Keto Diet for Beginners Made Easy: The Ultimate Guide to “Keto”
Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science.
The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with. In fact, these are some of the direct benefits of the keto diet.
What is the keto diet? Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower, this low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized: namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) to dietary fat, courtesy of keto diet recipes and the keto diet food list items, including high-fat, low-carb foods.
Making that switch will place your body in a state of “ketosis,” when your body becomes a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. Fortunately, if you’re new to this type of eating plan, a keto diet for beginners, or keto basics, is surprising simple to follow. Here’s how to do the keto diet:
- Reduce one’s carb intake.
- Increase your consumption of healthy fats, which help create satiety.
- Without glucose coursing through your body, it’s now forced to burn fat and produce ketones instead.
- Once the blood levels of ketones rise to a certain point, you officially reach ketosis.
- This state results in consistent, fairly quick weight loss until your body reaches a healthy and stable weight.
How to Know Keto Is Working (aka You’re in Ketosis)
In the absence of glucose, which is normally used by cells as a quick source of energy, the body starts to burn fat and produces ketone bodies instead (it’s why the keto diet is often referred to as the ketone diet). Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, you enter into a state of ketosis — which usually results in quick and consistent weight loss until you reach a healthy, stable body weight. See this keto diet review, a before and after trying keto for 30 days.
To sum up a complex process, you reach this fat-burning state when the the liver breaks down fat into fatty acids and glycerol, through a process called beta-oxidation. There are three primary types of ketone bodies that are water-soluble molecules produced in the liver: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.
The body then further breaks down these fatty acids into an energy-rich substance called ketones that circulate through the bloodstream. Fatty acid molecules are broken down through the process called ketogenesis, and a specific ketone body called acetoacetate is formed and which supplies energy.
The end result of the “ketone diet” is staying fueled off of circulating high ketones (which are also sometimes called ketone bodies) — which is what’s responsible for altering your metabolism in a way that some people like to say turns you into a “fat-burning machine.” Both in terms of how it feels physically and mentally, along with the impact it has on the body, being in ketosis is very different than a “glycolytic state,” where blood glucose (sugar) serves as the body’s energy source.
So, is ketosis bad for you? Absolutely not. If anything, it’s the reverse. Many consider burning ketones to be a much “cleaner” way to stay energized compared to running on carbs and sugar day in and day out.
And remember, this state is not to be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a serious diabetes complication when the body produces excess ketones (or blood acids).
The goal is to keep you in this fat-burning metabolic state, in which you will lose weight until you reach your ideal set point. Some research suggests this may be a novel approach to reverse diabetes naturally.