The ketogenic diet or keto diet is a lifestyle rather than a diet. People following the keto diet eat foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat, and this has been found to offer many health benefits. Studies have shown that this type of diet can help to lose weight and improve health dramatically.
A ketogenic diet may even be beneficial for people living with diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.
In this article, we provide a detailed description for beginners in South Africa, wanting to try the keto diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is characterised by the act of drastically reduced carbohydrate intake and high fat intake. The principle of this is that the reduction of carbs will result in the body going into a metabolic state called ketosis. This effectively means that the body will burn fat for energy and ketones formed in the liver will provide additional energy for the brain.
The benefits of this state of ketosis are numerous, notably, it greatly reduces blood sugar and insulin levels. The keto diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk for disease. Another benefit is that there is no counting of calories or tracking your food intake, other than avoiding the foods which are high in carbs.
Studies have shown that the keto diet may be beneficial for a wide variety of health conditions. Amongst these are heart disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancerous growths, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
Foods To Avoid
Any foods which have a high carbohydrate content should be avoided. If you do consume any of these, your body will move out of the ketosis state. You should avoid all of the following:
- Sugar and food containing sugar. This includes most fruit (except berries) and fruit juice
- Grains and starches
- Beans and legumes
- Root vegetables
- Low-fat or diet products
- Unhealthy fats
- Pre-prepared and processed foods.
Therefore, your meals will mostly consist of foods such as low carb vegetables which are green vegetables, onions, peppers and cucumbers etc. You will eat plenty of protein such as meat, fish, eggs, butter, cream and cheese. Include a lot of healthy oils found in nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.
Side Effects To Be Aware Of
You may have heard of a condition called the “keto flu”. This term describes the initial side effects which may be experienced as your body adapts to the keto diet. It will be very short-lived, usually lasting only a few days to a week.
Symptoms can include lack of energy, nausea, increased appetite and digestive discomfort. In order to minimise this, you can also progressively eliminate carbs from your meals in the beginning. Remember to drink plenty of water and add Himalayan salt to your diet to ensure that your body retains necessary minerals.
As the ketogenic diet is a lifestyle, it will work best if you are consistent with it over the long term. We do advocate the benefits of the keto diet but also advise that you consult your doctor before beginning any radical change in diet.
Related Tag: Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss