The ketogenic diet consists of few carbohydrates but high amounts of fats and is known to have numerous health advantages.
This diet is especially useful to people with complications such as epilepsy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Here is a comprehensive guide on what exactly the ketogenic diet is.
You will find all the information you need on the diet in this article.
Understanding the ketogenic diet
Keto (as many call the ketogenic diet) entails eating a small amount of carbs and much fat, and is in many ways comparable to other low carb diets and Atkins.
It implies that you significantly curtail your intake of carbs and substitute them with fat. When you do this, your metabolism is said to enter into the state of ketosis.
Ketosis is a state in which your body burns fat at very high rates. The fats being burned is transformed into ketones within the liver. Ketones transmit more energy into your brain.
Insulin levels and blood sugar can nosedive when you adopt and adhere to the ketogenic diet. Combine this with additional ketones and you have amazing health gains.
In summary: Keto (or ketogenic diet) consists of low amounts of fibre and high ammounts of fats. It is effective in reducing blood sugar and lowering insulin levels, and transfers your body’s metabolism from slow carbs to fats and ketones which make the process faster.
Various kinds of Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic diets exist in various forms:
- SKD (Standard Ketogenic Diet): It consists of a lot of fat (75%), an average amount of protein (20%) and a minimal amount of carbs (5%).
- CKD (Cyclical ketogenic diet): You need to alternate between 2 days when you eat a lot of carbs and 5 days when you consume high-fat diets, which means you still eat a lot of fats.
- TKD (Targeted Ketogenic Diet): While you maintain high-fat consumption, you are allowed to eat higher amounts of fibre when working out.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: The only difference between this type and Standard Ketogenic Diet is that the former contains more protein (35%) with carbs comprising 5% and fat taking up 60%.
It is important, though, to understand that the greatest amount of research has gone into high-protein and standard ketogenic diets. The remaining ones (targeted and cyclical ketogenic diets) are quite complex and preferred by athletes and bodybuilders).
In addition, this article is concerned with standard ketogenic diet (SKD), but the rationale is the same as with the rest of the ketogenic diets.
In summary: Different types of ketogenic diets exist. However, there is more verifiable information on the standard ketogenic diet which is also the one recommended most.
You can Lose Weight Using Ketogenic Diets
One of the most effective strategies for losing weight and reducing the risk of contracting many diseases is a ketogenic diet.
Actually, it is far more effective to use a ketogenic diet to lose weight than to eat a low-fat diet.
It is even better to know that ketogenic diets will make you so satiated that you will not need to count calories or monitor what you eat.
In a recent research, it was established that people on a ketogenic diet shed 2.2 times more mass than those who ate a low fat diet with very few calories. HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels also became better.
Yet another research found out that people on a ketogenic diet shed thrice more body mass compared to those who adhered to diet that Diabetes UK prescribed for patients.
Numerous reasons exist to explain the advantage of ketogenic diets over those with low fat. For example, ketogenic diets force one to take more proteins and this is vastly advantageous.
When ketones increase, blood sugar levels reduce, and increasing sensitivity to insulin is a significant catalyst.
In summary: You will lose significantly more weight from a ketogenic diet that on a low-fat meal plan. Incidentally, you don’t have to endure hunger pains as you lose weight.
How Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Patients can benefit from Ketogenic Diets
Fluctuating metabolism, compromised insulin function and elevated blood sugar are the hallmarks of diabetes.
By helping them shed off excess fat, pre-diabetic and diabetic people will have better health since surplus fat is associated with type 2 diabetes.
In another study, it was discovered that insulin levels increased by a significant 75% when people ate ketogenic meals.
In yet another study among type 2 diabetics, it was established that a third of 21 participants who were on ketogenic diets, stopped taking diabetes medicine.
Further, findings of a similar study indicated that people on a ketogenic diet shed more weight (11.1. kg) than a group on a higher-cab diet (6.9 kg). If you consider the role of weight in type 2 diabetes, you will realize why these findings are significant.
Moreover, in the same study, it was found out that 95.2% of the group on a ketogenic diet managed to halt to reduce intake of diabetes drugs as opposed to 62% of those on a diet with more carbs.
In summary: Ketogenic meal plans promote insulin sensitivity and stimulate loss of fat, thus boosting the conditions of type 2 diabetes patients and those in pre-diabetes stage.
How Else Does a Ketogenic Diet Improve Your Health?
It should be remembered that ketogenic diets were initially developed to treat neurological complications like epilepsy.
Research now indicates that a ketogenic diet can carry numerous benefits to a range of health complications:
- Cardiovascular illnesses: This kind of diet can reduce risk factors such as HDL prevalence, blood sugar and pressure, and body fat.
- Cancer: Ketogenic diets are presently in use in the treatment of slow tumour development and various forms of cancer.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Patients on ketogenic diets experience fewer Alzheimer’s symptoms as well as deceleration of the disease.
- Epilepsy: Studies have indicated that this diet is likely to significantly reduce seizures in children suffering from epilepsy.
- Parkinson’s disease: A research study indicated that ketogenic diets assisted in boosting Parkinson’s disease’s symptoms.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: Insulin levels can be lessened by a ketogenic diet thus reducing the effects of polycystic ovary disorder.
- Brain injuries: In a study on animals, a ketogenic diet was found to lessen concussions and help one to recovery after undergoing brain surgery.
- Acne: When the level of insulin in the body reduces and one reduces sugar and processed foods’ consumption, acne improves.
However, keep in mind that research into many of these areas is far from being conclusive.
In summary: There are numerous health advantages for those who subscribe to a ketogenic diet, particularly in relation to neurological, metabolic and insulin-based illnesses.
A Ketogenic Diet should not Contain Some Foods
The following foods must be reduced or removed from a ketogenic meal plan:
- Sugar-filled foods: fruits juice, ice cream, fruit juice, candy, cake etc.
- Starches and grains: pasta, wheat products, cereals, rice, etc.
- Fruits: All fruits except for minimal intake of strawberries and other berries.
- Legumes and beans: kidney beans, chickpeas, peas, etc.
- Tubers and root vegetables: Sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc.
- Diet and low-fat products: foods that have undergone much processing and contain a lot of carbs.
- Sauces and some condiments: They are full of sugar and unwholesome fat.
- Unwholesome fat: Reduce your consumption of mayonnaise, vegetable oils etc.
- Alcohol: Your ketosis will be compromised by alcohol because the latter has high carb content.
- Diet foods without sugar: they contain too much sugar alcohols and this interferes with ketone levels. This is in addition to being highly processed.
In summary: Do not include foods like legumes, potatoes, juice, grains, sugars, fruits and candy because of their high carb content.
Foods that Work Well in Ketogenic Diets
Most of your meals should revolve around the following foods:
- Meat: Sausage, chicken, steak, turkey, red meat and ham.
- Fatty fish: Like tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout and so on.
- Eggs: Use omega-3 whole eggs of pastured ones.
- Cream and butter: Preferably use products from grass-fed animals.
- Cheese: Natural cheese (blue, goat, blue, mozzarella or cheddar).
- Seeds and nuts: Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, etc.
- Wholesome oils: Fundamentally use coconut oil, avocado oil and extra virgin.
- Avocados: Freshly made guacamole and whole avocados.
- Low-carb vegetables: Tomatoes, peppers, majority green vegetables, onions etc.
- Condiments: Salt, healthy herbs, salt and spices are permissible.
To get the best result, ensure you use single ingredient and whole foods. The following are 44 wholesome low-carb foods:
In summary: Prepare your ketogenic meal using foods like fish, butter, eggs, nuts, avocados, healthy oils, low-carb veggies and meat.
Here Is an Example of a Ketogenic Diet for a Week
To introduce you to ketogenic food, follow this meal plan for seven days:
- Breakfast: Eggs, bacon and tomatoes.
- Lunch: Olive oil, feta cheese and chicken salad.
- Dinner: salmon and asparagus mixed and prepared in butter.
- Breakfast: Tomato, goat cheese omelette and egg.
- Lunch: Cocoa powder, peanut butter, stevia and almond milk.
- Dinner: Vegetables, cheddar cheese and meatballs.
- Breakfast: A high-fat milkshake.
- Lunch: Olive oil, Avocado and shrimp salad,
- Dinner: Parmesan cheese with pork chops, salad and broccoli.
- Breakfast: Onion, salsa, omelette with avocado and peppers.
- Lunch: Celery sticks, salsa, guacamole and a couple of nuts.
- Dinner: Some vegetables alongside chicken filled with cream cheese and pesto.
- Breakfast: Tomatoes with 3-cheese omelette.
- Lunch: Surplus stuffed fowl – a remained from the previous night.
- Dinner: Salad, steak, mushrooms and eggs.
- Breakfast: peanut butter and yoghurt without sugar, stevia and cocoa powder.
- Lunch: Coconut oil and vegetables and beef mix fry prepared with coconut oil.
- Dinner: Egg and cheese as well as bacon with bun-less burger.
- Breakfast: omelette with veggies and cheese and ham.
- Lunch: Cheese pieces with nuts and ham.
- Dinner: Spinach and egg prepared in coconut oil and white fish.
- Breakfast: Mushrooms, bacon with fried eggs.
- Lunch: guacamole and cheese with salsa and burger.
- Dinner: A piece of bread with eggs and steak.
Make sure you rotate the meat and veggies for a prolonged period since each of them offers varying nutrients and health advantages.
In summary: Ketogenic meals don’t have to be boring as there are numerous delicious and wholesome dishes you can prepare.
Wholesome Ketogenic Appetisers
Assuming you become famished before the next meal, the following keto-recommended snacks are appropriate:
- Fish or fatty meat.
- A couple of seeds and nuts.
- Olives with cheese.
- Several hard boiled eggs.
- Almost pure dark chocolate.
- Nut powder and cocoa powder and almond milk with a low-carb milk shake.
- Cocoa powder and nut butter mixed with yoghurt made from full milk.
- Cream and strawberry.
- Guacamole and celery with salsa.
- Sizeable amounts of the previous evening’s meals
In summary: Amazing snacks for ketogenic diets comprise cheese, boiled eggs, dark chocolate, olives and meat.
Ketogenic Meal Choices When You Go Out
Making food in most restaurants to be keto-firendly is not hard.
You will find fish and meat-based meals in most eateries. Ask for such as dish, and in place of carbs, let them give you surplus vegetables.
You can also eat foods made from eggs e.g. bacon or omelette, etc.
Alternatively, you can eat bun-less burgers. Avoid the bun and fried and eat vegetables. Cheese, eggs, extra avocado and eggs can be great additions.
Mexican eateries will give you the luxury of eating various kinds of meat as well as sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese and salsa.
If you want dessert, double cream with berries or mixed cheese board will do.
In summary: Ask for egg-based meals, fish or meat when you eat out. In place of starches and carbs, ask to be served vegetable, and for dessert, ask for cheese.
How to Reduce the Side Effects of Keto Diets
If you are healthy, you need not fear ketogenic diets, but you should expect some slightly unpleasant experiences as you get used to this meal plan.
“Keto flu” as the side effects are known, lasts only for several days.
Expect low energy and poor mental function, constant hunger pangs, tendency to oversleep, nausea, sleep disorders, digestive complications and general apathy towards workouts.
To reduce the side effects of keto diets, eat a normal low-carb diet during the initial weeks. Your body will get used to burning a lot of fat after which you can do away with carbs.
The mineral and water balance in your body may also be compromised by ketogenic meal plans thus requiring using mineral supplements or increasing the amount of salt in your food.
If you are to take minerals, daily intakes of potassium (1,000 mg), sodium (3,000-4000mg) and magnesium (300 mg) are recommended in order to alleviate side effects.
Try to fill the stomach at the beginning and do not over-restrict calories. Remember ketogenic diets help you to lose body mass without restricting calories.
In summary: It is possible to reduce most of the side effects experienced when beginning a ketogenic meal plan. Slipping gradually into the diet and supplementing on minerals will alleviate side effects.
How to Supplement a Ketogenic Diet
Generally, you don’t need supplement but a few can come in handy.
- MCT oil: It can be mixed with yoghurt and other drinks to increase ketone and energy levels.
- Minerals: Minerals and some additional salt could prove significant at the beginning since your mineral and water contents need to be stabilized.
- Caffeine: It will help especially in relation to fat loss, energy and performance.
- Exogenous ketones: Ketone levels may need this supplement for them to increase.
- Creatine: Is essential for performance and health, especially if you are working out while on a ketogenic diet.
- Whey: You can elevate your protein intake by mixing a little whey in yogurt and shakes.
In summary: Some supplements may make your ketogenic diet more beneficial. Minerals, exogenous ketones and MCT oils are some typical examples.
The following are some of the most asked questions on ketogenic diets:
- Will I eat carbs ever again?
You will eat carbs in future, but at the beginning you must gradually do away with them. Two to three months down the line, it is permitted to eat carbs during special events, but you must revert to the ketogenic diet soon after.
- Does keto entail losing muscle?
Any diet can contribute to loss of muscle, but when taking a diet packed with protein and replete with ketones, muscle loss occurs marginally, particularly if the person on diet is also lifting weights.
- Is it possible to gain muscle when on a ketogenic diet?
It is possible but not as effective as when one engages in a moderate-carb diet. For more information: Low-Cab/ Ketogenic Diets and Exercise Perfomance.
- Should I carb load or re-feed?
You don’t have to, but you may benefit from infrequent days when you eat high-calorie meals.
- What is the recommended protein intake?
Moderation is the norm since excessive intake is likely to cause a sudden rise in insulin levels and simultaneously decrease ketones. Don’t take more that 35% of your calories needs from proteins.
- What should I do if I become lethargic and sluggish most of the times?
This may happen when your body is not using its ketones and fat as expected or you are in inadequate ketosis. Read the points we have made above and decrease the amounts of carbs you eat. You may also want to supplement with ketones or MCT oil.
- Why is there a fruity smell in my urine?
Don’t panic because it is your body expelling by-products of ketosis.
- What should I do now that my breath smells awfully?
This is not unusual. Chew sugar-free gum or drink water that is flavoured naturally for the foul breath to go away.
- Is ketosis really dangerous as I have heard?
The confusion between ketoacidosis and ketosis is responsible for this notion. The former is used in cases of extreme diabetes while the latter is natural.
While ketogenic diet is healthy and normal, ketoacidosis is risky.
- What action should I take now that I diarrhoea and have digestive complications?
This side effect will disappear during the third or fourth week and is common. High-fibre vegetables will alleviate the problem. For constipation, take magnesium supplements.
Not everyone should try Keto Even Though it is an Effective Diet Plan
Diabetic people, those who are overweight and persons interested in boosting their metabolism will enjoy a ketogenic diet.
But for elite athletes and anyone interested in building muscle, keto is the wrong choice of a diet plan.
Moreover, keto is just like other diets; it works for those who stick to it for the long haul.
Having said that, it is important to know that not many nutritional diet plans are known to be as powerful and effective in weight loss and attainment of general wellbeing, as a ketogenic diet.