Few diets have divided the health and fitness community quite as much as the ketogenic diet. Labelled by some as a fad and others as a weight loss miracle, this diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that is actually prescribed by doctors to help reduce epileptic seizures in children.

 

But what is the keto diet, what are the principles and are the diet’s detractors right, or is this truly an effective, fat-burning diet?

 

How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work?

 

The ketogenic diet works by depriving the body of glucose, a primary energy source and one that we mainly get from carbohydrates. When there is not a sufficient amount of glucose to fuel the body, the liver produces something known as “ketones”, which then provides the fuel.

 

Ketones are synthesized from fat and the more of this the body has, the more will be produced. Once insulin levels drop the body enters a stage known as “ketosis” in which it switches to using fat as a primary energy source. And because the body is wrapped in insulating layers of fat, the weight loss begins.

 

Contrary to what you might think, the ketogenic diet should not leave you feeling tired and rundown all day as your body still has an energy source. It is also effective in reducing hunger.

 

The body also produces ketones when you fast and when you drastically reduce your calorie intake. The ketogenic diet is simply a way to trigger this process without starving yourself of essential nutrients.

 

Is the Ketogenic Diet Right for me?

 

It’s not recommended for everyone and there are some situations in which you will need to first consult with your doctor or to get some additional support. These include times when:

 

  • You are breastfeeding
  • You are on medication
  • You are taking insulin to control diabetes
  • You have a preexisting illness

 

Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet

 

The ketogenic diet is not an excuse to eat foods rich in saturated fats, nor is it a ticket to eating all you want without worrying about weight gain. You still need to focus on healthy eating, but you can take a few more liberties than when you’re trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

 

Most keto diets recommend that you consume fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day, with some recommending no more than 20. Foods that are very low in carbs include:

 

  • Fish/Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables (usually anything grown above ground)

 

Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

 

The reality of this diet can be a shock to anyone who goes into it thinking that they can eat what they want and enjoy the dieting process, because many of the comfort foods we like to binge on are rich in carbs and are therefore out of the question.

 

The following foods will likely push you well above your daily dose of carbs in one sitting:

 

  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Root Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Cereals

 

You will also need to keep an eye on the sugar that you consume as it’s often used to improve the taste of many processed foods, as well as being added to coffees, teas and many other things we consume on a daily basis. And don’t think you can just substitute it for honey, because as far as the keto diet is concerned, it’s just as bad.

 

Finding an effective sugar substitute that doesn’t pile on the carbs can be one of the trickiest aspects of the ketogenic diet for anyone used to a high-sugar diet.

 

What to Drink on a Keto Diet

 

Coffee and tea made with carb-free, all-natural sweeteners like stevia can satisfy your need for caffeine on the keto diet, but water is usually the best choice. Juices, smoothies and soda will send you over your carbohydrate limit and are best avoided.

 

Alcohol on a Ketogenic Diet

 

Alcohol is never a good idea if you want to lose weight, but there are better choices if you can’t say no to an occasional tipple.

 

Beer and cocktails are probably the worst things you can drink on a ketogenic diet, but red wine will give you the alcohol you need without all those extra carbs. Sprits are even better, but remember that all alcohol is calorific and will therefore only slow you down on your weight loss journey.

 

Which Celebrities Use the Keto Diet?

 

Halle Berry is one of the most famous names that has been linked to the ketogenic diet, and she has been quite vocal in her support of it. She claims that it helps with her diabetes and also allows her to eat healthy fats all day long.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow, who seems to have been linked with every diet going, is also a proponent of the keto diet. Just like Halle Berry, she’s an ageless beauty who manages to remain elegant and trim despite having children and despite the tides of time working against her, but she also started a lifestyle company that endorses vaginal steaming, so maybe we should take what she says with a pinch of salt.

 

It’s not just actresses either. Former world champion heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury is currently said to be using this diet in order to get back into shape. The diet was recommended by a nutritionist that the Fury team drafted in to help cut the British boxer down to size. His calorie intake was said to be 3,500, so it’s likely a lot more than the average dieter, but the principles of the diet were the same.

 

The Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy

 

In the UK and the US, this diet is widely prescribed for children who don’t respond well to other treatments. In the UK, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which oversees the National Health Service (NHS) for the Department of Health, recommends that it be prescribed for children only. That’s not to say that it’s somehow dangerous when utilized by adults for weight loss purposes, but that it’s not as effective in adults with non-responsive epilepsy.

 

Are Raspberry Ketone Pills a Scam?

 

Yes, pretty much. Your body can enter a ketogenic state simply by following the guidelines mentioned above and there is no proof that these pills will assist with that process. What’s more, ketone pills operate on the boundaries of the supplement industry. They are unregulated, not produced by well-known and reputable companies, and don’t always contain what’s on the label.

 

And just like the acai berry cleanse craze, these pills are often used to trap buyers into subscriptions that they can’t get out of. They make unsubstantiated claims, they use labels like “Endorsed by [Insert name of celebrity]” and “Backed by medical experts” to get you to part with your money, even though a simple Google search will tell you that none of that is true. These pills are one of the biggest reasons why the ketogenic diet has a bad name in many circles, because when people hear the name “keto” they automatically think of the raspberry ketone scams, as opposed to the clinically proven diet.

 

Even if there is the tinniest slither of truth to the claims that raspberry ketones are effective, it’s not a product you should be buying into until those scams disappear.

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