A ketogenic diet (or “keto” for short) is a ketone-producing diet. Ketones are a source of energy that is used by the body in the absence of glucose.
Carbohydrates are a staple in the diets of most people around the world. Normally, when you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks these down into glucose molecules which are then used as a fuel source for the body.
However, when you reduce the number of carbs that you eat (pass a certain threshold), your body starts to burn fat for energy.
Ketones are energy molecules produced from fat metabolism. They are typically produced when dietary carbohydrate intake is restricted for prolonged periods of time.
Ketones are also the source of energy provided to the body during times of fasting.
When your body starts burning fat to produce ketones, you are in a metabolic state called “ketosis”.
Ketosis occurs when you restrict carb intake to less than 50 grams per day (approximately).*
Thus, a ketogenic diet is a diet that is low in carbs (less than 50 grams per day), high in fat (typically more than 60% of daily calories), and moderate in protein (to some extent, protein consumption may hamper the production of ketones, however, protein has much less of a ketone suppressing effect compared to carbs and sugar, and this effect can vary with individual).
*The 50 grams threshold is only a rule of thumb. The actual threshold amount will depend on the individual. Some individuals require a daily carbohydrate restriction as low as 30 grams to enter into ketosis, whereas others may only need to restrict down to 80 grams of carbs per day to enter into ketosis.
Keto Macro Break Down | Fat, Protein & Carb Guidelines
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