Keto is short for ketogenic. A ketogenic diet is basically a diet that shifts your body from burning sugar (glucose) to burning fat (Ketone bodies) as a fuel source.

A plant based keto diet comprises of high (plant sourced) fat, low carbohydrate and moderate protein food sources.

Over time a high carbohydrate diet can lead to insulin resistance, as we become less sensitive to insulin (Insulin is produced to process glucose levels and glucose storage). This resistance means that in order to do it’s job, insulin production is increased, leading to constant high glucose levels in the blood stream, damaging tissues and preventing the body from burning the fat that is already stored which can lead to more serious chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and cardio vascular disease.

By reducing the levels of glucose in the bloodstream, the body releases a hormone (Glucagon) to convert stored fat back into fuel and creating ketone bodies in the process. Your brain and body can use this fat, as it’s main fuel source for the energy it needs.

The cool thing about shifting to a keto diet is that as you continue to restrict carbohydrates, insulin and blood sugar levels can remain relatively stable. This helps your body to curb food cravings, reduce mood swings and feeling “hangry,” and reduces stubborn belly fat.

Keto is not a high protein (meat) diet hence the reason I love it, as I am plant based.  Because, excess protein can also be converted into glucose in the body (a process called gluconeogenesis)

Nor is it a no-carb diet (Most people consume 20 – 50g net carbs a day). In fact when you look at the amount of fiber in a plant based keto diet you could be eating as much as 100g of carbohydrates a day! (From healthy sources such as leafy greens).

It is also not a silver bullet. Our bodies, lifestyles and the way we approach our health goals are different. It is important to have reasonable expectations, be consistent and persistent. A keto diet can be life changing. We need to listen to our bodies and what feels good. As we say at Leafy Kitchen, “Food changes everything!”

The key thing is to relax and enjoy the process of making a few small, healthy and important changes to you diet that can have an enormous impact on your quality of life.

Further reading:
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living – by Dr. S. Phinney and Dr. J Volek
Keto Clarity – by J Moore amd Dr. E.C Westman
Ketotarian – by Dr. W Cole

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