With thousands of success stories of people losing incredible amounts of weight on the keto diet and the scientific research to back it up, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular diets today.
The ketogenic diet is a diet that’s very low in carbs and sugar and high in healthy fats (think avocados and extra virgin olive oil). Unlike other ways of eating, keto is designed to change the way your body burns fat to fuel weight loss and support health. Once it does, your body enters a state called ketosis.
Ketosis works like this: Normally, the body runs on simple sugars and carbohydrates we eat from foods like rice, bread, beans and fruit. The keto diet changes that up by restricting carbs to only a few small servings each day. In turn, this leaves the body with no choice but to switch over to using ketones — a high-energy fuel source made in the liver and produced during the breakdown of fats.
All this means if done correctly — without cheating or eating unhealthy foods — keto dieters burn more fat than other diets because the body has no choice but to rely upon its own supply of stored fat to sustain itself. In ketosis, your body can turn into a fat-burning machine! But the keto diet has also been linked with many other important benefits, including improved mental clarity and focus, improved insulin sensitivity (a marker of metabolic health), lower cholesterol, and even better overall physical performance in some athletes.
The Challenge of the Keto Diet and Doing it Wrong
The keto diet can turn your body into an efficient fat-burning machine through ketosis. By sticking to the keto standard of 20-50 carbs per day, it can take an average person about 2–4 days to get into ketosis.
But for a variety of reasons, it can sometimes take longer or be significantly more difficult getting into ketosis and staying there. This can be affected by factors including age, activity level, stress, as well as your metabolism. And as your body adapts, you may also experience symptoms like weakness, headaches, dizziness, and poor concentration collectively known as “keto flu.”
Not everyone has difficulty or experiences keto flu, and these issues are temporary. Unfortunately, some people still give up before they start to see results.
But there are proven techniques that can help make doing keto easier for everyone.