Move over, Atkins Diet! The not-so-new new kid on the block is the keto diet. And while some may call it a fad, more than 23 studies have backed its claims to help you to lose weight and burn more fat. Despite its growing popularity, many people are still confused about what a keto diet is, exactly.
Let’s break it down!
Keto Diet 101
"Keto" is short for ketogenic.
Ketones are produced when you eat very little carbohydrates, and your body can use ketones as energy instead of blood sugar. The idea is that by eating less carbs and producing more ketones, a ketogenic diet switches your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat?
Just like when it comes to politics, religion and TV shows, no one can agree on the “best” type of keto diet. There are four categories of a keto diet:
- The standard keto diet: Your calories should come from 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs
- The cyclical keto diet: Like its name implies, it follows a cycle. For example, you might do five low-carb days and two high-carb days.
- The targeted keto diet: You follow a keto diet daily, but when you exercise, you add a few more carbs.
- The high-protein keto diet: When on this form of the keto diet, you keep your carbs low but increase your ratio of protein to 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
While there are many forms of the keto diet, studies have only focused on the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets. Those are the best places to start for most people, as the cyclical or targeted keto diets are more advanced and complicated and therefore more ideal for professional athletes and bodybuilders.
Do You Need Supplements When Doing the Keto Diet?
When you remove entire food groups or entire food categories, such as carbohydrates, you may find it challenging to continue to get a varied range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
If you're trying the keto diet, several supplements can help you to boost your fat-burning potential while also ensuring you're not depriving yourself of key nutrients.
The best keto supplements to consider include:
- Most food sources of magnesium are high in carbs, such as fruit. Magnesium can also help with sleep and muscle cramping, which some people experience when transitioning to a keto lifestyle.
- Omega-3 fats: It's important to keep a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Since a keto diet is high in fat, taking fish oil or other omega-3 supplements can help ensure a healthy ratio.
- Calcium and vitamin D: Some people on a keto diet may struggle to get enough calcium, since dairy and other calcium-rich foods are often high in sugar and other carbs. Calcium supplements can help keep your bones strong, and vitamin D improves calcium absorption.