The keto-buzz is everywhere you look these days. Nutrition coaches are offering keto plans, meal prep companies have debuted keto food lines, and well-renowned blogs are digging in to what this diet is and why people are so dang curious about it.
A lot of celebrities are raving about the benefits they’ve seen from shifting to a ketogenic diet, including a few Kardashians, runway models, actors, and athletes. Naturally, when people in the spotlight adopt a specific lifestyle habit, the rest of society becomes interested to try it out too.
In an effort to clear some noise, let’s dig into the specifics of the keto diet.
FIRST THING’S FIRST, WHAT IS KETO?
In simplest terms, the keto diet simply means eating fat instead of carbs for energy. Keto is short for ketogenic, which means the genesis of ketones. When we eat carbs, we break them down into sugar. When we eat fats, we break them down into ketones. If we are burning primarily fat for energy, our body is in a state of ketosis.
This is key: the total calories you consume are not NEARLY as important as the overall ratio of protein/fat/carbohydrate that you take in. Consuming foods with this macronutrient ratio causes our bodies to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, meaning it’s a simple (not easy, but simple) way to burn body fat more efficiently.
Nutritionally speaking, a keto diet means limiting carbs to less than 50 grams per day, which translates to roughly 10% of calories from carbs, 20% from protein, and 70% from fat.
SOME POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF A KETO DIET:
- Greatly reducing symptoms for patients with epilepsy and seizure disorders.
- Increasing sensitivity to insulin in the short-term, which is good for diabetic patients.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Potential weight loss.
- Improved blood pressure & cholesterol control.
- Reduced brain fog & better mental clarity.
It could be beneficial for you if your goal is:
- To help your body get more efficient at switching between energy systems — such as relying on carbs during and after exercise, but relying on ketones if you skip a meal.
- To stabilize your energy, mental focus and mood by reducing your dependency on carbs.
- To prevent cognitive decline.
- To learn about how different macronutrients affect your body. For example, if you work long shifts requiring mental concentration, a high-fat diet could improve sustained energy and focus. However, if you’re an athlete or do high intensity exercise and you severely restrict carbs, you might see your performance decline.
THE KETO DIET IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, HOWEVER.
The ketogenic diet is NOT a good fit for someone who:
- Is only looking to lose weight fast without having a plan on how to maintain the weight loss long-term.
- Has a poor relationship with food and/or has disordered eating patterns.
- Is an elite athlete (yes, there are a few exceptions to this, and a few high level athletes maintain a ketogenic lifestyle and still perform well, but these are few and far between).
HOW TO GET STARTED
The keto diet was a natural way of eating for our ancestors as food availability ebbed and flowed with changing seasons. For this reason, it’s advised to do keto for short periods of time, cycling on and off with a higher-carb diet, to mimic how this shift between energy sources occurred naturally. A 3 to 6 week reset is the recommended amount of time to go strict keto. Before and after the reset, you transition by gradually lowering carbs.
Territory’s keto reset is a 3-week menu. The menu is designed to support the keto diet as a short-term shift in eating patterns, not a lifelong diet. Our keto meals have around 70% fat, 20% or less protein, and 10% carbs, and align with our core menu principles being free of gluten and dairy ingredients.
Territory’s low-carb menu filter supports a more sustainable carb-limited eating plan. The low-carb meals have a maximum of 25g of total carbs and cut out the majority of starchy vegetables and gluten-free grains. Unlike the short-term Keto Reset menu, the low-carb menu is designed to support a long-term eating style and can also be used in the weeks before and after a keto reset to help your body gradually adjust to using less carbs and more fats for fuel.
As always, before making a dietary shift – especially one of this significance, always discuss it with your doctor to ensure it’s the right decision for you.