Ketogenic diets are becoming increasingly popular. But before you commit, it's important to understand what goes into this lifestyle. We've pulled together the key takeaways from our extensive research on keto to get you up to speed so you can decide if it's right for you.
- Ketosis is not a state of starvation — as many people believe. Ketosis is simply when your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates as its primary energy source. This process happens when insulin levels drop and blood sugar levels decrease — which can happen when fasting or following a very low-carb diet.
- When ketosis occurs, the liver converts fatty acids into ketones that are used as fuel by the brain and other organs instead of glucose (sugar). If there is no food in your stomach for several hours, your body will start converting fat into ketones for energy instead of burning glucose.
- You might need to work with a nutritionist or doctor to get started on the ketogenic diet. This will help ensure that you're getting enough nutrients without overdoing it on fats and protein.
- Make sure you're eating enough calories! You can't lose weight on this type of diet if you're starving yourself—you'll just lose muscle mass instead of fat, which isn't healthy or sustainable in the long term.
- Don't go overboard on saturated fat; studies have shown that excess saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer!
Keto can be a fantastic way to achieve rapid fat loss and improve body composition. That said, it's not for everyone. Do your research carefully, talk with your doctor about it, and plan for tough moments during your transition (in terms of energy levels—not literally). It's entirely possible that you might find yourself better off without ketosis. Only by experimenting will you know what approach suits you best.