Most people, especially in developed countries, eat far more carbohydrates than they should. Carbohydrates are a fuel source the body can use, but eating too many carbohydrates in the diet usually results in the excess being converted to body fat. The keto diet is good for people who are trying to lose weight and it is also great for diabetics.
For carbohydrates to be used as an energy source, they are first broken down into blood sugar. This is the part that is bad for diabetics since they have difficulty metabolizing blood sugar because the body isn’t producing enough insulin.
The idea behind a keto diet is based on what happens when a person eats a very small amount of carbohydrates in their diet. When this happens, the body is forced to use a different energy source. It begins to convert fat, including body fat, into ketones. Ketones furnish an alternate energy supply and the result is a drop in blood sugar or glucose and loss of weight.
The keto diet is named for the ketones.
The key to a keto diet is to eat very few carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein, and plenty of fats.
Believe it or not, this is actually biblical. In the bible people often fasted. In other words, they ate nothing, though they consumed fluids. When this happens, the body isn’t getting any carbohydrates and it doesn’t take long before it enters into a state called ketosis.
During ketosis, the entire body switches from a glucose energy supply to a ketone supply and since nothing is being consumed, the fat that is used to produce the ketones is body fat.
Naturally, the keto diet isn’t a diet of fasting, although it could include fasting. Fasting is merely the quickest way to get the body to change over from glucose to ketones for energy.
If a person is being treated for diabetes with medications or insulin injections, they should coordinate with their doctor when going on a keto diet. Since far less insulin is needed, the dosages may need to be substantially decreased.
If a person is on medication for high blood pressure, they should also talk to their doctor before starting a keto diet. The keto diet may lower the blood pressure naturally so the medication could actually result in low blood pressure.
With a keto diet, the goal is to lower the carb intake as much as possible. That doesn’t mean ‘no carbohydrates’, but it does mean between 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day. The fewer carbs that are consumed, the better. Because of this, there is a wide range of foods that can be eaten and some that shouldn’t be.
It is easiest to focus on what foods to avoid. That includes potatoes, rice, bread, candy, pastries, soda pop, beer, booze, and large amounts of fruit. In other words, foods that contain a lot of sugars or starches should be avoided. If you particularly like these foods, just make a concerted effort not to eat as much. Of those just mentioned, soda pop is one of the worst in regard to sugar content. Even diet soda is very bad.
Also, a small amount of berries is okay to eat, especially if they are topped with real whipped cream. That is yummy, too.
So what are really good things to eat? A lot of things, surprisingly. This includes meat, fish, seafood, olive oil, canola oil, butter, eggs, cheese, milk, cottage cheese, above the ground vegetables, and even sugar-free ice cream. In regard to the vegetables, leafy vegetables (chard, spinach, etc), cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage are especially good. Water, coffee, and tea are great for a keto diet. You can even drink a glass of red wine once in a while.
The key to all of these, of course, is moderation. Although most people don’t get enough protein in their diets, there is such a thing as having too much. If too much protein is consumed, the excess is also converted into glucose. That means that you shouldn’t overdo it with the meat and fish. Both are extremely low in carbohydrates, usually containing none, but are high in protein. Don’t use the keto diet as an excuse to eat two steaks instead of one, just eat normal amounts of meat and fish.
Broth is good to drink as well, as long as you aren’t being treated for high blood pressure.
One way to put it is that a keto diet is a very low carbohydrate, low protein diet that has proven to greatly benefit people who are overweight, obese, have high blood pressure or are diabetic or pre-diabetic. In fact, there are some indications that a keto diet may even reverse diabetes over time.
Naturally, if you don’t need to lose weight, don’t have blood pressure problems, and don’t have any risk for diabetes, this might not be the diet for you.