What is the keto diet?
What is the definition of a keto diet? The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet in which the body produces small fuel modules in the liver called ketones, which are used for energy. Ketones are an alternative fuel for the body, used when there is a shortage of sugar (glucose) in the blood. By eating very few carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein, and high levels of natural fats, ketones are produced. They are made in the liver from fat and used throughout the body for fuel.
Keto diet explanation: The term keto diet is the adaptation of ketogenic diet, that is, ketogenic diet. It refers to a food model whose main mission is the creation of ketone bodies , metabolic compounds generated in the liver in response to the lack of energy reserves.
This diet is related to the drastic reduction of carbohydrates and their replacement by fats, which exposes the body to a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body, running out of energy reserves, has to resort to fats to use them as fuel. immediate.
The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and causes a transition in the body’s metabolism in which carbohydrates are replaced by fats and ketones.
How does the ketogenic diet work?
The entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, allowing fat burning to increase dramatically. The body is in a state of ketosis when it produces ketones.
The body obtains glucose from simple carbohydrates, such as milk, sugar or fruit, or from complex carbohydrates, such as cereals, flour, pasta or legumes.
The glucose that circulates in the blood, is stored in the liver or in the muscles in the form of glycogen, is the main source of energy for the entire body, especially for the brain and heart. So, as long as glucose, or failing that glycogen, exists, the human body does not use its fat stores.
In this regard, the keto diet consists of reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the content of proteins and healthy fats, in proportions of between 50 and 60% fat, 20 to 30% protein and 10%, or less carbohydrates.
The keto diet causes the body to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. This causes insulin levels to become very low, which in turn allows fat burning to increase dramatically.
Who should NOT follow a ketogenic diet?
There are myths and controversies about the keto diet, but it appears to be very safe for most people.
However, there are three groups of people that require special consideration:
- Do you take diabetes medications , for example, insulin? Learn more about starting keto with diabetes
- Do you take medication for high blood pressure ? Learn more about starting keto with hypertension
- Are you breastfeeding ? More information on keto and breastfeeding
If you want to know more details regarding the benefits and cons according to your case, you can see our guide Is a low-carb or keto diet right for you? .
Are you a doctor or do you need your doctor to help you with medications on a keto diet? Take a look at our guide for doctors .
Types of ketogenic diets
There are several types of ketogenic diets, among which we can mention:
Keto Diet How Many Carbs?
- Standard ketogenic diet. It is an eating plan very low in carbohydrates, with a moderate intake of protein and high in fat. With this variant, 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbohydrates are consumed.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet. This plan includes more frequent carb eating periods, for example, 5 days of keto foods followed by 2 days of carbs.
- Adapted ketogenic diet. With this modality it is allowed to add carbohydrates on sports training days.
- High protein ketogenic diet. It is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, the difference is that it includes more protein. With this type of keto diet, you consume 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
It is noteworthy that only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been the subject of extensive study. On the other hand, cyclical or adapted diets are more advanced methods and are mainly used by athletes.
Keto Diet What To Eat
What foods can be eaten on a ketogenic diet? It is important to keep track of the number of carbohydrates consumed daily. Some people will find that they can eat 50g of carbs and lose weight, while others stick to 20g or less a day. Typical foods eaten on the ketogenic diet are:
- fish and shellfish
- Natural fats like avocado, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and olive oil
- Vegetables that grow above ground
What foods should be avoided on a ketogenic diet?
The main foods to avoid are those that contain a lot of sugar and starch. High-carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes should also be avoided. And fruits should be dispensed with, although some such as berries can be consumed in moderation. All processed foods must be removed from the diet.
Foods to eat on the keto diet
A ketogenic diet consists mainly of getting calories from fatty foods and some protein. To achieve this, meals should be made around the following foods:
- Meats. Red meats, ham, sausages, chops, chicken and turkey.
- Cheeses. Unprocessed cheeses, such as cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella.
- fatty fish. Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs. Preferably rich in omega-3 and pasteurized.
- Nuts and seeds. Among them flax seeds, pumpkin, chia, almonds and walnuts.
- Healthy oils. The best ones are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocado. They are consumed whole or in guacamole made naturally.
- Low carb vegetables. Among these most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions and peppers.
- condiments. Food can be seasoned with salt, pepper, and some healthy herbs and spices.
- KETO products: there are specific preparations for this type of diet, shakes, bars , snacks…
Top 5 veggies Keto Diet Foods
- Spinach:Rich in iron, potassium, and magnesium, with 1 gram of net carbs per serving.
- Zucchini:A good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium, as well as a fantastic noodle substitute, with 3 grams of net carbs per serving.
- Avocado:(technically a fruit) Excellent source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, with 2 grams of net carbs per serving.
- Brussels Sprouts:Rich in vitamin C, potassium, and folate, with 5 grams of net carbs per serving.
- Cauliflower:Great source of vitamin C and fiber, a perfect keto substitute for mashed potatoes and rice, with 4 grams of net carbs per serving.
Foods to avoid on the keto diet
On the keto diet, you should avoid any foods that are high in carbohydrates. Foods that are reduced or eliminated on the ketogenic diet include:
- sugary foods The consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, milkshakes, ice cream and sweets is avoided.
- Fruits. All fruits are allowed, with the exception of small portions of forest fruits, such as strawberries.
- Cereals or starches. Products derived from wheat, rice, pasta and cereals are eliminated.
- Dietary product. They are not consumed as they are highly processed and rich in carbohydrates.
- Some condiments or sauces. Those that contain sugar and saturated fats are avoided.
- Saturated fats. The intake of refined oils and mayonnaise is limited.
- Alcohol. Because of their high carbohydrate content, many alcoholic beverages are eliminated on this diet.
- Beans or legumes. Peas, kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas are not consumed.
- Root vegetables and tubers. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots are eliminated.
What benefits does the keto diet provide?
The keto diet can provide many benefits, including:
- Increases satiety and decreases appetite. Numerous studies have established that a diet based on the parameters of the ketogenic diet -the consumption of fats and proteins- helps to control hunger, because it generates a feeling of satiety for a longer time.
- Avoid heart disease. It can improve risk factors such as body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose level .
- Reduces epileptic seizures. Scientific research supports that the keto diet can greatly reduce epileptic episodes in children.
- It helps patients with type 2 diabetes. Its benefit for diabetic patients is that it controls blood sugar levels, and on the other hand, it decreases and reduces the negative impact of high insulin levels.
- Used in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer. Reducing carbohydrate intake lowers glucose levels, which is the fuel that fuels cancer cells. This diet is also used to treat many types of cancer and reduce the growth of tumors.
What are other benefits of the ketogenic diet?
- Weight loss: fat burning is greatly increased
- appetite control
- Steady energy and mental performance
- Control blood sugar and reverse type 2 diabetes . Blood sugar levels are controlled, lowered and the negative impact of high insulin levels is reduced.
- Improved health markers, improved cholesterol , blood sugar and insulin levels and blood pressure
- Increased physical endurance, there is constant access to all the energy from fat stores. Top athletes follow the ketogenic diet to increase their performance.
- Control epilepsy . The diet was originally conceived as a medical therapy for children with epilepsy as early as the 1920s.
- Reduce the risk of cancer. Cutting carbs lowers glucose levels, which is the fuel that fuels cancer cells.
Scientific evidence that the keto diet works
There are at least 31 randomized controlled trials showing faster weight loss with low-carb diets, according to the latest report from the UK Public Health Collaboration. Three of these studies published by renowned scientific media are:
- Annals of Internal Medicine year 2004. This medical journal of the American College of Physicians published a study that showed that compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program reported greater weight loss.
- New England Journal of Medicine year 2008. This journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society (USA) discussed a two-year study in which 322 people were randomly assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet , a low-fat diet and a low carbohydrate diet. At the end, the low-carb group had lost more weight than the rest.
- The Journal of Nutrition 2015. This journal from the American Society for Nutrition discussed research that revealed that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk for diabetes type 2.
How is the keto diet done?
Ketogenic diets are characterized by menus of five meals , where eggs, meat, dairy, vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds are the protagonists. In addition, there is a high presence of foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado or fish such as tuna, cod or salmon.
In order to reach the state of ketosis in the keto diet, simple and complex carbohydrates are reduced as much as possible. Depending on the circumstances of each person and their physical condition, the maximum limit of daily carbohydrates is usually established between 20 and 50 grams.
The approximate ratio of daily calorie intake on the keto diet is:
- 60 to 75% fat.
- 25 to 30% protein.
- 5 to 10% carbohydrates. boost glucose control nutrition facts
Keto Diet Plan
weekly ketogenic meal plan: In a weekly projection of the keto diet, the options to eat would be the following:
- Breakfast. Based on bacon, eggs, tomatoes, basil , goat cheese omelette, ketogenic milk shakes, omelette with avocado, salsa, peppers, onions and spices, sugar-free yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia and corn omelette. cheese and ham with vegetables.
- Food. They can be made with chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese, seafood salad with olive oil and avocado, sliced ham and cheese with walnuts, hamburger with sauce, cheese and guacamole.
- Dinner. You can use salmon with asparagus cooked in butter, meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables, pork chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad, chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese accompanied by vegetables, burgers with bacon, egg and cheese, white fish, eggs and spinach cooked in olive oil.
- Ketogenic snacks. A handful of nuts or seeds, cheese with olives, 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs, 90% dark chocolate, a low-carb milkshake with almond milk, cocoa powder and nut butter, whole milk yogurt with nut butter , cocoa powder and strawberries with cream.
Advantages and disadvantages of the keto diet
When you enter a state of ketosis, fatty acids are transformed in the liver in a metabolic process that seeks to obtain energy quickly. This is when ketones are released, molecules that the body now uses as an energy source.
In the presence of ketosis, the body becomes incredibly efficient at converting all fat into energy , it can also supply more energy to the brain. However, in addition to these advantages, their disadvantages must be weighed.
Advantages of the keto diet
- The keto diet could reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms and slow its progression.
- The ketogenic diet can help lower insulin levels, which may play a role in PCOS.
- Lowering insulin levels and reducing your intake of sugar or processed foods may improve acne.
- By burning fat, it contributes to faster weight loss.
- It helps to have a more constant energy and a higher mental performance.
- Improves cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels and blood pressure.
Disadvantages of the keto diet
- It is not recommended for people with metabolic diseases.
- It is still the subject of medical and nutritional research.
Risks of the keto diet
A strict ketogenic diet must be used with specific objectives in certain circumstances and always supervised by a professional.
The keto diet is not recommended in certain pathologies, such as in the case of people with thyroid , kidney, liver or pancreatic problems.
Along the same lines, it is not recommended to follow this diet in the long term , since it is very unbalanced, so it would not be an adequate diet to maintain weight, and it can cause a rebound effect.
Although the ketogenic diet is safe for healthy people, some side effects may appear initially as part of the body’s adaptation process, such as a decrease in energy and mental capacity, an increase in the sensation of hunger, insomnia, nausea , digestive upset, and decreased exercise performance.
Finally, since the ketogenic diet can change the balance of water and minerals in the body, it is advisable to add extra salt to meals or take mineral supplements.
The keto diet is great for people who are overweight or wanting to improve their metabolic health, however it is not for everyone and should never be done without consulting a doctor. Never used keto diet pills without doctor consultancy.
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