Healthy Habits

What the Heck is the Keto Diet?


dieting, eating healthy, health, keto diet, nutrition

In the dieting world, the battle between eating carbohydrates versus eating fats continues. We have been taught from an early age that we should be eating more ‘whole grains’, fruits and minimizing fatty foods, such as meat and cheese. When I first learned about metabolism during my biochemistry studies, I was shocked to find that, actually, higher carbohydrates had a huge role in regards to the obesity pandemic. However, what was the solution? Eating higher fat seemed so contradictory to how I viewed dieting. Why should I eat MORE fat, if I’m trying to be LESS fat? 

I am one of those people who is always open to try new things, especially when it comes to health, fitness and dieting. I will give all sorts of ‘fad diets’ a go, just to see how I feel on them. What I’ve found that has helped me lose weight quickly, without depleting my energy levels, has been the ketogenic diet. Simply put, this is where you consume about 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fat. You can make adjustments to this, based on your goals, but in summary, you eat mostly fat, a bit of protein, and next to nothing of carbs.

I know what you’re thinking. How would eating bacon, cheese and butter help you to lose weight? It has fat! Well, lots of recent studies have shown that obese people on a ketogenic diet lose MORE weight than the people on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. Additionally, it lowered their blood triglycerides, blood sugar level AND improved cholesterol levels. Without going into too much detail, this happens because when you lower the carbohydrates you consume (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice), your body enters a state of ‘Ketosis‘. In this state, your body isn’t getting energy out of metabolizing carbohydrates, but rather, it starts converting fat into something called ketone bodies and using them for energy instead. (Read – Is ketosis dangerous?)

My Own Experience:

I did the keto-diet for about two weeks. Overall, it was a positive experience. The first two days, I felt really tired and sluggish, but after my body entered into ketosis, I found that I was feeling more satisfied throughout the day.  I feel like it improved my workouts, and my brain was much less foggy. Towards the end of the second week, I was having a lot more energy. The kind of food you eat on this diet ends up being very filling and long-lasting, in terms of energy.  Over the two weeks, I lost 3 kg (or 6.6 pounds)! I stopped after the two weeks to go on vacation to Spain (where I knew I was going to be eating a lot of carbs, desserts and wine!). Now, I am slowly trying to ease myself back into it, and we will see how it goes from there!

[Disclaimer – I am not a physician. While I did study metabolism for my degree, I am not a health professional, and you should consult your doctor before taking any medical or nutritional advice online]

[Photo Credit – Canva]

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