To give you an easy explanation of keto diet, I have compiled some questions asked by many people about the ketogenic diet and I will answer them in this article. The word keto diet is short for the ketogenic diet.
1. What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to force your body into a state known as ketosis, in which it relies on using fat as its main energy source (instead of carbs). When this happens, that can help spark weight loss and provide other potential health benefits like reduced risk for diabetes or heart disease.
The ketogenic (or “keto”) diet is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat-based nutrition plan that runs contrary to popular opinion that carbohydrates are essential for human health. Maintaining the keto lifestyle takes eating predefined meal schedules in order to enter into and maintain ketosis – a “low-carb” state where the body begins producing ketones in the liver to be used as energy on demand.
Usually when people think of this diet as “ketogenic” they just automatically assume that it means that eating tons of bacon will help you get into a state of ketosis, but to be successful with the ketogenic diet you need to eat very few carbs (around 20 grams per day for some people). At least 60% of your daily caloric intake is from fat and less than 40% from carbohydrates.
2.Is a ketogenic diet good for weight loss?
As a result of the increased levels of ketones in the blood, this type of diet might be good for weight loss. The major downside is that it’s not exactly easy to maintain the balance because it doesn’t include carbohydrates which provide the main fuel for maintenance and activity.
Some people find success with high-fat diets by adding some relatively “normal” carbs at specific times throughout their day – especially around workouts. This helps keep the metabolism revved up without spiking insulin levels during or after exercise. Probably what you’re referring to here is a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). For a CKD, you start eating an extremely low-carb diet (< 20 g/day) for one week every month.
Research has shown that a ketogenic diet is good for weight loss.
For example, in one study they found that rats on a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (a diet where you eat lots of healthy fats and not many carbs) lost significantly more weight and fat than rats eating high-fat but carb-rich foods such as olive oil or peanut butter.
This was partly because the low carbohydrate diets reduced appetite less from higher protein quantities in the blood (ie, less feelings of being full). Furthermore, this trend continued twelve weeks after the mice were switched to what would ordinarily be their standard chow.
In addition, another trial originating from Austria yielded similar results with significant reductions seen in bodyweight (~10%).
The weight-loss benefits might come, in part, from the ketogenic diet’s natural appetite suppressant effect. According to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism (PubMed), ketogenic diets made people slimmer – mostly because any reductions they experienced in calorie intake were more than offset by an increase in the number of calories their bodies could actually process and burn off.
3. What are the benefits of a keto diet?
For people who are metabolically deranged and gaining weight, there are many lab values that improve on the keto diet. Higher ketone levels will improve mental health by providing a supplemental source of energy, which is beneficial for blood sugar management.
Ketones affect energy metabolism in a number of ways: increasing mitochondrial biogenesis (energy factory) leading to more mitochondria being created; boosting cellular antioxidant capacity and protein repair; immuno-modulation; increased efficiency in using coenzyme Q10 (an electron carrier); aiding in the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from nutrition (i.e., sugars/fats); enhancing hormone balance.
Furthermore, the benefits of a keto diet include reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and stroke as well as symptoms and incidence of type-2 diabetes.
Benefits also include more energy with less fatigue, better skin because the body is allowed to shed bad cells through shedding the glucose it can no longer use because ketones are used instead. Alleviation from migraines, headaches, and mood disorders. Relief from fatty liver disease is possible to weight loss, decreased sugar cravings, and decreased excessive sugar consumption that can lead to obesity.
Long-term benefits may include reduced chronic inflammation in peripheral tissues for some people. Chronic inflammation leads to other diseases such as coronary heart disease or obstetric problems for pregnant women.
The insulin levels in the bloodstream stay low on a ketogenic diet, which plays a large role in weight loss and also controls blood sugar and clearing of common diseases like type 2 diabetes as well.
Keto diets often help with:
* inflammation from autoimmunity or microbes
* gut issues like IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
* cholesterol/lipid problems like high LDL cholesterol (bad), high triglycerides (bad) and low HDL cholesterol (good)
* excess weight gain – obesity
and much more.
4. Is keto dieting safe?
Keto is safe, but people who are prone to kidney stones should avoid ketosis. Keto dieting may be unsafe when someone does not eat enough amounts of vegetables and plant-based fats like flaxseed oil and avocado or take supplements with magnesium such as Metformin or potassium citrate like “Natural Calm”.
Yet, for many people, the risks and side effects of metabolic conditions will outweigh potential health benefits so they do not see themselves as candidates for a keto diet.
In general, ketogenic diets are most likely safe. However, some people may have concerns with the keto diet. Reasons for concern include:
1. Excessive protein can lead to kidney problems. Protein is an acid and can inappropriately lower the body’s pH if eaten excessively, specifically in people with diabetic kidney disease.
2. Loss of water weight due to dehydration caused by keto dieting results in intoxication (excess of electrolytes). This loss of water weight might be misleading as “weight” loss, as it could be just in the form of water and not fat cells that are smaller than they were before going on the keto diet.
5.How do you follow the keto diet?
Ketogenic diets are based on the principle that hungry people stay slim– they encourage the consumption of food in proportion to hunger–so it is reasonable to infer that a person’s weight is determined by their personal drive to eat.
The ketogenic diet centers around eating smaller amounts of high-quality fat, moderate amounts of protein, and additions high-volume vegetables while still consuming carbohydrates. People who participate in this type of diet need to replace all carbohydrates with foods containing healthy fats like avocados, coconuts, and cashews at every meal.
The ability for changing your body into a state called ketosis allows for increased use of fatty acids as opposed to glucose (carbs) for fuel purposes hence why this specific diet helps with weight loss.
The keto diet is an adaption of the standard low-carb, high-fat/high protein diets.
The difference between a typical “low carb” diet and the ketogenic Keto Diet is that the weight loss achieved on the keto diet comes mostly from fat stores.
The goal of this type of diet is to force your body into ketosis, which means you’re not eating many carbs at all to keep your blood sugar as low as possible (which will avoid spiking insulin levels), but instead are focused on eating foods with sufficient protein and fat content instead.
These two macronutrients will provide your body with adequate building blocks for muscle growth and tissue repair while it adapts to a new fuel source.
The food pyramid is now the keto diet. For those with an induction level, it’s totally acceptable to eat as many green vegetables as you want and when you’re ready for the next stage, vegetables should ideally be at the bottom of your plate with proteins over them. Fats go on top of the proteins but are optional.
6. Is the ketogenic diet good for your body?
The ketogenic diet is good for your body because it uses fats (ketones) as the primary fuel source, rather than carbohydrates.
In contrast to our current food landscape that is heavily skewed in favor of fat-laden carbohydrate consumption, there has never been a more ideal time for low-carbohydrate lifestyles.
Inevitably, as I say this I’ll get attacked by some people who feel entitled to dictate what you should or shouldn’t eat – unless they know you intimately enough to know your desired weight and medical history, and fitness goals. But my answer is not meant for these people but for those who are served best by adopting a lower carbohydrate intake strategy.
However, the ketogenic diet is an effective way of losing weight and increasing lean muscle mass. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect answer to weight loss since the body will always try to adjust its metabolism in response to the new caloric intake.
This means that most people who go on a vegetarian keto diet will end up with long-term heart disease risk because, in nature, saturated fats can only be found at high levels in organic meats. That means they are much healthier and less dangerous than processed meats like bacon or sausage for someone trying out the keto diet because those foods often contain added sugar or other chemicals that mess with your blood sugar even more than pure heaps of fat.
7. How does the ketogenic diet work?
Your body is a smart machine with one goal to keep you alive, and it does this in many different ways. It stores fat for energy. You breathe oxygen in and out of the lungs for health.
The pancreas secretes insulin to help us store food that we eat as glycogen, which releases energy when our cells are asking for it on demand so that when we need that stored glucose/glycogen from the liver or muscles, it’s there waiting just between meals as long as your cells have executed their parts of the system without a mistake!
The ketogenic diet works by creating an environment that sends the body into a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is the result of not having enough carbs for your body to use as energy, so it starts looking for alternative fuel sources. When your blood sugar (glucose) level drops, your brain tells you to eat something with carbs.
But if there are no carbs available, then the fat will be broken down in the liver and those fatty acids will go in and out of your cells as energy so you can run off them instead. It’s a natural survival mechanism we have and our bodies were designed to adapt quickly to change like this; which makes it much easier on somebody who wants to try this lifestyle permanently.
This diet is based on the idea that when you’re consuming more carbs than needed for your body, insulin production will rise and the natural process of eliminating sugars in your body slows.
Entering ketosis is achieved by cutting out carbohydrates (foods that metabolize into sugar). As a result, insulin levels decrease and because blood sugar levels are maintained without excess insulin, ketonuria occurs which signals to the brain to enter ketosis.
Once inside of the state, LDL cholesterol levels fall as does visceral fat formation. This includes fat around intra-abdominal organs like kidneys or liver. It also forces an individual to replace bad fats (trans fats) with good fats (monounsaturated fats) by eating healthy nut oils.
8. What foods can be eaten while on the keto diet?
On a keto diet, you should eat eggs, cheese, meat (including pork), fish and seafood (excluding canned tuna), most vegetables with the exception of tubers like potatoes and corn.
Foods to avoid while on the ketogenic diet include:
all sugar, artificial sugars like in sodas, any fruit (save berries), grains (any type) flour products like bread and pasta, milk unless it is unsweetened almond or coconut milk, beans of any kind (except inchuka or azuki beans), potatoes of any kind, all fruits.
Sugar should be avoided because it causes insulin spikes. Any food that has added sugar should be eliminated because no one controls intake 100%. Grains like wheat, corn, or rice should be avoided.
Furthermore, you can eat any foods that are not high in carbohydrates and provide a balance of fats, proteins, and vegetables.
9. What is a good keto meal plan?
Breakfast: 3 eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, 2 pieces bacon
Morning Snack: 15 almonds or 30 pistachios (unsalted) Lunch: 2 cups spinach or kale + 2 tablespoons avocado oil dressing Dinner: 4 ounces salmon + asparagus bake with cheese (1 tablespoon ghee butter, salt, and pepper to taste) Dessert 1 tablespoon dark chocolate daydream sauce (recipe below)
Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Daydream Sauce
3 tablespoons cacao powder* 1/2 cup cream* 1 tablespoon coconut oil* *vanilla bean for flavor, adding any other desired flavors such as cinnamon. The recipe makes a little less than 1/2 cup sauce.
Here is another good way to start: 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, 1tsp avocado oil, and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika.
Boil the brussels sprouts in water for about five minutes or until soft, remove them from the water and add butter to cook them in. Halve any small ones that are left whole and toss with olive oil (or avocado) and some of the spices like salt or garlic powder. Start adding some wet ingredients like milk or cream at this point if you’re not out of breath after all that cooking!
Or you may decide to have the following instead: Breakfast
Eggs and bacon, omelet with feta cheese or veggies, frittata stacked with different meats or veggies.
Chef salad – sliced ham, boiled eggs, chunks of avocado, and tomato surrounded by beetroot leaves or romaine hearts.
Salad of crispy bacon strips topped with parmesan cheese scattered over rocket leaves drizzled in a tangy vinaigrette dressing.
Grilled eggplant slices served on toasted whole-grain bread with cheese melted on top; tuna mixed with mayonnaise served between two lettuce folds for wraps.
Refreshing lettuce soup garnished elegantly with paper-thin circles of torn crustless whole grain bread.
10. What are the risks of the ketogenic diet?
An increase in the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, clogged arteries, and atherosclerosis. Lack of fiber may cause constipation. Keto prohibits some foods that are not only healthy for your body but also your brain including grains, legumes, most fruits and vegetables (except avocados), coffee, spices such as curry powder or turmeric.
High levels of saturated fats from animal sources can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke by raising cholesterol levels in the blood; low-quality protein is less likely to be broken down into essential amino acids which support our immune system and repair mechanisms (especially when it’s combined with a carbohydrate).
While healthy people can follow a ketogenic diet for extended periods of time, there are certain risks that notably increase for children and pregnant women.
Pregnant women who adhere to a ketogenic diet may be putting their baby at risk due to the lack of vital nutrients in the ketogenic diet which they need during pregnancy.
A very low carbohydrate intake during pregnancy often affects weight gain in mothers, leading to longer labor and possible emergency Caesarean section deliveries. A woman’s breast milk also contains more glucose than average because it’s supposed to provide extra energy when she needs it most (right after childbirth).
Side effects of the ketogenic diet include bad breath, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.
The ketogenic diet is not a long-term supplier of calcium for bones and teeth because glucose cannot be converted into useable forms of calcium. The body may also experience magnesium deficiency due to decreased carbohydrate consumption in those following this eating plan. This can lead to muscle cramping or seizures due to nerve impulse misfires.
In some instances when potassium intake is chronically high on a keto-based diet (mostly from drinking fruit juice), these side effects have been exacerbated large enough for people to be hospitalized with severe organ system malfunctions such as adrenal failure or kidney failure.
11. How do I start the keto diet the easy way?
Do your weight watchers plan 1 day a week and eat the rest of the days with keto principles.
Or you may want to implement changes gradually by replacing carbs with high-quality proteins and fats every few weeks or months until you are more comfortable on keto dieting… then transition completely from one day to the next.
12. Is the keto diet healthy over a long period of time?
There is a study on the keto diet that tested whether the early death in people with type 2 diabetes was due to low carbohydrate intake. The study found that participants who were assigned to follow a ketogenic diet had a higher overall mortality rate than those in the standard care group.
Researchers like Dr. Stephen Phinney, one of America’s foremost authorities on low-carbohydrate nutrition and author of “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” recommend the long-term consumption of healthy non-processed carbs such as vegetables, fruits (frozen or fresh), 100% whole grains and beans – but not fruit juice or cereal. Natural fats from animal sources are also going to be important for a person’s overall health.
High levels of ketones in the blood is not inherently a healthy condition; they’re merely an indication that the body is using fat for fuel. And when it does, then one is either starving or on a high-fat diet. In other words, ketosis doesn’t generate health benefits unless there’s an unusual but intense dietary restriction or lots of activity to burn off all those calories.
We’ve evolved mechanisms in our bodies to make dietary changes much more difficult, and this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective – our ancestors had times where famine was common and needed adaptations to avoid starvation. These days most people are able to eat far more than their active metabolism requires.
The keto diet may not be healthy if strictly followed over a long period of time. How long a long period of time is, we don’t know. That is yet to be researched.
13. For how many months should I follow the keto diet?
It’s a pretty strict diet, so you might want to follow appropriate cooking hygiene for a couple of months (especially since you’re eating raw animal products). After that, it would be best to switch back and forth between keto and other forms of diets as your needs change.
By following keto, you are depriving your body of much-needed vitamins and nutrients through multivitamin supplements or varied sources in food. Try taking breaks from time to time every few months when the going gets tough. By favoring variety in eating habits rather than sticking to one way exclusively, we may give our bodies the opportunity for rest by changing their routines periodically each month.
Some people would also say to you; “You should follow the keto diet indefinitely.” You can still have a couple of “refeed” days every once in a while, but other than that, your only goal is to maintain a safe level of stored fat so that you don’t crash. Your shots at improving your metabolism and extending scale might be more prevalent if you followed the diet for longer periods of time- meaning healthier longevity is another benefit of following the keto diet for life!
Some people also cycle on and off keto to keep up with their body’s metabolism- some people need more carbs than others and it changes over time. If you are feeling like it would be good to cycle off or even just focus on maintenance rather than weight loss.
I would say:
-3 months is the optimal amount of time to lose weight and break bad habits.
-5 months is the right amount of time to change your fat percentage so you are healthy for life in the future.
-8 months or more, if you need it! In order to be considered a successful keto dieter you just need to reach a point where carbs don’t trigger an insulin reaction which causes craving for sugar and junk food anymore.
Once this has happened, it becomes easy enough that many people find themselves still eating low carb even after their goal has been reached! The only downside then would be boredom with always having breakfast eggs – oatmeal – lunch meat leftovers from dinner last night.
14. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ketogenic diet?
Keto diets do work for weight loss and there are some documented benefits, but they’re not necessarily healthy, and the jury is out on whether they lead to more long-term weight loss than other diets.
Certain ketogenic diets eclipse others in terms of health benefits because of their carbohydrate restrictions. However, the over-reliance on fats is a problem that can lead to a host of problems such as the increased risk for cardiovascular diseases or cancer. Those who follow this approach also miss out on essential nutrients like fiber, protein, iron, and zinc.
Advantages of a Ketogenic diet include increased levels of energy, lowered chance of developing type 2, and type 1diabetes, and weight loss.
Disadvantages of a ketogenic diet include the higher risk to develop kidney stones, kidneys can not function optimally on a keto diet, high protein intake may lead to constipation or impairs gut microbiota, carb craving is common among people who follow this type of eating plan.
Considerations for following these diets range from individual medical history (e.g., kidney dysfunction) to lifestyle needs (i.e., exercise modification). There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to dietary choices so consulting with your physician should be an important step.
Furthermore, advantages include lower insulin secretion, better blood lipid levels, and weight loss.
The disadvantages of ketogenic diets are that the diet is extremely restrictive and lacks diversity. One effective way to avoid these disadvantages is to combine the keto diet with intermittent fasting.
When you eat a ketogenic diet for three days then fast for another three days, you’ll live in peace with the decreased energy output by preventing your cells from going into starvation mode which also alters your hormonal profile towards prevention of cancerous cell growth in your body.
15. What is the hardest part of a keto diet?
The hardest part of the keto diet is when you start to feel the deprivation symptoms from not eating carbs.
The other hard part is continually rotating what you can eat. A “ketogenic” diet means that the carbohydrate intake is so low that the liver converts fat to fatty acids and glycerol which then become one’s primary energy source, rather than glucose.
But in this process, could be producing large quantities of other products as well. These unwanted byproducts have toxic effects on some aspects of metabolism and blood-lipid profile over time – but at least they are only produced under forceful, unnatural conditions such as starvation (complete with hours or days of uncontrolled food access).
Adapting to reduced sugar intake is hard. For some people, it’s not really a question of adaptation as much as simply eating less sugar in the first place. Cutting back on sweets and limiting sugary snacks is enough to reduce blood glucose highs and lows that can make ketosis difficult.
High-sugar foods disrupt ketosis by triggering fat burning (lipolysis) at too high or too low a level, which means you’ll never get into that natural flow state where your body relies entirely on fat for fuel rather than carbs or sugars
Effectively, all carbohydrate foods are strictly forbidden during Phase One of the Keto Diet for Beginners program because they prevent you from getting into ketosis.
16. Does the keto diet work for everyone?
The keto diet is not for everybody. Some of the most common reasons people choose to avoid the ketogenic diet include:
- The cost of buying really high-quality food. The cost is particularly burdensome since a person has to eat out less and/or buy all their groceries at once, which can be inconvenient or expensive;
- Restrictive Eating Patterns. For example, some people find it difficult to eat enough protein on a daily basis or want more variety in food types that are consumed without limits;
- Weight Gain. For those who have lost weight recently but are still looking for ways to lose weight without hunger; then this type of diet could feel counter-intuitive.
The keto diet is not for everyone. It is an excellent option for people who are looking to lose weight, balance their blood sugars and manage mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder.
Ketogenic diets provide the brain with an alternative fuel source, by substituting fat in place of sugar. Ketosis naturally triggers a mechanism in the body that tells it to start breaking down fats for energy, rather than relying on sugars from carbohydrates.
This leads your liver to produce ketones (byproducts of fat breakdown), and these help keep your brain healthy. Eating a high-quality whole food diet high in low-glycemic vegetables gives the brain all of its needed nutrients while also lowering inflammation, which can be helpful for preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
There are no people who “cannot” do keto, but it is true that the ketogenic diet is very hard to follow correctly, as its stringently high-fat content makes it quite easy to overeat and will sometimes cause those on the diet to feel like they have a foggy head for days. That said, most people who start with intending to follow this type of diet end up getting results nonetheless!