If you are on this page right now, you definitely have heard a good deal about the ketogenic diet and probably considering going into it yourself. Well, be prepared to discard some myths because not everything you heard is true. So, what is the keto diet?
Basically, the ketogenic diet focuses on taking in very low amounts of carbohydrate as well as high amounts of fat in a bid to lose weight and improve your health.
What is the Keto Diet? (Keto diet explained)
The ketogenic diet, also known as the Keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet. Although it shares many similarities with other low carb diets as well as the Atkins diet, they are not exactly the same.
The Keto diet has its origins in therapy for neurological diseases e.g epilepsy. It is no wonder that it now offers so many benefits for such a wide range of health conditions. *More about this below.*
A ketogenic diet basically involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. It may seem counterintuitive to increase fat intake while trying to lose weight. However, when you reduce your carbohydrate intake, because it takes longer to break down fat, your body’s metabolism goes into a state known as ketosis. Your body does this in order to be able to efficiently burn fat for energy. Your body also transforms fats into ketones in your liver. Ketones can supply energy for your brain. Because your body is burning fat as such an incredibly efficient rate, it will also burn the fat deposits as well, resulting in a significant degree of weight loss.
Ketogenic diets cause changes such as a sizable reduction in blood sugar, and insulin levels, as well as increasing the production of ketones which has lots of health benefits. Essentially, keto diet foods shift your body’s metabolic focus away from carbs and place it on fats and ketones.
When you ask “what is the keto diet?” A simple basic knowledge of the meaning will not suffice. You need an in-depth comprehensive knowledge in order to take full advantage of all the health benefits and weight loss benefits of the ketogenic diet.
So, if you ask “what is the keto diet” you should also know about the types.
The ketogenic diet can be grouped into four different types based on the nutritional composition of each one.
Types of ketogenic diets
The standard ketogenic diet.
Also known as SKD, the standard ketogenic diet is a very low carb high fat and moderate protein diet. Typically it consists of 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 75% fat.
High protein ketogenic diet.
Similar to the standard ketogenic diet, the high protein ketogenic diet simply includes more protein. You need to combine 35% protein with 60% fat and only 5% carbs.
Cyclical ketogenic diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet focuses on periods of carb refeed. A good example is 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 days of high carb refeeds.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
For athletes or people that get to work out often, the targeted ketogenic diet allows you to add cards around every workout session for that additional influx of energy.
It is important to note that the types of ketogenic diets discussed above, standard ketogenic diet and high protein ketogenic diet are the only ones that have undergone extensive study. Targeted ketogenic diet and the cyclical ketogenic diet, are more advanced and are often used by athletes or bodybuilders.
Since this article is a beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet, we will be focusing only on the standard ketogenic diet because it is the most well-researched and most recommended.
How does a ketogenic diet help you lose weight
After finding the answer to the question: “what is the keto diet”, you would also wonder how it helps you lose weight. This will help you get a keto diet explained more easily.
Not only is a ketogenic diet an effective weight-loss method, but it also lowers disease risk factors. It may not seem that way but the ketogenic diet is superior to a low-fat diet in terms of weight loss and health benefits.
Contrary to popular opinion ketogenic diet is also quite filling and as a result, you don’t need to bother with counting calories and tracking your intake.
The ketogenic diet also helps to reduce triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels a study once found.
An increase in protein intake is another edge the ketogenic diet has over low-fat diets. In fact, with a ketogenic diet, you can lose a lot more weight than with a low-fat diet without those pesky hunger pangs.
Other Health Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet
We mentioned above that the ketogenic diet has so many benefits to offer. From its origin as a treatment for neurological diseases, the Ketogenic diet has proved itself as a diet plan. Here are some benefits of the ketogenic diet you may not have known:
It Stops or Reduces Diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disease marked by impaired insulin function, and consequently high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome have all been linked with excess fat.
It was discovered during a study that the ketogenic diet increased insulin efficiency by 75%. Also, another study found that a third of diabetes patients were able to discontinue all diabetes medication altogether. Conversely, compared to higher carb diets, Ketogenic diets resulted in a significant increase in the amount of weight loss compared to higher carb diets another study, 95.2% of the people placed on the Ketogenic diet were able to stop or reduce their diabetes Medication, the people on the higher carb diet has only 62% being able to reduce or stop their medication.
Keto Diet Prevent Heart diseases
Because the ketogenic diet reduces risk factors such as HDL cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure as well as body fat, it can be said to be useful in the prevention of heart diseases.
A Keto is used in Cancer Treatments
The ketogenic diet is currently in use in several cancer treatments as well as the induction of slow growth in tumors.
Effectively Fights the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The ketogenic diet has also proved effective and the reduction of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease as well as slowing the progression of the disease.
It is used in the treatment of Epilepsy
The ketogenic diet has also shown considerable results in the treatment of epilepsy. It has been observed to cause considerable reductions in the frequency of seizures in epileptic children.
Keto alleviates the Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
The ketogenic diet has also been observed to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Acne is significantly improved
As a result of the lower insulin levels and a drastic reduction in sugar intake as well as the intake of processed foods, acne should be significantly improved.
With a fairly decent knowledge of the many health benefits of the ketogenic diet, the next logical question is “what foods should be avoided on the ketogenic diet?”
Foods to avoid when on the ketogenic diet
By now you can easily answer the question “What is the keto diet?”, but for a good knowledge of keto diet explained, you also need to know what foods to avoid.
The general rule of thumb for the ketogenic diet is that foods that are high in carbs should be limited to a great extent. If you are thinking of going on a ketogenic diet, the following foods should be either eliminated or reduced to the barest minimum:
- Low-fat or diet products: when you are on a regular diet, it is normal to go for such foods. However, a ketogenic diet does not operate in the same way as a regular diet. Also, no fat and diet products are usually highly processed and high in carbs.
- Beans and legumes: Foods under this category include lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, and peas.
- Grains and starches: foods under this category include pasta rice cereal and other wheat-based products.
- Fruits: All fruits should be avoided with the only exception being small portions of berries such as strawberries.
- Root vegetables and tubers: These include carrots sweet potatoes, parsnips, and others.
- Sugary foods: All foods containing sugar including candy, ice cream, cake, smoothies, fruit juice, and soda.
- Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages also have high carb content and may throw you out of ketosis.
- Certain sauces and condiments: Some condiments and sauces usually contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Unhealthy fats such as processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise, and other processed fats should also be reduced.
- Sugar-free diet foods: Sugar-free diet foods are often high in sugar alcohols, and they are often highly processed. This can affect ketone levels in some cases.
Foods to eat on the ketogenic diet.
With the above-stated foods to avoid the next logical question on your journey to fully understanding “what is a keto diet” is “what foods you should eat when on a ketogenic diet?”. Here is a general guide of keto diet foods that can help you during ketosis:
- Meat: You can eat meat such as Turkey chicken sausage bacon ham red meat and steak.
- Eggs: Preferably omega-3 whole eggs.
- Fatty fish: Such fish as mackerel, tuna, salmon, and trout.
- Cheese: As long as it is not processed, for instance, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and blue or mozzarella cheese.
- Butter and cream: Preferably from grass-fed sources.
- Healthy oils: Healthy oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Nuts and seeds: These include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
- Low-carb veggies: These include tomatoes peppers onions as well as most green veggies.
- Avocados: You can either go for whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Condiments: Healthy condiments such as moderate amounts of salt, healthy herbs and spices, and pepper.
Side effects of the ketogenic diet
Most people “ask what is a keto diet” and immediately they get the answer, they begin to wonder about the side effects.
The ketogenic diet, much like any other diet may come with some side effects. For healthy people, any side effects that arise as a result of going on a ketogenic diet should subside within a few days. The initial side effect that occurs when you first go on a ketogenic diet is known as the keto flu.
The keto flu presents symptoms such as for energy and mental function nausea sleep issues decreased exercise performance digestive discomfort and increased hunger.
In order to minimize the effects of going into ketosis, you may consider easing into a keto diet with a low carb diet for the first few weeks. It will teach your body to burn more fat while you slowly wean your body off carbs.
Another effect of a ketogenic diet is a change to the water and mineral balance of your body. You can easily correct this by taking mineral supplements or adding extra salt to your meals.
You should begin on your ketogenic journey by eating until you are full. Ketogenic diets can usually induce weight loss without restricting your calorie intake. It also makes it easier to adapt to.
Ketogenic diet compatibility.
Going on a ketogenic diet is advisable for diabetic or overweight people. It is also ideal for healthy people that want to manage their weight effectively. the ketogenic diet is also great for people looking to improve their metabolic health.
However, the ketogenic diet is not for everybody. Bodybuilders, athletes, and all people that wish to add a considerable amount of weight or muscle mass may not benefit from a ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diet efficiency
The ketogenic diet is theoretically very efficient and healthy. However, as with most diet or exercise regimen, the key to getting the desired results is consistency and long-term patience. So if you are considering going on a ketogenic diet, be prepared to commit to it long term if you want to get the desired results.
It does not necessarily mean you have to permanently swear off your favourite foods, however, with time and consistency you will be able to occasionally treat yourself to these foods without any negative effects.
Is ketosis dangerous?
You probably heard that ketosis poses dangerous side effects. You will be glad to know that this is not true. Kurtosis is often confused with ketoacidosis. The similarity is in the name alone as ketosis is natural metabolic conditioning of the body while ketoacidosis is one of the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes.
ketoacidosis is only possible if a person is diabetic and does not take any form of treatment or therapy.
Ketosis, on the other hand, can even help prevent diabetes.
Eating out on a ketogenic diet
Being on a ketogenic diet does not have to mean an end to your social life. You can still enjoy a night out and eat out at your local fancy restaurants while on a ketogenic diet.
You can make most restaurant’s meals into keto diet foods quite easily.
You will easily find meat or fish-based dishes. Order them and instead of high carb side dishes simply order extra vegetables. You can also order egg-based meals such as eggs and bacon or an omelete.
If you’re going to order a burger, make it a bunless burger and swap the fries for vegetables instead. Extra bacon eggs cheese or avocado is also a good idea.
If you’re going to order a dessert you can order berries with cream, or cheese.