What is Keto?
The Ketogenic diet is one in which carbohydrate intake is kept at a minimum. Keeping carbohydrate low thereby keeps insulin levels low or at least steady. This encourages our body to produce ketones, hence the name, to be used as an alternate fuel source.
The drastic rise and fall of insulin levels in response to dietary carbohydrate is what is believed to be at the root of many inflammatory processes.
Ketosis or “Keto” is a normal metabolic process. In fact, as babies we are born in a state of ketosis. And it would seem that we were meant to eat this way since breast milk is made up mostly of fat.
When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it begins to burn fat instead. The liver breaks down the fat and makes ketone bodies (ketones).
A well formulated ketogenic diet is a nutrient dense diet in which you eat whole foods within a range of macronutrients to induce a state of ketosis. Once you are fat adapted, you will be burning fat for fuel. Whether you are burning your fat stores or ingesting healthy fats, fat will be your primary fuel source.
Carbohydrates will need to be kept at a maximum of 20 total grams per day. This is the most effective and important factor in getting into ketosis.
Protein is the next most important factor. It is needed to build and repair our lean body mass and tissues so it is essential that we meet a daily goal of protein. It is crucial in maintaining lean mass especially as we age. Individual protein macros are determined by your total weight and body fat percentage.
Fat is what is used as energy in a ketogenic diet. Contrary to a lot of ideas floating around the internet, a ketogenic diet is not a high fat diet. Rather it is a low carb diet that uses fat to reach satiety. The more dietary fat you consume, the less body fat you will burn. Conversely, the less dietary fat you consume, the more body fat you will burn.