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Keto Craze: What to Know About the Latest Diet Trend

What is the logic behind this year’s most talked about diet referred to as the keto diet? Eat more fat to lose weight. Not only has this diet proven to help people lose weight, but it can also improve heart health, control diabetes, and curb cancer growth.

What is the Keto Diet?

The Ketogenic or "Keto" diet is a low carb and high-fat diet, with the typical calorie breakdown being 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs. Through the natural fat-burning state of ketosis, the body switches from burning carbs (glucose) to burning fat (ketones) for fuel. Your body produces insulin when you eat carbs, which causes fat cells to be stored in the body rather than being used for energy. When you eat fewer carbs and have lower insulin levels, your body enters ketosis and is forced to break down fatty acids for energy, resulting in weight loss.

Health benefits of the Keto Diet

In addition to weight loss, the keto diet has other major benefits relating to the following:

Heart health. The keto diet lowers blood pressure and increases levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or “good” cholesterol. The diet also improves the pattern of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol by changing the size of LDL particles and reducing the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream. All these effects decrease the risk of heart disease and improve heart health.

Diabetes. For people with Type 2 diabetes, the Keto diet helps control blood sugar. In a study of type 2 diabetics, 95.2% had managed to reduce or eliminate their glucose-lowering medication within six months.

Cancer. The keto diet can slow the growth of cancerous tumours. Cancer cells thrive in environments with blood sugar and insulin because they have insulin receptors on them. People with lower insulin levels provide energy for their body without feeding the tumours.

Foods to eat on Keto Diet

To see results from the Keto diet, the majority of your meals should be centred around these foods:

• Meat: red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.

• Fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.

• Eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.

• Butter and cream: grass-fed when possible.

• Cheese: unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).

• Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.

• Healthy oils: primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

• Avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.

• Low-carb vegetables: most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Foods to avoid on Keto Diet

To remain in a state of ketosis, consumption of these foods should be limited:

• Sugary foods: soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, and candy.

• Grains or starches: wheat-based products, rice, pasta, and cereal.

• Fruit: all fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.

• Beans or legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

• Root vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.

• Some condiments or sauces: these often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.

• Unhealthy fats: processed vegetable oils and mayonnaise.

• Alcohol: high carb content can disrupt ketosis.

The Keto diet is a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health. Because the keto diet requires significant changes to your eating habits, it is important that you talk to your doctor to determine if it is right for you.

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