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Everything About Keto Diet

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Ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that by depleting the body of carbohydrates, which are its primary source of energy, you can force the body to burn fat for fuel, thereby maximizing weight loss.
When you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts those carbohydrates into glucose, or blood sugar, which it then uses for energy.
Because glucose is the simplest form of energy for the body to use, it’s always used for energy before your body turns to stored fat for fuel.
On a ketogenic diet, the goal is to restrict carbohydrate intake so that the body must break down fat for energy. When this occurs, fat is broken down in the liver, producing ketones, which are by-products of your metabolism. These ketones are then used to fuel the body in the absence of glucose.

How to follow the ketogenic diet

There are several 
types of keto, but essentially, to achieve a state of 
ketosis, you have to severely reduce the amount of carbs you eat. (You can use 
a ketogenic calculator to create a custom food plan.)
Data suggest the average American man age 20 or older consumes 46.4 percent of his daily calories from carbs, and the average American woman older than 20 consumes 48.2 percent of her daily calories from carbs.

But in the classic ketogenic diet, which was originally used to manage seizure disorders, 80 to 90 percent of calories come from fat, 5 to 15 percent come from protein, and 5 to 10 percent come from carbohydrates.

The more commonly used version of the ketogenic diet today is a modified version that permits a liberal intake of protein, accounting for 20 to 30 percent of your total calorie intake, along with the same restrictions on carbohydrate consumption. This updated ketogenic diet aims to achieve weight loss, weight management, and enhanced athletic performance.


The ketogenic diet for 
weight loss is based on the idea that driving the body into
 will maximize fat loss.
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that occurs when the body does not have enough 
glucose stores for energy. When these stores are depleted, the body resorts to burning stored fat for energy instead of carbs. This process produces acids called ketones, which build up in the body and can be used for energy.

How do you know if you’re in ketosis

To figure out whether you’re in a state of ketosis, check your urine for ketones. You can purchase ketone strips online or from a retail pharmacy. A strip that tests positive for ketones will indicate you have reached a state of ketosis

There is often a misconception that elevated ketones are linked to a severe diabetic condition called ketoacidosis; however, it is important to distinguish between nutritional ketosis resulting from a ketogenic diet and diabetic ketoacidosis, as these are distinct situations.

Consistency with one’s intake will lead to success. The body needs approximately two to four days of consuming minimal carbohydrates in order to switch to burning fat for energy.

Those who opt for a keto diet must stick to it diligently in order to achieve the desired fat-burning outcomes. However, it is still crucial to ensure that you are properly fueling yourself before, during, and after running. The only distinction lies in the type of fuel being consumed.

Is the keto diet similar to the ‘Whole30’ diet where you do it for a limited period of time? Or is it a diet you can do all the time?

The difficulty with adhering to a keto diet lies in its long-term maintenance, without indulging in “cheat” days that involve consuming more carbs than allowed. It is crucial to allow ample time for the body to fully adapt to utilizing fat stores for energy during physical exertion.

It can take runners several months to effectively begin burning fat as fuel through this process. Maintaining a consistent and disciplined approach to food intake can prove challenging for individuals. Adhering to this diet constantly is necessary.

Will the keto diet impact running

In order to utilize fat as fuel, runners must adhere to a consistent diet, as the body relies on this routine to access stored fat reserves.

Nevertheless, numerous individuals may not diligently follow the keto diet, consequently preventing their body from effectively utilizing fat for energy. Individuals engaging in higher intensity and shorter duration activities should prioritize carbohydrates as their primary fuel source. To enhance performance, it is recommended to incorporate a moderate amount of carbohydrates into one’s daily dietary intake.

Potential health benefits and risks of the keto diet

Risk: You may suffer fatigue and other symptoms as a result of the keto flu

One of the most common side effects of starting the ketogenic diet is “
keto flu.” This term describes the often unpleasant, fatigue-inducing symptoms that occur as the body adjusts from a high-carbohydrate to a 
low-carbohydrate diet. During
keto flu, the body’s stored glucose begins depleting, and the body starts adapting to producing and utilizing ketones as energy.
Symptoms of the keto flu include headache, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, heart palpitations, cramps, and diarrhea. These side effects usually diminish and resolve in about two weeks.

But to lessen the effects of any discomfort, simply consider slowly transitioning onto a ketogenic diet rather than rushing to change your eating habits. By gradually lowering your carbohydrate intake and gradually increasing your intake of dietary fat, you can transition with less negative impact and potentially prevent the keto flu altogether.

Benefit: You may see improvements in your athletic performance 

For athletes, research on the keto diet highlights potential improvements in athletic performance, especially when it comes to endurance activities.
An article in the
British Journal of Sports Medicine
 found that ketogenic-type diets allowed endurance athletes to rely mostly on stored fat for energy rather than having to refuel with 
simple carbohydrates during endurance training and competition, and saw improved recovery times.

That said, a review published in October 2020 in
Sports concluded that while the keto diet may help athletes reduce their weight and body fat, there is no conclusive evidence that the method of eating improves or harms health and performance.

Risk: You may experience constipation if you don’t eat enough fruits and veggies

The removal of many grains and fruits with such a large emphasis on fats can bring about its own set of 
gastrointestinal side effects. 
Keto constipation and diarrhea aren’t uncommon.
“If not done properly — with most of your carbohydrates coming from fiber-rich vegetables — you may not be getting enough fiber, which can lead to 
constipation,” says 
Chris Mohr, RD, PhD, a sports dietitian based in Louisville, Kentucky, and the co-owner of

Benefit: You could lose weight fast — but not necessarily more than you’d lose on other diets

If you’re looking to lose weight, one benefit the ketogenic diet may offer is appetite suppression. A review of this form of eating suggests it may help decrease appetite, but how this actually happens needs to be studied further.

Very low calorie ketogenic diets may help people who are overweight or have obesity reduce their
BMI, decrease the circumference of their waist, and lower levels of
A1C, total cholesterol,
triglycerides, and blood pressure, notes a review and meta-analysis published in March 2020 in
Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders.

However, in regards to weight loss, which is a major attraction of the ketogenic diet for many individuals, the advantages may not vary significantly compared to other diet plans.

Spano explains that the ketogenic diet does not possess any mystical capabilities for weight loss. Similar to other diets, it may aid in weight loss by limiting food options and subsequently reducing calorie intake.

Mohr agrees. “Cutting so many carbohydrates is a big reduction in calories,” he says, adding that this effect will lead to a loss of 
water weight up front, “which is why people like the immediate response of weight loss that comes from this type of diet.”
That said, the calorie reduction isn’t always the case, as it can be easy to consume more calories overall if you’re eating more calorie-dense foods (namely fat). One small study published in February 2021 in
Nature Medicine found that people ate almost 700 fewer calories per day on a plant-based low-fat diet compared with a low-carb one consisting of mostly animal fats.

Risk: You could develop dangerous nutrient deficiencies

Marie Spano, a sports performance nutritionist in Atlanta, warns that following ketogenic diets, which often lack calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and folic acid, can lead to nutrient deficiencies if not meticulously planned.

Benefit: You may see better blood glucose control if you have type 2 diabetes

For individuals with diabetes, adapting a very low carbohydrate diet, such as the ketogenic diet, may offer some benefits when it comes to glucose management. For instance, a previous review found that dietary restriction of carbohydrates may reduce or eliminate the need for medication in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

What to eat on the standard ketogenic diet

Starting the ketogenic diet does not require any payment or membership fees as it is not a commercial meal plan. However, it is possible that transitioning to this eating approach might result in higher expenses for groceries, depending on your current eating habits.

Given the emphasis on high-fat and protein-rich foods, opting for a larger quantity of whole, unprocessed foods might come across as costly, considering that numerous processed foods do not align with the ketogenic diet’s guidelines.

Reducing your expenses can be achieved by purchasing in-season fresh produce and frozen vegetables, which are equally nutritious compared to fresh ones. While nuts, seeds, and animal protein like beef may contribute to your grocery expenses, buying in bulk can also be a cost-saving strategy for these items.

The ketogenic diet relies heavily on dietary fat. Because high levels of animal fat in the diet have been associated with 
increased levels of cholesterol, aiming to include a good variety of plant-based fats can be helpful. Plant-based oils such as olive oil and 
avocado oil provide healthy fat for cooking and 

Including foods that are high in fat such as avocado, nuts, and seeds can be a beneficial choice as they offer unsaturated fats and fiber. While most fruits are not allowed on this diet, there are some exceptions such as avocado. However, non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens should be a regular part of your eating plan.

On this diet, lean proteins like fish, poultry, and grass-fed beef can be incorporated as a protein source.

A list of acceptable foods for the standard ketogenic diet

  • Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and rhubarb
  • Dairy, including eggs and cheese
  • Protein like beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, and soybeans
  • Nuts and seeds, including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, coconut (in moderation)
  • Fats like plant-based oils and butter
  • Fruits like avocado, berries (in moderation), and tomatoes

Foods you should avoid or limit on the ketogenic diet 

  • Processed foods like crackers, corn chips, and potato chips
  • Sweets, including candy, cookies, brownies, and cake
  • Grains of all kinds, including bread, pasta, rice, and quinoa
  • High-carb fruits like melons and tropical fruits
  • Artificial sweeteners such as Equal and Splenda

Are there any side effects with the keto diet?

Following low-carb diets may lead to a decrease in certain indicators of protein synthesis, which can potentially diminish high-energy performance. Consequently, individuals may experience a decline in energy levels, hindering their ability to give their all during training sessions or during a race.

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