INTUITIVELY, we tend to think that eating fatty foods would lead to increased body fat levels and, subsequently, induce weight gain
The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, shakes things up a bit with an out-of-the-box approach to fat loss that involves consumption in large part, of foods categorized as high in fat.
The keto diet recommends a food intake composed of about 70-percent fat, 25-percent protein and only 5-percent carbohydrates. Foods that fall under the fat category include cheese, butter, olive oil, whole eggs, nuts and fatty fish, such as salmon. Protein includes chicken, beef, pork and lamb, among others. Carbs favored by the keto diet are fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. Simple carbohydrates, such as rice, bread, sweets and pastries, are a definite no-no. Fruits with high sugar content are off limits, as well.
The philosophy behind keto is that once the body reaches a ketogenic state or ketosis, it will utilize fat stores as a source of energy. In this state, the liver produces ketones, which the body uses for energy. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fat in the liver. Thus, body fat is being burned instead of stored glucose.
Normally, the body uses glucose (from carbohydrates) as a primary energy source. Whenever we consume large amounts of carbohydrates, the body produces glucose, which is the foremost go-to energy source of the human body. Starved of carbohydrates, the body goes into a state of ketosis and burns fat stores for energy.
Consuming high amounts of fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates is what the keto diet brings to the table. Think of fat stores as the body’s plan B. As glucose is the easiest molecule to breakdown, the body would opt to choose it over any other any energy source so long as it is available. Sans glucose due to carb depletion, the body, goes into ketosis, and chases down the next available energy source in order to function, which, in this case, would be fat stores.
The keto diet takes advantage of the body’s highly adaptive nature in order to facilitate fat loss.
Here is a sample menu for those on a keto diet:
- Breakfast: Omelet (tomato and onion) and bacon.
- Midmorning snack: Cheese cubes and/or nuts (peanuts, cashews, etc).
- Lunch: Grilled/fried pork chops or ground beef and spinach or cauliflower.
- Afternoon snack: Pork rinds (yes, pork rinds).
- Dinner:Salmon sautéed in olive oil with broccoli.
- Pre and post-workout snack: A scoop or two of whey protein (Nitrotech Whey Gold and MusclePharm Combat Whey are excellent options).
The conventional approach to weight loss through body-fat elimination is to go on a calorie deficit using a combination of exercise and diet. This is most certainly a tried and tested formula. The keto diet provides us with an alternative fat loss method that is supposedly more efficient as it manipulates the body to go into a carb depleted state in order to go direct to the fat stores for energy utilization.
Strange as it may seem to some of us, fatty foods do not necessarily make us fat. They can, in fact, help us lose body fat, as advocated by the keto diet.
Any diet that favors pork rinds (chicharon) over high sugar fruits (think mangoes and bananas) is something that, at the very least, ought to be taken into consideration.
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