What is a Keto Diet? Should I go Keto?

A Ketogenic diet is a diet which is extremely high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. The aim of a Keto diet is to get into nutritional Ketosis.

When you eat a Keto Diet, you get to eat meals like this.... YUM!

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body. It involves the body producing ketones out of fat, and using them for energy instead of carbohydrates. 

Ketosis is a very natural state for the body to be in. You can get into ketosis by following a very low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet but it also happens during pregnancy, infancy, fasting and starvation. For example, newborns are in ketosis and despite the moderate sugar content of human breast milk, breastfeeding is particularly ketogenic. This period of human development is crucial and there is extensive brain growth during it.

To go into ketosis, people generally need to eat fewer than 50 grams of total carbohydrate per day and sometimes as little as 20 grams per day. 

But my brain NEEDS carbs doesn't it?

It’s a common misunderstanding that the brain doesn’t function without dietary carbs but this isn’t true. Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose. For the small amount of glucose the brain does need, your body can use protein to produce it during ketosis. This process is called gluconeogenesis. Therefore, ketosis and gluconeogenesis are perfectly capable of fulfilling the brain’s energy needs. In fact, many people say that whilst in ketosis they have amazing mental clarity, less brain fog and endless amounts of energy!

Isn’t a Keto diet just eating meat and cheese?

“I’ve seen people who eat keto just eat meat and cheese - I know that’s not good for you!”

We agree! There are many approaches to eating keto and unfortunately some people who embrace a ketogenic diet eat way too much meat and dairy products. We believe this is unhealthy because vegetables are essential for good health! This is why we designed Keto Reset. We wanted to provide you with a simple keto meal plan which maximises your low carb vegetables intake and uses only natural healthy fat sources. Check out what our meals look like ….

What are the benefits of being on a Keto Diet?

The benefits of being in ketosis are believed to be a result of the anti inflammatory nature of a Ketogenic Diet. A ketogenic diet has been successfully used for many years to control seizures in people.

Ketosis may help with a number of chronic and metabolic health conditions including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity and blood sugar control
  • Cancer
  • PCOS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease 
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Metabolic Disorder
  • High Cholesterol
  • Hormonal Conditions

It can also help improve….

  • Energy levels
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental clarity
  • Immunity
  • Seizures

Are there any side effects? How do I avoid them?

There are a few side effects you may experience in the transition to a ketogenic diet and these are a result of the body adjusting to fat as a fuel source. These side effects are commonly referred to as the ‘keto flu’ or sugar withdrawals. They include headache, fatigue, constipation and bad breath. However, most of the symptoms are temporary and should disappear within a few days or weeks. To decrease the effects of these, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, use sea salt on your food and you can supplement with electrolytes. 

Many people find that they can feel a bit sick in the stomach from the increase of fat - this generally comes right within a few weeks as your body adjusts. However, changing your fat sources may help reduce this, for example using avocado or olive oil instead of coconut oil. A variety of natural fat sources is always recommended.

How much fat and carbohydrates should I eat to get into ketosis?

We recommend that you limit your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams of total carbohydrate a day in the form of vegetables. Total carbohydrates includes the fibre content of your food so when this is subtracted, net carbs are generally 20-30 grams a day. Fibre is not digested and therefore does not increase your blood sugar levels. 

You want to aim for approximately 150 grams of healthy fats a day - our preferred sources of fat are natural sources such as coconut products, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, cocoa butter, avocados, olives and olive oil, cold pressed nut seed oils, fatty meat and fish, lards and ghee, a little organic cheese, cream and butter.

It can be hard to get that much fat into your diet! This is where Fat Bombs should be included into your diet to increase this. They are a great snack and generally recommended to help keep you on track in your keto journey. Fat bombs often use healthy oils, cocoa and coconut butters plus low carb sweeteners like erythritol. A great place to find your fat bomb ingredients is in online shops such as Nourish and Thrive

What about protein?

Evidence hows that eating a lot of protein does not increase your blood sugar levels enough to kick you out of ketosis. However, you don’t need to go crazy either. Aim for 1- 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of ideal body weight. If your weight is 80 kilos, a good aim is 100 grams total protein - please note: this figure is entirely different than how much your meat actually weighs! 100 grams of cooked chicken breast has about 30 grams of protein in it. Eating enough protein whilst on a Ketogenic diet is important to maintain a healthy body - protein plays an essential role in the structure, function and regulation of tissues and organs. Great protein sources are eggs, grass fed / wild meat and fish.

How to I keep track of my fat, carb and protein intake?

To track these macronutrients, we recommend you use an online program or app such as myfitnesspal. It can take some time and effort to work this out, however it’s well worth it - especially when you start to make sure you get the right macronutrient balance.

To get into nutritional ketosis, you want these macronutrient percentages:

  • 5-10% Carbs
  • 15-20% Protein
  • 70-80% Fat

However if you are like us and can’t be bothered doing this, no worries, Keto Reset have done this all for you and you just have to follow the meal plan! 

How long can you be in ketosis for?

We recommend doing a Keto Reset for 30-60 days, 1-2 times a year. A great time to do a reset is in summer when you feel like eating salads and avocados are in season!

How should I eat long term then? 

After you have completed your Keto Reset we recommend eating REAL unprocessed food such as a ‘Paleo’ way of eating with low to moderate carb intake, depending on your individual needs. An excellent worldwide program for this is the 10 Week Challenge - this nutritional lifestyle program is family friendly and excellent for long term healthy eating.

So should you start eating Keto?

A Ketogenic diet is a great short term way of eating to improve your health and lose weight. The food can be tasty and simple to make. Keto does require commitment and determination - so if you have these, then give it a go. The only thing you have to lose, is unwanted fat!

Please note, a Ketogenic diet is not suitable for children, pregnant or breast feeding mothers, unless prescribed by a qualified health professional.

If you have any questions, please email our Nutritionist Sara and she will happily answer your queries, hello@ketoreset.co.nz