Image credit: Photo courtesy of: Sharon McCutcheon
So, let’s quickly attempt to explain what this Keto diet is all about
What it is:
Keto diet is basically a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet whereby the body produces ketones which is the energy that is produced when the liver breaks down fats in the presence of low glucose (sugar) intake.
The cells in our bodies, digestives systems and organs have been accustomed to easily processable food due to the modern ways in which we consume pretty much what we want when we want to.
Image credit: Photo courtesy of Jakub Kapusnak
Your body will always go for the easy option first.
When you eat carbs, as far as this topic is concerned, 2 things happen:
- Glucose enters the bloodstream. The blood sugar level rises
- This triggers the body to produce insulin to convert glucose into energy.
However, this easy conversion of energy over the long term has many drawbacks and has been linked a myriad of complex undesirable health outcomes which include:
P.S. - there is no need to absolutely abolish the carbs from your diet. The issue here is highly processed carbs and general over-consumption of starchy carbs.
Phew! That’s out of the way. What’s next?
When you stop consuming processed carbohydrates, your body will find itself in a new situation. This is like the lazy guy working out for the first time so you could have headaches, and discomfort for a couple of days while your body is turning on the machine. Imagine your body as a very good quality engine that’s been laying around your back yard and rusting away. But now you bring the engine back inside the shed and start oiling it up.
Your body doesn’t like starving so it will in no time readjust and start breaking down fats and proteins to convert them into energy.
The energy derived from this type of reaction has been shown to be cleaner and healthier. It’s almost like moving from diesel to jet fuel (sans the environmental factors of course!).
The new components of your diet 80% fat and 15% protein & 5% low GI (Glycemic Index) carbs such whole grain and vegetables (mostly unpeeled - the skin of certain vegetables contain important fibre that your body needs) carbs.
Don’t get too excited! When we say fat, we mean healthy fat not greasy Burger King burgers (no offence to Burger King. Maybe a little!)
Thinking about losing weight and getting back to shape? For those who also started working out?
Alright now that you are up and running on the Keto fuel for a couple of days and working out at the same time. You will have noticed that your energy levels are actually starting to drop. This is because your organs such as your kidneys and liver need to maintain a basic glycogenic levels in order to function optimally and not be in a state of emergency as this results in the exercise performance impairment. There is a great publication that you should check out from page 120 onwards on this topic but it basically breaks down the carb infused Keto diet into 2 different categories
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
Let’s quickly explain what each of these terms means and try to show their advantages and disadvantages.
TKD - this is when carbs are taken around the exercise only to ensure sufficient levels of glycogen to counter potential exercise performance degradation.
- Carbs should ideally be consumed before the exercise rather than after. For a typical person this should vary between 25-50 grams of carbs 30-60 minutes before the exercise. The type of carb isn’t really important but ideally the carbs taken pre-workout should be high GI carbohydrates in order to prevent potential stomach upsets.
CKD - this is when you alternate between a Keto diet (5-6) days and high carb diet (1-2) days. This method is for people who are more disciplined in their exercise and diets and have a routines in the food and exercise regimes. The basic idea is to deplete muscle glycogen completely before carb-ups.
We hope this post is useful but remember that each body is unique and therefore you should always consult your doctor before significantly changing your diet and regular checkups to have a better understating of your diet and its impact on your body.