The ketogenic diet is a high-fat low carb diet which can offer you many health benefits.
More than 20 separate studies have proven that this diet can not only help you lose weight but also get healthier.
Its many benefits revolve around cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy, to name a few.
This article is perfect for those getting acquainted with this diet, since it tells you everything you need to know.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
As we mentioned, it is low on carbs and high in fats and rather similar to the Atkins diet (as well as other low carb diets). It is often called keto, for short.
It’s name comes from the fact that your body enters a state of ketosis. It’s a metabolic state which occurs from the reduction of carbs and their replacement with fats.
When this occurs, one’s body becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy.
The keto diet also greatly reduces one’s blood sugar and insulin levels. Those are just some of the many health benefits it offers.
Several Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are a few versions of this diet, including:
- SKD (Standard Ketogenic Diet) – this diet is high in fats(75%), moderate in protein(20%) and low in carbs (5%).
- CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet) – this diet has periods of high-carbs, such as 5 ketogenic days and 2 high-carb days
- TKD – this diet allows one to take carbs around exercises
- High-protein ketogenic diet – similar to the standard version, only includes higher amounts of protein. The ratio is about 60% fats, 35% protein and, once again, 5% carbs.
Keep in mind that the CKD and the TKD are usually more advanced versions and are used by mostly athletes and bodybuilders.
The information in this article will mainly revolve around the standard version, though some things may also apply to the others.
A Very Effective Diet Indeed
Not only is it ideal for losing weight and helping lower the risk of many diseases, but it has also been proven to be far superior to any low-fat diet.
Moreover, this diet is so filling that you lose track of counting calories – you don’t need to!
Those who used this diet also reported an improvement in their cholesterol and triglyceride!
A healthy, satiating diet that has better weight-loss results than most other diets! What more can one ask for?
Keto Diet for Prediabetes and Diabetes
This diet can aid you in lose any excess pounds, which is closely connected to metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type II diabetes.
In fact, according to one study, the keto diet improved one’s sensitivity to insulin by as much as 75%!
Some patients with type II diabetes even reported that they had stopped taking their diabetes medication!
Other Health Benefits of This Diet
Did you know that the ketogenic diet was originally made for the treatment of neurological diseases, like epilepsy for example.
Many studies have confirmed that this diet can offer many benefits for a wide variety of things:
- Heart Disease – the keto diet has the ability to improve the risk factors such as HDL cholesterol levels, body fat, blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Cancer – this diet can actually slow down the growth of any tumors. Many are currently using it to treat numerous types of cancer.
- Alzheimer’s disease – it can slow down the disease’s progression and reduce any symptoms
- Epilepsy – we already mentioned this diet is beneficial for such cases as well. It was discovered that it can cause a huge reduction in the epileptic seizures of children.
- Parkinson’s disease – a study proved that this disease can improve the symptoms of this disease too.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome – thanks to its ability to reduce insulin levels, it can help with PCOS as well.
- Brain injuries – one study had found that it helps one recover from a brain injury and reduce concussions
- Acne – by lowering your insulin levels and eating less processed foods in general, you also improve your chances of getting rid of any acne.
Still, it’s best to keep in mind that much more research needs to be done before reaching any steel conclusions.
Foods to Avoid
It is no riddle that foods high in carbs should be avoided, or at least limited. Here is a list of foods you’d do best to either completely eliminate or reduce:
- Sugary Foods – this includes smoothies, fruit juice, sodas, candy, cake, ice cream,
- Starches or Grains – cereal, rice, pasta, any wheat-based products in general.
- Fruit – all of it, except maybe some small quantities of berries, such as strawberries.
- Legumes or Beans – these can be kidney, pinto, peas, chickpeas, lentils,
- Tubers and Root Vegetables – parsnips, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes,
- Diet or Low-Fat Products – don’t let the name fool you, these are usually high in carbs and processed, two of the things you should avoid.
- Some Sauces and Condiments – such things usually contain unhealthy fats and sugars.
- Unhealthy Fat – speaking of them, one should best reduce one’s intake of mayonnaise and processed vegetable oils, among other things.
- Alcohol – due to the fact that it contains carbs, it can completely throw one out of ketosis.
- Sugar-Free Diet Foods – again, don’t be fooled by the name, they are most often high in sugar alcohols, which, as mentioned above, can affect your ketone levels. Additionally, most of these foods are also highly processed.
Foods to Eat
Like there is a list of foods to avoid, there naturally needs to be a list of foods to consume while on this diet.
One should base their meals around these foods:
- Meat – steak, ham, red meat, chicken, bacon, sausage and turkey.
- Fatty Fish – tuna, trout, salmon, and mackerel.
- Eggs – just make sure to look for omega-3 or pastured whole eggs.
- Cream and Butter – grass-fed is the best variety you should look for.
- Cheese – the unprocessed kind, of course. Examples include goat, cheddar, cream, mozzarella or blue.
- Seeds and Nuts – flaxseeds, almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Healthy Oils – avocado oil, coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil are the best options.
- Avocados – while we’re on avocado oil, it’s also a good idea to eat avocados fresh and whole, or maybe guacamole!
- Low-Carb Veggies – peppers, tomatoes, onions and most other green vegetables.
- Condiments – that means various healthy spices, and one can also use pepper and sea salt.
This diet is best done on single-ingredient, whole foods.
One Week Sample Ketogenic Meal Plan
This meal plan is to help get you started.
- Breakfast – eggs, tomatoes, and bacon
- Lunch – chicken salad with feta cheese and olive
- Dinner – salmon cooked in butter with asparagus
- Breakfast – an omelet made from tomato, egg, goat cheese and basil
- Lunch – peanut butter, almond milk, stevia milkshake and cocoa powder
- Dinner – cheddar cheese, vegetables, and meatballs
- Breakfast – a ketogenic milkshake (you can try this or this)
- Lunch – salad with shrimps, avocado and olive oil
- Dinner – pork chops with salad, broccoli, and parmesan cheese
- Breakfast – omelet with salsa, onion, peppers, spices, and avocado
- Lunch – a handful of celery sticks and nuts with salsa and guacamole
- Dinner – chicken, stuffed with cream cheese and pesto, with some vegetables
- Breakfast – some sugar-free yogurt with stevia, cocoa powder and peanut butter
- Lunch – Beef stir-fry cooked with vegetables in coconut oil
- Dinner – burger (bunless) with eggs, cheese, and bacon
- Breakfast – cheese and ham omelet with vegetables
- Lunch – cheese and ham slices with some nuts
- Dinner – spinach, white fish and egg cooked in coconut oil
- Breakfast – Mushrooms and bacon with fried eggs
- Lunch – burger (bunless) with cheese, guacamole, and salsa
- Dinner – eggs, and steak with a salad on the side
Always aim to mix things up between your meats and vegetables, as each provides a different variety of nutrients.
Here are some healthy, ketogenic snacks which you can munch on in case you feel hungry between your main meals:
- Cheese (with olives if you prefer)
- Fatty fish or meat
- A handful of seeds and nuts
- 90% dark chocolate
- One to two hard boiled eggs
- A milkshake low on carbs with cocoa powder, but butter and almond milk
- Strawberries with cream
- Full-fat yogurt in combination with cocoa powder or nut butter
- Celery with some guacamole or salsa
- Leftover meals in small portions
Eating Out While on a Keto Diet?
It’s not too hard to find a restaurant which is ketogenic diet friendly.
Most places offer something on their menu which has to do with meat or fish. Order that and replace any carb side dishes with vegetables instead.
You can also opt for meals based on eggs, such as bacon and eggs or a tasty omelet.
Another keto favorite is the bunless burger. Simply make sure to swap the fries for extra veggies. You can also add eggs, bacon, cheese, and avocado to it.
If you have a thing for Mexican restaurants, you can feast on any type of meat with salsa, guacamole, extra cheese or sour cream.
For dessert, you can do like the French do and order a board of mixed cheeses or maybe berries with double cream.
Possible Side Effects and How to Deal with Them
Although this diet is considered healthy by all standards, there may be some initial side effects while your body takes the time to adapt.
This has been christened ‘keto-flu’, and is usually over within a few days.
It can include nausea, poor mental function and lack of energy, sleep issues, increased hunger, decreased workout performance and issues with digestion.
If you’d like to minimize this, you can try a low-carb diet for the first week or two.
This will slowly get your body into fat-burning mode before you move on to the next stage of completely eliminating carbs.
Furthermore, you should add some extra salt or take mineral supplements with your meals, as this diet can have an effect on the mineral and water balance in your body.
For minerals, you can try taking 300mg magnesium, 1000mg of potassium and 3000-4000 mg of sodium.
This is how you limit any side-effects and ease yourself into the ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic Diet Supplements
Although technically, this diet does not require any supplements, you can choose to take some if you feel it necessary.
Here is a list of the most useful ones:
- MCT oil – it can be added to yogurt, or other drinks. It provides you with energy and helps to increase the ketone levels.
- Minerals – like we mentioned, because of shifts in mineral and water balance, it would be a good idea to add mineral supplements and salt to your diet.
- Caffeine – it can offer benefits when it comes to fat loss, energy, and performance.
- Exogenous ketones – this supplement can aid in raising your body’s ketone levels.
- Creatine – it can provide several benefits connected to performance and health.
- Whey – you can add half a scoop of this to your drinks and yogurt to increase your daily intake of protein.
The Keto Diet May Not Be for Everyone
It is excellent for those who are either overweight, have diabetes or are looking for a way to improve their metabolic health.
It may not be the best choice for those trying to build more muscle or professional athletes.
And lastly, like any other diet, the ketogenic diet will only be effective if you stick with it and be consistent.
The fact remains that few other things are proven to be so high on nutrition like the ketogenic diet is. Weight loss plus health benefits?
Surely it is worth the try.
Source: Authority Nutrition | Diet Doctor