Eat fat to burn fat? It sounds contradictory, but that?s what makes the ketogenic diet so unique. Also called the keto diet, this high-fat, low-carb style of eating can help you feel energized and focused. It can even help you stay at a healthy weight?all the while enjoying delicious, satisfying foods.
Read on to learn everything you want to know about this style of eating with our keto diet guide. We?ll cover the science behind how it works, detail the amazing benefits of the keto diet and offer tweaks that can help you manage keto side effects and stay in a state of ketosis.
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?
You may have heard the old low-fat weight loss quote, ?Fat makes you fat.? It?s actually not that simple. Your brain and body benefit from healthy fats, regardless of what diet you follow. Eating keto means eating more fats and fewer carbs, which changes the way your body turns food into energy.
Think of your body like a hybrid car. You?re built to rely on carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, for fuel. Your metabolism is designed to turn carbs into glucose for energy. But just like a hybrid can run on gas or electricity, your body has another way to make energy: fat.
If you eat very few carbs, more fat and moderate protein, your body enters ketosis: a metabolic state where you burn fat instead of carbs for fuel.
In ketosis, your body produces ketones, an alternative source of fuel. Ketones are responsible for a lot of the keto benefits you might have heard about, like fewer cravings, more brain power and lasting energy.
The keto diet is one way to get your body to make ketones. Your body can also produce ketones when you?re?intermittent fasting?or taking?keto supplements.
KETO DIET BENEFITS
Ketosis brings a bunch of health benefits besides just burning fat. Your metabolism works differently on keto, and people report the following changes in their mind and body.
More than 60% of your brain is fat, so it needs a steady supply of fat to keep the engine humming. The quality fats you eat on a ketogenic diet do more than feed your day-to-day activities?they also feed your brain.
When your body uses ketones for fuel, you won?t experience the same energy crashes or brain fog as you do when you?re eating a lot of carbs. You know the feeling you get after having a big bowl of pasta for lunch? Your blood sugar levels crash after processing all those carbs, and the rest of the day becomes naptime.
That?s not the case on the keto diet. In metabolic fat-burning mode, your body can tap into fat stores for energy. Ketosis also helps the brain create more mitochondria, the power generators in your cells.?More energy in your cells means more energy to get to the gym. So no more excuses.
Ketones suppress ghrelin, your hunger hormone. They also increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which makes you feel full.?Reduced appetite means it?s easier to go for longer periods without eating, which encourages your body to dip into its fat stores for energy.
Fat is a satiating macronutrient, which means it helps you feel fuller, longer. On a high-fat diet, you?ll spend less time snacking and more time tackling your to-do list.
Some people use the keto diet to stay at a healthy weight. Unlike glucose, ketones can?t be stored as fat because they aren?t metabolized the same way. This might seem counterintuitive if you associate keto with piles of bacon and cheese. But in reality, the?keto diet can support weight management?by burning fat and curbing cravings.
The key is to primarily get your fats from quality sources like nutrient-dense whole foods and pay attention to how you feel.
Inflammation is your body?s natural response to an invader it deems harmful. Too much inflammation is bad news because it increases your risk of health problems. A keto diet can reduce inflammation in the body by switching off inflammatory pathways and producing fewer free radicals compared to glucose.