What is keto? Everything you need to know - LeanBean Official

A keto diet forces your body to burn fat rather than carbs 🍔💥

Look at fat burners on Amazon and you’ll see tons of products that claim to be ‘keto friendly’. 

But what does it mean?

At the very top level, keto is short for two things:

  • Ketosis: a metabolic state where your body burns fat more efficiently
  • Ketogenic diet: a diet designed especially to trigger ketosis

This blog post will dig deep into what a keto diet is, how it works, and how it can potentially help you to move towards your body goals.

Keto 101: What is a keto diet?

Let’s start by taking a look at what a keto diet actually is.

A keto diet is one specifically designed to put you in a state of ketosis. It’s a high fat, low carb diet that forces your body to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel 🔥

Famous diet plans like the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the Paleo Diet are examples of diets that advocate low-carb, high protein eating, but these aren’t keto diets.

A keto diet has specific traits: where the diets above focus on eating protein, keto diets focus more on fats.

Here’s the theory on how a keto diet works:

Normally, your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars. 

A sugar called glucose is absorbed into your blood and transported around your body where it’s used for many things, one of the most important of which is fuelling your brain.

But here’s where it gets interesting…

In ketosis, your body responds to lower carb levels by breaking down fat instead of sugar. 

In ketosis, fats are broken down into two things: fatty acids and ketone bodies.

Ketone bodies are an alternative energy source for your brain 🧠

So by reducing your dietary carb intake, it’s possible to encourage your body to burn more fat.

Because one of the goals of weight loss is to shed existing fat, a keto diet can potentially be a great way to trim down excess fat levels.

We get it: this can feel a little counterintuitive considering a keto diet involves eating more fat and prioritising fatty foods.

So in the upcoming sections we’ll look at some of the science 👩‍⚕️

Recap:

👉 Keto can potentially contribute to weight loss by encouraging your body to break down fat for energy.

👉 In keto, your brain uses ketone bodies instead of glucose for fuel.

Does a ketogenic diet work?

A ketogenic diet can work but it’s always a good idea to discuss your individual needs with a registered nutritionist or doctor before making changes.

Several studies suggest that keto diets can work for weight loss with the most significant results seen in the first 12 months.

However registered dieticians also warn people not to attempt keto diets without a firm understanding of what it entails.

And here’s why:

The keto diet has medical origins, and was developed as a treatment for certain types of epilepsy.

While the short-term effects of a keto diet for weight loss have been studied, there is less understanding of the long-term effects.

Evidence in favour of a keto diet for weight loss

As we’ve said: there is evidence of the short-term benefits of a keto diet for weight loss. In this section we’ll take a look at some of it.

One study found that a keto diet can help with weight loss and appetite control.

So while it may seem weird to lose weight by eating a diet with more fat, the state of ketosis is a proven precursor for weight loss in the right contexts.

A review of several studies found that keto diets might be even more effective for weight loss than some low-fat diets.

In terms of timing, it usually takes about four days to enter a state of ketosis on a properly-formulated keto diet.

Results were most significant in the first year, with people struggling to maintain weight loss after that period. This finding is consistent across multiple studies: here is another example.

And beyond this period, opinions differ. 

The bottom line is this: a keto diet can help with weight loss but a personalised diet plan and ongoing supervision (or at least high levels of understanding) are recommended to ensure your safety.

Keto fat burners

Given the differing opinions on the safety and efficacy of keto, it may be best to look for a supplement designed to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. 

If you’ve done your research and you’re interested in finding one to complement a keto diet, here’s what to consider: 

While some fat burners market themselves as specifically keto-friendly, the consensus is that the best way to achieve ketosis is through your diet.

If you’re taking a weight loss supplement alongside a keto diet, your focus should be ingredients that help to energise you whilst working out.

Ingredients like caffeine are perfect for this.

Caffeine will help you to feel alert and motivated while working out, giving you the energy to keep pushing harder and for longer than you would otherwise – meaning more calories burned.

Fat burners that contain proven appetite suppressants like glucomannan are effective, too, as they’ll help you to reduce your overall caloric intake.

KETO FAQS

If you’ve got questions about keto, we’ve got answers.

What are the different types of keto?

There are four widely-acknowledged ways to do the keto diet. Each has different target ratios of macronutrients to aim for.

(A macronutrient is a food type: fats, carbs, and proteins are macronutrients.)

Here’s a typical breakdown for  each of the main types of keto diet –

  • Standard keto: ~10% carbs, ~75% fat, ~15% protein
  • High-protein keto: ~10% carbs, ~60% fat, ~30% protein
  • Targeted keto: ~15% carbs, ~65% fat, ~20% protein
  • Cyclical keto: On days, 10/75/15 carb/fat/protein; off days, 50/25/25 carb/fat/protein

How do I know which type of keto is right for me?

The right keto diet for you – or whether keto is right for you at all – depends on your goals and lifestyle. We can’t advise on individual diets as we don’t know your dietary needs.

If you’ve got questions about finding the right type of keto for you, we recommend speaking with a qualified nutritionist to help identify your goals and design the right diet plan to meet them.

What is keto flu?

While researching keto you may come across the phrase ‘keto flu’. 

Currently there appears to be no formally-recognised condition, but many people report feeling similar symptoms within the first few days of starting a keto diet.

Here’s what you might feel – 

  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sleep trouble
  • Constipation
  • Headache

If you do encounter these symptoms, it’s been reported by people they should be gone by a week after your start point. Remember that keto is quite a big change for your body, and adverse symptoms may be a sign that you’re pushing your body too hard.

We always recommend speaking with your doctor or another qualified health professional before starting any significant change in your diet or if you feel unwell when changing your diet.

Summary

A keto diet can work for weight loss in specific circumstances. The most significant results are reportedly seen in the 12 months after starting the diet, and results become harder to maintain after this period.

Dieticians advise taking care with keto diets. The medical origin of the diet means there is less research into its long-term efficacy in a weight loss context.

In most situations it’s likely that there will be more effective ways for you to lose weight in a sustainable way than a keto diet. We recommend thinking about building consistency and healthy habits, and trying to incorporate healthier meals and snacks into your diet.

Disclaimer: The information on the Leanbean blog does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as such. If you would like to learn more about your dietary requirements and related aspects of your health, speak with a registered medical professional.

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