Whether motivated by the idea of weight loss, better focus for slamming projects, or simply the desire to try something new, the keto diet is having a moment. Everyone from fitness junkies and busy entrepreneurs to average Janes and Joes seem to be testing it out, so we couldn't help but dig a little deeper. On the surface, the keto diet sounds like butter, coffee, and meat-heavy meals. But there's more to it that's worth considering, especially if you're thinking of trying it on yourself. If you’re about to jump on this nutritional bandwagon, here are a few things to know before you give it a go.
Understand the basics.The keto (short for ketogenic) diet is a nutrition plan that calls for high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrates. It aims to dramatically reduce your body’s reliance on carbs, replacing them with healthy fats instead. This type of intake helps your body reach a metabolic state where it relies on fat for energy, rather than carbs and sugars. In turn, your body is fueled by small molecules called “ketones”, which your body begins making for energy when your glucose levels are super-duper low. This process is called ketosis.
Define your motivation.As with any major adjustment to your life, especially one involving your diet, it’s important to define your motivations and goals before making the shift. So many diets are quick, results-driven fads that are hard to adhere to and shame or punish people into eating a certain way. Whether you’re doing it for three months or eternity, consider the keto diet to be a lifestyle change, rather than a diet. (And only keep it up as long as it serves your highest self and makes you feel good!) Some of the benefits keto-enthusiasts tout are:
- Better focus. Heightened mental clarity is at the top of keto-lovers' lists.
- Weight loss. The most well-known perk of going keto is probably a trimmer, fitter waistline.
- Blood sugar levels equalized. By eliminating a surplus of sugar, your body’s insulin levels are more equalized, which means less mood swings and crazy stress cravings.
- More energy. Without the crazy crashes of high-sugar foods (and thus lower insulin levels), your body is more alert, and more energetic to tackle the day.