Keto is short for ketosis. A keto diet is based on the principle that carbohydrates taken into the body are converted into sugars which the body uses as fuel to operate. Excess carbohydrates are then converted into fat stores in the body to be used when the body lacks carbohydrates. The body then uses the fat stores as a source of energy. This “burning” of the fat stores is known as “ketosis”, because the body is now using these fat stores as the energy it needs to operate. Ketosis has been proven to reduce fat in the body and – if followed properly – can lead one to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Breaking Down Ketosis
The first thing to know about ketosis is that what you eat breaks down into three main categories of “macronutrients” (macro: “large” and nutrient: “nourishing food”). The three “macros” are protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Protein: Protein is the building block of the body. Your organs, muscles, hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. Many of your hormones are made of protein and your immune system, digestive system and blood all rely on protein to function. Nature’s best protein sources are eggs, meat and fish.
Carbohydrates: When carbs enter your body, they are converted into sugars and rapidly enter your bloodstream to be used as energy. This instant replenishment is the advantage of carbs, but the disadvantage is that the excess will be stored as body fat and it bypasses the body’s use of fat for fuel.
The most commonly consumed carbs in America are wheat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, rice, potatoes, honey, granola/oats, fruit juice and milk.
Fat: There are “healthy” fats and “unhealthy” fats. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference; natural fats are usually good for you and processed fats are usually bad for you. By way of example, avocados are considered to contain healthy fats and French fries contain unhealthy fats.
Calories: A calorie is a unit of heat energy. Food is what fuels your body the same way gasoline fuels a car. Per gram, proteins and carbs have 4 calories, while fats have 9 calories, meaning you get more than twice as much energy from the same portion of food when you eat healthy fats!
To be clear, your body does not need carbs in order to survive; carbs are non-essential to life. On the other hand, you would die without protein and fat.
A History – How We Got Here
Today, we are bombarded with advertisements showing us delicious looking food, cakes, candies and everything in between. A waiter asks if you have room for dessert. Fruit juices are considered healthier than soda. Fast food restaurants are on nearly every corner in every city. It wasn’t always like this.
Long before modern society made it so easy to consume excess carbs and altered fat sources, for many, a low carb diet was a normal way of life. There were very few prepackaged meals, canned sodas and easily accessible snacks. In fact, these types of “quick-eating” habits also known as convenience food came about after World War 2 as a way for factories to repurpose excess canned and packaged food for consumer use.
We live in a land where those at the top profit on you being unhealthy, you have a serious barrier to overcome. It is the high-carb diet that was founded many decades ago to best fatten up pigs and which has been insidiously pushed on the American population with fantastic success. The average obese person spends 10x as much money on medical bills than the average non-obese person. For those prescribing medications to “manage” unhealthy bodies, business is good!
A reversal of this epidemic starts with education and continues forward with changes to our diet, no matter how small, anyone can improve. It’s no secret that fresh, unprocessed food is healthier. The question is, what do I need to know to get started?
Understanding And Using Substitutions
The plan you make to get healthier using a keto diet should be unique. We are not all the same. Some of us have addictions – to sugar, carbs, coffee or even dairy. The most effective transition into a keto lifestyle has proven to be a gradual reduction of carbs until your body begins to adapt to its new source of fuel.
For some, replacing carbs is not nearly as difficult as it may seem. Addictions to sugar can be drastically improved by replacing sugar with a low or zero carb sweetener such as stevia. Stevia is derived from a plant, yet does not contain carbohydrates and thus does not spike your insulin levels. Replacing a Coke with a Zevia can cut down 36g of carbs.
Carbohydrate addiction can be a bit more difficult. For most, bread, grain and other carb-heavy foods can be difficult to avoid. As with any other addiction, a gradual weaning off can be very effective. There are alternative breads that contain very few carbohydrates, but even a reduction of grains from a diet can make a huge difference.
Coffee addiction or rather an addiction to caffeine can contribute to unhealthy eating. It’s not the caffeine that really contributes to an unhealthy diet, but the sugar and/or dairy that is often added to it. Some healthier alternatives to sugar and dairy additives are stevia for sweetness, almond milk instead of milk or cream, and the addition of some MCT oil for added clarity and improved disposition.
Dairy is a controversial subject in and of itself. If your body responds well to dairy, then it may be fine to incorporate dairy or keep it in your diet. For those opposed to dairy morally or because of negative reactions such as an intolerance, it’s good to find an alternative such as almond milk, cashew milk or even raw milk.
Beginning Your Keto Diet Plan
Having too much excess body fat really should be taken seriously, since toxins are stored in fatty tissues. The more fat stores you have in your body, the more likely you are to be ill, and as a result, have a shorter lifespan. Having too much excess fat can also increase the likelihood that you will need medical procedures and medications designed to “manage” or “control” your condition.
Conversely, the fewer body fat stores you have and the more muscle you have, the more likely you are to live longer and function better. The healthier you are, the lower your chances of needing medication or treatments to handle any health conditions that require treatment.
If you would like to get healthier, lose weight and turn your body into a fat-burning machine, getting your body into ketosis is a great way to do it. No one should lie to you and promise that it will be easy. You have to work for it, but the rewards are almost unlimited. It requires a great deal of self discipline but your efforts to create a more optimum lifestyle, where proper nutrition is a way of life, is achievable in a very short period of time. You can begin now and in less than a month, reach a new state of health, naturally, without the use of any drugs.
You should know that the meals that your friend eats to enter ketosis will not necessarily work for you. Again, everyone’s body and experiences are different. Using the keto pyramid and guidelines, you can make great choices that will help you get into and stay in ketosis.
Disclaimer – Before beginning any new diet, please consult a licensed physician that has experience with diet plans.
Once you have an OK to begin, here are my suggestions:
- Study the Keto Pyramid. Select the foods that you like from it and make a list of them.
- Buy and use a BHB Ketone supplement such as Keto Diet. This will help you avoid the “keto flu”, provide energy, mental clarity and help you get into keto faster.
- Transition into a keto diet slowly, gradually reducing the amount of sugar intake and increasing good fats.
- Begin or continue a regular exercise routine. This can vary dramatically depending on age and health, but anything from stretching to a light run to a full-on Cross Fit regimen, stay as active as possible.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Use a hydration supplement such as Keto Electrolyte to maintain optimum hydration – especially while exercising.
- Increase activity gradually and supplement with a support supplement such as Keto Support to sustain your new diet and lifestyle.