Have you ever heard of the keto diet? It originally came to be back in the early 1920s when Dr. Russel Wilder of the Mayo clinic initiated it as a treatment for epilepsy, primarily for the treatment of children suffering from it.

However, in more recent decades, the keto diet has also become very reputable as a weight loss regime.

But what is the keto diet, is the keto diet safe? How does it work, and is it safe for me? Let’s dive right on in to answer all of those questions right now.

What is the Keto Diet?

You can simply consider it a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low carb intake diet.

The keto diet is one of the low-carb diets. Compared to the paleo diet, it has a very strict limit on carbohydrates.

For more difference and common between the keto diet and paleo diet, read this article.

The idea behind this diet is to make us reach ‘ketosis’.  In this state, we can use fat as the main energy source for daily activities, no longer carbohydrates.

So it is imperative to maintain the carbohydrate count within a particular range while you are on the keto diet. Otherwise, you won’t reach the state of ketosis which will not allow you to achieve the desired results.

How Many Carbs Are Allowed on a Keto Diet?

It is important to make your calorie intake ratio similar to the following:

  • 5 to 10% of calories from carbs
  • 20 to 25% of calories from protein
  • 70 to 80% of calories from fat

But let us admit the fact that these percentages are not always the most sensible guideline. You won’t be able to measure this precisely in real life without context.

It will be much simpler to assert that you will need to consume less than 50 grams per day to reach ketosis. Some people may need to eat less, while others may eat more.

Therefore, to carry out the keto diet, we have to screen the food we eat.

There are a lot of foods suitable for a keto diet. Avocado, eggs, and homemade keto bread are all very good choices. 

You can use almond flour (or coconut flour), eggs, healthy fat, and xanthan gum to make keto bread. It is similar to plain wheat bread, but the carbohydrates are about 20 times less than regular bread.

Don’t know how to make them? Then owning a recipe book will help you a lot.

Control Carb Intake and Be Accurate

That’s why the keto diet is very difficult for most people. You’ll need to calculate and limit your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less.

It is important to know that you are making an effort to change the chemistry of your internal system. And you ought to take extreme measures for doing that.

A slight mistake will affect your result to a considerable extent.

Summary

Keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and very low carb diet. This diet achieves the goal of losing weight by reducing the intake of carbs to allow our bodies to reach ‘ketosis’. But it’s not easy to get there, and you need to strictly control your carbs intake.

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

Every day, our bodies use a tremendous amount of carbohydrates to fuel the energy that we need to live our day to day lives. However, when you cut out carbohydrates from your diet, your body enters the stage known as ‘ketosis’.

That is more or less your body’s ‘starvation mode’ is activated. Our bodies don’t know why the carbs disappeared from the diet that it’s used to, but it knows it needs to continue to create energy to survive.

starvation mode

As a result, it begins to use all the excess fats in the body to create this energy to fuel our bodies. And this leads to significant weight loss.

And since your only intake are high-fat foods and some proteins when you’re on a keto diet, the body remains in ketosis and continues to rapidly burn fat!

People who end up deciding to try a keto diet are often taken aback by just how powerful a diet it can be. As the weight will quickly fall off and continue to do so consistently for months on end, so long as you sustain this diet.

Summary

When carbohydrate intake decreases, our body will activate the ‘starvation mode’ and begin to use fat to provide energy for our daily activities, thus achieving the effect of weight loss.

How Long Does It Take to Get into Ketosis?

Our bodies don’t enter the phase of ketosis immediately as soon as carbohydrates are cut out of our diets. Typically, it’ll take anywhere between 2-5 days for your body to finish using all the usable carbs inside of you and realize there’s no more to go around.

It’ll be at this point that your body will begin to transition into ketosis and the unbelievable waves of weight loss will initiate.

How to Know If I Enter Ketosis?

If you’re wondering how you can tell whether or not you’ve entered ketosis, you can find urine/blood keto strips at either a pharmacy or online which can inform you just how far into ketosis you are.

  1. Urine keto strips. A cheaper and more convenient choice. While using urine keto strips, it is required to gather the urine in a clean and dry container and dip the strip’s end into it. Following this, you need to wait for about 40 seconds.
  2. Blood keto strips. Blood keto strips are more accurate as compared to the urine strips. However, this process might be a bit expensive as well. And you have to prick your finger every time you measure.

These strips come with a color chart that helps to evaluate ketone bodies from small amounts to big amounts as well.

And the desirable ketones level should be between 1.5 and 3 mmol/L (15–300 mg/dL).

urine-keto-strips

They’re extremely handy when it comes to knowing whether or not you’ve managed to cut out all of the carbs out of your body, and knowing when you’ve entered ketosis officially.

Signs of Ketosis

You can also check if you are in ketosis from the following symptoms/signs.

  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite suppression
  • Increased focus and energy
  • Short-term fatigue

Summary

Usually, it takes 2-5 days to get into ketosis, but it varies from person to person. Using Keto strips can tell you whether you have entered ketosis.

Side Effect of Keto Diet

‘Ketosis’ is the ultimate goal of a keto diet, which allows our bodies to use fat as the main source of energy.

However, when your body is so reliant on a diet with carbs mixed into it for so many years, a quick transition to suddenly not eating any can throw your body into a bit of confusion.

Therefore, most people will experience some side effects of the keto diet. But it only happens during the transition to fat burning 2–3 days usually perhaps a week.

Below is a list of all the following side-effects which may occur:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or Migraines
  • Irritability
  • Stomach aches or pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

Some call these side effects the ‘keto flu’. You may experience none of these symptoms, or perhaps you will.

And different people react differently to the sudden loss of carbs in their diet.

keto flu

How to Reduce the Impact of These Side Effects?

Be mindful that many of these symptoms you might experience will dissipate after your body’s accepted the transition into ketosis, and it’s uncommon for symptoms to last beyond a week.

Here are some ways to reduce side effects.

  • Stay hydrated. As a result of all of these, make more of an effort to ensure you’re drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep. Do your best to sleep the maximum amount you can each night, and that you’re still eating healthy, keto-friendly meals.
  • Eat healthy foods. Although you can no longer eat carbohydrates or natural sugars, such as fruit, make sure you’re eating healthy proteins and plenty of green vegetables. Here are some best foods for the keto diet.

If you notice you’re in too much discomfort as a result of the lack of carbs you’re no longer intaking, there’s the chance the keto diet simply isn’t for you.

Summary

Keto flu is a common symptom that occurs when we try to wean ourselves off of carbs. When you have a keto flu, you may feel symptoms of dehydration, nausea, and fatigue.

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

There’s a lot of controversies when it comes to the keto diet, mostly that the long-term effects of the diet are unhealthy.

Some people believe that a long-term keto diet can lead to nutritional imbalance and damage to your kidneys and liver.

So it’s better not do keto beyond a year since after all, carbohydrates and sugars are still important aspects of nutrition that our bodies need a bit of.

A spoonful of sugar

But there is nothing impossible, the keto diet may be suitable for some people.

Most famously, Australian celebrity Owsley Stanley, who has lived his life as a carnivore. He’s been on a keto diet for 50 years and even doesn’t eat any vegetables (except spices).

Owsley Stanley has been on a keto diet for 50 years

When he was young, he ate 80 percent fat and 20 percent protein and lived a healthy life.

So, it is only after you have tried it yourself that you know if it suits you.

Summary

In the short term, it is very effective in losing weight. But in the long run, it’s open to question.

A Misconception About the Keto Diet

And some people tend to confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition though which is a result of type 1 diabetes and occurs when one has a dangerously high level of blood sugar.

You must do your research thoroughly to unearth the truths behind ketosis and the keto diet. Some sources confuse the two and as a result claim that the keto diet is dangerous, when in reality the two are unrelated.

Ketosis is a natural function of the body whereas Ketoacidosis isn’t. Always remember to draw your information from multiple sources. Because whether or not the keto diet is safe, or whether or not you decide that it is, falsified information can be very misleading.

Summary

Ketosis is the ultimate goal of keto diet. But ketoacidosis is a complication of diabetes.

So, Should You Be on a Keto Diet?

You should focus on being suitable for your personal goals. If you are diabetic, or if you want to lose weight in the short term, the keto diet is an option to consider.

This diet has many pros, but also many cons. It’s important for you to also lookup multiple sources, opinions and learn as much about the keto diet as you can before you decide to dive in head-on into it.

Pros

  • Lose weight without hunger. One of the benefits of the diet is its contribution to quick weight loss without going hungry. It is also effective much more than a low-fat diet.
  • Lower insulin levels. The keto diet limits carbohydrate intake and therefore lowers insulin levels.
  • More energetic. You’ll feel more positive and more energetic.

Cons

  • Inconvenient. Being on a keto diet is great when you see the weight you’ve struggled with for so many years just begin to fly off, but this means that going out to eat with friends, your girlfriend/boyfriend, family, etc. becomes difficult. Finding food at a restaurant that you can eat can sometimes be challenging.
  • Not sustainable. Although the keto diet is one of the best ways to lose fat fast, it’s also not a diet you can live for the rest of your life. Other nutrients, healthy sugars, and carbs are also all-important. The long-term effects of the diet are unhealthy.

So, plan your diet for your success by educating yourself as much as possible, figuring out meal plans and which foods you like.

The Bottom Line

The keto diet originally was a diet used to treat specific diseases. If you suffer from diabetes, cancer, epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease. That diet would be suitable for you.

It later evolved into a popular way to lose weight quickly in a short period. And many people have succeeded in losing weight in this way.

This diet requires strict control of carbohydrate intake.

But if you feel this kind of diet doesn’t work for you, you’ll find something that works best for you eventually.

All in all, the keto diet, despite the controversy, is safe and effective if followed properly in the short term.