The ketogenic diet vs. the carb-loaded typical diet
“Fat makes you fat” is a common and logical thought. Interestingly, however, science shows us otherwise. A high-fat ketogenic diet has been shown not only to aid in lasting fat loss, but improve ailments like polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s, and various mood disorders—just to name a few.
Common knowledge tells us that our primary fuel source should be carbs, as they most easily convert to glucose, which we use to generate energy. Yet the body and brain can also tap ketone bodies as a fuel source, meaning that we really don’t need to consume large amounts of carbs to survive.
What exactly is a ketogenic diet? The name is derived from the process that your body undergoes when it switches from being a carbohydrate-burning mechanism to a fat-burning mechanism. This is called ketosis. When ketosis occurs, the body is starved of the carbohydrates that it normally uses as fuel and is forced to utilize body fat as a fuel source, creating a state of ketosis. In fact, people that follow this way of eating thrive on less than 30 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) per day, and those they do eat come mostly from foods like fibrous green vegetables and nuts.
I will note that a high-fat ketogenic diet is by no means the Atkins approach. The Atkins Diet tends to recommend high protein, moderate fat, and low carbs, which has been shown to do more harm than good. Keto-friendly foods consist of coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats, bone broth, nuts, raw organic cheese, and leafy green vegetables, which may at first sound like a limited selection, but if you Google “keto diet recipes” the possibilities are endless—as will be the benefits your body and mind will experience!
Is ketosis a desirable state? In my personal experience, it’s been a total life-changer. I know hundreds of others that have said the same. Here are some of the benefits.
Clarity & consistent energy
Ketogenic diets have been shown to alter the way neurons function in the brain. I’ve found that being in a state of ketosis has led to an empowering energy and laser-like level of focus that I’ve always strived for via a healthy lifestyle. However, no matter how many green smoothies I drank, loaded with fruit, I always felt a little…fuzzy, as though my brain wasn’t capitalizing on its maximum potential. In trading my fruit-filled days for dishes full of veggie, coconut oil and grass fed butter, I’ve found a whole new level of happiness, peace, and clarity—common effects reported by those that have followed this lifestyle, long-term. The most common terms to describe the feeling of being in a state of ketosis are “level,” “consistent,” “even,” and “energetic.”
When a person enters “chronic ketosis,” the metabolism goes into what is often called “starvation mode,” and begins to use body fat as fuel. This is utmost helpful when weight loss is a desired goal, but the whole “starving, hungry, and miserable” process just isn’t appealing! A ketogenic diet usually involves 70-80 percent of calories coming from fat, so most people tend to actually eat less on top of burning body fat as fuel, since dietary fat tends to be more satiating versus dietary carbohydrates. (Think of almonds.) Fat loss is one of the most common experiences of those who adhere to a high-fat ketogenic diet.
In a state of consistent, level energy, the ability to stress muscles increases. Ketosis also has a protein sparing effect, which does not affect the muscles as though they were starving. With sufficient protein intake, muscle building is most certainly attainable in a state of ketosis.