April 17, 2024

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that replaces carbohydrates with fat. This helps your body to burn fat as energy. Weight loss and reduced risk of certain diseases are among the health benefits.

The ketogenic (or keto) diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet with many health benefits. Many studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can improve your health and help you lose some weight. Ketogenic diets could even be beneficial against diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. This is a comprehensive guide for beginners to the ketogenic diet.

What is Keto Diet?

ketogenic diet, also known as a low-carb diet that causes the liver to produce ketones for energy. The keto diet is known by many names, including ketogenic (keto) diet and low carb (LCHF).

Your body produces glucose and insulin when you consume foods high in carbohydrates.

  • Glucose has the highest conversion rate and is therefore preferred over other energy sources.
  • Insulin helps to transport glucose from your bloodstream around your body.

As glucose is used as the primary energy source, fats are no longer needed and stored. On a high carbohydrate, normal diet, glucose is the body’s main source of energy. The body enters a state called ketosis by reducing carb intake.

Ketosis occurs when the body is in a low-calorie state. In this state we produce ketone which is produced by the breakdown of fats within the liver.

A properly maintained diet will force your body to enter this metabolic state. This is not done by starving the body of carbohydrates, but rather of calories.

When you overfeed your body with fats, and remove carbohydrates from the diet, it will start to use ketones for energy. Ketone levels that are optimal can have many benefits for health, weight-loss, and physical and mental performance.

Types of ketogenic diets

The ketogenic diet is available in several forms, including

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) This diet is low in carbs, high in fat and moderately high in protein. It contains typically 70% fat, only 20% protein and 10% carbs.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) This is a diet that involves periods of high carbohydrate refeeds. For example, 5 ketogenic days are followed by 2 days with higher carbohydrate refeeds.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) This diet lets you add carbs to your diet around exercise.
  • High-protein ketogenic diet Similar to the standard ketogenic, but with more proteins. The ratio is usually 60% fat, 35% proteins, and 5% carbohydrates.

Only the high-protein and standard ketogenic diets were studied in depth. The cyclical or targeted ketogenic methods are advanced and are primarily used by athletes or bodybuilders.

This article focuses on the standard ketogenic (SKD) diet, although it contains many principles that are also applicable to other versions.

On a Keto Diet, What Should I Eat?

Keep your carbohydrate intake to a minimum, mainly from nuts, vegetables and dairy. Avoid refined carbohydrates like wheat (breads, pastas, cereals), potato, starch, and legumes. Avocado, starfruit, and berries are the only exceptions.

Do not eat

  • Grains: wheat, corn rice cereals etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

Do eat

  • Meats: fish, beef and lamb, poultry, eggs etc.
  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • High fat dairy – high fat creams, cheeses, butter, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: macadamias (walnuts), sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries: raspberries, blackberries and other berries with low glycemic index
  • Sweeteners: stevia (erythritol), monkfruit, and Other Low-Carb Sweeteners.
  • Other fats: coconut oil, high fat salad dressings, saturated fats etc.

Ketogenic Diets Can Help You Lose Weight

The ketogenic diet can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of disease. Research shows that a ketogenic diet can be just as effective as a diet with low fat for weight loss.

The diet is so filling, you can lose fat even without tracking calories or food intake.

A review of 13 studies concluded that a ketogenic, low-carb diet was more effective at promoting weight loss over the long term than a diet with low fat. The keto diet resulted in an average weight loss of 2 pounds (0.9kg) more for those who followed it than the low-fat diet group.

A study of 34 older adults showed that those following a ketogenic 8-week diet lost five times more total body weight than those on a low-fat diet.

Increased ketones, lower levels of blood sugar, and an improved insulin sensitivity could also be key factors.

Ketogenic diets have other benefits

The diet has been shown to be beneficial for many different types of health conditions.

Control Blood Sugar

Keto lowers your blood sugar naturally due to the foods you consume. ketogenic dieting has been shown to be more effective in managing and preventing diabetes than low-calorie diets.

You should consider the ketogenic diet if you have Type II or pre-diabetes. Many of our readers have experienced success in controlling their blood sugar on the keto diet.

Mental Focus

The ketogenic diet , specifically, is used by many people to improve mental performance.

Ketones provide a good source of energy for the brain. By reducing carbohydrate intake, you can avoid large spikes in your blood sugar. This can improve your focus and concentration.

Increased intake of fat acids has been shown to improve brain function.

Insulin Resistance

Unmanaged insulin resistance can lead type II diabetes. A low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet has been shown to help lower insulin levels.

Epilepsy

Since the early 1900s, epilepsy has been successfully treated with the ketogenic diet. Today, it is one of the most popular therapies for children with uncontrolled epilepsy.

The Bottom Line

The ketogenic diet is great for those who suffer from:

  • are overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Those who want to improve their metabolism

This may not be suitable for elite athletes, or those who wish to gain a lot of weight or muscle.

Some people may not find it sustainable due to their lifestyles or preferences. Talk to your doctor about the goals and eating plan you have in order to determine if a Keto eating plan is right for you.

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