Article by Dr. Josh Axe
Believe it or not, studies show that people consuming a typical Western diet, consume well over 1,000 empty calories each day from ultra-processed foods like sugary snacks, sweetened drinks and processed grains! Sugar is currently the most popular ingredient added to foods in the U.S. This means that the high-carb diet many are accustomed to eating stands in stark contrast to the ketogenic diet—a very low-carb, very-high fat diet that’s been shown to have numerous health benefits.
Giving up nearly all carbohydrate foods (grains, fruit, dessert, many drinks) isn’t easy, but the payoffs can be well worth the effort.
What types of benefits can you expect to experience on the keto diet? Dozens of recent studies show that some of the most noteworthy include: help with weight loss (particularly fat loss, even while retaining lean muscle mass), reduced risk for metabolic syndrome, improved glucose tolerance/protection against insulin resistance, better appetite regulation and reduced cravings, and even improved mental/neurological health.
Transition Slowly for Keto Success
If you’re willing to give the keto diet a try, know that in the beginning you’ll need some time to adjust, both mentally and physically. This new way of eating requires some trial and error and a little bit of patience, considering your body will be going through some significant metabolic changes—since the keto diet causes you to burn fat for energy, rather than glucose from carbohydrates.
Initially this can cause some temporary side effects as you essentially experience carb or sugar withdrawal (often called the keto flu). This transition period lasts about one to two weeks on average, and may cause symptoms such as cravings for carbs, fatigue, headaches and constipation. But once you’re in the clear, you can expect to feel more energized, clear-headed and in control of your hunger levels and cravings.
Rather than dropping carbs and sugar cold-turkey, you might choose to slowly start reducing your carb intake over the course of several weeks or so. Begin to experiment with higher-fat meals and carb substitutes, this way your body and mind are less in shock once you fully jump in.
Now that you know what to expect when eating keto, check out these tips for keto diet success by Dr. Axe as well!
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.