A ketogenic diet (popularly known as keto diet) is a very low carb diet. Wherein, you drop your consumption of carbohydrates and increase the consumption of fats and moderate the protein consumption.
Normally, our body runs on two different fuels:
- Sugar: Which is present in carbohydrates. Foods like bread, pasta, rice, potato, etc.
- Fats: From real foods like eggs, meat, butter, olive oil, nuts, etc.
Unfortunately, the majority of us use the first fuel (sugar) to run our body.
Now, in a ketogenic diet when you lower the consumption of food and increase the quantity of fats, it makes your body use fats instead of sugar as fuel to run your body.
When your body is out of blood sugar (glucose), your liver uses fats to create an energy molecule called ketones to fuel your brain. As a result, your body becomes a fat burning machine and you will even lose weight while sleeping.
The name ketogenic, is derived from its process as it produces ketones and your body enters in a new metabolic state called ketosis.
Types of Ketogenic Diet
You will be glad to know that there are types of ketogenic diet too that you can choose considering your body goals. Here they are:
- Standard ketogenic diet – It is a very low carb diet with almost no carb, moderate protein and high fats. The ratio will be 75% of fat, 20% of protein & only 5% of carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet – This one can be less intense than the standard one. It involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, like 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days or cheat days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet – In this diet you can add carbs around your workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet – This one is similar to a standard ketogenic diet. However, it includes more portions of protein than the standard ketogenic diet. The ratio can be 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Note: Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes, with proper guidance and vigilance to improve their performance.
The information in this article mostly focused on standard ketogenic diet (SKD); although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.
Benefits Involved in a Keto Diet:
- Heart disease – The ketogenic diet can help in improving from the risk factors that are combined with body fat, cholesterol level, blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Alzheimer’s – Ketogenic diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slower its progression
- Parkinson’s disease – Studies have found that the ketogenic diet helped in improving from Parkinson’s disease.
- Cancer – Keto diet is currently being used to treat several types of cancer and slower down the tumor growth.
- Brain injuries – An animal study found that the Ketogenic Diet can help reduce concussions and aid recovery after brain injury.
- Acne – Lower insulin levels and eating no/less sugar may help in improving an acne situation.
What to eat on Keto?
You are all probably wondering about this. Well just to make things easy for you, here are the foods you can eat on a keto diet:
- Meat: chicken, red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, and turkey.
- Fish & seafood: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs: Eat them in any way you want. Boiled, scrambled, fried in butter etc.
- Butter and cream: These are one of the natural high fat sources.
- Cheese: cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc. Just be careful while eating them to avoid overeating or over consumption in a day; as it’s easy to eat far more than you need to feel satisfied.
- Veggies: Low-carb veggies like most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil. Feel free to use them for cooking and add plenty of olive oil to toss your veggies or salads.
- Avocados: Whole avocados.
- Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
What not to eat?
Here is the list of foods you should strictly avoid eating while on ketogenic diet:
- Sugary foods: This is a big no- no. You are required to avoid foods like Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc. Read labels to find out hidden sugar substances, like in sauces, condiments, drinks, dressings and other packaged goods.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, potato chips etc.
- Fruit: All fruits, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or dietary products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: I know this may be more than difficult but you gotta do it to have the best out of your ketogenic diet. Due to their carb content, alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
Healthy Snacks to eat on Ketogenic Diet:
Since keto diet is rich in fat, there are less chances of you getting hungry within your meals. However, if you do get hungry here is a list of healthy snacks you can eat to kill that hunger:
- 90% dark chocolate
- Low carb milkshake: almond milk, cocoa powder and peanut butter.
- Full-fat yogurt
- Boiled eggs: 1-2 hard boiled whole eggs
Now, you have learned about what ketogenic diet is and the super health benefits of it. But, all these benefits will come to you at a small cost.
Yes, Ketogenic diet comes with some side effects. These side effects are adapted by your body at an initial stage. And these side effects are called Keto Flu.
Let’s learn more about it below.
Side effects of Keto Diet and how to overcome them?
Keto flu includes poor energy and poor mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance.
Keep in mind that keto flu is just a matter of days and you will get rid of it once your body enters into the ketosis fully.
To minimize this, you can try a low-carb diet for the first 1-2 weeks. This may teach your body to burn more fat before you completely eliminate carbs from your diet.
Moreover, a ketogenic diet can also change the water and mineral balance of your body, so adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements might help.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I workout while being on a keto diet?
Yes, you can. In fact, working out daily will help you reach the ketosis state quickly. But you need to make sure that your workout routine should not be longer than 30-45 minutes.
- Will I lose muscle?
The risk of losing the muscle is there on every weight loss diet. However, if you keep your protein intake high with high ketone levels you may minimize the muscle loss, provided you lift weights.
- Can I build muscle on a keto diet?
Yes, you can. Protein and fats both are essential nutrients to build new muscles. However, it won’t be as effective as with carbohydrates.
- How do I know that I am on ketosis?
One way is to do it with a blood test meter. Another way is that the smell of your urine will change to unusual. This is an easy sign for you to know that your body is on ketosis.
- I have constipation issues, will it be a problem with keto diet?
No problem, try adding more vegetables to your diet to help detox your body easily.
- Can I take whey protein on keto diet?
Yes, you can have whey protein isolate on a keto diet without any worries.
Here’s everything you need to know while starting a ketogenic diet. If you have any questions or suggestions, please drop it in a comment below or connect with us on our official Instagram channel. We try and address almost all queries within 24 hours.
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