Where fats used to be designated as fatteners – they didn’t really have their name with them either – carbohydrates are labeled as new enemies of our health. Fats now even have the opposite status: the more fat, the more you lose weight. From this theory comes the new, pioneering diet: the keto diet.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet – or: ketogenic diet – is a low-carbohydrate diet in which 60 to 80 percent of your total calorie intake consists of fats. It is mainly used for medical purposes, for example for people with epilepsy or type 2 diabetes. It puts your body in “ketosis”, because you remove the natural fuel source, carbohydrates. This is mainly expressed as: you burn fat.
Fill your hungry stomach with fatty food while the pounds fly off? It sounds too good to be true. Of course there are also certain conditions. Because ketogenic is not for everyone.
Losing weight with the keto diet: ketosis
Ketosis is accomplished through a physical process called ketogenesis. Because you eat extremely little carbohydrates, you remember your brain glucose, their most important food. Your body still needs fuel to function, so it increases the concentration of ketones in your blood by breaking down fatty acids. Think of it as a hybrid car that runs out of petrol and runs on electricity.
According to some theories, your body would start using fat as fuel once you lean much less on carbohydrates. This would improve your physical and mental performance, regulate your appetite, lower your insulin levels and increase resistance.
What are Ketones?
But what are ketones then? These are compounds that your liver makes from your fat supply when your blood sugar is low. “Your liver is constantly producing ketones, but the amount depends on your carbohydrate and protein intake,” says Jeff Volek, an Ohio State University ketone gese expert. Because your diet in a keto diet mainly consists of fats, proteins cover 10 to 15 percent, less than 10 percent you get from carbohydrates. Really, less than 10 percent. That is just over half a croissant.
The Health Council recommends getting 40 to 70 percent of your calories from carbohydrates if you want to eat healthy. That makes the ketogenic diet a nice challenge: do you keep it up long enough to reap the health benefits?
Keto diet: what can you eat?
There are stories of people who follow a keto diet and are allowed to eat a large amount of bacon. Yes! But no, a large amount of bacon is not good for your health. You also do not suddenly drink frying fat because it is rich in fats.
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn and pumpkin are too high in carbohydrates for a ketogenic diet. This also applies to a lot of fruit. Oh yes, and milk, beans, rice, pasta, bread: forget it. A carbohydrate-filling ‘cheat meal’ is also excluded. The diet is not labeled as extreme for nothing.