What is the Ketogenic Diet?

ketogenic diet

You’re Considering the Ketogenic Diet?

Congratulations! You’ll quickly realize that there are a wide variety of reasons why this approach yields massive results when it comes to everything from weight loss to disease prevention.

Right now there is a major trend towards low carb diets with everything from people on the Atkin’s Diet to going Paleo. Part of the reason that low carb diets are so effective for losing weight and overall health is that they force the body to turn to fat cells as an energy source.

As you likely know, the ketogenic diet is indeed low carb. But there is something special about this diet; it permanently keeps you in ketosis, and that is part of why it produces such amazing results. In contrast, plans like the Atkins Diet suggest that you add carbs back into your diet bit by bit. But they fail to offer dieters the wide ranging health benefits as the ketogenic diet.

At first, figuring out how to change your diet so you keep in ketosis may seem tricky. However, the fact of the matter is that once you start eating this way, you will likely not even miss the carbs!

Understanding Ketosis (not to be confused with ketoacidosis!)

We’re sure you’ve already figured out from the name that the ketogenic diet stems from the word ketosis. But what does this term mean? Ketosis occurs when the body lacks glucose for energy and, as a result, it begins burning fat. As a result, it has to switch to ketones (or the molecules generated towards metabolism of fat) for energy.

The diet produces high levels of ketone bodies in the blood. This factor is due to the lack of carbohydrates combined with high levels of fat. When fat is the main source of calories in a diet, ketones are formed.

Much of the focus of the diet centers around how fat is converted in the liver into fatty acids. This diet also serves to lower glucose while improving insulin resistance. It will come as no surprise that this effective healthy diet has quickly gained the attention of diabetics.

The good news is that ketogenic diets are widely considered to be very safe. Some people may experience some initial minor symptoms like fatigue and weakness when the body is beginning to use ketones instead of glucose as fuel. However, the body quickly adapts and learns to effectively rely upon ketones.

What Can You Expect to Eat on the Ketogenic Diet?

When you switch to the ketogenic diet, you will want to make certain that you eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day. Of course, this exact number depends on the person. For example, if you are highly active, you may be able to eat slightly more carbs and remain in ketosis.

This means that you will likely find yourself eating lots of protein and fat. Usually dieters will eat about 60%-80% of their calories from fat. The great news is that there are lots of yummy foods to eat!

Excellent fats to consume are coconut oil and MCT Oil as well as butter, cheese and avocado. Some examples of meals on this low carb diet include things like salad with avocado and chicken, scrambled eggs with veggies, stir fries with chicken or steak. Good snacks include nuts and full-fat shakes made with coconut or almond milk.

A Little History

You may have just recently heard about the ketogenic diet, but did you know it actually has been in existence since 1924? Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic created the program, which initially proved to be a highly effective way of treating epilepsy particularly in children. Despite the diet’s remarkable level of success, it was partially forgotten as anti-seizure medications came on the scene during the 1940s.

The Ketogenic Diet’s Rise to Popularity

Later in the 1960s, the discovery of MCTs (or medium-chain triglycerides) was found to produce more ketone bodies than what was found in normal fats. The introduction of MCTs made the diet easier for children to tolerate. As a result, the ketogenic diet became even more of a widespread approach for treating epilepsy.

A major breakthrough in the modern use of the ketogenic diet took pace in 1994 when the NBC television program Dateline featured the case of Charlie Abrahams who is the son of Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams.

Charlie was having severe epilepsy and he saw tremendous progress after being treated with the ketogenic diet at John Hopkins Hospital. The story was even made into a movie, First Do No Harm, starring Meryl Streep.

Since the 1920s, the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in treating epilepsy has been well documented. Rather impressively, children on the ketogenic diet see a drop in seizure rates by 50%. One-third of patients experience a 90% reduction in seizure rates.

A Potential Treatment for A Range of Diseases

Today, the ketogenic diet is now available around the world and is being studied for the treatment of conditions that go far beyond epilepsy. One particularly interesting avenue of research involves the use of the ketogenic diet as a way of fighting cancer.

Cancer cells, like all cells, are fueled by glucose; however, when glucose isn’t available, cells must instead use ketone bodies. Cancer cells can only survive on glucose. You can quickly see why this diet can be such a useful approach for preventing and fighting cancer.

As though fighting epilepsy and cancer isn’t already enough, there are yet more medical conditions that have been shown to improve due to the ketogenic diet. These conditions include polycystic ovarian syndrome, acne, cancer, diabetes, depression, Parkinson’s disease and even heart condition. This list is impressive to say the least and speaks to exactly how healthy this diet is and why so many people are excited about it.

There are also many different types of ketogenic diets, ranging from what is considered the “traditional” approach to the MCT oil, modified Atkins diet to the low glycemic index diet. They each have their benefits. If you have a serious medical condition, please consult your doctor to help you decide which version of the diet is optimal for you.

With a list of benefits as we’ve described above, it’s hard not to be excited about the ketogenic diet. But the trick to staying on the diet is keeping meals delicious and never boring. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing the most versatile and tasty recipes around. You’ll be amazed at the variety of these delicious meals. Click to get started with some easy Ketogenic recipes.

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