If you’re on a weight-loss journey, or just want a healthier diet, you’ve probably heard of keto. But there’s a lot of confusing information out there about what, exactly, keto is. Is this food keto? Is that food keto? Maybe yes and maybe no — because it’s not exactly a kind of food.
“Keto” is short for “ketosis.” When your body’s in ketosis, it means you’re burning fat for fuel. Sounds good, right? But how do you get your body to burn fat for fuel? The simple answer is you stop feeding it sugar. And when we say “sugar,” we mean sugar, but we also mean foods that act like sugar in your body. (We’re looking at you, processed carbs!)
When you cut way down on sugar and carbs, and shift your intake mainly to fat, fiber, and protein, your body is forced to burn fat for fuel. That’s why people lose weight, and that’s why the keto diet has gotten so popular.
So if you’re looking for weight control, maybe the keto way of eating is for you! Depends on your willingness to steer your eating habits away foods that are high in sugar and processed carbs and towards whole foods based on fiber, fat, and protein.
But there are other reasons besides weight loss why people go keto. Here are five of them:
1. Reduces AppetiteEver noticed that when you eat one Oreo, you only want 10 more? Sugar and carbs are like that — they can actually fuel your appetite rather than satisfy it. Fiber, fat, and protein, on the other hand, are truly satiating. They not only make you feel full, they keep you feeling full longer. (Just try eating 10 pork chops.)
2. Improves SkinStudies show that high levels of insulin (as a result of eating things like sugary foods and low-fat dairy) can add to skin problems like acne. Ugh. Who wants that? But cutting way back on the sugar and processed carbs can make a huge difference in the health and appearance of your skin, because it’s correcting the hormonal imbalance of high insulin.
3. Reduces InflammationEver heard of chronic inflammation? Yeah, it’s not good. It increases the risk of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Inflammation is often the result of dietary choices, including sugar-sweetened beverages, refined carbs like white bread and pastries, and certain processed meats.
The good news is that reducing your intake of these foods alone helps reduce inflammation. But a keto diet adds to that effect by introducing foods that are actually anti-inflammatory — omega-3-rich fish, berries with inflammation-reducing polyphenols, and almost any vegetable that grows above ground (root vegetables are mostly too starchy for keto).
4. Stabilizes Blood Sugar and InsulinProcessed carbs, especially if they’re low in fiber, quickly break down to simple sugars in your body, which (as you would expect) increased blood sugar levels. That triggers a release of insulin, and when that cycle keeps repeating it can actually make you insulin resistant, and lead to type 2 diabetes.
But that cycle can be put in reverse! As you reduce your intake of carbohydrates on a keto diet, blood sugar decreases, and insulin sensitivity increases. Many people with type 2 diabetes actually find that a keto diet reduces the insulin dosage they need. And, in turn, losing weight gets easier when insulin resistance is lower.
If you take medication to regulate your blood sugar, consult your doctor before starting a keto diet. That way, your doctor can adjust your medication dosage accordingly.
5. Just Helps You Feel GoodNo surprise — nutrition affects our mental and emotional health as well as our physical health. Sometimes, people who constantly feel distracted, sluggish, irritated, anxious — any and all of those things — don’t realize how closely connected these feelings are to what they’re eating. When you cut down on the sugar and refined carbs, you might be surprised that you just feel better. Maybe that’s because your body was really meant to burn fat for fuel.
So is the keto way of eating for you? It’s up to you! Here at Nush Foods we don’t really tell people what diet they should follow. We know, however, that just about everyone can benefit from cutting down on sugar, and that’s why all our snack cakes, cookies, and low carb pancake mixes were created with an anti-sugar frame of mind. Just reach out to email@example.com if you want to know more!