The ketogenic diet is in vogue. But what is actually behind this term, which covers far more than eating as few carbohydrates as possible in everyday nutrition? The ketogenic diet goes far beyond that. It is an extreme form of low-carbohydrate food. The aim is to eat continuously and consistently low in carbohydrates and sugar and instead very high in fat. The users bring their bodies into a kind of “fasting metabolism” and the state of ketosis. It is also the eponym of this form of nutrition.
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What does Ketosis mean?
The human body does not need carbohydrates supplied with food to function. However, the brain, in particular, needs sugar and cannot draw its energy exclusively from fat or proteins. Especially in today’s very carbohydrate-heavy diet, the brain adapted to the wasteful supply of energy from carbohydrates, but this has not always been the case in human history.
If the body receives less than 50 g carbohydrates per day, it sets off a kind of “alternative program from old times” (ketosis). It converts the abundantly supplied fats (during the ketogenic diet) or the body fat (during fasting) in the liver into so-called ketone or ketone bodies. These replace up to 80% of the missing carbohydrates in the brain during energy production. The conversion of proteins covers the remaining sugar requirement of the mind into carbohydrates. The body does not need carbs but burns the fats directly.
A keto diet for beginners
This process of converting fats into ketones does not go from one day to the next. If you have eaten carbohydrates before, you may need several days until your body forms ketones and the brain learns to use them again. For this to work, carbs must be replaced as consistently as possible by good fats.
For example, even a slice of rye bread with jam can exceed the “permitted” intake of carbohydrates of 50 g maximum. An alternative is, for example, special ketogenic bread with butter and fatty cheese, which provides only 7-8 g carbohydrates and saturates more strongly. With the 50 gram limit, the ketogenic diet is clearly below the low carb diets. Although they rely on protein-rich food, up to 120 g carbohydrates (mainly from fruit and vegetables) are still permitted. Fats used less, so the body does not form any ketones.
Who needs a Ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is also successfully used in orthodox medicine. There it finds application in the treatment of epilepsies. The therapy works who do not respond to any other standard medication. In some clinics, the ketogenic diet offered as accompanying nutritional treatment for cancer patients. It based on the idea that the metabolism of cancer patients often altered. Due to the additional burden of the disease, the body needs more fat and protein than in a healthy state.
Cancer patients often also suffer from inflammatory reactions that promote cancer growth. Ketones have an anti-inflammatory effect. Carbohydrates have an anti-inflammatory effect and serve as a source of energy, especially for cancer cells, which need them to overgrow. In this respect, a ketogenic diet strengthens the patient without feeding the cancer growth and at the same time reduces the cancer-promoting inflammatory reactions.
Recently, there has been evidence that ketosis can halt the progression of Alzheimer‘s and even partially reverse existing restrictions. Positive effects have also observed in multiple sclerosis (MS). In spite of all these application possibilities, the following applies: The planning of your ketogenic nutrition must individually prepare for you according to your individual preferences. You should also have your medical condition monitored by specialists.
Ketogenic diet against obesity
Since the change in diet towards ketosis stimulates and improves fat burning, the ketogenic diet also used against high overweight. Dr. Atkins used the “trick” of the body to activate fat as an energy source in the case of carbohydrate deficiency several decades ago for his diet concept of the same name. But the following also applies to overweight: the ketogenic diet needs expert advice, ideally from a nutritionist.
p style=”text-align: justify;”>If you want to eat Ketogenic, you should get the necessary know-how from professionals. These are mainly specialized spa clinics and rehabilitation centers offering these services. There you can learn ketogenic cooking yourself – under medical supervision and expert guidance.