The ketogenic diet has recently gained popularity, reportedly curing ailments such as diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, cancer, high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease. Let’s explore some of the most common questions about the ketogenic diet so that you can decide whether it is right for you.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet, otherwise known as keto, is a dietary plan where you restrict carbohydrates, eat low to moderate amounts of protein, while getting 75- 80% of your calories from healthy fats.
The primary aim of the ketogenic diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is achieved when you burn fat as your fuel source, rather than glucose. Glucose is the fuel source your body burns when eating a higher carbohydrate diet.
While the ketogenic diet is known for being a high-fat diet, it is also a diet high in vegetables. You must restrict carbs to under 50 grams a day to achieve ketosis, however, nearly all of your carbs come from vegetables on a ketogenic diet. 50 grams of carbs may not sound like a lot, but in reality, you will eat more than 50 grams of carbs because the carb-restriction rule applies to net-carbs. This means you subtract the grams of fiber from the total carb count. Vegetables are very high in fiber, so when you subtract out all of the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs, you are left with a diet high in vegetables.
Can you practice a plant-based diet and a ketogenic diet at the same time?
You do not have to dump butter and collagen protein in your coffee to practice a ketogenic diet. A plant-based approach to the ketogenic diet is the best way to go into ketosis because the biggest mistake people make on a ketogenic diet is to eat too much protein.
Plant-Based Ketogenic Recipe
Isn’t the Ketogenic Diet similar to the Atkins Diet?
Often confused with the Atkins diet, there are two main difference between the two. The Atkins diet does not discern between healthy and unhealthy fat, so people following the Atkins diet tend to consume a lot of saturated fat from animals. Keto focuses on healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and fats naturally found in plants, such as avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.
The other primary difference between keto and Atkins is that you must restrict protein to moderate levels in order to stay in ketosis, so the infamous bacon wrapped burgers of the Atkins diet are not keto compliant.
When your body is in ketosis, it will convert any extra protein you consume into glucose, kicking you out of ketosis. It is just as important to monitor protein intake as it is to monitor carb intake to maintain ketosis. Supplementing with a low carb protein powder for keto is always recommended.
Check out The SEXY Diet by Summer Peterson
Why would someone following a plant-based diet want to go into ketosis?
There are thousands of clinical studies to validate the health benefits of a plant-based diet. The two main reasons to include ketosis into your already healthy diet are weight loss and metabolic flexibility.
A plant-based diet often leads to weight loss, but it does not guarantee that you will get to your ideal body weight. Going into a state of ketosis puts your body into a fat-burning mode. If you want to lose weight, try a few weeks of plant-based ketosis and watch the pounds melt away.
Plant-Based Ketogenic Recipe
Is it safe to stay in ketosis forever?
The ketogenic diet is not meant to be practiced indefinitely. Ketosis is a state to be practiced cyclically. Your body is designed to burn carbs as fuel just as much as it is designed to burn fat for fuel. Having the flexibility to switch back and forth between the two is the definition of metabolic flexibility.
Metabolic flexibility appears to be one of the main benefits of practicing a cyclical ketogenic diet. The benefits of metabolic flexibility include a faster metabolism, mental clarity, increased insulin sensitivity and the ability to burn more fat when you are not exercising.
What is the best way to get started?
The easiest way to get started on a ketogenic diet is to start with a 24-72 hour fast. Nothing forces your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source better than fasting. Once your body is in the fat-burning mode, it is easy for it to adapt to burning fat for fuel through your dietary choices. During a ketogenic cycle, you would immediately begin eating a diet high in vegetables and healthy fats when you break your fast.
What would you eat on a plant-based ketogenic diet?
If you currently follow a plant-based diet, then you already eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. There are a few small adjustments you will need to make when going keto. Choose avocados, olives and berries as your primary fruit sources. Vegetables will be the foundation of every meal. You will skip the corn, potatoes and tubers and make friends with the leafy-green family, cruciferous vegetables, and fermented vegetables.
Avoid grains and legumes while in ketosis, instead choosing moderate amounts of nuts and seeds, such as
macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Also, get ready to use liberal portions of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil with every dish, which will fuel your brain, and turn on your satiety hormones, so you won’t feel hungry with the smaller volume of food.
The ketogenic diet is a calorie dense diet, but portions often look smaller than what you are used to. Keeping your protein levels low enough will not be challenging when practicing a plant-based diet as long as you do not use added protein powders and processed soy products. The main thing people restrict on the ketogenic diet is sugar, processed foods, and protein, which is very easy to do when following a plant-based diet.