The keto diet is not a new invention, although judging by its ever-growing popularity in recent years, you might think it is. What we know as the keto diet was developed as early as 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder, who used it to treat epilepsy in his patients effectively. Indeed, the concept of a low-carb, high-protein, and high-carb diet is not new. The first-ever documented record of such a diet was in 776 BC. At the time, Olympic athletes used a keto diet to improve their athletic prowess and performance.
The keto diet is much more natural for the human body than the traditional American diet, consisting of simple white carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats. On the keto diet, you eat minimal carbohydrates or sugar. Instead of using carbohydrates and sugars (glucose) as fuel, your body uses ketones. Ketones are a chemical that the body uses for energy when no glucose is left. They are a chemical byproduct produced when the liver begins burning fat. They are used as a short-term fuel supply by your body when glucose is not available. This is why the keto diet is not a long-term diet approach. Instead, it is an intermittent diet approach for long-term weight loss. You will have to go back to introducing smaller portions of carbohydrates to your system after a few months of keto, after which you can begin the process of ketosis once again.
Your Path to Ketosis and Lasting Weight Loss Success
Once your body burns ketones continuously for a few days, it will automatically go into ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, you need less insulin because you are not ingesting any glucose. As a result, your body produces less insulin, reducing insulin resistance (as I will discuss further in this chapter). The keto diet relies on minimal carbohydrates and sugar, moderate proteins, and high fat. You cannot overeat protein on this diet because the body stores the energy from excess protein as sugar (glucose), preventing or delaying you from achieving a state of ketosis.
The keto diet is one of the few popular low-carb diets worldwide. You may have heard of other low-carb diets, such as the Atkins and Paleo. However, the keto diet remains consistently the most popular because it allows a lot of room for you to eat delicious, tasty, and filling meals, and users see their weight drop off considerably while still being energized and well-nourished. The high-fat and moderate-carbohydrate requirement of the keto diet is a blessing because these two macronutrients are known for leaving you feeling full, satiated, and well-nourished. You may have noticed, for example, that eating a couple of hard-boiled eggs is enough to keep you feeling full for hours despite their small size. The high protein content in eggs explains it.
Embrace Nutrient-Rich Fruits and Vegetables for Lasting Health
Another excellent benefit of the keto diet is that it allows you to consume most fruit and vegetables with your meals (as you will see in the handy meal plan at the end of this book). This is a beautiful benefit because you can eat highly nutritious fruit and vegetables, many of which can be prepared in vegetarian and vegan styles. In essence, you do not have to worry about losing out on your nutrients, including your vitamins and minerals. Today, many of us overeat not necessarily because we are hungry but because our bodies crave the nutrients they can’t get from processed, heavy-carb foods.
And while it is not necessary, most keto dieters include intermittent dieting as part of their keto lifestyle. Don’t be put off by its formal-sounding name. Intermittent fasting is simply regular fasting during a particular time window. Most people who intermittently fast follow the 16:8 fasting program that allows users to eat within an eight-hour window.
How Intermittent Fasting Accelerates Keto Diet Results
Intermittent fasting works like the keto diet, so it works wonderfully when paired. When you eat, your body breaks down the food to make glucose. Any excess glucose that you do not use is stored as fat in your body. Intermittent fasting gives your body enough time to use the fat held from food before fueling your body with food once more.
This is why intermittent fasting is such a great way to lose weight. It ensures that your body is not storing excess glucose or excess fat. You use it all up before new glucose is introduced into the body. Both intermittent fasting and the keto diet have one goal: to burn up fat in the body. When paired together, they work brilliantly well to speed up weight loss. So, what is the secret of intermittent fasting (IF)? Why does it work so successfully in aiding weight loss?
How Intermittent Fasting Combats Insulin Resistance for Lasting Results
You will have noticed that there is a certain weight that your body seems to always revert to, no matter how much you try to diet or exercise. When you eat foods rich in glucose, your liver releases insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to enter your blood cells and energize you. If you eat too many refined carbohydrates or simple sugars at once, your body must produce excess insulin in one go. Like any other body part, your liver is a machine. Over time, if you overwork a machine, it will stop working correctly. And, like all machines, your liver also begins to settle into a pattern. If you introduce a way where you eat simple carbs and sugars every day, your liver will get used to producing a certain amount of insulin. If you have too much insulin consistently, you will become insulin-resistant. Your body is not responding to insulin as it ought to. If your body produces insulin, but your cells are only half-responding to that insulin, then you will feel only half as full as you should because some of that glucose is not penetrating your blood cells to energize you. Instead, it is being stored as fat. This causes you to overeat to feel full, causing you to gain weight. If left unchecked over a long period, insulin resistance leads to prediabetes and diabetes.
When you IF, you allow your blood sugar levels to decrease naturally. Rather than constantly overproducing insulin, you force your body to burn fat for fuel. The next time you eat, your blood sugar levels won’t climb as high as the last. Over time, you are then able to break through your insulin resistance because your blood sugar levels remain at a consistently healthy rate. Intermittent fasting is the superhero that can repair insulin resistance. It resets these digestive mechanisms in your body, helping you to lose weight quickly and effectively. Consequently, when you fast intermittently, your keto diet works optimally because your digestive system works optimally.