nutrition

The keto diet: a recipe for weight loss?

22 March 2023

Ryan Pinto

My Muscle Chef Advanced Sports Dietitian

Looking to kick-start your weight loss journey? Find out more about the keto diet, what it involves and how it can help you achieve your health goals.

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet – short for the ketogenic – follows a low-carb, high-fat approach to eating. The name comes from the mechanism of ketosis: a metabolic state where your body uses fat to produce energy instead of carbohydrates. Research has found huge benefits of ketosis, from helping with weight loss to maintaining general health and well-being. Little wonder it’s become a popular diet for those looking to lose a couple of kilograms!

How does a keto diet promote weight loss?

Good question! Our bodies typically use glucose (created from protein and carbohydrates) for fuel. When you eat enough food there can often be excess glucose left over; this is either used by your liver and muscles or stored as fat.

However, when you consume few carbohydrates, your body has no choice but to use fat for energy instead, which has been shown to burn more calories and store less fat. How does this happen? When your body runs out of glucose, levels of insulin decrease and fatty acids are released from fat stores. These fatty acids are converted into molecules of ketones, which are released and used as your body's fuel source. During this process, excess ketones will either support brain function or will naturally leave your body as waste.

Ketogenic diets have also been proven to reduce appetite and increase fullness due to the suppression of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Finally, some research has found that keto diets can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and as a result, improves metabolism.

Keto-friendly foods

Following a keto diet includes eating whole, unprocessed foods including moderate amounts of protein, high levels of fat and few carbohydrates. While My Muscle Chef has a convenient keto-specific meal plan, other keto-friendly food examples that you can incorporate into a keto diet include:

  • Meats (chicken, pork, lamb etc.)

  • Fish (salmon, tuna and shrimp etc.)

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Low-carb vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini etc.)

  • Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil etc.)

Foods you should avoid while following a keto diet include:

  • Grains (rice, corn, wheat etc.)

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas etc.)

  • High-sugar foods (honey, lollies etc.)

  • Alcohol

  • Fruits

Reaching ketosis

To reach ketosis, you’ll need to eat no more than 50 grams of net carbs per day. Only 5 to 10% of your calories should be made up of carbs, fats should make up 60 to 70%, and protein only 35%. Counting carbs can be time-consuming, which is why our chefs have crafted together the Keto Meal Pack, allowing you to relax and leave the figures to us.

My Muscle Chef dietitian says…

It’s also good for your health!

It turns out, eating keto isn’t just great for weight loss; it’s also been proven to help with general health markers like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. That said, to reach any health goal, it’s important to maintain a holistic healthy regime including keeping stress levels down and getting plenty of exercise and good sleep. By incorporating all of these habits into your lifestyle, you’ll no doubt be hitting your weight and body goals before you know it.

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