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The Ultimate Guide to the Keto Diet

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The keto diet had its first moment of splendor a couple of years ago, but, in reality, its premise has been setting trends for a long time: eliminate or reduce all carbohydrates as much as possible and bet on fats and proteins.

It is a diet widely used in specific sports fields that have become fashionable for losing weight. Does it really work? What does it consist of exactly?

Although this is not another express miracle diet, it is not the ultimate panacea for weight loss. Numerous studies confirm that a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, but it is not recommended for everyone or to maintain it long-term. Before going crazy on a keto diet, it is convenient to know what it consists of to practice it well and its consequences.

Understanding the Basics of the Keto Diet

Today's popular term "keto diet" is the adaptation of a ketogenic diet, that is, the ketogenic diet. The name refers to the fact that it is a nutrition model which main goal is the creation of ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are metabolic compounds generated in the body in response to a lack of energy reserves.

We already know that food provides us with the nutrients and energy necessary for our bodies to function correctly, the "fuel" of the machinery of our bodies. Carbohydrates are the first energy source: the muscles use glucose concentration in the blood as energy.

When we have low blood glucose levels, the muscles will look for energy in the glycogen reserves, which are the carbohydrates accumulated in the body. And if those reserves are finished? That is when ketosis occurs.

In ketosis, the body turns to fat as a source of energy.

When you enter a state of ketosis, fatty acids are transformed in the liver in a metabolic process that seeks to obtain energy quickly. When the ketone bodies are released, the organism will now use molecules as an energy source, as if it were glucose.

Ketosis is a state in which the body has run out of energy reserves and has to resort to fats to use them as immediate fuel, especially for the functioning of muscles.

How the Keto Diet Benefits Your Body and Mind

Scientific evidence confirms that a keto diet can help in weight loss diets based on, mainly, three premises:

  • The organism has to turn fat into energy. 
  • By limiting or eliminating carbohydrates, they do not accumulate, thus preventing them from concentrating as fat. 
  • Increases satiety and decreases appetite.

What to Eat and What to Avoid on the Keto Diet

Simple and complex carbohydrates are reduced as much as possible to reach the state of ketosis on a keto diet. Depending on each person, their physical condition, and level of exercise, the maximum limit of daily hydrates is usually set between 20-50 g. The approximate proportion of daily calorie intake would be as follows:

  • 60-75% fat.
  • 25-30% protein.
  • 5-10% carbohydrates.
  • Fats and proteins are the foundation of a keto diet

Therefore, we are in different parameters of the paleo diet, in which a greater consumption of carbohydrates, such as certain fruits and vegetables, is allowed. A ketogenic diet consists mainly of getting calories from fatty foods and some protein. Among the most consumed foods are:

  • All kinds of meat, including red meat.
  • Fish and shellfish, especially blue.
  • Eggs, including the yolk.
  • Whole dairy, preferring the fattest ones (cream, cream, cured cheeses) and limiting milk.
  • Cocoa and pure chocolate without sugar.
  • Avocado.
  • Nuts high in fat.
  • Coconut and its derivatives (milk, oil, flour).
  • Vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed, sunflower, seed...).
  • Whole or ground seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, poppy, sesame...).
  • Vegetable nut creams and pates (peanut butter, almond butter, tahini...).

To achieve and maintain ketosis, it is necessary to restrict the consumption of any type of cereal, whether it has gluten or not, in all its forms (grain, bread, flour, pasta), legumes, fruits, vegetables, and vegetables, especially those that present a higher carbohydrate content (which are usually the sweetest). Of course, the consumption of added sugars is practically wholly eliminated.