What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet
The ketogenic Diet is a low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein diet that shifts your metabolism away from glucose to fat utilisation. When little carbohydrates remain in the body, for example through a low-carb diet or through fasting, the body starts to burn the stored fat to produce energy. When this occurs, the liver converts fat into fatty acid and glycerin. When the fatty acid break down further in the cells, the ketone bodies are produced. The ketone bodies replace glucose as the energy source for organs and tissues. Ketones are preferred by tissues and organs such as brain and heart.
This dietary method was devised nearly 100 years ago in order to treat epilepsy, and it has been used as therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, headache, neurotrauma, pain, Parkinson’s disease and sleep disorders.
The ketogenic is proven as the best weight loss diet, but also gaining attention for its numerous health benefits. Anti-aging is also one of them. This is because the ketogenic diet increases the number of mitochondria cells, increase the cell ability to convert energy efficiently, and contains many powerful anti oxidants which neutralises and removes free radicals. This will not only slows down the aging of your skin, but that of your entire body and mind.
There are numerous studies showing the benefits of the ketogenic diet, including weight loss, clarity of the mental functions, increased energy, reduction of certain types of cancer, improved heart function, improved PCOS symptoms.
Cutting out Sugar and adding good Fats
The key to the ketogenic diet is to take in good quality fats and reduce net carbohydrate intake unter 50 g per day. The exact amount of the net carbohydrate intake to achieve the goal of keeping the body on ketosis is very individual.
What about the veggies? Some of you might say that the fiber (cellulose) is also carbohydrate, yes, but it is the carbohydrate that does not raise the blood sugar level, it rather slows down the process. This is because the fiber cannot be broken down by our body. However, it will feed the good bacteria in the gut and it is the key for maintaining a healthy gut. The best way to eat fiber is from vegetables, because of it’s other components. It is naturally in a perfect combination with it’s water and minerals.
In addition to the fiber, our body must be supplied with vitamins and minerals for it’s function. The vegetables contain not only essential vitamins and minerals, but also phytonutrients such as carotenoid, flavonoid, gulucosinolate, phytosterol, and sulfide, which have a major impact on our immune system.
Therefore the vegetables remain as important ingredients of a healthy ketogenic diet. It is important to note is that the starchy vegetables such as potatoes and beans are very high in carbohydrate and they could kick you out of the ketosis.
Many of you might have already heard about the huge health benefits of fasting. Why is fasting so beneficial for our health? Well, we have a phenomenal self-repairing and regeneration system called autophagy. This self-cleaning mechanism activates when the body cells are starved. The cells are starved when the body is low on sugar, for example through a low carb diet such as ketogenic diet or fasting for about 16 hours. To produce energy and to upgrade the efficiency of the body function in a survival situation, the cells begin to remove unnecessary or dysfunctional components such as damaged cell organelles or unused proteins, and start repairing and recycling them into necessary components such as amino acid, to synthesis proteins that are essential for survival. This naturally regulated mechanism of the cells prevents the defective cells from becoming cancer cells.[studies]. Autophagy creates younger cells, which make the fasting the most efficient anti-aging method.
Intermittent fasting is a meal planning method that you can use to activate this repair mechanism on daily basis. For example, you fast for 16 hours and your meal window stays under 8 hours. This is where the high-fat ketogenic diet could be a great help – the good fats in the diet not only offer you the essential vitamins, you can stay satiated for a longer duration. It makes it easier to fast for longer without snacking. Therefore, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are more than a perfect combination!