By now, you've probably heard of the ketogenic diet, or a low-carb, high-fat diet. It’s a popular diet trend among athletes and average folk alike. (Who doesn't love the idea of eating more steak and bacon?) But what actually happens to your body when you go on the ketogenic diet?
To understand how the ketogenic diet works, you have to understand ketosis, the process by which your body is starved of glucose for fuel and must look to fat sources instead. Typically, you fuel your body by giving it glucose in the form of carbs, which can be found in flour, grains, vegetables, legumes, dairy products, and fruits.
We usually introduce a steady stream of this type of fuel into our bodies with each meal or snack, explains Pamela Nisevich Bede MS, RD, CSSD, LD. These carbohydrates are usually the body’s first choice when looking for an instant fix.
7 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Go On A Keto Diet
1. You may feel tired and you might get sick … temporarily!
The first few days of following a ketogenic diet are not much fun as your body is still looking for carbohydrates to burn. You may be hungry, low in energy, a bit irritable, more likely to get sick and you might not be able to train at your peak.
2. You will be less hungry
Once you’re in ketosis, your appetite is reduced for a number of reasons. A high protein intake has a higher satiety effect; we see changes in the levels of appetite control hormones and the ketone bodies themselves have a direct appetite suppressant action.
3. Your breath might smell
One of the by-products of the breakdown of ketones is acetone. Acetone is the chemical responsible for the production of nail polish remover and some paint thinners. Acetone is exhaled through the lungs, thus making your breath smell a little like nail polish remover.
4. You might have constipation
It can be hard to consume enough fibre on a ketogenic diet as many high-fibre foods are excluded such as grains, cereals, too much fruit, and legumes. So a common complaint from followers is they can get clogged up.
5. You’ll lose weight
Although it seems counter-intuitive to be eating more fat and losing weight, now that your body is burning body fat as its main fuel source, you can lose weight very quickly. In addition, your appetite is suppressed so you’re less likely to overeat or go back for seconds.
6. You’ll get control of your blood sugar levels and your insulin levels drop
On a ketogenic diet, you’ll limit the spikes in blood sugars that come with frequent carbohydrate and sugar intake. As a result, your body doesn’t need to produce as much insulin. Low insulin levels mean that your body is better able to break down fat to be used as fuel.
7. Increased energy
Once your body is in ketosis, your energy levels should come back to normal or even better! Now that you are using fat as fuel. You are not short of an energy supply and no longer relying on your dietary intake as your main source of energy.