Whether you have diabetes or not, you’ve likely heard someone mention the Ketogenic or “Keto” diet. You’ve heard about it on television, or remember seeing it in a headline on your newsfeed.
In this article, we will discuss the potential benefits of the Ketogenic diet, as well as, a few points you will want to discuss with your doctor before you begin.
The original goal of the Ketogenic diet was to treat childhood epilepsy. The diet emphasizes high-fat and protein and aims to reduce carbohydrate intake. This forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
But wait! Isn’t fat bad? Why do we see so many low-fat diets?
Medical research has found that fat is not the enemy it has been touted to be. Take a moment to consider the following process.
As you reduce your body’s source of available carbohydrates, you will enter a metabolic state known as ketosis. As your body is forced to burn fat for fuel, your insulin levels and blood sugar will reduce naturally.
Diabetics can reap a huge benefit from this way of eating. As you reduce the amount of carbs you eat, you are also reducing the amount of sugar you are taking in. This will also help lower insulin and blood sugar levels.
The carb-rich foods prohibited by the Keto diet include: bread, crackers, bagels, cookies, pastries, etc. Basically, foods made with white flour and sugar are off limits.
It is important to note that many high-carb foods are also high in calories. As you reduce the amount of calories you eat, it follows logic that you would lose weight. Be sure to discuss the amount of weight you should, or should not, lose with your physician.
Also ask your physician if losing some weight would help you to prevent metabolic syndrome- the combination of excess body fat, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. These symptoms could increase your risk of heart disease, and by lowering one or all of these, your health will benefit.
For example, this research study found that while following the Ketogenic diet, 95.2% of Type II diabetics reduced or terminated their need for blood sugar medication within 6 months.
Does this whole Keto thing sound a little more appealing now?
Before you get too excited, no you cannot eat 5 pounds of bacon every day and say, “I’m following the Keto diet; I’m so healthy!”
There are vegetables and even fruits that may contain carbohydrates, but are still beneficial to your health and allowed by the diet. Carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, pickles, broccoli, and many more are all for grabs!
The Ketogenic diet encourages balance and a variety of foods to maximize its benefits. Click here to view a helpful grocery list of Keto-approved foods.
There are so many resources available to help you choose the right foods, as well as, to keep the diet interesting. With amazing recipes like Ribeye with Mayonnaise Marinade and Almost Mac ‘N Cheese, following a Keto diet is starting to sound pretty delicious!
As with many lifestyle changes, obstacles are likely to block your path at some point or another. Let’s discuss a few ways to stay on track.
Learn as much as you can about the diet and discuss it with your physician prior to beginning. This way, you are comfortable with the demands and limitations of the diet, and your physician is working with you the whole time.
Talk to family and friends about your decision to make a lifestyle change. You will need their support and encouragement. Not only will the way you enjoy holiday family feasts be changing, but even your usual Sunday dinner will be getting an update or two.
Get connected to others in your community or online. Talking about your inspirations, your challenges, and your victories is an essential step in keeping yourself motivated.
Focus on the benefits you are gaining such as better health and lower blood sugar. Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy? By being mindful of how good you are feeling, you will be moved to continue these improvements.
If you do fall off the wagon, hop right back on. Do not write off the day or the week (or the month) as a total loss simply because you ate or drank something that isn’t Keto-approved.
Give yourself some credit! Lifestyle changes are hard to make and hard to keep up. Focus on your health, spending time with family and friends using up all the energy you now have, being proud to tell your physician that your numbers gone down and are staying down.
The Ketogenic diet may not be right for everyone, but the potential benefits are certainly worth a second look-and a conversation with your healthcare team.