It’s a high-fat, low-carbohydrate and moderate protein diet that eventually sees your body convert into a state of dietary ketosis.
In the absence of carbohydrates for energy (carbs are the easiest and quickest source in the body), the liver converts fat into ketones, which are then subsequently burnt for energy instead.
Being in a state of ‘dietary ketosis’ means you are burning ketones (or fat) as your body’s primary source of energy to fuel your activities and even your brain function.
Yes, it is, and it has been around since the beginning of man.
However, you may need to make special adaptations or pre-plan in the following situations:
- If you are you on medication for diabetes, insulin for example.
- If you are you on medication for high blood pressure.
- If you are you breastfeeding.
- If none of the above apply to you, then you should be absolutely fine.
There are three ways to measure your ketone levels: urine strips, breath analyzers and blood metres
It’s time to welcome back some of those old favourites that you were once told were bad for you. Science has shown this information was never correct. Eat real, low-carb foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and natural fats, like olive oil or real butter. A simple rule for beginners is to eat foods with fewer than 5% carbs.
This is a common misunderstanding and it’s based on the belief that too much protein can be harmful to the kidneys.
However, the reality is, a keto diet is high in fat, not protein and people with normal kidney function handle excessive protein perfectly well.
In fact, some studies have shown that a keto diet may even be protective of your kidneys, for those with diabetes in particular.
Water is by far and away the best zero carb choice. Coffee and tea, without the sugar, are also great refreshments and the occasional glass of wine is fine too. Dry white wine contains the least amount of carbs
At what point the body enters ketosis can vary from person-to-person but it is sensible to stay below 20 grams of net carbs (total carbs, minus the indigestible fibre, equals net carbs) per-day.
Those who are not insulin resistant – lean people, young people who exercise regularly – can sometimes tolerate more carbs, perhaps 50 grams or more per-day.
There is strong data to suggest that the overall cholesterol profile tends to improve on a keto diet as it lowers triglycerides and raises the so-called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
In some cases (still a minority), people can experience a high total cholesterol. Whether this is dangerous or safe is a hotly-debated subject and there are currently no quality studies to determine the answer.
However, should your cholesterol get very high – over 400 – you may want to take steps to reduce it just to be safe.
This is an area that confuses many people because fruits are generally considered to be healthy. They are however, very high in carbs and sugar, unlike non-starchy vegetables.
As a result, when aiming to achieve a state of dietary ketosis, most fruits should be avoided.
If you do want to consume fruits in your diet, certain berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries – are the best choices and provide 5-6 grams of carb per 100 grams (31⁄2 ounces).
Generally, above 0.5 mmol/l.
If you are not in ketosis, the two most common reasons for this are consuming too many carbs, or too much protein.
For the most accurate results you should always measure your ketone levels at the same time every day and under the same conditions.
Many people chose to measure in the morning before eating because it makes it easier to compare the results from day-to-day, however, morning numbers are usually among thelowest of the day, while evening numbers are higher.
There is nothing to suggest that the keto diet is harmful during pregnancy, with many world renowned doctors using it for pregnant patients successfully. It is also believed to be very helpful for pregnant women suffering with gestational diabetes.
With no scientific studies currently published on the issue however, there remains no definitive answer. As a result, it’s possibly wise to exercise caution and aim for a more moderate low-carb diet during pregnancy, unless of course there are key benefits to your health for following the keto approach.