Low-carb diets have been popular since the Atkins craze hit almost 15 years ago, but in fact, the human species have cycled in and out of periods of low-carb eating - or a metabolic process known as ketosis - throughout our evolutionary history. The ketogenic diet, also known as keto, combines the traditional low-carb spread with a good helping of healthy fats, and some say it can not only help you lose weight, but also boost your brain power. It is even used therapeutically to treat neurodegenerative conditions such as alzheimer's, epilepsy and in the treatment of cancer.
Here, we take a look at the basic premise behind keto, the type of person who might benefit from it, and what you can eat on the diet.
What In The World Does Ketogenic Mean?
When you eat normally, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which acts as your fuel for daily functioning. The essence of the ketogenic diet is that by drastically reducing the number of carbs you take in, you force your body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis. Instead of using glucose for fuel, in ketosis, your body burns off its fat stores. This process is triggered by the production of ketones by your liver, which basically turns on the switch between burning glucose and utilising fat reserves or dietary fat.
Ketones have a bad reputation because of their association with certain medical conditions. For example, in uncontrolled type one diabetes your body produces too many ketones which can cause a raft of medical issues. However, when the ketogenic diet is done correctly, you will not produce enough ketones to create a problem; just enough to get you burning excess fat. In all instances where you have a particular medical concern we recommend consulting with your healthcare provider.
The ketogenic diet in practice
Keto is different from a straightforward low-carb approach because of the large amounts of fat you eat.
The emphasis with this diet is on fats, not protein. In fact, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis, through a process called nucleogenesis, where extra protein is converted into glucose. This isn’t an “all the meat you can eat” diet. Careful consideration needs to be given to the fat to protein ratio, as well as a focus on an abundance of quality non starchy vegetables to ensure you give your body the micronutrients - vitamins and minerals - it needs to function at a cellular level.
By following the protocol as laid out in re:cal you will reset your metabolism to burn your stores of bodily fat. The initial phase of re:cal utilises ketosis to help kickstart your wellness journey. Consider it a therapeutic way to heal your metabolism before you can cycle into periods of eating whole foods that contain moderate amounts of carbohydrates to fuel strength, endurance or day-to-day living.