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What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Updated on March 6, 2015

Everything you need to know about starting a low-carb ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet involves consuming a low amount of carbohydrates, an adequate amount of protein, and a high amount of fat. Similar to other low-carbohydrate diets like Atkin's, the idea of a ketogenic diet is to transition your body into entering a state called ketosis, which is simply the process of your body using fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

By starving your body of carbohydrates, no glycogen stores will be available in the liver, causing the body to start breaking apart fat cells in a process called lipolysis. The body is able to use the fatty acids as an energy source in a process called beta-oxidation. One of the byproducts of beta-oxidation is acetyl-CoA, some of which is turned into ketone bodies in the liver. When ketone bodies are present, a person is said to be in ketosis.

A properly executed ketogenic diet consists of a daily macronutrient breakdown of 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Most ketogenic dieters limit their carbohydrate intake to around 20 grams per day at first, to allow them to get comfortable with low-carb eating. Many dieters slowly raise their carb intake until they find the "sweet spot" that allows them to consume the maximum amount of carbohydrates while staying in ketosis. This is confirmed by the use of Ketostix, which are urinalysis strips that test for the presence of ketones, and thus a ketoic state. Ketostix can be purchased online or found at almost any local pharmacy.

Ketogenic diets are very effective for weight loss for a variety of reasons. Eating carbohydrates causes our blood sugar to raise, which produces an insulin response. Insulin is the hormone that tells our bodies to start storing fat. Thus, by following a low-carbohydrate diet and keeping insulin levels low, we can make it very difficult for our bodies to store fat. Furthermore, keeping your blood sugar low and steady will keep your appetite steady and reduce dramatic hunger pangs. One of the primary effects of the ketogenic diet is appetite suppression, and this is the exact factor that makes the diet an easy one to follow, despite how restrictive it may initially appear.

Interested in getting started on a ketogenic diet?

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    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      When I worked in the fitness industry I was teaching aerobics, doing weight and martial arts. I went on that diet and and to be taken off because I started grinding my teeth. The first Doctor told me I had worms but my personal doctor, upon close examination found out that with all the energy I was using for my classes, I needed the carbs back in my diet. The teeth grinding stopped. He explained why I was grinding my teeth but I don't remember all the details now. At least, I had to have a small amount of complex carbs.

    • ketogenicdiet profile image
      Author

      ketogenicdiet 5 years ago from New York, NY

      That's an interesting experience. I've read before that low-carb diets have helped some people get rid of their teeth grinding problem, though this is usually related to sleep apnea. Interesting to see the flipside of things. Just goes to show that all of our bodies are different.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      In no way am I against the diet. What I should have said is not everybody can stand up to that diet. What I think based on my experience, is persons who are very highly active needs more cabs than the veges would supply. This diet is ideal for those who exercise less than I did, which was all the time, maybe 3 or more hours/day because of my responsibilities.

      I think is this hub has great info and very useful and I did vote accordingly.

      I just realized you are a newbie, Welcome to Huppages!

    • ketogenicdiet profile image
      Author

      ketogenicdiet 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thank you, Cardisa! For those that are more active, variations of the typical keto diet like the Targeted Ketogenic Diet and the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet are usually a better choice. Thanks for commenting!

    • ketogenicdiet profile image
      Author

      ketogenicdiet 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Following you, by the way. The jamaican rice recipe looks delightful. Maybe I can make a keto version! ^.^

    • Nikki Major profile image

      Nikki Major 4 years ago

      Very interesting...i need to try something :-)

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