After a lot of thought followed by after-thought, if you've finally mustered up the courage to hop onto fitness, and wish to monitor your diet and fitness regime to lose weight—you would know what we mean when we talk about the confusion and conflicting facts that you find yourself surrounded with. Ugh!
Deciding what to eat for optimal health can be confusing. There are a gazillion different dietary approaches, and each is touted as our waistline's BFF. It can be difficult to keep up with all the trends and fads, and sometimes it just goes right above our head.
But, fortunately for us, science concocted an elegant solution to the problem of unmanageable food sources and habits and an ever-hungry brain—ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
ICYMI, and are scratching your heads as to what is this technical jargon that is doing the rounds of the world of fitness lately, scroll ahead.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb style of eating (typically consists of about 70 to 80 percent healthy fats, 10 to 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates). When we are either fasting or eating at a significant caloric deficit, our body tends to consume stored body fat for energy. If carbohydrates and proteins are sufficiently limited, fat enters our energy consuming cells(specifically in the liver) in large amounts. Without enough glucose (or protein), our bodies shift into the process called 'ketosis.'
Basically, when our body is under ketosis, the fat molecules brimming with energy are redirected to fuel vital organs of our body—heart, muscles, organs, and, perhaps most important, the brain! What happens next is a vast supply of brain-healthy fuel in the form of ketones, along with a reduced need for glucose production at the hands of our muscles and internal organs. That's where this diet wins over its inferior counterparts, as we are eating lesser without really losing on protein from our muscles, not to mention consistent glucose levels. Thus, ketones provide an alternate fuel for the brain and body—without making you feel hungry or deprived. Win-win!
How is a Ketogenic Diet Different From Regular Weight Loss Diets?
What exactly is it about the keto diet that makes it oh-so-effective? Essentially speaking, it all revolves around the hunger hormone called 'ghrelin'. Whenever we eat, this appetite increasing hormone drops, which varies inversely with how overweight we are. Now, in a non-keto diet, whenever we lose weight, the body feels starved and shoots up the ghrelin levels which is why these diets invariably fail. On the other hand, this does not happen in case of the ketotic diet as you shed pounds by the day.
So you're converting healthy fats to brain food while excreting the extra in your pee—kicking your metabolism up a notch! On an average, men burn an extra 450 kcals per day while women burn an extra 150 kcals/day in ketosis, which becomes a lot when it all adds up.
For most people, embarking on a ketogenic diet can be pretty rough and intimidating in the beginning. However, this is not how it ought to be. If we are insulin sensitive and generally healthy, we should be able to tide over these transitions with just a tad bit of discomfort.
Blame it on our sedentary and super-unhealthy lifestyle (think hyper-palatable yummy fried foods with oodles of sugar) that has hijacked this process leaving us vulnerable to obesity.
Few Things to Remember About Ketosis
Ketosis can only be achieved by feeding the body necessary ingredients of a keto-diet, while avoiding substances—like carbs and too much protein—that counter the body's attempts to switch to alternative sources of energy.
If you can't wait to drop those annoying AF kilos, or fit into that noodle-strap dress you've been eyeing for so long—say hello to healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, wild fish and bid sugar and carbs a healthy adieu!