There are several diet plans out there today. One of the most well-known and often practiced is the keto diet, which dramatically reduces the amount of carbohydrates in the body, placing the body in a state of ketosis. In this state, the liver produces ketones to be used as energy. This diet has multiple names such as the low carb diet, the ketogenic diet, the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet, etc. There are many benefits that arise from selecting this diet, but the main one we are going to talk about is increased energy levels. Follow along to learn how to keep energy levels up while on the keto diet.
High Carbs May Knock You Out
An overabundance of carbohydrates in the body can really confuse the endocrine system. When carbs are consumed by the body, the starches present in the molecules are hydrolyzed (or broken down) by into glucose (simple sugar molecules). The pancreas then produces enough insulin to absorb the glucose into the body so the cells can utilize it, leading to a boost in energy.
Sounds good, right? However, when one consumes too many carbohydrates, it overwhelms the pancreas and liver, which can only absorb a limited amount of glucose. The liver will try to save some of it for later, but often, one ends of with excess glucose stuck in the bloodstream, unavailable to cells. This leads to what is known as a “crash”, in which energy levels drastically drop, leading to fatigue.
Fat is the Main Ingredient
How does the keto diet combat energy loss? Well for one, you need to know this: fat is the answer. When you are cutting down carbs, you have to offer the body an alternative energy source. In fact, around 60%-80% of your daily calorie intake must contain fat. That definitely does not mean go for any fatty meal—go for healthy fats instead.
- Avocado/avocado oil, coconut oil, butter; which are mostly composed of unsaturated fatty acids.
- Fatty meats such as salmon, steak, pork belly, and bacon; which contain both unsaturated and saturated fatty acids.
- Brazil nuts, cheese, macadamia nuts.
While adding fatty foods is key to the keto diet, it is important to not go overboard with these. Just like any diet, moderation is very important to achieve the desired results.
Water has always been known as a universal solvent and the key to any diet. The keto is no exception, an increasing water intake can help the body adjust to the absence of carbs. Your body stores water in the glycogen in your muscles, and when carbohydrates are absent, the body decides to burn the glycogen to compensate. This diminishes the body’s water stores, which can lead to fatigue, headache, and dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water keeps this in check.
Water has additional benefits during the keto diet. It can improve kidney function as one transition from carbs to ketones. Ketones are acidic, and the kidneys have to work with the liver to filter them throughout the body. An excess concentration of ketones can strain the kidneys, but water can neutralize this. In addition, water can help one control cravings. Any diet comes with temptation, but water can make you feel full.
Don’t Forget to Eat!
In order to maintain high energy levels while on the keto diet, you have to provide your body with a stable supply of nutrients. As mentioned before, replacing carbs with fat as an energy source can leave one feeling fatigued. But if you eat regularly, then you are essentially telling the body, “this is what you’re getting,” prompting it to start releasing ketones in the liver.
If you ever begin to feel drowsy during the day, don’t skip any meal. This means your metabolism has not yet adapted to the LCHF diet. Be sure to eat three meals a day and if your body asks for a snack, have one. It is also important to ensure each meal is accompanied by water, as it will aid digestion and boost metabolism.
Supply Yourself With Supplements
Supplements are a quick way to enhance the results of a diet. While on the keto diet, one can take daily exogenous ketone supplements, which can begin producing ketones in the liver within thirty minutes of consumption. Exogenous ketones can also serve as individual energy boosters and help your body become accustomed to ketosis quicker. These supplements can be bought at premium online stores such as BioKeto and Amazon.
While the keto diet has produced amazing results, it is not initially the most enjoyable experience. Within the first week of the keto diet, many experience what is known as “keto flu”, which is characterized by bouts of fatigue, nausea, headache, and sugar cravings. This is the cells’ way of asking for carbohydrates and sugar. It is important not to become too discouraged when this happens. There are several ways to overcome keto flu such as drinking more water, exercise, eating more often, and consuming a few more clean carbs. The key is to find the right balance of carbs to fat in your diet—you do not need to cut out carbs entirely.
In general, the keto diet is most successful when you are conscientious. Be aware of what is in your foods and drinks and listen to your body. Don’t push your body too far, as it can have dangerous effects. By keeping these things in mind, your keto experience can be positive and life-changing. Good luck!