The Keto diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that has gained popularity in recent years. Initially developed as a treatment for epilepsy in children in 1920, it has become widely used by many people for promoting health and weight loss.
The Ketogenic diet aims to increase calorie intake from fat and protein while reducing the consumption of easily digested carb diets such as white bread, sugar, pastries, and soda. Many studies have found that a ketogenic diet can promote weight loss and improve overall health.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake, which induces ketosis, a metabolic process where the body uses fat to produce fuel instead of glucose. By reducing carbohydrate intake, the human body starts to use fat as its primary source of fuel, leading to the production of ketones. These ketones have many health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, weight loss, and increased mental clarity.
What Foods do you Need to Eat on the Keto Diet?
As the Keto diet is a high-fat diet, it is essential to consume healthy fats. Sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and fatty fish like salmon.
Although the Keto diet contains low carbohydrates, it is crucial to consume a large number of low-carb vegetables to ensure adequate nutrient and vitamin intake. Good options for low-carb vegetables include bell peppers, cauliflower, spinach, and kale.
Consumption of Moderate Protein:
The Ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet; therefore, it is important to consume moderate amounts of protein to prevent excessive protein intake, which can interfere with ketosis and convert to glucose. Good sources of protein to include in the Keto diet are seafood, pork, poultry, pork, and beef.
What Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet?
Although there are no strict restrictions on food consumption on the Keto diet, some diets should be avoided. High-carbohydrate foods like legumes, grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits should be avoided. Sugary drinks and processed foods should also be avoided on the Keto diet.
Keto Diet Plan for Beginners
Starting a keto diet can be challenging for beginners who are used to high-carbohydrate diets. The first thing to do is to determine your daily calorie needs and macronutrient needs. Once you have calculated these, start planning your meals. It is important to focus on eating unprocessed food that is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. Good options include low-carb vegetables, fatty fish, avocados, seeds, and nuts.
How to Successfully Follow a Keto Diet?
There are a few steps to follow to succeed on a keto diet. First, plan your meals and calculate your macronutrient intake to ensure you stay within a specific range. It is important to take plenty of electrolytes and stay hydrated, especially during the first few weeks of the keto diet.
Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan:
- For breakfast, have egg and avocado on a bed of spinach, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with feta cheese.
- For lunch, try cauliflower in garlic butter and grilled chicken breast.
- For dinner, have baked salmon with a side of roasted asparagus, drizzled with lemon and garlic-infused olive oil.
Ketogenic Diet Recipes:
Here are a few keto diet recipes to try:
- Bacon-wrapped chicken thighs: Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, wrap them in bacon, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Keto lasagna: Use sliced zucchini instead of pasta and layer with ground beef, low-carb tomato sauce, and ricotta cheese.
- Cauliflower crust pizza: Use cauliflower as the base for the crust and top with low-carb tomato sauce, your favourite toppings, and mozzarella cheese.
Keto Diet Supplements and Resources:
Popular keto supplements include MCT oil, electrolyte supplements to prevent imbalances and dehydration, and digestive enzymes to help your body digest and absorb fat more efficiently. Some popular keto resources include keto cookbooks for recipe inspiration and meal planning, keto blogs and forums for support and advice from other keto dieters, and keto tracking apps for tracking your macronutrient intake and progress.
Benefits of Ketogenic Diet:
It Helps with Weight Loss:
The primary benefit of a ketogenic diet is weight loss over an extended period by significantly reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. According to a study conducted in Australia, obese people successfully lost an average of 15 kg over one year.
Controls Blood Glucose:
Another reason why so many people use the keto diet is that it stabilizes and lowers blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is raised because of carbohydrates, and the keto diet contains a very low level of carbohydrates, which eliminates the risk of raising blood sugar.
Reduces Reliance on Medication:
The Keto diet offers additional benefits to those people suffering from type two diabetes by reducing their dependence on diabetes medication. According to a study conducted by Westman, 95% of people succeeded in reducing their diabetes medication by trying the Ketogenic diet.
Averts the Risk of Certain Cancers:
Researchers have found that the Ketogenic diet prevents or even treats certain cancer cells. One study has found that the keto diet can prove to be a suitable and safe treatment alongside radiation therapy and chemotherapy for people with cancers. This is because it causes cancer cells to die by causing more oxidative stress in cancer cells than in normal cells.
Restores Insulin Sensitivity:
It has been found that the keto diet is very effective at restoring insulin sensitivity by eliminating the root causes of insulin resistance, which is a high level of insulin in the human body. The Keto diet plan promotes sustained periods of low insulin, and when there is a low level of carbohydrates, it means there is a lower level of insulin.
Controls High Blood Pressure:
Other health conditions like kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease are associated with high blood pressure. It is a feature of metabolic syndrome. Different studies have found that the keto diet can decrease blood pressure levels in people that are suffering from type 2 diabetes or are overweight.
Strengthens Mental Performance:
Other benefits of eating a keto diet include an increased ability to focus, mental clarity, and better memory. It also improves your mood and learning abilities if you take healthy fats with omega-3, such as those found in oily fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon.
Keto diet recipes have largely positive effects on your appetite. Once your body becomes familiar with a state of ketosis, it becomes used to getting energy by breaking down body fat, and in this way, it can reduce cravings and appetite.
Side Effects of the Keto Diet if not Taken Properly:
It cannot be denied that the Keto diet offers many benefits for the human body and can treat many diseases, as mentioned above. Even proponents of the Ketogenic diet admit that it can be unhealthy if not done “the right way.” Here are a few complications or side effects you should be aware of before trying the ketogenic diet.
The Keto Flu:
“Some people say that they feel sick when they start ketosis,” said Kristen Kizer, a dietician at Sports Tec Clinic in Kingston, Australia. “There can be feelings of fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and lethargy,” Kizer said this flu passes after a few days.
A doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist named Josh Axe says that almost 25% of people trying the ketogenic diet experience these symptoms, the most common of which is fatigue. “This happens because the body runs out of sugar to burn for energy and then starts to use fat,” said Axe.
If you experience diarrhea after starting the Ketogenic diet meal plan, a quick internet search will tell you that you are not alone in experiencing these feelings. Many people are talking about keto diarrhea after starting a keto diet. It may be because the gallbladder produces bile to break down fat in the diet, said Axe.
It reduces Athletic Performance:
Many athletes claim that with the use of a ketogenic diet, not only did they lose weight, but their performance in sports also improved. However, Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor in dietetics and nutrition at Saint Louis University, does not agree. “I hear cyclists say that now they are faster and better when they started a keto diet meal plan, and my question is, have you lost weight?” said, Weiss.
In the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, in a 2018 study, Weiss and his colleagues found that those participants who were on a ketogenic diet for four days performed worse on cycling and running tasks. Weiss says participants cannot perform at peak levels when they are on the keto diet because, at that time, the body is in an acidic state.
You should avoid following the keto diet if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According to Kizer, you can follow it provided that your doctor permits you.
“Ketosis is helpful for those people who have hyperglycemia issues, but you need to be very careful of your blood sugar and check your glucose level many times a day,” explained Kizer.
Ketosis can cause a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis for people with diabetes.
Possibility of Regaining Weight:
According to many health experts, following the keto diet for the long term is not appropriate. However, as Kizer stated, most people will regain weight if they go back to consuming carbs.
“When people tell me that they try the Ketogenic diet as a beginner to lose weight because their friends lost weight, I tell them to be careful. Almost with a guarantee, I say that they will regain all the weight back,” said Kizer.
In many cases, they need a professional lifestyle counsellor or coach to help them address these issues.
Decreased Metabolism, Less Muscle Mass:
“Other keto-related changes can include a loss of muscle mass,” said Kizer, especially if you are consuming more fat than protein. “You will lose weight, but it may be a lot of muscle, and it will affect your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat,” explained Kizer.
Increases the Risk of Diabetes and Heart Diseases:
Axe stated that if the keto diet is done correctly, the keto diet for beginners includes lean sources of animal protein and lots of vegetables. However, it is not an excuse to consume bacon and butter.
Many health experts are concerned about people on the keto diet, especially those who follow it without the guidance of a nutritionist or doctor. Doctors say that a diet like this, containing high fat, may raise cholesterol levels.
Some have even called the keto diet a “nightmare of a cardiologist.”
A study published in August 2018 in The Journal of Physiology suggests that keto diets increase the risk of diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Keto Diet
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the keto diet:
Is the keto diet safe for everyone? The keto diet may not be safe for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions such as liver disease or pancreatic insufficiency. It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting the diet.
How long does it take to enter ketosis? It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to enter ketosis, depending on your carbohydrate intake and individual metabolism.
Can I eat carbs on the keto diet? While the keto diet is a low-carbohydrate diet, you can still eat some carbohydrates.
The keto diet can be a highly effective way to lose weight, improve your health, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. By following the tips, meal plans, and recipes outlined in this ultimate guide, you can start your keto journey with confidence and success. Remember to stay hydrated, get enough electrolytes, and track your progress to stay motivated and see the benefits of the diet.
“It does not matter whether you are in the vegan camp, the keto camp, or the paleo camp, everyone accepts that all of us want to have a nutrient-rich diet, like lots of herbs, vegetables, spices, and plant-based sources of protein and fat, too,” said Axe.
“If you don’t act upon it, it means you are promoting diseases in your body. If you are going to eat bacon and butter, I would suggest you not do the keto diet at all,” added Axe.