The ketogenic diet is a type of diet where you limit your carb consumption to a very low daily amount in order to get into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When you’re in ketosis, your liver uses fat to produce ketones, which are then used for energy by your brain, muscles, and all other organs. Fat becomes the primary fuel source of your body, instead of glucose, and your fat stores become easier to access.
While on a keto diet, your carb intake is limited to 20-25 g net carbs daily, although there might be slight variations to that. To make the diet sustainable, it is important to consume an adequate amount of protein to maintain your muscles and organs and sufficient fat to have enough energy to function.
There are different approaches to keto, based on how strict you want to be, and on your personal preferences and activity level. For example, for people who are fairly active, their carb limit (i.e. the amount of carbs they can consume in a day and still stay in ketosis) might be slightly higher — up to 50 g net carbs or so. Your protein intake can also be higher or lower, based on your goals and preferences. Fats are used to complete your caloric needs — they give your body enough fuel to sustain itself, and also keep you full.
Keto has a number of well-documented health benefits, such as weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, seizure control in epilepsy patients, and more. It can even lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes later in life.
The main reason why it has become so popular in the past few years is that it can be a very successful strategy for losing fat.
When most people start following a ketogenic diet, they usually discover that they feel less hungry, which makes it easier for them to stick to their diet. Additionally, keto can improve insulin sensitivity, which plays an important role in fat metabolism.
The keto diet is typically based on whole, natural foods that are nutrient-rich, healthy, and also satiating. This alone can be hugely beneficial, especially for people who have previously eaten a diet that consists mostly of processed foods, which are notorious for having a poor nutritional value and also for disrupting your hunger and satiety signals.
Although the ketogenic diet has an outstanding safety profile, if you have any chronic and/or serious health problems, it’s best to discuss your diet with your doctor before getting started. This is especially important if you are taking medications for diabetes or high blood pressure. The keto diet has a profound impact on your health and might change the way your meds are working and how your body is reacting to them.