The Science Behind Ketogenics A Low Carb High Fat Diet
The Science Behind Ketogenics A Low Carb High Fat Diet
Consciously choosing what you eat is the cornerstone of feeling great and having a healthy body. Although that may seem to be an easy concept, we are continually bombarded with conflicting information regarding what and how much to eat. How do we filter through all of the information and decide what will be best for us?
It’s definitely not an easy task to review factual research versus fad diets. A varied diet is the best thing for our bodies. Whole foods. Fruits and vegetables. Never forget the protein. Select good fats. But we need to have an understanding of the importance of eating a variety of foods.
Why We Need A Varied Diet
We need three different types of food – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – to keep our bodies functioning well. All of the grains, dairy, meat, oils, vegetables, fruits, and nuts we see on our plates fall into these categories in various ways. Let’s break this down into the three main groups.
Carbs are vital for energy and keeping the different parts of our bodies working properly. Without any carbs in our diet we could become deficient in important minerals and vitamins, feel tired all the time, and our cells would not work correctly.
Protein is vital for the function and structure of the entire body’s organs and tissues. Lack of sufficient protein can lead to moodiness, joint or muscle pain, insomnia, continual cravings, and increased stress.
We need fats for a variety of basic core body functions. Energy levels, brain health, hormones that regulate body functions, and even beautiful skin all depend on the fat intake. I’m sure you’ve heard so much about how the wrong fats can be detrimental that we won’t even talk about that right now.
Our bodies function optimally with a combination of these three nutrients. Yet we shouldn’t eat them all in equal quantities because we could end up with huge deficiencies and excesses where we don’t want them. So what is the optimal combination?
Your nutritional intake should be based on your end goal. Do you want to lose weight? Maintain your current weight? Gain muscle? Each of these situations necessitates different combinations of foods.
I recently read a great e-book by the diet blogger Jimmy Moore. Co-authored by Dr. Eric C Westman, Keto Clarity details the science behind a low carb, high fat diet and how it can benefit all of us, particularly those with certain illnesses or conditions.
Even with all the regular exercises I perform on a weekly basis, I still need to keep on top of my nutrition to ensure I’m not derailing my progress. From time to time I want to drop a few pounds for a special occasion (bikini season) or just because I got off track with too much festivities.
The idea behind ketogenics is to change your nutrition so that your body becomes a “fat burner” rather than a “sugar burner.” By cutting down on carbohydrates, our bodies are forced to use fat for energy. This change is known as ketosis.
How Does Ketosis Work?
Sugar was never a staple of the human diet until the last century. Unfortunately, with all of the processed foods that have snuck into our culture, we can’t avoid it. The farther we get away from whole, natural foods, more unnecessary sugars and fats are added to our diet. This excess results in our bodies having far more sugar than it can use and the unused portion is turned into fat.
When we limit carbohydrates the glucose levels of the body fall and the liver releases fatty acids. These fatty acids or ketones travel to the brain to be used for fuel. The longer the ketones are released the more fat is burned by the body.
Low-carb diets have been shown to lead to weight loss and better functioning bodies. These diets have also been shown to help with certain conditions and/or limit risk for other potential illnesses.
What Conditions Can Benefit From Low-carb Diets?
Research has shown that diet can help with many different conditions. We know that reducing cholesterol can help prevent heart disease and limiting dairy can help ease intestinal concerns. Low-carb diets have been shown to help with:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Additionally, this type of diet has also been used as part of the treatment of:
- Mental illness including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression
- Sleep disorders
What Are Low-carb Foods?
When we think of carbs, we tend to think of white bread, sugar, candy bars, and soda pop. While all of those do have high amounts of carbs, we also need to consider bananas, potatoes, yogurt, granola and some other whole grains. When you begin to look at your own diet, it can be a shock to learn how many carbohydrates you have been ingesting on a daily basis.
When you review some of the lists detailing carb content, you’ll realize that low-carb foods are not difficult to find. The basic selections are meat, vegetables, and nuts. But before you assume that all meats and vegetables are the best choice, it definitely is worth your time to understand what is in your food.
Is Ketogenics Right For You?
Every diet has its positives and negatives. Although similar to the Atkins Diet, Ketogenics has the benefit of decades more research to better understand how the body processes food. We all function slightly differently, but our bodies all have the same basic needs. The key is to find what works best for you.
Low-carb diets are great for quick weight loss, but what you eat shouldn’t be strictly for being skinny. Diet soda and lettuce may keep your body moving, but you won’t be very healthy. Your choice of diet should have you feeling and looking great, but also keep you healthy now and long into the future.
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