What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins & low-carb diets.
It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake & replacing it with fat.
This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis
When this happens your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy.
It also turns fat into ketones in the liver which can supply energy for the brain.
Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar & insulin levels. This along with the increased ketones has numerous health benefits
1. What is a keto diet?
The keto diet is a very low-carb higher-fat diet. It’s similar in many ways to other low-carb diets.
While you eat far fewer carbohydrates on a keto diet you maintain moderate protein consumption & may increase your intake of fat. The reduction in carb intake puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis where fat from your diet & from your body is burned for energy.
2. What ‘keto’ means?
A ‘keto’ or ‘ketogenic’ diet is so named because it causes your body to produce small fuel molecules called ‘ketones’.
This is an alternative fuel source for your body that can be used when blood sugar is in short supply.
When you eat very few carbs or very few calories your liver produces ketones from fat.
These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body especially for the brain.
The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day & it can’t run on fat directly.
On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat burning fat 24-7.
When insulin levels drop very low fat burning can increase dramatically.
It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off.
This is great if you’re trying to lose weight but there can also be other benefits such as less hunger & a steady supply of energy — without the sugar peaks & valleys that often occur when eating high-carb meals. This may help keep you alert & focused.
When the body produces ketones it enters a metabolic state called ketosis.
The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but nobody can consistently fast forever.
A keto diet on the othe & also results in ketosis & can be eaten indefinitely.
It has many of the benefits of fasting – including weight loss – without having to fast long term.
3. Different Types of Ketogenic Diets.
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet including:
•St&ard ketogenic diet :- This is a very low-car moderate-protein & high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat 20% protein & only 5% carbs .
•Cyclical ketogenic diet :- This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
•Targeted ketogenic diet :- This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
•High-protein ketogenic diet:- This is similar to a st&ard ketogenic diet but includes more protein.
The ratio is often 60% fat 35% protein & 5% carbs.
4. Is the Keto Diet Safe?
This eating pattern is not recommended for individuals with:
Eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
Gallbladder disease or those who have had their gallbladders removed
Plus there are both short-term & long-term health risks for all people associated with the keto diet.
Short term health risks include flu-like symptoms. For example upset stomach headache fatigue & dizzy spells.
This is called the ‘ketoflu’ Some people also report trouble sleeping. Cutting back on high-fiber vegetables fruits & whole grains also can increase risk for constipation.
Often keto dieters must take a fiber supplement to help stay regular but this should be discussed with a health care provider.
Long term health risks of the keto diet include kidney stones liver disease & deficiencies of vitamins & minerals.
To limit carbs many nutrient-rich vegetables & fruits are cut out. Thus intakes of vitamin A, C, K & folate usually are low.
The high fat nature of the keto diet is very controversial. A considerable body of research has shown that diets high in saturated fat may increase the risk for heart disease & other chronic health problems. The risk that keto dieters might be taking with regards to their long-term cardiovascular health has not been fully studied.
Ketogenic Diets Can Help You Lose Weight
A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight & lower risk factors for disease.
In fact research shows that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the often recommended low-fat diet.
What’s more the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake
One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet.
Triglyceride & HDL cholesterol levels also improved.
Another study found that people on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the diet recommended by Diabetes UK.
There are several reasons why a ketogenic diet is superior to a low-fat diet including the increased protein intake which provides numerous benefits
The increased ketones lower blood sugar levels & improved insulin sensitivity may also play a key role.
5. Other Health Benefits of Keto
The ketogenic diet actually originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases such as epilepsy.
Studies have now shown that the diet can have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions:
•Heart disease: The ketogenic diet can improve risk factors like body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure & blood sugar .
•Cancer: The diet is currently being used to treat several types of cancer & slow tumor growth
•Alzheimer’s disease: The keto diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease & slow its progression
•Epilepsy: Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in seizures in epileptic children
•Parkinson’s disease: One study found that the diet helped improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
•Polycystic ovary syndrome: The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in polycystic ovary syndrome
•Brain injuries: One animal study found that the diet can reduce concussions & aid recovery after brain injury
•Acne: Lower insulin levels & eating less sugar or processed foods may help improve acne
6. Foods to Avoid
Any food that is high in carbs should be limited.
Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
•Sugary foods:- Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, c&y, etc.
•Grains or starches:- Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
•Fruit:- All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
•Beans or legumes:- Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
•Root vegetables & tubers:- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
•Low-fat or diet products:- These are highly processed & often high in carbs.
•Some condiments or sauces:- These often contain sugar & unhealthy fat.
•Unhealthy fats:- Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
•Alcohol:- Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
•Sugar-free diet foods:- These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
7. Food to eat
You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:
•Meat:- Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken & turkey.
•Fatty fish:- Such as salmon, trout, tuna & mackerel.
•Eggs:- Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
•Butter & cream:- Look for grass-fed when possible.
•Cheese:- Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
•Nuts & seeds:- Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
•Healthy oils:- Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil & avocado oil.
•Avocados:- Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
•Low-carb veggies:- Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
•Condiments:- You can use salt, pepper & various healthy herbs & spices.