The ketogenic diet is a high-fat low-carb diet that can offer many health benefits. More than 20 separate studies have proven that this diet can not only help people lower their size but also get healthier.
This article is perfect for those getting acquainted with this diet since it tells everything people 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.
Its name comes from the fact that the 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;
- A 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 most athletes and bodybuilders.
The information in this article will mainly revolve around the standard version, though some things may also apply to others.
A Very Effective Diet Indeed
Not only is it ideal for getting smaller 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 people lose track of counting calories – since they 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 results than most other diets! What more can one ask for?
Keto Diet for Prediabetes and Diabetes
This diet can aid people to lose any extra, which is closely connected to metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type II.
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 even reported that they had stopped taking their medication!
Other Health Benefits of This Diet
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, blood sugar, and blood pressure;
- Alzheimer’s disease – it can slow down the disease’s progression and reduce any symptoms;
- Epilepsy – we already mentioned that 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 reduces concussions;
- Acne – by lowering insulin levels and eating less processed foods in general, people also improve their 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 to either completely eliminate or reduce:
- Sugary Foods – this includes smoothies, fruit juice, sodas, candy, cake, and 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 – people shouldn’t let the name fool them, these are usually high in carbs and processed, two of the things people 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 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 to 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 people 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 ( try Healthline 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 – the 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 the meats and vegetables, as each provides a different variety of nutrients.
Here are some healthy, ketogenic snacks which people can munch on in case they feel hungry between their main meals:
- Cheese (with olives – optional);
- 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 that 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.
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. Feel free to add eggs, bacon, cheese, and avocado to it.
For those who have a thing for Mexican restaurants, they can feast on any type of meat with salsa, guacamole, extra cheese, or sour cream.
For dessert, people 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 our 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 we’d like to minimize this, we can try a low-carb diet for the first week or two. This will slowly get our body into a fat-burning mode before we move on to the next stage of completely eliminating carbs.
Furthermore, we should add some extra salt or take mineral supplements with our meals, as this diet can have an effect on the mineral and water balance in our body.
For minerals, we can try taking 300mg magnesium, 1000mg of potassium, and 3000-4000 mg of sodium.
This is how we limit any side effects and ease ourselves into the ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic Diet Supplements
Although technically, this diet does not require any supplements, we can choose to take some if we feel it necessary.
Here is a list of the most useful ones:
- MCT oil – can be added to yogurt or other drinks. It provides energy and helps to increase ketone levels;
- Minerals – as we mentioned, because of shifts in mineral and water balance, it would be a good idea to add mineral supplements and salt to our diet;
- Caffeine – can offer benefits when it comes to fat loss, energy, and performance;
- Exogenous ketones – this supplement can aid in raising our body’s ketone levels;
- Creatine – it can provide several benefits connected to performance and health;
- Whey – we can add half a scoop of this to our drinks and yogurt to increase our 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 we stick with it and be consistent. The fact remains that few other things are proven to be as high in nutrition as the ketogenic diet is.
Lowering size plus health benefits? Surely it is worth the try.
Source: Authority Nutrition | Diet Doctor