Health Benefits of a Keto Diet
We’ll be covering some key points in case you’re considering switching over to this low-carb diet.
Be sure to read all the way through since we’ll be covering if keto is right for you, its health benefits and ways to overcome its challenges.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet in which you replace carbohydrates with fat as your body’s main source of fuel by restricting carbohydrates and forcing your body to burn fat for fuel through a process called ketosis.
This diet has a number of amazing health benefits that can transform your life, making you feel better and look better in the process.
Weight loss is usually one of the driving factors that make people switch to a ketogenic diet, however, it also includes some other great health benefits.
Potential health benefits include:
Although these are great benefits especially for those with certain medical conditions, there are some people that should tread carefully when considering this low-carb diet.
Who should NOT be on a Keto Diet
There are a few groups of people that should be cautious when attempting the keto diet. Below are some questions to determine if you fall into one of those groups.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions below, please consult with your doctor before starting a keto diet.
Dirty Keto vs. Clean Keto
You can get incredible weight loss results through both clean and dirty keto, but for long term health benefits, clean keto is definitely preferred. A clean keto diet includes far more whole, nutritious foods, while dirty keto contains many processed foods which may lack nutrients.
The major difference between clean keto and dirty keto is the difference in food quality.
Clean keto is more conservative and includes a lot more nutrient-rich whole foods, such as free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, and non-processed seafood.
Dirty keto is more flexible and allows you to consume processed foods that lack certain essential nutrients, such as fast food or other highly processed foods with lots of additives.
That being said, we strongly suggest clean keto as it extends the health benefits of keto far beyond weight loss and you will feel substantially better than you will on dirty keto.
Challenges of a Keto Diet
Along with many health benefits, the keto diet also comes with some challenges along the way which can be difficult to overcome.
When you first begin your keto journey you are likely to experience the keto flu, which is flu-like symptoms during the first stage of your body adapting to this new diet.
In short, this is due to the lack of electrolytes in your body, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, since your body is flushing out more water than it normally does.
If you are starting keto, it’s best to include an electrolyte supplement in your diet to combat these symptoms.
Some symptoms of the keto flu are:
- Flu-like symptoms like muscle soreness and weakness
- Lowered libido
- Changes to bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation
- Intense sugar cravings and withdrawal
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Poor concentration
The keto flu is not fun by any means. In fact, many people that don’t familiarize themselves with the ketogenic lifestyle and these unfavorable symptoms before diving in, tend to quickly fall off the wagon at the first sign of a headache. It’s important to understand that your body is going through some serious changes as it enters into the metabolic state of ketosis. Although these symptoms can be quite a pain - literally - they are perfectly normal as you begin your keto journey. And the good news is that there are ways to ease them, if not avoid them all together.
Here are our top tips for combating the keto flu:
Eat more high-quality fats. Since your body can no longer get its energy from carbs, your body still needs energy and can find it in the form of healthy fats. So, if you eat more healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, and MCT oil, this will help your body switch to burning fat for fuel much more quickly, bringing an end to your keto flu sooner than later. Rule of thumb: fat fight, WITH fat.
Eat more food. Many people make the mistake of not eating enough when starting a keto diet. However, just because you don’t feel good, don’t let that be an excuse not to eat. As we mentioned, your body is going through a tough transition that requires a lot of energy, and if you’re not feeding it, you will only prolong those pesky keto flu symptoms. Don’t be afraid to eat food - it will only help you.
Transition slowly. If you’re used to a traditional high-carb diet, it may be wise to slowly wean yourself off carbs rather than going cold turkey. You’ll still have keto flu symptoms, but they will be much more milder than they would normally and much easier to manage. Try following a simple low-carb diet for a week or two until you feel comfortable before starting keto. Once you’ve got the hang of it, switch to a keto diet.
Drink lots of water. If you can keep yourself hydrated while flushing all those carbs out of your system, you’ll find the keto flu becomes much easier. Dehydration is never good and can lead to some serious health issues like confusion, dizziness and fatigue. When you’re cutting carbs, dehydration can be much worse so it’s important to set a goal to drink at least 1 gallon of water a day for the first week or two when starting keto. This will ensure that your body stays well-hydrated as it depletes through its carb stores and enters ketosis.
Exercise. Nobody wants to exercise when they are dealing with nausea, headaches, and fatigue from the infamous keto flu. However, gentle exercise like restorative yoga and walking can help. Why? Because low-intensity exercise can increase fat burning and kickstart ketosis, meaning you won’t have to suffer from the dreaded keto flu for long.
Meditate. There’s a good chance that you’ve been fueled by glucose for most of your life. So, when glucose suddenly isn’t readily available, your body may think you’re in danger - that you’re in a time of famine or scarcity. This tends to trigger your stress response causing your adrenal glands to release cortisol, which makes you store more fat in places where you don’t want it! An easy way to combat this is by meditating. Meditation is a powerful way to reduce stress. Simply sit still and breathe for 15 minutes. Focus on your breath and try not to let your mind wonder. Sounds simple, but it's definitely worth a try.
Get plenty of sleep. The first week of keto might be one where you consider ditching your alarm clock. Getting enough sleep will lower cortisol levels and help with brain fog, fatigue, and drowsiness. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep each night. If you find it challenging to close your eyes, try a sleepy-time tea with keto-friendly herbs like chamomile.
Electrolyte supplements. As we mentioned, the primary cause of the keto flu is due to a loss of electrolytes. As you deplete your carb stores, you will naturally lose water and these essential minerals, so it’s crucial to your health to replace them. In fact, if you are starting keto, it’s best to include an electrolyte supplement in your diet to avoid these unfavorable symptoms from the get-go.
However, not all electrolyte supplements are beneficial to the keto diet.
Because supplement labels don’t require companies to list certain ingredients, such as maltodextrin, if they are used as a “processing aid”, but will still kick you out of ketosis.
This is why we recommend Hi-Lyte’s Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder since it includes no sugar or maltodextrin and will not break your fast if you are doing intermittent fasting.
But what if you do have some sugar or something else outside the bounds of a keto diet?
What happens if I cheat?
Keto can be tough! Especially when you are a social butterfly that enjoys having a cheat meal with your squad every once in a while. Many people tend to throw in the towel when starting their keto journey because they feel the diet is too restrictive and too difficult to stick with. And they're not wrong. Think about it - if you’ve spent two weeks getting into a state of ketosis and have one cheat meal, you’ll kick yourself out of ketosis and find yourself back at square one. What a headache!
The good news is that there are supplements out there that can help force your body back into ketosis sooner than later.
First, we have to mention beta-hydroxybutyrate also known as BHB.
We won’t get into too many details here, but just know that BHB is the predominant ketone your body produces to use as fuel when you enter ketosis.
It fuels vital organs and it regulates your metabolism.
This being said, when you have a cheat meal or cocktail, you get knocked out of ketosis and your body stops producing ketones.
You want to get back into a state of ketosis as soon as possible.
Rather than panicking, take a deep breath and give Exogenous Ketones a try.
We are all human and slip-ups can happen from time to time. If you accidentally get out of ketosis and are feeling down on yourself, just remember that keto is not just a diet - it’s a lifestyle. You took the first step by making the decision to improve your life by saying goodbye to carbs. Be nice to yourself and if you happen to fall, dust off your knees, pick yourself back up, and keep pushing through on your journey. A ketogenic diet can be tough but supplements like the ones found at Adapted Nutrition can help!
Don’t panic, we have some things that will help you. That’s where Exogenous Ketones help!
Make sure to check out our store for the best products to help you maximize your keto journey.