What is keto? How does it work and what are the benefits?
To celebrate the launch of my newest low carb cookbook ‘Keto in 15 Minuten’, I want to show you how you can turn your body into a natural fat-burner and introduce you to my healthy version of the keto lifestyle: a low carb way of eating high in healthy fats and vegetables.
At the moment the book is only available in Dutch (Nederlandstalig), but as soon as I have news about an English version I’ll let you know!
Keto is short for ‘ketosis’, a natural metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of just relying on glucose (sugar) for energy.
This means that your main source of energy won’t be coming from carbohydrates (such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) but from healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, free-range eggs and small omega-3 rich fatty fish.
Keto might sound new or even ‘extreme’ but it’s actually how our ancestors used to eat before the rise of industrial agriculture, with a large-scale increase of refined grains and sugar in our meals.
If you look at it from an evolutionary standpoint, our diet mainly consisted of plants (over 100 different species so way more than we know now), roots and seeds, with smaller amounts of fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seasonal fruit and game. Our ancestors didn’t ‘snack’ all day long either but generally only ate one or two larger meals a day, when food was available. We also switched between periods of abundance during summertime and periods of scarcity during wintertime. As a natural surviving mechanism, our body was in a constant state of mild ketosis, burning fats as the main source of fuel.
This is also the case for newborn babies. Breast milk is very rich in healthy fats, essential for the development of our body and brain in particular. When we switch to foods that are higher in refined grains and sugars however, our metabolism changes from burning fat for fuel to using carbohydrates as our main source of energy. Those carbohydrates are then broken down into sugar molecules and end up in our bloodstream as glucose. Since we can only use a small amount of glucose at a time, large part of it is stored as fat.
The good news: no matter what your current diet might look like, you can teach your body to burn fat for fuel again.
How? Everything we eat consists of three energy sources: carbohydrates, protein and fats.
When you exercise intensely, practice intermittent fasting or significantly decrease the amount of carbs in your meals, your body will automatically switch to fat-burning mode. It’s during this fat-burning process that your liver will produce a fourth energy source: ketones. When you cut back on carbs and get most of your calories from healthy fats, your body will start breaking down fat molecules and create ketones in the process.
You’re probably wondering what that might look like on your plate. Following a flexible keto lifestyle is easier than you might suspect. Take a typical meal of fish with vegetables and potatoes. Just replace the quick carbohydrates from the potatoes with green vegetables and prepare everything in a generous amount of healthy fats such as grass-fed butter or extra virigin olive oil. Those fats are essential to keep your energy levels high and support your fat-burning metabolism.
A sustainable keto lifestyle has lots of benefits, not only physically but also mentally:
- Easy weight loss and a healthy stable weight for your body type
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased mental clarity and higher energy levels throughout the day
- Reduced appetite and fewer cravings for sweet snacks
- No more sudden hunger pangs or ‘hangry’ feeling
- Stable blood sugar level and more inner peace
- Improved digestion, especially if you’re sensitive to grains, sugars or legumes
- Stronger gut lining => better absorption of vitamins and minerals => stronger immune system & more energy
- Maybe one of the most important benefits of a balanced keto lifestyle is reduced inflammation, which can help to protect against all kinds of diseases
Are you wondering if keto is the right match for you?
If you understand Dutch, have a look at the check list from my newest book ‘Keto in 15 Minuten’ to see if keto will bring you the benefits you’re looking for.
Also, subscribe to our newsletter by leaving your name and email at the bottom of this page to download your free ‘Start to Keto’ eBook with more tips and a full-day menu plan including 6 easy low carb recipes.
Next week I’ll be back with practical tips on how to give keto a try, based on the 3-step plan from Keto in 15 Minuten.
I hope it will inspire you to give keto a try and experience the many benefits yourself!
PS: Want to get started today? Take a look at our English ‘Keto Made Easy’ eBook bundle with 60 easy low carb recipes, 15 full-day meal plans, weekly shopping lists and more!