Ketogenic diet plans have been gaining popularity in recent years as more and more people discover their effectiveness. In fact, not only are these diets helping people lose weight, they are being used to treat everything from epilepsy to diabetes with success.
Ketogenic diets are diet plans designed to induce a metabolic process in the body known as ketosis. Normally, the body uses glucose (a type of sugar) as its source of fuel. The glucose is obtained from carbohydrates in your diet.
However, when carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced, your body is forced to adapt and run on another source of fuel. This is where the ketogenic (also known simply as “keto”) diet really shines. When deprived of glucose in the form of carbohydrates, the human body begins to run off of its stores of fat, triggering effective and sometimes dramatic weight loss.
The human body is a remarkable machine, designed over millennia to handle periods of both feast and famine. When food is plentiful, it runs off of carbohydrates and stores excess calories as fat. When food becomes scarce, the body begins to run off its stored energy, burning the fat that it had stored away. Unfortunately, modern diets are all feast and no famine, so the body never switches out of its storage mode. Any calories in excess of what is needed for basic body functions is stored away for future use, but rarely actually utilized.
Another reason that ketogenic diet plans have dramatically risen in popularity is how easy they are to stick to. There is very little restriction to protein and fat allowed, which are the types of foods that trigger the brain’s sense of satiety. In fact, studies have shown that because foods high in protein and fat are more satisfying, the result is reduced consumption and therefore reduced calories, even if the person isn’t otherwise aware of how much they are eating. This feeling of fullness also lasts longer, as the body is not as quick at breaking down protein and fat as it is at breaking down carbohydrates. When you are satisfied with less food and eating less often, the effect is nearly effortless weight loss.
Many people are surprised to learn that a diet that is high in fat can work, and worry about things like heart disease and cholesterol. This is because of a fundamental misunderstanding. Fat in food is not the same as the fat stored in the body. In fact, many people who follow a ketogenic diet find that their cholesterol levels go down, not up while on the diet.
While ketogenic diets may seem like the answer to everyone’s battle with weight, they are not without their drawbacks. Care must be taken that you get enough nutrition, as cutting out carbohydrates also often results in lower amounts of nutritious vegetables being consumed. This is why it is important to always consult your doctor and let him or her know that you are starting this diet. They will be able to monitor you and ensure that you are healthy during the entire process.