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What is Keto?

What is Keto?

Keto is definitely the diet du jour, with a whole host of celebrities singing its praises for weight loss and general health. But what is keto, really, and is it right for you? We break down everything you need to know about the keto diet.

What is Keto?

What is keto?

Originally started in the 1920s as a therapeutic treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic (keto) diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan that focuses on weight loss by burning fat. The idea is that if you reduce the body’s intake of carbohydrates, the body can reach ketosis – a metabolic state where your body burns fat as a fuel instead of glucose.

What can I eat on the keto diet?

Generally speaking, the keto diet involves eating 75-80% good fats, 15-20% protein and only 5% carbs. In fact, a strict keto diet means eating as little as 20 grams of carbs a day. Those following the keto diet tend to eat mostly meat, poultry, oily fish, eggs, healthy fats (such as avocado, coconut oil and olive oil), and non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens. They steer clear of all processed foods, bread, pasta, rice, sugar and most fruits.

What are the benefits of keto?

The keto diet is a very effective way to lose weight quickly. Several studies, including one published in The New England Journal of Medicine, have found that people on low-carb diets lose more weight, faster, than those on low-fat diets. Cutting carbs from your diet also lowers insulin levels, and tends to keep your blood sugar levels stable – providing the brain with stable energy and reducing food cravings caused by dips in blood sugar levels.

What is keto flu?

Many people who follow the keto diet experience “keto flu” in the early stages, which is essentially caused by your body going into carb withdrawal. The “flu” is characterised by symptoms like fatigue, headache, nausea, difficulty sleeping and mood swings. The symptoms vary from person to person, and may be mild or severe, but will generally only last about a week as your body gets used to the new diet.

Does keto have any other side effects?

Other side effects can include increased thirst, constipation and “keto breath”. Switching to a high-fat diet can also raise your cholesterol levels if you consume too much saturated fat, so ensure you visit a doctor to monitor these and ensure you stay in a healthy range. Indeed, it is a good idea to visit your doctor before starting any new diet plan, to find out whether it is suitable for your personal circumstances.  

Read more: Best Diets for weight loss in 2019

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