Most human beings get their energy levels from blood glucose. However, diabetes and alcoholism may cause a metabolic state known as “ketosis,” in which ketone bodies (also found in the blood) provide the basis for energy.
Another way to invoke ketosis is via means of a diet very low in calorific intake. Doctors may recommend such a diet as a form of treatment for epileptic children (severe cases), but many people who are interested in weight loss may also choose to follow the ketosis diet.
The medical opinions on the safety of deliberately following the diet for weight loss purposes vary, and the subject is considered controversial in some circles. However, for every naysayer, there are many more who swear by the benefits of the ketosis (or keto) diet.
How It Works
Low in carbs, high in healthy fats and sufficient in proteins, the ketosis diet forcibly induces your body into a state of ketosis. Aside from the medical reasons for ketosis mentioned above, it should be noted that during starvation, the body naturally initiates ketosis, which helps to keep you alive.
Contrary to many low-calorie diets, ketosis deprives the body of excess carbohydrates. Carbs are often the source of excess weight gain; people tend to crave carbs and over-indulge on them, causing themselves to pack on the pounds. The ketosis diet pushes the body into fat-burning mode, while still allowing it to function. During this diet, you will consume less than 15 grams or 0.5oz of carbs a day (less than half the typical amount consumed in a normal diet).
What To Eat And What To Avoid
Since the bulk of carbohydrates comes from fruit, starchy foods like beans and potatoes, in addition to pasta and cereal as well as bread, you need to limit yourself to dark greens, vegetables and other sources of protein and fats: poultry, steak, cheese, nut butters, seeds, nuts, etc.
When purchasing groceries, research about the carbohydrate count on each and every item, including vegetables. While vegetables are generally low in carbs, they still have some! Remember, you want to keep your carb intake under 15 grams a day, so be sure to portion out your meals carefully.
Benefits Of The Ketosis Diet
Should You Try It?
The ketosis diet has a lot going for it, but it is not for everyone. There are many reasons to follow it, and other, valid medical reasons why you might want to look into other options. It is important when venturing into any weight loss program or plan to be sure you understand exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and whether or not it will actually benefit you and your needs.
For those who are in need of a manageable, healthy diet which also happens to be low-maintenance and doesn’t require a great deal of thought, time, or heavy meal preparation, diet shakes are a simple solution.
What They Do
Many people with on-the-go lifestyles choose diet shakes to replace both breakfast and lunch, with the idea of eating a sensible dinner. This can work if you plan accordingly.
Ready-made diet shakes are especially low on the calorie count, however, unless you snack in between, depending on your lifestyle, this can leave you utterly famished by dinnertime. When that happens, it may be very difficult to resist over-eating or over-indulging.
A way around this issue is by having a sensible breakfast, medium lunch, and drinking a shake for dinner. Why dinnertime? Because this is the last main meal of the day, when most of your energy has already been used up, so you will be more comfortable and less ravenous, plus you will get the calories you need during the day to keep yourself going.
Making Your Own Diet Shakes
Store-bought, pre-made diet shakes can be costly, and may (or may not) offer as much nutritional value as they claim. Making your own diet shakes doesn’t have to be difficult.
All it takes is a simple purchase of some staple ingredients to use throughout the week, such as:
The list could go on, but you get the idea. Now, what to do with all of these things? Here are two easy home-made diet shake recipes to keep you going any time of day:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake
1 fresh banana or several slices of frozen bananas
½ cup of frozen strawberries
1 large kale leaf
¼ cup bok choy (or spinach/chard)
½ cup of plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
½ teaspoon of flax seed
1 cup of dark chocolate almond (or soy) milk
Blend everything together until smooth. For an extra slushy texture, simply add 3-6 ice cubes.
Orange Cream Protein Shake
1 fresh banana (or again, several pieces of frozen banana)
1 mandarin orange, peeled and wedges separated
½ cup of unsweetened orange juice
½ cup of plain almond, cashew or soy milk
½ cup of plain, low-fat yogurt
½ teaspoon of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of protein powder
Blend until creamy. Add ice cubes if desired for more slush.
TIP: For a slightly green twist, add in 1 chard leaf and ½ teaspoon of matcha powder. Or, to make it chocolate orange, substitute plain for dark chocolate almond or soy milk, and add ½ teaspoon of cocoa powder.
Weight loss is important to many people, and it is certainly beneficial to your health, so long as it is commenced in a safe and healthy manner. Using the 1400 calorie diet (as in following a daily meal plan which does not exceed 1400 calories), is one of the many options available. Please note that if you work out for 60+ minutes a day, however, this plan is not for you, because 1400 calories will not be enough to renew your energy.
Everyone’s body mass index, weight and dietary needs vary. For example, females in their 50s who do not exercise normally need to consume 1600 calories a day, so dropping to 1400 calories will not offer much success in weight loss. But young males who require 3000 calories a day normally could succeed in losing over 3lbs per week on the 1400 calorie diet.
Essentially, you need to consider your current weight, lifestyle, any underlying medical conditions, etc., before making a final decision on the diet you should be following.
If, after looking over all those factors, you discover the 1400 calorie diet is the best choice for you, you’ll want to lay out your daily and weekly meal plans on paper.
Beginner’s Meal Plan (1400 Calories Daily)
There are so many combinations of delicious food you can enjoy on a daily basis with a 1400 calorie diet, including snacks. All it takes is a little research into the amount of calories foods contain, and which foods offer you the most nutritional benefits. Superfoods like kale and acai are ideal, because you’re not only lowering calories, you’re also getting a healthy boost of vitamins.
Here are some ideas:
Breakfast Idea #1:
1 whole grain bagel
1 tablespoon of cashew butter
1 poached egg
1 large apple
Glass of unsweetened orange juice
Breakfast Idea #2:
Bowl of Shredded Wheat or All Bran with 1% milk
Glass of mango juice
Lunch Idea #1:
NOTE: This is not a traditional, meat sauce/meatballs and spaghetti dish. What you would include is:
1 cup of ancient grains spaghetti or spaghettini (tossed with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil)
½ cup of red pepper, steamed
½ cup of zucchini, steamed
2 tablespoons of mozzarella, shredded
Glass of milk, 1%
Lunch Idea #2:
Salad made with:
2 cups of kale
½ cup of cucumbers, thinly sliced
6 golden, cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
2oz of skinless, boneless chicken breast, baked
2 teaspoons of lemon juice and olive oil and a pinch of dill
Glass of ice water
Dinner Idea #1:
1 sweet potato, baked
¾ cup of broccoli, steamed
3oz of grilled steak (flank cut is best)
Glass of acai juice
Dinner Idea #2:
3oz of broiled tilapia fish
½ cup of brown rice
1 cup of rainbow carrots and green beans, steamed
Glass of pomegranate juice
Snack Idea #1:
1 ½ cups of low-fat yogurt (or cottage cheese) with ½ cup of strawberries or blueberries
Snack Idea #2:
1 cup of kefir
¾ cup of blackberries
The 1800 calorie diet is a safe, effective plan which generally allows its followers to lose approximately 2lbs every week. Men and women with medium-large frames and who are less physically active but still need to lose weight can benefit greatly from this plan.
That is not to say that the 1800 calorie diet is 100% sufficient; you must still exercise, since physical activity is essential to your basic health. But with this diet, it is possible to successfully achieve weight loss while performing gentle exercise such as walking and yoga, in place of a hard-core daily workout.
And unlike many drastic, low calorie diets, this plan permits 3 full meals and 3 snacks a day, which means your body’s nutritional needs (including protein and carbs!) will be met and you will be more energetic as a result. It’s a win-win situation for all!
The Daily Plan
Each day, you need to make sure that all your nutritional requirements are being met. How? The 1800 calorie diet is actually fairly low-maintenance and meals are stress-free.
Nuts, low-fat yogurt, eggs or cottage cheese, raw fruits, raw vegetables, etc.—all of these items are easily prepared and/or simply eaten as is and make for simple snacks and lunches. Even breakfast and dinner can be painless.
Here are some sample meals and snacks you can try:
Strawberry Cheese Delight
Scrambled Salsa Surprise
Colorful Raspberry Chicken Salad
Mango Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry
If you are planning to lose weight, you might consider dropping your calorie intake to 200. To clarify, attempting to follow the 200 calorie diet is really not in your best interests; starvation, while effective in weight loss, is also very dangerous. Example: many people who attempt the 200 calorie diet for only 3-4 days end up urinating blood. Not a desirable outcome.
But a low calorie diet, when done correctly, can be highly beneficial. Studies have linked low calorie diets with increased life span and age reversal! So for those who want to lower their calorie count, 200 calorie meals (preferably eaten 3-4 times a day) might be a good solution. While living off of 600-800 calories a day only is a dramatic change and may take some getting used to, it is entirely doable and the weight loss involved, while still maintaining proper nutrition, is worth the effort.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that while a low calorie diet may be helpful in losing weight at first, the key to keeping the weight off, once you return to a normal meal plan, is to exercise, eat healthy, nourishing meals, and change your entire lifestyle. Be active, both physically and mentally. Be wise about everything you choose to put in your body.
Keep in mind, too, that you need to plan the duration of your diet and the meals you’re going to eat. And even though you may need to sacrifice the amount of food you consume, that doesn’t mean you need to settle for less when it comes to taste!
Here’s a sample recipe to help get you started and set your mouth watering:
Carrot, Orange, & Mint Soup
What You Need:
What You Do: