What Is Keto?
If you have been on social media in the past 2 years, then you probably have heard of the keto diet. But, do you know what the keto diet really is all about? In this article, I will explain exactly what is keto, how it works, and how you can use it to reach your weight loss goals while enjoying some delicious foods.
What is Keto?
Keto is short for ketogenic, which is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet.
Keto has been around since the early 1900s and was developed to help children manage epilepsy.
Now, Keto is used as a medical treatment for many illnesses and diseases such as ADHD, PCOS, Diabetes, and many more. But, not only is keto used to treat a host of illnesses and diseases, it can be used to lose weight.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using our links.
With the keto diet, you restrict your carbohydrate intake to activate a fat burning process known as ketosis. When you are in “ketosis” which is the purpose of doing the keto diet, your blood sugar and insulin levels lower allowing your body to shift from using carbohydrates as it main source of energy to burning fat to fuel your body.
The average person’s body is powered by carbohydrates. When a person starts a ketogenic diet, they limit the number of carbohydrates they consume, this is usually under 20 grams a day.
Not only do you restrict the amount of carbs you eat, you also increase the amount of fat you consume. With the increase of fat and decrease of carbs consumed your body is forced to look for another viable energy source.
This is where you enter ketosis, where your body starts to burn stored fat to produce energy for your body. This happens when the liver breaks down the fatty acids in your blood into Ketones, which are then used as the energy source for your body.
Show your love of the keto diet with this awesome “Keep It Keto” t-shirt.
You can purchase your’s here.
What are Ketones?
Before I explain the 3 types of ketones, I find it important to discuss how your body gets to the point of even making ketones.
After restricting your carbohydrate intake, your body goes through all of its readily available glucose (carbs) and glycogen (stored glucose) it then begins to look for an alternative form of energy.
This alternative form of energy is fat, just as the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, the body can break down fat in a process called beta-oxidation.
During beta-oxidation, the broken down fatty acids are sent to the liver. The process of the liver making ketones from broken down fatty acids is called Ketogenesis. Once ketones are made, they are then sent into the bloodstream to be used as energy.
There are 3 forms of ketones.
The first ketone to be made by the liver is Acetoacetate. If you have ever used the keto urine sticks, then you were checking the level of Acetoacetate.
If you continued to use these ketone sticks after a few weeks of being In ketosis, you may have noticed that they no longer registered you as being in ketosis.
This is not a sign that you are no longer in ketosis, but a sign you have moved to the next step in ketone production.
After a few weeks of following a keto diet, Acetoacetate is then converted into the second type of ketone.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is the second form of ketones and is the main energy source when in a ketosis state.
BHB is the preferred energy source for the brain.
BHB is released in the bloodstream, it is also the ketone being checked when you measure your ketones with a blood ketone meter.
The final ketone is Acetone, which is a bi-product of Acetoacetate being converted into BHB. This ketone is looked at as waste and is excreted from the body through your breath. This ketone is the cause of what is known as Keto breath.
What are Carbohydrates?
There are 2 forms of carbohydrates, simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs (sugar) break down into 3 categories, glucose which is the basic form of sugar, fructose which is the sugar found in fruit, and lactose which is the sugar found in milk.
The other type of carb is complex carbs (starches) which are found in vegetables, grains, rice, bread, and cereals.
The major difference between simple and complex carbs is the amount of time needed to turn them into glucose, with simple carbs being converted to glucose quicker.
Some of you are screaming at your screen “WHAT ABOUT FIBER!”.
Calm down young grasshopper, you are right, fiber is the third kind of carb.
But, Fiber is not digested by the body, so it does not play a big part in explaining what carbs to the body.
Try making your keto mug cake in this awesome “Ketones & Coffee” Keto inspired coffee mug. Purchase it here
Carbohydrates are the number one source of energy for the body.
It is important to understand your body hates to work hard, it wants to properly function with the least amount of effort possible.
It is easier and quicker for the body to turn carbohydrates into energy then it is to the same with protein or fat.
The small intestine breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars (glucose) which then enters your bloodstream.
Once the pancreas detects a rise in blood sugar, it releases a hormone called “insulin”, which allows the glucose in your blood to enter your cells to be used for energy.
So overall the main job of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy.
Why are Carbs bad?
The problem with carbohydrates is that when you consume too much, the rest is stored as fat, which is the cause for weight and many illnesses.
Another problem is that when you consume carbs on a regular basis like most americans, you are always spiking your insulin which can cause wear on your pancreas.
Causing your pancreas to overwork can cause it to no longer be able to produce insulin which can cause diabetes.
If you want to learn more about carbohydrates, check out this article I wrote here.
How to start a Keto diet
Now that you know the basics of the keto diet, you may be wondering exactly how you start it.
It’s very simple, you need to stay away from foods that have a high carbohydrate count and focus on food with high fat and low carbs.
Foods to not eat
Here is a quick overview of the main foods you should stay away from when you want to get into ketosis.
Foods packed full of sugar such as candy, sodas, ice cream, cakes, cookies, and other desserts should be the first things you get rid of. Eating these foods are a no-go on most diets and Keto is the same.
Most fruit is a no-go also.
Fruits such as bananas, grapes, and mangos have an entire day’s worth of carbs on a keto diet in one cup. While you may have believed fruit is healthy, it can raise your blood sugar which will in return raise your insulin.
Natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, and agave should also be avoided as they are still sugar that will work against you getting in ketosis.
All forms of starchy foods should be avoided because they are digested into sugar and will derail you from your weight loss goals.
These starchy foods include potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, legumes, dried beans, cereal, oatmeal, and crackers.
Foods To Eat
I’m sure you are thinking, “Damn, what can In eat then?”.
So, here is a list of foods you can eat while following a keto diet.
Meat is the perfect keto food. You can have beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey. Soy products like tempeh and tofu are allowed also.
Make sure to choose meat without extras such as sauce or breading.
Fish & Seafood
Fish and shellfish are ok while on a keto diet. The best kind of fish to choose is fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
Mild white fish including trout, cod, and halibut are also good choices.
Just like meat, choose fish and seafood without added sugars or breading to keep the carb count low.
Fruit & Berries
I know I just said you can’t have fruit, but there are some you can have in small amounts.
Most berries have a low count of carbs so you have them sparing. Most melons are ok also due to them having a high amount of water.
Not all vegetables are created equally, there are lots of veggies with a high carb count, so here are some that are perfect for the keto diet. Cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, and zucchini are all good to eat on keto.
Also, non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens and salads work great on the keto diet.
Eggs are perfect for the keto diet as they contain 98 percent protein and fat. You can boil them, fry them in butter, or make an omelet packed full of veggies and meat.
Plus, they are inexpensive making them a great addition to any keto meal plan.
Cheese, full-fat cream, and butter can all be part of a keto diet. Stay away from milk, as one glass of milk can have up to 15 grams of carbs, however, you can use it sparingly in coffee.
Check out this Keto Shopping List for a full breakdown of foods you can eat on the keto diet.
Remember the keto diet is a high-fat low carb diet intended to get your body into ketosis.
Ketosis is the process of your body using its stored fat as an energy source instead of carbohydrates.
Keep your carbs low and fat high to achieve this process.
I hope this article answered the question “What is keto?”.
Keto Recipes You Will Love?
If you are interested in learning more about the keto diet then you are in the right place! Check out some of the links before to learn about the ketogenic diet: