The ketogenic diet or keto diet, in its abbreviated form is a low-carb, high-fat diet plan that offers many health benefits.In fact, about 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve health. Ketogenic diets can have benefits even against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s. Detailed beginner’s guide to the keto diet.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-calorie carbohydrate diets.
This diet involves reducing carbohydrates dramatically and replacing them with fats. This exponential decrease in the body to a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, the body becomes incredibly efficient and manages to convert all the fat into energy. It can also convert fat to ketones inside the liver, which can provide more energy for the brain.
Ketogenic diets can cause reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increase in ketones, provides many health benefits.
Different types of ketogenic diets :
- The Standard Ketogenic Diet ( DCE ): It is a very low carbohydrate diet plan, with a moderate intake of protein and high in fat. It normally contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbohydrates.
- The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (DCC): This plan involves periods of higher carbohydrate refills, for example, 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 days with carbohydrates.
- The Adapted Ketogenic Diet (DCA): Allows you to add carbohydrates on training days.
- The High Protein Ketogenic Diet: Similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The normal is usually 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
However, only standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been thoroughly studied. Cyclical or adapted diets are more advanced methods and are mainly used by athletes or bodybuilders.The information in this article applies mostly to the standard keto diet (DCE), although most of the principles apply to the other types as well.
A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and decrease risk factors for some diseases.
In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet outperforms the low-fat diets that are often recommended.
What’s more, the goal of the diet is that you can lose weight without counting calories or track your intake.
A study found that people who follow a ketogenic diet lose 2.2 times more weight than those who cut calories and fat. Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels also show improvement.
Another study found that people on keto diets lose 3 times more weight than those who follow the traditional ones recommended by Diabetes UK (UK charity).
There are many reasons why the keto diet is better than the low-fat diet, such as increased protein intake, which provides numerous benefits.
Increased ketones, decreased sugar levels, and improved insulin sensitivity may also play a role.
Ketogenic diets for diabetes and prediabetes :
Diabetes is characterized by changes in metabolism, increased blood sugar, and impaired insulin functions.
The ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat, which is closely related to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
A study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% increase.
In another study of people with type 2 diabetes, it was found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop the use of all diabetes medications.
In yet another study, the keto group lost 24.4 pounds (11.1 kg), compared to the 15.2 pounds (6.9 kg) the group lost with high carbohydrate intakes. It is an important benefit if we consider the relationship between weight and type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, 95.2% of the keto group was able to stop or reduce diabetes medications, compared to 62% of the group with high carbohydrate intakes.
Other health benefits of the keto diet:
The current ketogenic diet originated as a way to treat neurological diseases, such as epilepsy.
Some studies have shown that diet can have benefits in a wide variety of diseases:
- Heart disease: The ketogenic diet can improve risk factors such as body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
- Cancer: Currently, this diet has been used to treat many types of cancer and reduce the growth of tumors.
- Alzheimer: The keto diet could reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms and slow its progression.
- Epilepsy: Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can greatly reduce epileptic seizures in children.
- Parkinson’s: One study found that diet helped improve Parkinson’s symptoms.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which could play a key role in polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Brain Injuries: An animal study found that diet can reduce concussions and help the patient recover after suffering these injuries.
- Acne: Decreased insulin levels and reduced intake of sugar or processed foods may improve acne.
However, it should be borne in mind that the studies carried out are far from conclusive.
Foods to avoid
Here is a list of foods that should be reduced or eliminated on a keto diet:
- Sugary foods: Soft drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, cakes, ice cream, sweets, etc.
Cereals or starches: Products derived from wheat, rice, pasta, cereals, etc.
- Fruit: All fruits except small portions of berries, such as strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, red beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root and tuber vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Diet or low fat products: They are usually highly processed and rich in carbohydrates.
- Some condiments or sauces: Especially, those that contain sugar and saturated fats.
- Saturated fats: Limit your intake of refined oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to its high carbohydrate content, many alcoholic beverages must be removed from a ketogenic diet.
- Diet foods without sugars: They are usually rich in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
Food to eat:
Most of your meals around these foods:
- Meat: Red meat, ribeye, ham, sausages, bacon, chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish: Like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.
- Eggs: Look for omega 3-rich and pasteurized eggs.
- Butter and cream: If possible, look for grass-fed foods.
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, creamy, blue, or mozzarella).
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc We must eat.
- Healthy oils: Above all, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocado: Whole avocados or guacamole made naturally.
- Low-carb vegetables: Most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, etc.
- Condiments: You can use salt, pepper, some healthy herbs and spices.
It is better that the diet is based mainly on whole meals with a single ingredient.
Example: Ketogenic feeding plan for 1 week
- Breakfast: Bacon, eggs and tomatoes.
- Lunch: We have to eat Chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese.
- Dinner: Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter.
- Breakfast: Eggs, tomatoes, basil and goat cheese omelette.
- Lunch: Almond milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder and milk shake with stevia.
- Dinner: Meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables.
- Breakfast: A ketogenic milk shake.
- Lunch: Seafood salad with olive oil and avocado.
- Dinner: Meat chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad.
- Breakfast: Omelette with avocado, sauce, peppers, onion and spices.
- Lunch: A handful of nuts and celery sticks with guacamole and sauce.
- Dinner: Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese accompanied by vegetables.
- Breakfast: unsweetened yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia.
- Lunch: Veal sauteed and cooked in coconut oil with vegetables.
- Dinner: Little burger made with bacon, egg and cheese.
- Breakfast: Cheese and ham omelette with vegetables.
- Lunch: Some slices of ham and cheese with walnuts.
- Dinner: White fish, eggs and spinach cooked in olive oil.
- Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
- Lunch: Burger with sauce, cheese and guacamole.
- Dinner: Steaks with eggs and salad.
Try to vary between vegetables and meat over a long season, as each provides different nutrients and health benefits.
Ketogenic and healthy snacks
In case you’re hungry between meals, here are some healthy keto snacks:
- Fatty meat or fish
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- Cheese with olives
- 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs
- Dark chocolate 90%
- A low-carb milk shake with almond milk, cocoa powder, and nut butter we have to eat.
- Whole milk yogurt with nut butter and cocoa powder
- Strawberries and cream
- Celery with sauce and guacamole
- Smaller portions of leftovers from meals
Tips for eating away from home and following a ketogenic diet:
It is not very difficult to find many restaurants with ketogenic foods when we go out to eat.
Most restaurants offer meat or fish dishes. You can order any of these foods and replace them with any carbohydrate-rich meal with extra vegetables.
Meals with eggs are also a great option, such as an omelette or eggs with bacon.
Another ideal dish is a undercooked hamburger. You could also replace potato chips with vegetables. Add extra avocado, cheese, bacon, or eggs.
In Mexican restaurants, you can enjoy any type of meat with extra cheese, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.
For dessert, you can order a table with various cheeses or berries with cream.
Side effects and how to minimize them:
Although the keto diet is safe for healthy people, there may be some side effects at first until the body adjusts.
You can suffer from the famous keto flu, which lasts for a few days.
Keto flu causes a decrease in energy and mental capacity, an increase in the feeling of hunger, sleep problems, nausea, digestive upset and decreased exercise performance.
To minimize this problem, you can try to follow a standard, low-carb diet for the first week. This could teach the body to burn more fat before it eliminates carbohydrates entirely.
We have to knod that a ketogenic diet can also change the body’s balance of water and minerals, so you can add extra salt to meals or take mineral supplements.
For minerals, try to take 3,000 to 4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium, and 300 mg of magnesium daily to minimize side effects.
At least initially, it is important to eat until you feel full and to avoid restricting calories too much. Typically, the ketogenic diet causes weight loss without intentional caloric reduction.
Supplements for a ketogenic diet:
Although it is not necessary to take supplements, they can be useful.
- TMC Oil: Add it to drinks or yogurt, as it provides energy and helps increase ketone levels.
- Minerals: Add salt and other minerals when you start the diet, as it can be important to balance mineral and water levels.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can have benefits for energy to our health, fat loss, and performance.
- Exogenous ketones: This supplement could help increase ketone levels in the body.
- Creatine: Provides numerous health and performance benefits. It can help you if you combine a ketogenic diet with exercise.
- Whey Protein: Pour half a tablespoon of whey protein into smoothies or yogurt to increase your daily protein intake.
Frequently asked questions:
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the keto diet.
1. Can I go back to taking carbohydrates?
Yes, but it is important that you reduce your carbohydrate intake significantly. After the first 2-3 months, you can eat carbohydrates on special occasions, but return to the diet immediately afterward.
2. Will I lose muscle?
we have to know that There is a risk of losing muscle on any diet. However, high protein intake and ketone levels can help minimize muscle loss, especially if you lift weights.
3. Can I work muscle on a keto diet?
Yes, but it will not be as easy as on a moderate carbohydrate diet.
4. Do I need to recharge carbohydrates?
No, but it can be beneficial to incorporate some days with more calories than normal.
5. How many proteins can I eat?
Proteins should be moderate, since high intake can cause spikes in insulin levels and lower ketones. The upper limit is probably the intake of 35% of total calories.
6. What if I feel constantly tired, weak, or fatigued?
You may not be following the keto diet properly, or your body may not be using fats and ketones correctly. To counteract it, decrease your carbohydrate intake and continue with the tips discussed above. Taking TMC oil supplements or ketones may also help.
7. Why does my urine smell like fruit?
Don’t worry, it’s simply due to the removal of products that are created during ketosis.
8. What can I do if my breath smells bad?
It is a very common side effect. Try drinking natural fruit flavored water or chewing sugarless gum.
9. Is it true that ketosis is very dangerous?
People often confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis. The first is a natural procedure, while the second only appears when there is uncontrolled diabetes.
Ketoacidosis is dangerous, but the ketosis that occurs during a ketogenic diet is perfectly normal and healthy.
10. What can I do if I have digestion problems and diarrhea?
This side effect usually happens after 3 or 4 weeks. If it persists, try eating more fiber-rich vegetables. Magnesium supplements can also help with constipation.
Ketogenic diets are great, but not for everyone:
A ketogenic diet can be great for people who are overweight, diabetic, or want to improve their metabolic health.
It may be less suitable for elite athletes or those who want to gain a lot of muscle or weight.
Also, like any diet, it will only work if you work hard and if you are consistent. The results will appear in the long term.
Having said that, few things are as proven in nutrition as the powerful health benefits and weight loss that comes with a keto diet.