A Brief Explanation of the Ketogenic Diet (and Common Misconceptions)

The ketogenic diet seems to be a very popular topic of discussion these days. Yet, surprisingly, there are still many misconceptions about it floating around. The point of this article is to identify those misconceptions and clear the air of misinformation. We hope you learn a lot from the info presented here, and maybe even give a second thought toward the ketogenic diet.

The Basics of the Ketogenic Diet

Most diets revolve around counting the amount of calories you consume. But the ketogenic diet is a little different. Instead of counting calories, you count something called "macronutrients". there are three different macronutrients that you can get from food: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The amount of macronutrients you should consume in a day depends largely on how many calories you get from the macronutrients you eat.

Ketogenic Diet

The standard american diet is high in carbohydrates, recommends a moderate amount of protein, and also suggests that you eat as little fat as possible. The ketogenic diet is the exact opposite. This particular meal plan suggests you get most of your calories from fat, consume a modest amount of protein, and eat fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Depending on how strict of a ketogenic playing you are following, that carb count maybe 20 grams total or 20 grams of "net carbs" (total carbohydrates consumed minus dietary fiber).

A healthy ketogenic diet should include the following basic staples:

The most common question surrounding the ketogenic diet is: why eat so much dietary fat? It turns out that when you consume more fat and restrict your carbohydrate intake, there are a variety of health benefits. The human brain and human heart cells are particularly keen on consuming ketone bodies for energy. But you only produce these ketone bodies when you severely restrict your carbohydrate intake. Ketones are also a cleaner, more efficient fuel source for the human brain. Most people who adhere to the ketogenic diet anecdotally report sharper mental focus, better memory, and enhanced mental clarity.

Low carbohydrate diets in general may be beneficial for people with metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. The low carbohydrate intake may lower blood sugar down to healthier levels and can help improve your body's insulin response. Over time, some medical experts believe that this will increase your sensitivity to insulin. Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets also have the potential to regulate hunger and satiety hormones so that it's easier to consume fewer calories and lose weight.

Some Common Misconceptions About the Ketogenic Diet

All of the nutritional advice we've been given over the past 40 years or so has heavily favored a low-fat, moderate protein, high carbohydrate diet. So why is the world of nutrition suddenly doing a complete 180? Well, not everybody is on board with the ketogenic diet. And many of the people who aren't are responsible for pushing all the misconceptions you've probably heard. But many of these people have certain biases, especially people who are vegan or who profit from selling processed food. So taking their advice with a grain of salt is advisable.

The first and most common misconception is that the ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet or the same thing. On a metabolic level, this is completely false. The ketogenic diet aims to put your body in ketosis so that you will produce ketone bodies by burning your own body fat. It's difficult for people to get into ketosis on the Atkins diet because the excess amount of protein gets converted into glucose via the process of gluconeogenesis. Without ketosis, you may still lose weight, but you won't be doing very much to improve your insulin resistance or body fat composition.

Another common misconception is that as long as you hit your macros, you can eat whatever you want on the ketogenic diet. As with any diet, you still need to be vigilant and make smart food choices. You can't live off of Crisco, bacon, and fast food (without the hamburger bun) and expect to get healthier on a ketogenic diet. Eating a bunch of low carb, high-fat processed food will subject your body to inflammatory toxins such as trans fats or overwhelm your system with an unhealthy level of omega-6 fatty acids.

Furthermore, high-fat whole foods - along with high fiber fruits and vegetables - are rich in the micronutrients your body needs to stay healthy. High-fat, low-carb processed food, on the other hand, is usually devoid of nutrients. The metabolic benefits of a ketogenic diet can be virtually canceled out if you aren't also consuming the micronutrients you need to achieve optimal health and wellness.

Who Is a Good Candidate for the Ketogenic Diet?

Keto XS

Here's a fun fact about the ketogenic diet that not a lot of people know: it was originally invented nearly a century ago as a treatment for epileptic seizures in children. For anyone suffering from epilepsy or similar brain disorders, a strict ketogenic diet can be a huge benefit. Eating keto has also reportedly helped endurance athletes such as marathon runners perform better at their sport. Furthermore, the ketogenic diet is great for anyone who is overweight or obese and needs to lose a lot of body fat (not just weight). Lastly, even for people who are relatively lean or who have a conventionally healthy BMI, eating a ketogenic diet can help improve their metabolic health to avoid chronic disease later on down the road.

Since the ketogenic diet has increased in popularity, consumer products which promise to enhance the effects of the ketogenic diet have, too. Keto XS is one such product. It contains pure ketone salts, just like the ones your body would produce on its own when starved of carbohydrates. Consuming pure ketones like the ones in Keto XS can help people transition into a ketogenic diet and lifestyle more easily, as opposed to quitting the standard american diet cold turkey.

Glucose withdrawal from a low-carb diet can cause a whole host of unpleasant symptoms often referred to as the "keto flu". But ketogenic diet supplements like Keto XS can help alleviate most or all of these symptoms. Some people also report that exogenous ketones give them more energy and help them lose weight more quickly, even if they cheat on the diet and have a few too many carbs. It seems as though an exogenous ketone supplement like Keto XS would be a good supplement for anyone who's trying to start a ketogenic diet.