The Ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet with many health benefits. It also helps in losing weight and has benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Keto diet is similar to the Atkins diet and low-carbs diet. In the Keto diet, most of the carbs are replaced by the fats, which results in low intake of carbs, which causes the body to move in a metabolic state called Ketosis. When the body is in Ketosis it burns the fat for energy and also helps the liver to convert fat into ketones which supply energy to the brain.
Keto diet causes massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, along with increased ketones, the ketogenic diet provides great health benefits.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diet
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
This is a very low carbs moderate protein and high-fat diet, which contains approximately 75% of fat, 20% of protein and only 5% of carbs.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
It is a cyclical diet which involves a high carb diet periodically like 5ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
In this diet, the carbs are added around the workouts.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet
It is SKD with increased protein. The protein is increased by sacrificing the fats. So, the diet will be 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Cyclical and Targeted Ketogenic diets are generally used by bodybuilders and athletes.
This article basically covers the principles involved in Standard Ketogenic Diet. But the principles can be used in other Ketogenic diets as well.
Losing Weight With Ketogenic Diet
Keto diet is not only effective for losing weight but also helps in lowering the risk factors for diseases. It is so filling that you can lose weight even without keeping a track of your calorie intake.
Studies found that following a keto diet results in reducing the weight 2.2 times faster than following a calorie-restricted diet. The keto diet also improves Triglyceride( a type of fat (lipid) which is made up of unused calories by the body from the food we intake) and HDL cholesterol levels.
A keto diet is superior to a low-fat diet as it increases the protein intake, increases ketones, lowers blood sugar level and improves insulin sensitivity.
Keto Diet for Diabetes and Prediabetes
Diabetes is characterized by metabolic changes, high blood pressure and impaired insulin function. Keto diet helps you to lose excess fat which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. A study in people with type 2 diabetes discovered that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all the diabetic medication, it also showed that the insulin festivity got improved by a whopping 75%.
A study, compared the Ketogenic group to a higher carb group, showed that the ketogenic group lost 24.4 pounds while the other group lost only 15.2 pounds.
Health Benefits of Keto Diet
People today start the ketogenic diet for reducing weight or improving their health, but this eating strategy was developed for epilepsy. The study for this diet strategy was done in France around 1911, it showed that people who take low-calorie diets combined with fasting experience fewer seizures and have fewer adverse health effects from the condition.
Reduced risk to heart diseases
Keto diet can improve the risk factors like body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Keto diet is used for the treatment of several types of cancer as it slows the growth of the tumour.
Fighting against Alzheimer’s Disease
This diet may even reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow down its progression.
Rapid improvement in Parkinson’s Disease
A study revealed that Keto diet is helpful in treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Helps to control Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Keto diet can help in reducing insulin levels, which may play an important role in polycystic ovary syndrome.
Improvement in brain injuries
An animal study showed that the diet can reduce concussions and aid recovery after brain injury.
It lowers the insulin levels and sugar levels in the body which may help in improving acne.
Foods and Drinks in Keto Diet
Unprocessed meat is low in carbs and is keto-friendly, but don’t eat too much of it as the keto diet is high in fat, not high in protein, so you don’t need huge amounts of proteins.
Fish and Seafood
These foods are good for keto diet, especially fatty fish like Salmon. Sardines, mackerels and herrings can be consumed if you are concerned about mercury and other toxins.
You can eat eggs any way you want; boiled, half fry, butter-fried, as you wish.
Natural fat, High Fat Sauces
In keto diet, most of the calories should come from fats. Much of it can be obtained in the form of natural fat from meat, seafood, eggs, and other sources, but you should also use fat in cooking like butter or coconut oil and feel free to add plenty of olive oil to your salads and vegetables.
Vegetables growing above ground
Choose vegetables growing above the ground, especially leafy and green items like cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini.
A lot of people on the keto diet end up eating more veggies, as the veggies replace pasta, rice, potato and starches.
High Fat Dairy
You can use butter, high-fat cheese and heavy cream in cooking. Try to avoid drinking milk as the milk sugar quickly adds up, but you can use it in your coffee according to the number of cups you drink in a day. Cafe-latte and no-fat yogurts should be avoided as they often contain lots of added sugar.
Nuts can be consumed in moderation, but be careful when consuming them as a snack, as they are easy to eat, for more than you require, to feel satisfied.
A moderate amount of berries can be consumed in the keto diet. In fact, berries with whipped cream is a popular keto dessert.
- Caffé Americano
- Black Tea
- Green Tea
- Bone Broth
Do not add any additional sugar in it. You can add natural flavouring like lemon, honey, etc which suits your taste.
A sample Keto diet meal plan for one week to help you get started
|Mon||Bacon, eggs and tomatoes||Chicken salad with feta cheese||Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter|
|Tue||Egg, tomato, basil and goat cheese omelette||Almond milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia milkshake||Meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables|
|Wed||Strawberry Ketogenic milkshake||Shrimp salad with olive oil and avocado||Pork chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad|
|Thu||Omelet with avocado, salsa, peppers, onion and spices||A handful of nuts and celery sticks with guacamole and salsa||Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese, along with vegetables|
|Fri||Sugar-free yoghurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia||Beef stir-fry cooked in coconut oil with vegetables||Bun-less burger with bacon, egg and cheese|
|Sat||Ham and cheese omelette with vegetables||Ham and cheese slices with nuts||Whitefish, egg and spinach cooked in coconut oil|
|Sun||Fried eggs with bacon and mushrooms||Burger with salsa, cheese and guacamole||Steak and eggs with a side salad|
For a long term plan, keep rotating veggies and meat as each type provide different health benefits.
Healthy Keto Snacks
Midnight cravings or hunger between the meals, here are some keto-approved snacks:
- Fatty meat or fish
- A handful of nuts or seeds, avoid taking much of them.
- Cheese with olives
- 1–2 hard-boiled eggs
- 90% dark chocolate
- A milkshake with almond milk as it is low in carbs, add some cocoa powder and nut butter
- Yoghurt (preferably full-fat) mixed with nut butter and cocoa powder
- Strawberries and cream
- Celery with salsa and guacamole
- Smaller portions of leftover meals
- Tips for Eating Out on a Ketogenic Diet
It is comparatively easy to make restaurant meals keto-friendly when dining out.
Most of the restaurants offer some sort of meat or fish-based dish. Order this with extra vegetables, replacing the high carb food.
Egg-based meals are a great option, you can order omelette or eggs and bacon.
Then there are also bunless burgers, swap the fries for vegetables instead. Can also ask for some extra avocado, cheese, bacon or eggs, these will fulfil your requirements of fats.
At Mexican restaurants, you can enjoy any type of meat with extra cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream, these are rich in fats and will fulfil your fat needs.
You can order a mixed cheese board or berries with cream as a dessert.
Side Effects and How to Minimize Them
Although the keto diet is pretty safe for healthy people, there may be some initial side effects while your body adapts it. These side effects are often referred to as the keto flu and are usually over within a few days, which includes poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance.
You can go for a regular low-carb diet for the first few weeks so that you can minimize the effect of keto flu as this may teach your body to burn more fat before you completely eliminate carbs.
Keto diet might also change the water and mineral balance of your body. Adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements can help in improving the condition.
You can go for 3,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium and 300 mg of magnesium per day as minerals to minimize the side effects.
In the beginning, it is important to eat until you’re full without even restricting calories too much. Usually, a keto diet causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction.
Supplements for a Ketogenic Diet
MCT oil: Added to drinks or yoghurt, it provides energy and helps increase ketone levels.
Minerals: Added salt and other minerals can be important when starting out to balance shifts in water and mineral balance.
Caffeine: Caffeine can help in providing energy, losing fat and better performance.
Exogenous ketones: This might help to raise the body’s ketone levels.
Creatine: If you are combining a ketogenic diet with exercise. Creatine can help by providing numerous benefits for health and performance.
Whey: You can use half a scoop of whey protein in shakes or yoghurt to increase your daily protein intake.
“A Keto Diet Is Great, But Not for Everyone”
Keto diet can be great for people who are either overweight or diabetic or want to improve their metabolic health.
It may be less suitable for elite athletes and all those people wishing to add large amounts of muscle or weight.
As with any diet, it will work only if you are consistent and stick with it in the long term.