In recent years, the ketogenic diet (often known as the keto diet) has regained popularity as an effective weight-loss solution.
For those unfamiliar with the keto diet, it is a diet low in carbs and high in fats.
Besides its benefits as a weight-loss option, ketogenic diets may also have multiple health benefits.
Even so, ketogenic diets have some side effects as well.
Is the keto lifestyle for you? Are there any ways to avoid the negative side effects? Continue reading to find out more!
What is Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shares similarities with the Atkins diet.
By reducing carb intake and replacing it with fat, your body enters a metabolic state known as ketosis.
In the state of ketosis, your body becomes a machine that is extremely efficient at utilizing fat as an energy source. This is because, on a ketogenic diet, insulin levels are low, resulting in easier access to your fat stores (1).
While the fastest way to enter the ketosis state is by fasting, it is an unsustainable method as we simply cannot be in a fasted state forever.
On the other hand, you can be on the keto diet indefinitely, allowing you to remain in the state of ketosis for a prolonged period of time — allowing you to achieve the benefits of fasting (e.g. weight loss) without having the need to fast.
Types of Keto Diets
There are several variations of the keto diet:
- The standard keto diet: This diet is low in carbs (5 percent), moderate in protein (20 percent), and high in fat (75 percent).
- The cyclical keto diet: This diet requires you to cycle between ketogenic days and high-carb refeed days, e.g. you’ll be on the keto diet for 5 days before switching to 2 high-carb days, and repeat.
- The targeted keto diet: This diet involves the consumption of extra carbs before/after workouts.
- The high-protein keto diet: This diet is similar to the standard keto diet, but as its name suggests, it is significantly higher in protein (35 percent) and lower in fats (60 percent) and carbs (5 percent).
Currently, extensive research has only been conducted on standard and high-protein keto diets. The cyclical and targeted keto diets are considered more advanced methods and are mainly used by athletes.
As such, we would mainly focus on the standard ketogenic diet so as to keep things as simple as possible, especially if you are just getting into the keto lifestyle.
Why Choose a Keto Diet: The Benefits
As mentioned, the keto diet may have a wide array of health benefits.
- Improved weight loss
As previously mentioned, the keto diet lowers insulin levels, turning your body into a more efficient fat-burning machine.
That’s not all, apart from being an effective method to lose weight, studies have found that the keto diet may reign supreme over other diets — even the traditional low-fat ones (2, 3).
Another study conducted found that when compared to individuals on a low-calorie low-fat diet, individuals on a keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight, and had improved cholesterol levels (4).
These positive effects on weight loss could be attributed to the increased ketones (fuel produced from fat), lowered blood sugar levels, and improved insulin sensitivity as a result of being in a ketosis state.
- Enhanced appetite control
Being on a keto diet reduces the feelings of hunger as increased fat in your diet can leave you feeling full.
Studies have shown that in a state of ketosis, your body is able to access and burn your fat reserves. This results in the satiation and suppression of appetite (5) .
This makes it easier for you to stick to the diet and lose weight. You no longer have to fight the hunger pangs and never-ending food cravings!
- Control blood sugar levels
Apart from the effects on weight loss, the keto diet may also help individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes manage their condition.
Research has shown that the keto diet is effective in lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity among diabetic individuals. Hence, diabetic individuals need not rely heavily on medications and this could decrease the risks of high insulin levels (6).
Additionally, given the link between weight and type 2 diabetes, diabetic individuals can further benefit from the weight loss effects of being on a keto diet.
That’s not all, these benefits may even be applicable in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among prediabetic individuals.
- Increased energy levels and mental performance
When in a ketosis state, instead of dietary carbs, your brain uses ketones as brain fuel.
As such, when you’re on a keto diet, fuel (ketones) for the brain is available in abundance. This reduces the problems experienced with sharp increases in blood sugar — just think about how sleepy and unfocused you become after a heavy lunch.
With that, you would likely have increased focus, concentration, and mental clarity at work!
- Increased physical endurance
For individuals who are looking to improve their physical fitness, keto diets may also increase their physical endurance as well.
Apart from a reduction in body fat percentage and weight loss, the keto diet allows you to use your fat reserves for energy. Unlike your body’s glycogen storage which lasts for a mere couple of hours of exercise, your fat stores can last you for weeks — this is valuable among endurance athletes (7).
Apart from the aforementioned benefits, recent studies — recent preliminary studies suggest that the keto diet may have the potential for other health benefits. Some examples include treating cancer and slowing tumor growth, slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, improving symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and reducing muscle aches.
Overall, beyond just weight loss, the keto diet may offer multiple benefits (e.g. metabolic, neurological, and reducing insulin sensitivity) to the user. This suggests that perhaps the keto lifestyle is one that is worth adopting.
What Not to Eat on A Keto Diet
In order to achieve the state of ketosis, any food that is high in carbs should be avoided.
Here are some examples of food that you should avoid consuming:
- Sugary foods: Cakes, ice-cream, sugar sodas, fruit juice, smoothies, and candy.
- Fruit: In general, avoid all fruits except small portions of low-carb fruits (e.g. strawberries, blueberries).
- Grains/starches: Bread, rice, pasta, cereal, and potatoes
- Certain condiments: Certain condiments contain a fair amount of sugar, check the labels to be sure.
- Alcohol: Some alcohol beverages are high in carbs (e.g. beer, spirit mixed in sugary sodas).
What Foods to Eat
Apart from consuming low amounts of carbs, you need to be consuming moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fats. Here are some options to consider:
- Meat: Chicken, turkey, steak, pork, (ham, sausage, bacon in moderation).
- Fish: Salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel.
- Fats: Butter, unprocessed cheese, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil.
- Low-carb vegetables: Broccoli, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, and celery.
- Condiments: Stick to salt, pepper, and healthy herbs and spices, avoid pre-packaged condiments.
In case you do feel the need to snack a little, here are some keto-approved snacks:
- A handful of nuts and seeds mixed with yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs
- 90-percent dark chocolate
- Celery with salsa dip
Keep in mind that when you’re on a keto diet, the aim is to achieve ketosis. Apart from restricting your carb intake, avoid consuming excessive amounts of protein as they would just be converted to glucose, slowing down the effects of being in a ketosis state.
Lastly, consume sufficient fats! This is important as fats are needed to make you feel satiated and sustain you throughout your day — this is what separates being on a keto diet and starving.
Side Effects of the Keto Diet
The keto diet is generally safe for healthy individuals. However, as the body adapts to this new diet, some people may experience certain side effects.
The first one would be the ‘keto flu’. You may experience these symptoms within a few days of starting on the keto diet:
- Inability to concentrate
The main reason behind the symptoms of the keto flu is the sudden reduction in carbohydrate consumption.
Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates results in water retention in the body. When on a keto diet, the lack of carbs may result in the excess loss of water in the body. You may experience higher urination frequency and as such, your body loses extra salt too.
While these symptoms are not usually life-threatening and will eventually disappear, they can be disruptive to daily routines — especially if you need to work or be efficient and on the ball.
Hence, to help reduce these symptoms, apart from ensuring that you drink enough water and take enough salt, you need to ensure that your supplementation is right too — that is where super greens can help you.
Super Greens: Supplementing Your Keto Diet Needs
Super greens are dietary supplements that are made from a variety of vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens.
What sets ours apart is that our ingredients — a blend of 16 organic fruits and vegetables are carefully selected to create our product, SuperGreen Tonik.
Furthermore, our product contains ingredients that have proven adaptogenic properties, meaning it can effectively support your body to adapt to the stressors of being on the keto diet and as your body goes through weight loss.
Our secret ingredients include Ashwagandha Root Extract and Rhodiola Rosea.
Ashwagandha Root Extract
In case you have not heard Ashwagandha is an incredible medicinal herb with multiple health benefits.
Some of the benefits can include reducing blood sugar levels, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, improving testosterone in men, and reducing inflammation.
However, this herb is best known for its ability to reduce stress, and this has been supported by multiple studies (8).
Additionally, Ashwagandha may also improve general memory, task performance, and the ability to concentrate (9).
Given the stress-busting properties and ability to improve cognition, Ashwagandha may just be the herb you need to strengthen your body and reduce the chances of suffering the side effects of the keto diet.
Similar to Ashwagandha, Rhodiola is also a natural substance with adaptogenic properties that can help increase your body’s stress resistance.
Rhodiola is also able to help fight fatigue. Research has shown that individuals who consumed Rhodiola experienced a significant increase in energy levels, stress symptoms, quality of life, mood, and concentration (10).
As such, Rhodiola Rosea may also help improve the fatigue symptoms exhibited during the initial phase of the keto diet.
More importantly, Ashwagandha Root Extract and Rhodiola Rosea are safe for daily consumption and our product ensures that these ingredients are included in its optimal dosage.
Furthermore, because super greens are made from nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, it is packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals that you require. This ensures that you will meet your daily micronutrient intake, despite being on a diet that might be restricted in some food groups.
Are Super Greens Keto Friendly?
On the point of dieting, we understand that the number of calories you can consume daily might be under scrutiny.
With that in mind, our product could be a useful component of your diet as you can get all the benefits of the adaptogenic ingredients, vitamins, and minerals at a mere 40 calories!
One additional benefit is that super greens can also be friendly on your wallet — prices of greens powders typically cost less than 3 dollars per serving. This is a reasonably good price considering all the ingredients that go into making them.
Maybe you have decided that the keto diet is not for you, but you are still looking for options to achieve a healthier body or greater mental focus. Super greens can also play a role in helping those trying to eat a clean diet or detox.
The keto diet is a commitment and can be difficult at times. While it can be effective for weight loss, do be cautious when cutting out carbs entirely as they can be important for metabolic functions and for day-long energy release. Remember that people on a keto diet often experience side effects.
Should you find yourself struggling with fatigue, illness, or brain fog due to dieting, you might want to consider supplementing your diet with super greens.
Not only can they help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet, but the adaptogenic properties of ingredients such as Ashwagandha Root Extract and Rhodiola Rosea may also just be the things you need to overcome the flu-like stress symptoms caused by the keto diet.