Ketogenic diet has recently edged into the dieter’s spotlight as an effective and guaranteed way to facilitate weight loss. It basically works by removing nearly all carbohydrates and proteins from one’s diet for a certain period.
The main idea behind the ketogenic diet program is to minimize carbohydrate and protein intake and maximize fat intake. This diet helps you limit your carbohydrate intake and diminish cravings for foods rich in carbohydrates, like, pasta, bread, potato, sugar, etc., which automatically reduces the calorie intake. The diet rich in fats, and low in carbohydrate and protein results in ketosis, which is an abnormal increase of ketone bodies in the blood.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A diet containing less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, is considered to be a ketogenic diet. The main objective of ketosis diet is to exhaust the liver of its glycogen stores as early as possible, so that fat burning occurs. Glycogen is the polymeric form of glucose, which we get from the carbohydrates in our diet, and is primarily stored in the liver and the skeletal muscles. When there’s an inadequate carbohydrate intake, the glycogen gets depleted in the liver, and the body starts using other fuels, like, free fatty acids (FFAs) as the source of energy.
However, some organs in the body, like, brain or central nervous system cannot use FFAs and so, the body increases the production of ketone bodies through the process of ketosis, and metabolizes these bodies as an energy source. Therefore, while on this diet, ketosis lowers the insulin production in the body, which in turn, increases the glucagon production by the pancreas. As a result, the body’s fat burning ability increases, and the fat storage is brought to an abrupt halt, hence the body actually goes into a dramatic fat burning mode.
Sample Diet Plan
- Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, ham, and flourless crepes
- Lunch/Dinner: Tuna salad, cheeseburgers, shrimp, chicken, chili, tacos, and grilled steak
- Snacks: Split pea soup, coleslaw, pecans, chicken salad, and cheese sticks
- Desserts: Cheesecake, peanut-butter cookies, and strawberry-banana trifle
The aforementioned diet plan is quite flexible and provides 4:1 ratio of fat to protein and carbohydrates. Use of alternative sweeteners over sugar, and coconut oil and flax oil is also recommended to increase the level of ketones in the body. However, for those, who crave for foods rich in carbohydrates, and find it difficult to continue the above diet, they can try cyclic ketogenic diet, in which, the carbohydrates restriction lasts for about 5-6 days, and the dieter can include complex carbohydrates in their diet by limiting dietary fats like sucrose and fructose. This will not only make rest of the diet easier to bear, but will also refill depleted glycogen stores, and up-regulate the hormones and thyroid activity, which is suppressed while dieting.
Following this diet for losing weight, is not as simple as it looks, and requires structure, planning, and dedication. The dieter has to realize that even a minimal amount of carbohydrates will shift the body right out of the ketosis/fat burning mode. Therefore, if done properly, the ketogenic diet fat loss can do absolute wonders for those, who want to lose weight and stay healthy.