What is a Keto diet anyway? This diet is used primarily for weight loss, but it also has other important health benefits. Whether you simply want to lose a few pounds or a lot of weight or just want to reap some of the health benefits of trying Keto, here are some details of this diet.
What is a Keto Diet?
You may be surprised to learn that the Keto diet was first formulated way back in 1921 for therapeutic use. It was later tweaked into a weight loss diet and popularized by Dr. Atkins in the early 70s. Since that time, the Atkins diet has undergone many changes. The Keto diet, on the other hand, has become well-known in recent times, thanks to endorsements by various celebrities and social media.
What is a Keto diet exactly? It is a diet that focuses mainly on fats, moderate proteins and very low carbohydrates. The lack of carbohydrates forces the body to turn to fat stores and so it burns fat instead of carbs or glycogen for fuel. And this is what leads to weight loss.
To give you a more detailed guidance when you wonder what a Keto diet is, this diet comprises:
- 55-60% fats
- 30-35% proteins
- 5-10% carbohydrates
Since most food groups, whether dairy, meats or vegetables, already contain some amount of carbohydrates, this means that you simply cannot have foods that are rich in carbohydrates. This would include your potatoes (and tubers of all kinds), grains, cereals, sugars, sweets, legumes, and beans. So, your breakfast cereal, your smoothies, your pizza and burgers and your fruit salad or desserts would be complete no-nos.
What are the Health Benefits of the Keto Diet?
All diets that are restrictive in nature will result in weight loss. Because the Keto diet does not count calories (or restrict them) and puts your body in a state of ketosis, it also has some other health benefits.
What are the Keto diet health benefits? Going on a high fat, low carb diet helps with:
- Seizure disorders – the Keto diet was originally formulated to aid with epilepsy and related seizure disorders and it was successful in this. It enables those suffering from seizure disorders to either reduce their medicines or helps when medicines do not adequately control the seizures.
- Type 2 diabetes – the Keto diet improves blood sugar control, again enabling people to reduce their medications. It also boosts insulin sensitivity and helps in case you have pre-diabetes.
- Blood pressure – this low carb diet can reduces blood pressure spikes.
- Cholesterol – despite being a high fat diet, it actually improves HDL levels.
- Heart disease - since high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes are all factors in heart disease, when your markers for these improve, your risk of heart disease also reduces.
- Cancer – most cancers require sugar in the body to proliferate. When your body does not get this sugar, it is likely that the cancer cells will not be able to grow.
- Nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – ketones made by the body when it reaches ketosis on the Keto diet offer protection against brain cell damage.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – when insulin levels reduce thanks to low sugar availability, this may help with managing PCOS.
Many people on the Keto diet have also reported feeling healthier and more energetic, with improved mental focus, greater physical endurance, reduced acne breakouts and more. Just remember that the best Keto diet is the one that will work for you and that you can follow.
What are the Keto Diet Foods?
Foods that you can eat freely on the Keto diet include:-
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables
- Oil and fats (including butter and ghee)
- Some fruits like berries and avocados
- Coffee and tea
- Sugar free dark chocolate and cocoa powder
When you have to reduce your carbohydrate intake drastically, you still need to feel satiated and full. One of the ways to do this is to have a bowl of hot soup. Soups are also a great way to include more vegetables in your diet. You can have your soup smooth and creamy, chunky or even with cut vegetables and meat. Eating such a soup can enable you to savor different textures and tastes. A Keto soup recipe for you to try:
Healthy Keto Chicken Soup Recipe:
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 500 ml chicken broth or stock
- 1 tsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 200 gm. Cooked shredded chicken
- 100 gm. Cheese
- 2 tbsp. cream
- Salt and pepper
In a soup pot, melt butter and add garlic and celery. Sauté over medium heat, then add chicken broth. Put in the parsley and thyme and simmer for 10-15 minutes to blend flavors.
Add chicken and, when it has heated through, add cheese and cream. Stir through till cheese has melted and season with salt and pepper before serving.
Makes 4 servings
If you miss the crunch of croutons in your soup, sauté or fry some nuts like almonds and sprinkle on top of the soup.
Now that you know what is a Keto diet you can make an informed choice. As you can see, you can still have delicious foods and enjoy many health benefits.