.
- Bad breath. As your body expels particular ketones through your breath and urine as it goes through ketosis, bad breath is very common. Be sure to have mouthwash on hand and consider a chlorophyll supplement to reduce the bad breath
- Digestive issues. Your body is learning to digest different things in a new way, so it shouldn’t be surprising that you will go through some digestive issues as you experience Ketosis.
- Insomnia. Especially at the beginning, poor sleep is very common. Generally these symptoms vanish within a few weeks, although they may last longer if you are more apt to cheat on your diet.
Thankfully, there are also some good effects of Ketosis. Focusing on the positive can help you get through the less enjoyable aspects of this part of the keto diet. Remember, as time goes on, the positives will be greater and the negatives less significant.
- Cravings. Your body is used to eating carbohydrates. At first, the craving may just be for a favorite food, but as Ketosis progresses, you may feel like you are actually starving for carbohydrates until your body learns to use fat for fuel
- Weight loss. For many people, this is the primary goal of going on to a keto diet, so they won’t be at all upset to find if they are losing weight quite quickly even as they just begin the diet.
- Loss of appetite. Dieting is usually accompanied by feeling hungry. As Ketosis progresses, you may find that you feel full quicker and don’t feel hungry as often or as intensely. However, you may still have those intense cravings for carbohydrates.
- Increased focus. At the very beginning, you may have some trouble paying attention as your body adapts to Ketosis. Still, very quickly, many people find that they have a greater ability to focus, especially after eating, perhaps because they don’t have to devote so much energy to digest carbs.
Try the Keto Diet for Yourself
What is the keto diet? It is a scientifically based and potentially able to change the way your body digests food. If you’re curious, why not try the keto diet for yourself? Many people have found a wide range of benefits from this diet besides weight loss.