How Does Keto Work

The Keto diet has become very popular in recent years. The success that this diet has provided people with has launched the Keto diet into the spotlight. But what is the Keto diet and how exactly does it work? Read on to discover how this diet works and the amazing changes that it can bring to your life!

What is Keto?

Keto is short for “Ketogenic”. It’s a diet that consists of very low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. On this diet, you try to consume under 50 net carbs a day, preferably under 20 net carbs if this is possible. Net carbs are the carbohydrates that your body absorbs. 

If you’re trying to figure out how many net carbs are in your food you just subtract the fiber from the carb count for whole foods such as vegetables, and if you’re looking at packaged food you should the fiber from the carbs listed on the packaging.

Some people on the keto diet get hung up on the count of carbs and miss the fact that the food they’re eating has no nutritional density to it. In order to avoid this trap, steer clear of packaged and processed foods and try to consume a mixture of above-ground veggies, meat, nuts, healthy fats and eggs. If you’re looking to stick to a disciplined Keto plan then you should avoid sugar, processed foods, alcohol, starchy foods like potatoes and of course, bread and grains.

How does Keto work?

In simplest terms, Keto works by making it easier for your body to burn fat for fuel. When you restrict your carbohydrate intake you put your body into a state known as “ketosis”. This metabolic state changes the way your body burns calories. 

Your body has two choices when it comes to where it gets its fuel from. The first choice, and the one that it chooses first, is through glucose. Glucose is the amount of sugar in your blood and it comes from consuming carbohydrate-rich foods.

Your brain loves glucose; however, there are problems that occur from eating a high carb diet. Because the carbs you’re eating are high in sugar, your blood sugar spikes soon after eating and then you crash after the glucose has been burned off. Carbohydrates offer your body a very quick form of energy, but when they’re gone you feel tired, you get headaches and your brain enters a foggy state. You also feel hungry more frequently which can be a difficult thing to cope with if you’re trying to lose weight.

How Ketones are different from Glucose

The Keto diet, on the other hand, utilizes the other type of energy that your body is capable of using. When you eat a low carb diet your body’s insulin levels drop and you enter the metabolic state of ketosis. 

Remember how I said that glucose is a very fast form of energy for your body? Well, it’s depleted almost as quickly as it’s introduced to the body. Without a steady source of carbohydrates that are producing glucose for your body, you force it into looking for energy from another source.

Ketosis causes your body to switch from glucose as it’s energy source to an energy source known as ketones. Ketones are basically energy from your fat cells. Our bodies have a very large supply of fat and although it can’t be used directly it is a great form of energy once your body starts producing the ketones it needs to utilize the stored fat as energy. Our liver is responsible for producing the ketones and it’s triggered to start production by the lack of glucose and your brain sending signals down asking for another source of food.

What are the benefits of Ketosis?

Because fat is stored in the body and it’s a long-burning fuel when you switch to the Keto diet you’re basically allowing your body to have access to fuel 24/7. Your brain loves this! It’s a very demanding organ that requires a lot of fuel to function. Instead of having to constantly feed your brain glucose in the form of carbs you’re giving your brain constant access to energy without you having to eat frequently. 

The best part is that the fuel your body is using comes from your fat. If you have any weight that you want to lose then the Keto diet is the perfect recipe for your weight loss. You’re feeding your brain quality fuel, you don’t have to eat all of the time because you’re not hungry and your body is burning fat 24/7. What could be more perfect than that?

The easiest way to achieve this state of Ketosis and start your body producing Ketones is obviously to fast and not consume any food for a period of time. You need to eat at some point, and nobody can fast forever so a healthier way of achieving Ketosis is through the low consumption of carbohydrates on the Keto diet.

What does Keto do for your body?

Keto is great for your body for a variety of reasons. When you switch to Keto you should also be cutting out the processed food and cleaning up your diet. A lot of carbs come from processed foods and the preservatives and sugars that are found in these foods aren’t healthy for you. Cutting out carbs is a great way to naturally lower your processed food consumption.

Weight Loss

When your body switches to burning fat as fuel you’re going to lose weight. This will happen naturally for several reasons. First of all, you’re not eating all of the time. Your body is no longer hungry all of the time by burning through glucose as it’s fleeting energy source. Having to eat less often means that you’re going to consume fewer calories overall. A calorie deficit is the only real way to lose weight. 

Only eating when you’re hungry means that you’re going to establish a greater connection with your body. You’ll start to pay attention to the signs that your body needs fuel, and you’ll notice that you stop snacking when you’re not hungry. This can help curb emotional eating and it can also help you fight sugar addictions.

Switching to Ketones as fuel helps your body burn fat. Insulin, on the other hand, is known to be a barrier to fat loss. When you’re body is burning insulin as its fuel the insulin sends out a message saying that any fat in the body needs to be stored instead of burned. 

The body has a legitimate reason for doing this as our ancestors needed to store fat for lean times when they didn’t have enough food. This is why insulin tells your body that “we’re all okay here, there’s plenty of food to go around but better hang onto that fat just in case”.

Now obviously we don’t need this defense mechanism as much as we did hundreds of years ago, but our bodies don’t know this. They’re just looking out for our best interests so it’s in our best interest to override this survival response by switching to a Keto diet. We’re living on the outside and we know that there’s enough food to go around so there’s no need to hoard the fat for a rainy day!

Increased Energy and Focus

Not having the sugar high and lows that come from your body burning through glucose means that you’re not going to have momentary bursts of energy followed by a bone-weary brain fog that leaves you feeling sluggish and dumb. 

Instead, you’re going to feel a constant supply of energy. This will help you in so many ways! You’ll find that with your increased energy you’ll be able to do those workouts that you once thought were impossible. This will help you with your weight loss efforts as well.

You’ll also notice that you’re able to focus better at work or school and your mind will feel much clearer. You also might find that you have greater endurance for physical exercise. Your body is no longer burning through its glucose stores in just a few hours. Instead, it’s getting its fuel straight from the fat in your body which means that the energy is always there. So if you have a marathon that you want to run for 4 hours, you can now do it without feeling your energy flag in the middle of the race.

Other Benefits of Keto

Eating less often can help with your wallet. If you’re not running out to the store to by snacks at your break times you’re going to save a lot of money. The Keto diet is also effective at treating and preventing several illnesses. 

Since you’re decreasing the amount of insulin in your bloodstream it makes sense that this would benefit people suffering from insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Always consult a doctor before switching to any new diet especially if you have diabetes! They’re the ones who can best tell you if this switch will work for you. That being said, now that you know how it works it might be worth a conversation with your doctor to see if it will benefit you.

Conclusion

The Keto diet essentially works by changing where our body sources it’s fuel from glucose to ketones. This switch is healthy for us for a variety of reasons. If you’re looking to lose weight, gain more energy or fight off brain fog then you should definitely give the Keto diet a try!

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