Finding a diet that works for you can be challenging, if not outright difficult. With so much information on nutrition, exercise, and diet available, it can be confusing to choose the right one for your needs.
It’s worth doing a little bit of research on the different diets out there to find what suits you. Whether it’s Paleo, the Mediterranean diet, or even veganism, knowing as much as possible is key.
The Keto diet has made waves in recent years. In fact, the industry is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% from 2020 up until 2027. Given its popularity, the next question to ask would be this: is going keto worth it?
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What is Keto?
Simply explained, the ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet that helps you burn fat more efficiently.
Although it has become more popular in recent years, this diet has been around for quite some time, especially for the treatment of patients with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and epilepsy.
People often experience weight loss and its corresponding benefits when going on a ketogenic diet. Keto also helps reduce inflammation and can improve athletic performance and general overall health.
What is Ketosis?
What makes weight loss and other benefits of the keto diet possible is ketosis, which is achieved by lowering carb intake, eating protein in moderation, and increasing fat consumption. When the body is in a state of ketosis, it switches from depending on carbohydrates to using fat for energy.
Usually, the body uses up glucose for fuel. Glucose is a simple sugar that is absorbed from carbohydrate-rich foods. It is used for energy in the body or stored away in the liver and muscles as glycogen.
By reducing carb intake, your body will look for an alternative source of energy to function, so it starts to break down fat cells instead. This process produces acids called ketones, which indicate that the body is, indeed, breaking down fat.
Ketosis usually starts three to four days after following the ketogenic diet. Your body may also go into ketosis when fasting or after intense exercise.
Who Might Benefit From Going On Keto?
Many people find the ketogenic diet useful. This applies to healthy individuals who want to attain a certain level of fat burning that is in line with their fitness goals. But more importantly, it can also be beneficial for people with certain conditions that may require dietary restrictions.
For instance, going on keto can help individuals with diabetes reduce their blood sugar levels. Women with PCOS who experience insulin resistance and, as a result, have a difficult time losing weight, can also benefit from the effect of a low-carb ketogenic diet.
Other people who may benefit from going on keto are those who have glycogen storage disease, metabolic syndrome, or epilepsy. For most people who do not have such conditions, the ketogenic diet may still be helpful in terms of boosting weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure and blood sugar.
It is always good practice to consult with your doctor on specific dietary needs, including keto, to determine if it will benefit your particular condition or health status.
What Makes Keto Worth It?
There are several characteristics of the ketogenic diet that make it worth it for those who are considering it.
Lose Weight and Keep It Off
With keto, your body can burn fat more efficiently, which is highly beneficial to weight loss. While burning more fat, you can also expect insulin levels to drop so that your body stores less fat.
What makes the diet change worth it is that you won’t have to starve yourself or experience hunger pains to successfully lose weight.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Controlling blood sugar levels is not just important for people with diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels within the appropriate range can help prevent long-term, serious health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, and even vision loss.
Managing your blood sugar levels can also improve your daily energy and mood. Because the keto diet is low in carbohydrates, it is much easier to control your blood sugar on a daily basis.
Improve Existing Medical Conditions
As discussed previously, the ketogenic diet can benefit people with a wide range of existing medical conditions. This can range from individuals with diabetes to people with obesity or those who have certain cancers.
Challenges of Going On a Keto Diet
Like any other diet, there are bound to be some challenges when starting keto. The first and most common one is dealing with the symptoms of keto adapting.
This happens when the body switches from burning carbohydrates to fat for energy, which is one of the reasons people feel some fatigue or flu-like symptoms on the keto diet. Also known as the keto flu, these symptoms usually go away as your body adjusts to the diet.
Adherence to the diet may also be difficult in the beginning. It can feel uncomfortable to switch up the way you normally eat, especially if it’s higher in carbs. This is because carbohydrates are present in so many of the foods we are familiar with.
But by remembering that there are options like keto-friendly seasonings or desserts, it is possible to adjust to the ketogenic diet and achieve ketosis to burn fat.
There are several ways to deal with these challenges. One way is through the lazy keto diet, which involves counting only your carbs rather than all your macros with a focus on eating whole keto foods.
It is a more convenient way to start your keto journey while still yielding significant weight loss results that come with stricter keto diet options. This method may also help you stay consistent with your keto diet since it allows for some flexibility.
The ketogenic diet can be tricky to follow at first, so it’s best to approach it by planning and preparing well. It can also take some getting used to, especially with some of the side effects mentioned above.
If you’re wondering how to lose weight, there are many ways to go about it. For some, the ketogenic diet is well worth the adjustment period considering the benefits that it provides.