This ketogenic diet guide is a detailed one, so be sure to read to the end.
The ketogenic diet simply put is a low-carb and high-fat diet. This diet, however, has numerous benefits as it helps against cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is because it drastically reduces insulin levels and blood sugar levels. But the most widely known benefit is weight loss and the overall health of the body.
This diet involves the reduction of carbohydrate intake while replacing it with fats- low-carb, high-fat. The reduction of carb intake then places the body in a metabolic state known as ketosis.
And when the body is in ketosis, it burns the stored fat and uses it as energy. Also, the stored fats in the liver are converted into ketones, which the brain uses as a source of energy.
Types of Ketogenic diets
There are different types of ketogenic diets. They include:
1.Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): The SKD involves the consumption of very low-carb, moderate protein, and high fat. Such that it contains 75% of fat, 20% of protein, and 5% of carbohydrates.
2. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This diet allows adding carbs around workouts.
3. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This diet involves days of high-carb intake. For instance, having a low-carb, high-fat diet for 5 days, followed by 2 days of eating high-carbs.
4. High-protein Ketogenic Diet: This is quite similar to the standard ketogenic diet. The only difference is that it allows you to eat more proteins.
Although the ketogenic diet testifies to many benefits (would be listed below), the following people should seek medical advice before starting.
- People taking medications for high blood pressure,
- Breastfeeding mothers, and
- People taking medications for diabetes.
Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet
Apart from the widely known benefit of the ketogenic diet- weight loss, the following are also some of its benefits.
1. Improved Mental Performance
Over time, the ketogenic diet has been used to boost one’s memory specifically. The brain uses ketones as energy, and these ketones are formed in the liver.
How do these ketones form? The liver alters fat into ketones, which the brain fuels on.
When there is a reduction in carbohydrate intake, there is also a reduction in the blood sugar levels. All of these will, however, result in utmost concentration and improved mental capacity.
2. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The ketogenic diet helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These triglycerides and cholesterol are the major cause of arterial buildup.
When one is on a ketogenic diet, the HDL cholesterol increases, and the LDL cholesterol level decreases as opposed to low-fat diets.
Also, since some blood pressure issues are often a result of excessive weight gain, the keto diet helps to reduce it. This is because keto diet helps in weight loss; hence, the reduction in high blood pressure.
Acne is a common problem amongst people irrespective of sex- male or female. Some acne breakouts are a result of poor eating habits.
However, when you switch to the ketogenic diet, it is normal to experience improvements in skin issues. This should be coupled with a good and strict hygiene regimen.
Also, it is essential to note that reducing dairy intake can also help get rid of acne.
4. Increases Energy And Reduces Cravings
A ketogenic diet helps to load the body with the energy it needs for proper functioning throughout the day. The body has a more reliable energy source (conversion of fat into energy); hence, the body will feel more strengthened.
Also, the consumption of healthy foods such as this diet helps to reduce cravings. This is because the fats consumed on this diet (low-carb, high fat) helps give the stomach a feeling of fullness.
Therefore, cravings will be minimal as you will feel full for longer.
Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid
Foods to Avoid
- Sugary foods: Smoothies, cake, soda, fruit juice, ice cream, candy, and many more.
- Grains or starches: Rice, pasta, wheat-based products, cereal, etc.
- Fruit: All fruit, except little portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and a lot more.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbohydrates.
- Some sauces or condiments: These often have sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Reduce your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: As a result of their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: They are often high in sugar alcohols, and can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods tend to be extremely processed.
Foods to Eat
- Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, chicken, turkey, sausage, and bacon
- Fatty fish: Such as salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel.
- Eggs: Search for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Butter and cream: Search for grass-fed when possible.
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, cream, goat, blue or mozzarella)
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils: Mainly extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
- Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Low-carb veggies: Tomatoes, most green veggies, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments: You can also use salt, pepper, and various healthy herbs and spices. It is best to base your diet mainly on the whole, single-ingredient foods.
Healthy Keto Snacks
If you get hungry between meals, below are healthy, keto-approved snacks that you can eat;
- Fatty meat or fish
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- A low-carb milkshake with almond milk, nut butter, and cocoa powder
- Full-fat yogurt combined with nut butter and cocoa powder
- Cheese with olives
- 1–2 hard-boiled eggs
- 90% dark chocolate
- Strawberries and cream
- Smaller portions of leftover meals
- Celery with salsa and guacamole
Keto Side Effects and Ways to Minimize Them
Though the ketogenic diet guide is safe for healthy people, there can be some initial side effects while your body tries to adapt. This is known as the keto flu and is usually over within a few days.
Keto flu entails poor energy and mental function, sleep problems, nausea, decreased exercise performance, and increased hunger digestive discomfort.
To reduce this, try to take a regular low-carbohydrate diet for the first few weeks. This may teach your body to lose more calories before you entirely cut out carbs.
Also, a ketogenic diet can change the water and mineral balance of your body, so adding a pinch of extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements can go a long way.
For minerals, you can try taking 3,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium, and 300 mg of magnesium each day to reduce adverse effects.
At least, in the beginning, it is essential to eat until you’re full and avoid restricting calories. Often, a ketogenic diet causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction.