The ketogenic diet, which has been the subject of many studies and is still being researched, has proven effects in reducing the symptoms of some diseases. While it was used only to support the treatment of some diseases in the past, it has now been used for slimming purposes. Basically, in ketogenic diets, the distribution of dietary energy in nutrients is quite different compared to other diets, the carbohydrate content is low, the protein content is medium and the fat content is quite high. In this context, ketogenic diets, which are a nutrition program consisting of prohibitions generally included in diets, have increased their popularity for this reason.
What is ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet or keto diet is a type of diet which is low in carb. This diet is also known as a low-carb diet. Ketogenic diet produces ketones in the liver to use as energy. This turns your body into a fat burning machine. A ketogenic diet has other health benefits such as it is good for weight loss, boost performance, increase mental focus, etc. ketogenic diet has some common side effects which we’ll discuss later in this article.
A ketogenic diet is somewhere similar to Atkins diet, low-carb diet, or LCHF (low carb, high fat). When you eat a high carb diet, your body produces glucose and insulin.
Glucose is the molecule that easily converts into glycogen and used by our body which works as a fuel to provide energy.
Insulin is produced to process the glucose in the bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose (which we get from carb) used as a primary energy source, your fats are not needed and therefore, they stored up in your body. These stored fats in your body somewhere going to make you gain fat and increase your weight.
By lowering the intake of carbohydrate, your body is induced into a new state which is known as ketosis.
What is ketosis?
The word “keto” from ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it produces small fuel molecule in the body to provide energy. This is called “ketosis”. In simple term, ketosis is a state where your body consumes energy from fat to work. Fat becomes the primary source of energy.
Ketones are produced if you eat very low carb (that quickly breaks down into blood sugar) and a moderate amount of protein (excess protein can be converted into blood sugar). Ketones are produced in the liver from fat. They then work as a fuel in giving energy to your body inducing brain. Our brain is a hungry organ and thus, consumes a lot of energy.
Our body is very adaptive. What you put in, your body can adapt it in less amount of time. When you put in a lot of fat and lower your carbohydrate intake, your body will start to begin to burn ketones as the primary source of energy.
3 Most important steps to a ketogenic diet
Determine your ideal body weight
Firstly, you have to measure your current body weight and then setup an ideal weight for you. That could be any weight of your choice.
Establish daily calorie requirement
To maintain ideal body weight, use the calculator below in the given link along with ideal body weight. Also know how many calories you should consume daily, to maintain a normal weight and Body Mass Index (BMI)
Figure out how much protein, carbohydrate, and fat
Calculate how much macro nutrients you have to eat for your ideal weight and how many calories you have to consume it. Use the guide below on how many proteins, carbohydrate, and fat you have to consume daily to reach your goal.
Macronutrient guide for ketogenic diet
Protein requirement: Your protein intake must be 1 gram to 1.5 grams per kilogram of your body weight.
For example: A person weight 70 kg then he should eat
70 kg x 1 gram = 70 grams of protein per day
Carbohydrate requirements: The most important thing to reach ketosis is to avoid eating more carbohydrate. You have to eat only 5% of your total carb intake i.e. 20 gram or less carbohydrate per day. Lesser the carb, the more effective.
Fat requirement: Calorie from fat plays an important role in the ketogenic diet. Your body will be going to consume energy from fat when you will be in ketosis state.
Try to eat 70% of fat in your diet. I have provided some fat foods below in this article.
Let’s move on and see what you should eat when you are on a ketogenic diet.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are several versions of the keto diet:
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): It is a very low carbohydrate, medium protein and high fat diet. It contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbohydrates.
Cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD): This type of diet includes higher carb episodes such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs to workouts.
High-protein ketogenic diet: Similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but with more protein. The ratio is usually 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
What to Eat and When to Eat When you Are on a Ketogenic Diet
Here are some rules to follow for a ketogenic diet. You will get better results if you eat what’s listed below and follow the same rule as given below.
Try to eat only foods according to the serving size
In, the case if you decide to include other foods, check the label for carbohydrate content and check per serving size. Remember, you have to eat only 5% of the carb when you are on a keto diet.
The food should have 2 gram or less per serving for meat and dairy products and 5 grams or less for vegetables.
When you feel hungry, eat the food of your choice that is listed below:
- Meats: poultry, seafood, (fresh or frozen)
- The meat of any kind: beef, lamb, chicken, goat, bison. Try to eat grass fed meat as it has a better fatty acid profile.
- Poultry of any kind: chicken, turkey, quail, duck, goose, hen
- Pork of any kind: pork loin, pork chops, Boston salt.
- Fish or any seafood: calamari, catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, Mahi –mahi, salmon, sardines, snapper, tuna, etc.
- Soy products: tofu, tempeh, and edamame are a good source of protein. But they are also high in carbohydrate. So track them carefully before eating.
- Whole egg: They are good in healthy fats. But don’t eat too many eggs because of increasing of cholesterol level.
Protein foods can be cooked in a microwave oven, grilled, roasted, boiled, stir-fried (but try to avoid flour, breading or cornmeal coating).
Eat fibrous vegetable or salad every day
- Bamboo shoot
- Bell pepper
- Bok Choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Snow peas
- Sprouts (beans)
- Summer squash
- Water chestnut
Consume some fats as given below
You can fats which are given below. You will see that vegetable oils are minimized and saturated animal fats are emphasized. These fats are chemically unstable and highly inflammatory to the body.
Fats to use for cooking
- Beef tallow
- Butter (low temp. frying)
- Chicken fat, organic
- Duck fat, organic
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Lard, organic (not hydrogenated)
- Olive oil
- Organic coconut oil
- Organic red palm (high in vitamin A)
- Avocado oil
- Macadamia oil
- Avoid vegetable oil (corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, rice bran, etc)
You have to control over your drinks
- You can drink a good amount of water
- Drink black coffee (bulletproof coffee is recommended by doctors) or tea
- A modest amount of low-fat milk is OK
- Try to avoid adding sugar or sweetener
- Beware of latte coffee
- Don’t drink carbonated drinks like coca cola, Pepsi, etc
Now that you know what you have to eat and drink when you are on a keto diet.
Let’s see some benefits that come from a ketogenic diet.
Some benefits of eating a ketogenic diet
The benefits of a keto diet are similar to low carb diet. Eating more fat and restricted carbohydrate raises ketones to level more and lowers down insulin (the fat storing hormone)
Ketogenic diet helps in lose weight
When you are on a keto diet, your body turns into a fat burning machine. Fat burning is increased while insulin (the fat storing hormone) level drops down greatly. This is an ideal circumstance in which fat loss occurs, without hunger.
Near about 20 scientist studies of the highest class (RCIs) show that, compared to other diets. Low carb and ketogenic diet result in more effective weight loss.
Ketogenic diet improves mental focus and concentration
Eating ketogenic diet produces ketosis in the body. Ketosis helps in a steady flow of ketones (fuel) to the brain. On a ketogenic diet, you avoid carbohydrate and sugar, so the big swing in blood sugar slows down. This helps in the experience of increased focus and improves your concentration level.
Ketogenic diet increased physical endurance
People who eat ketogenic diet can increase their physical endurance. As when you eat a ketogenic diet, your body goes into ketosis state and gives you constant access to all energy of your fat stores.
When you eat carbohydrate foods, the body converts it into glucose as a fuel for muscle and brain. It replenishes within 3-4 hours. But when you are on a ketogenic diet, the body and brain can easily be fueled 24×7 by powerful fat stores in your body. These keep you going forever like a turbo engine. Just make sure to drink enough water when you are on a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce epilepsy mainly in children. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and it affects people of all ages. Recently, it has also been tested that the adults who eat ketogenic diet have been more chances to cure epilepsy.
How to know that you’re in ketosis
You’re eating a ketogenic diet, but you are confused and you don’t know whether you are in ketosis state or not. Well, don’t be in doubt here are some of the hacks by which you’ll detect whether you are in ketosis or not.
- Dry mouth and increased in thirst
When you are in ketosis, your mouth starts getting dry and you’ll feel thirstier. To curb your thirst, drink lots of water when you are in ketosis state. Water also helps in flowing down the unnecessary particles and waste from your body.
- You will fuel more urination
This is very simple when you drink water, you’ll ultimately feel more urination. When your body goes into ketosis state, it starts to produce acetoacetate and it ends up when you go to the bathroom. This is also the main cause for your thirst.
- Reduce hunger
Another sign of ketosis is the reduction in hunger. When your body goes in ketosis state, your hunger will reduce. This is because your body adapts the ability to fuel itself from the fat source.
Many people eat only two to three times per day. This can end up in the form of intermittent fasting and can result in weight loss. But always remember you have to eat your daily calorie requirement.
- Increased energy
After feeling tired for a long period of time, many people experience an increase in their energy level. It can be related to your brain, thinking or even a sense of euphoria.
Now, we have seen that there are some benefits of eating a ketogenic diet, but there are also some common side effects. Let’s see what they are?
What are the risks of a ketogenic diet?
The harms of a long-term diet are:
In people who follow ketogenic diets where the hunger table is developed, the body tends to slow down the metabolic rate in order to adapt itself to hunger. This may result in a slowed metabolic rate at the end of the diet and consequently a complete regain of the weight lost following the cessation of the diet.
In ketogenic diet plans, which are mostly fat, there are almost no fiber foods. This situation brings many intestinal problems, especially constipation.
High-fat diet increases the amount of free fatty acids circulating in the blood due to obtaining energy from fat, and increases in cholesterol and other blood lipids due to insufficient fiber intake, and this creates a great risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Ketogenic diets place a heavy burden on the liver. For this reason, these diets should not be continued for a long time, and people with any liver disease should not apply a ketogenic diet in order to avoid risks such as liver failure. Before starting a diet, it should be checked whether liver enzymes are within normal limits.
The main energy source of the brain is glucose. For this reason, people on ketogenic diets may experience slowing and retardation in cognitive functions due to the indirect obtaining of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources.
In some scientific studies, it has been concluded that people who follow any of the low-carbohydrate nutrition programs, including ketogenic diets, are more likely to develop heart rhythm disorder than those who have a normal diet.
For these reasons, the ketogenic diet should only be applied to patients who are deemed appropriate by the physician and can be kept under constant control in cases where there are no other options.
Other most common symptoms are:
- Light nausea
- Light nausea
Some common things to remember when you are on a ketogenic diet:
- Restrict eating carbohydrate: Eat 20 gram or less carb per day. Try eating a strict low- carb diet.
- Don’t eat enough protein: You can eat protein but on a moderate level. Like 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight.
- Eat enough fat: You have to eat a lot of fat. A ketogenic diet is sustainable. Don’t do starving.
- Avoid sugar and starch: When you are on a ketogenic diet, stop eating sugar and starch. Totally ban those foods which contain sugar and starch.
- Add some exercise: Add some physical exercise into your routine to increase the level of ketone in your body. It can also speed up weight loss process.
- Supplements are not necessary: Avoid consuming any weight loss supplements.