The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to be effective for weight loss. It involves eating mostly foods that are high in fat and low in carbs, with a moderate amount of protein. The goal is to enter into a state of ketosis, which helps the body burn more fat.
The ketogenic diet or “keto”
The ketogenic diet concept was born in the 1920s. Initially, the first data essentially existed in the context of the management of epileptic children suffering from severe forms that this diet proved to be effective.
Several studies show that up to 60% of children with epilepsy who try a ketogenic diet experience a 50% or more reduction in their seizure frequency. It is moreover in this area that the most reliable studies are currently available.
Currently, we talk about it mainly as a weight loss diet, although it is very far from a balanced diet since it is particularly very rich in fats.
There is a number of information that shows that the ketogenic diet is quite active in weight loss and that it would be slightly superior to the results of high protein or low-fat diets. It would also be able to help fight cancer cells. But in reality, many researchers point out that we still lack long-term studies to make it a diet suitable for the greatest number.
How does the keto diet work?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet.
Although a person eats fewer carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet leads to maintaining a moderate consumption of protein and an increase in the consumption of healthy fats.
Reducing carbohydrate intake puts the body into a metabolic state called “ketosis,” where fat, both in the diet and in the body, is burned for energy.
Tips to control appetite in keto diet
On the ketogenic diet, you will likely have better appetite control. It is a very common experience where feelings of hunger satiety decrease significantly.
This usually allows you to eat less and lose excess weight. The goal is to simply wait until you are hungry before eating. This also facilitates intermittent fasting, which may improve efforts to reverse type 2 diabetes and accelerate weight loss beyond the unique effects of this diet.
On the other hand, you could save time and money by not having to snack all the time. Moreover, many practitioners feel the need to eat only twice a day on this diet, for example, skipping breakfast.
The benefits of keto
Not having to struggle with hunger could also help solve problems such as sugar consumption or food addiction. Feeling full and satisfied can be part of the solution.
Studies prove that a ketogenic diet is excellent for controlling blood sugar and managing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease.
Many pieces of research on this diet show that it lowers blood sugar levels, reduces the need for medications, and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.
It is also not uncommon to find topics about how ketogenic diet helps reducing the chance of cancer because it would be able to “starve” cancer cells. With the weight of these allegations, it is more than necessary to take stock and understand how the body works under the influence of this eating behavior.
How long can a ketogenic diet last?
Although the ketogenic diet is a popular contemporary diet, many people find that it takes them much longer to enter ketosis than others. The time it takes for the body to enter a state of ketosis varies from person to person, but the time frame is usually between 2 and 7 days.
Regarding the duration of the ketogenic diet, there are currently no long-term scientific studies or enough data. Although the maximum recommended average is generally six months, it is a priority to consult a health professional for precise follow-up.
The ketogenic diet and the state of ketosis
A “keto” or “ketogenic” diet is so named because it causes your body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones.” It is an alternative source of fuel for your body that can be used when blood sugar, glucose levels are low.
When a person eats very few carbohydrates or very few calories, their liver produces ketone bodies from fat. These ketone bodies then serve as a source of fuel throughout the body, especially for the brain.
The brain is a hungry organ that consumes a lot of energy every day, even more so for active people and athletes, and cannot function directly on fat. It can only work with glucose or ketones.
Ketone bodies are three metabolites (acetylacetonate, β-D-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone) produced by the process of ketogenesis in the liver. This is from the degradation of lipids and fatty acids when the body no longer has sufficient reserves of carbohydrates (such as glucose).
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body changes its fuel supply to run primarily on fat, constantly burning fat. When insulin levels drop very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. Thus, it becomes easier to access fat stores to burn them.
How keto diet helps
More and more people are doing this keto diet primarily for weight loss, but they also seem to be other benefits, such as reducing the sugar spikes and dips that often occur when eating high-carb meals.
Although side effects may vary from person to person, some practitioners of this ketogenic diet felt more alert and focused.
When the body produces ketone bodies, it enters a metabolic state, the famous state of ketosis. The fastest way to do this is to fast, but no one can constantly fast indefinitely.
A keto diet, on the other hand, also leads to ketosis and can be consumed for a longer duration. It may have many of the benefits of fasting — including weight loss — without having to fast long-term.
How to start the ketogenic diet
If you want to start the ketogenic diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to speak with your doctor about whether or not the diet is right for you. Second, be sure to calculate your macros (carbohydrates, protein and fat) before beginning the diet. Third, make sure to drink plenty of water and keep an eye on your electrolytes while on the keto diet.
What foods you can eat for the ketogenic diet
Imagine your cheese without bread, your steak or your mussels without fries, or your Shepherd’s pie without mashed potatoes!
Indeed, the typical foods to enjoy with a ketogenic diet totally change the landscape of our diet.
How many grams of carbohydrates each day
To reach the state of ketosis, one must avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Thus, you will likely need to keep your carb intake to less than 50 grams of net carbs per day, ideally below 20 grams.
The fewer carbs present, the more effective the diet appears to be in achieving ketosis, losing weight, or improving type 2 diabetes. Counting carbs can be helpful in the beginning.
But if you stick to foods and recipes recommended by a medical professional, diligent and measured monitoring can be dispensed with.
How many grams of fats each day?
The correct measure of fat (lipids) to eat dpends on caloric needs for weight reduction or maintenance and is also based on eating and diet style.
As a guideline, fat intake, depending on various calorie goals, should average between 85 to 125 grams per day if the need is 1500 calories, 110 to 165 grams per day if the need is 2 000 calories, and 135 to 200 grams per day if the need is 2,500 calories.
What are ketogenic diet foods
The main take-home message: Eat real low-carb foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and natural fats like butter or olive oil. The rule of thumb: stick to foods with less than 5% carbs.
Unprocessed meats, Natural and organic meats are low in carbs and ketogenic friendly.
But remember that this diet is high in fat, not high in protein. So you don’t need huge amounts of meat. Excess protein, more than 2.0 g/kg of baseline body weight, can be converted to glucose, which could make it more difficult for some people to enter a state of ketosis, especially at the beginning and with high levels of insulin resistance. Note that processed meats, such as sausages, deli meats, and meatballs, often contain added carbs. When in doubt, look at the ingredients, and aim for less than 5% carbs.
Fish and seafood
The fish and seafood are generally good. In particular, fatty fish like salmon (although natural and organic versions of this fish are hard to find).
If you have concerns about mercury or other toxins, consider eating more small bluefish like sardines, mackerel, and herring. If you can find wild fish, that’s probably the best. Avoid breadcrumbs, as they contain carbohydrates.
Eat them however you like, such as boiled, fried in butter, scrambled, or in an omelet.
Buying organic eggs or free-range hens might be the healthier option, although we don’t have scientific studies to prove better health. How many eggs can you eat, taking cholesterol into account? The advice of specialists is not to exaggerate (1 or 2) and not to hesitate to eat less if you prefer.
Natural fats from high-fat sauces
Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You’ll likely get a lot of it from natural sources like meat, fish, eggs, and other sources.
Also, use fats in cooking, such as butter or coconut oil, and feel free to add plenty of olive oil to salads and vegetables. You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces, including bearnaise sauce, garlic butter, and others. Remember that fat helps you feel full and adds flavor to food. Don’t use more than you want or need, but don’t be afraid of the grease. In this diet, fat is your friend.
High-fat dairy products
High-fat cheese, butter, and fresh cream are great for cooking.
Avoid drinking milk as milk sugar builds up quickly, but you can use it sparingly in your coffee or tea. Of course, this depends on how many cups you drink per day. A cup with just a splash of milk would be the maximum. Also, be aware that regularly snacking on cheese when you’re not hungry is a common mistake that can slow weight loss. Also, definitely avoid café latte, matcha latte, and low-fat yogurts, especially since they often contain a lot of added sugars.
In moderation, nuts are often an easy and enjoyable snack, but it’s very easy to eat way more of them than you need to feel satisfied.
Also, be aware that cashews are relatively high in carbs, choose macadamia nuts or pecans instead. Depending on your weight loss progress and remaining carb intake, try to limit nut intake to about 50 grams per day. You can also mix in some almonds, which are part of the necessary sources of fiber.
What vegetables to eat
Choose vegetables that grow above ground (generally lower in carbs), especially leafy and green produce. Favorites include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, avocado, and zucchini. We will have to say goodbye to certain recipes that contain pulses (chickpeas, lentils, etc.).
Vegetables are a tasty way to eat healthy fats. Fry them in butter and pour plenty of olive oil over your salad. Some even view vegetables as a fast delivery system. They also add more variety to recipes, flavor, and color to your meals. Many people end up eating more vegetables than before when starting out (especially among vegetarians or vegans ), as vegetables replace pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy foods.
What fruits to eat
The main fruits recommended as part of a ketogenic diet are avocados, watermelon, strawberries, lemons, tomatoes, raspberries, and peaches.
Privileged sources of antioxidants, berries (purple in particular), strengthen the body’s anti-radical defenses.
A moderate amount of blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, black currants, mulberries, and acai are suitable for this diet. One of the star desserts in keto is actually made with whipped cream and berries.
What Drinks you can take on keto
Essential for the survival of our body, water is the first solution. You can add slices of cucumber, lemon, or a pinch of salt.
Coffee, to be consumed in moderation, should be without sugar and, at worst, with a small amount of milk or cream. For extra energy from the fat, you can add a dash of butter or coconut oil (enough to make a barista scream?). Note that if weight loss stalls, reduce the cream or fat in your coffee.
Black tea and green tea are rich in antioxidants, provided you respect their preparation (too hot water kills the antioxidants). Feel free to drink most teas, and don’t add sugar.
Another drink, less common on our tables in recent decades, is bone broth. The broth is simple to prepare, very hydrating, and rich in nutrients and electrolytes.
So homemade bone broth with a knob of butter is a great drink on a typical day on the ketogenic diet. In summary, foods that are too high in carbohydrates should be avoided. Cereals (barley, wheat, oats, etc.), grains (rice, etc.), legumes (lentils, chickpeas, soy, etc.), fruits (apart from berries), starches (pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes), sweets (candies, liqueurs, cakes, etc.).
For fiber sources, this diet recommends flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut flour, avocado, green beans, and green olives. Also, note that foods that are too rich in omega-6 (walnut oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, etc.) should also be avoided.
Foods to avoid in ketogenic diet recipes
Foods high in sugar and starch are the enemies of this diet, as these foods are much higher in carbohydrates.
Try to avoid bananas, beer, pasta, potatoes, bread, rice, soda, chocolate bars, and candy. For beverages, drink water, coffee, tea, or an occasional glass of wine.
Also, avoid or limit highly processed foods. You should also avoid low-fat diet products.
A keto diet should be moderately high in protein and higher in fat because fat provides the energy you no longer get from carbs. Low-fat products generally provide too many carbohydrates and not enough protein and fat.
7 Day Plan for a Free Ketogenic Diet
For the record, a healthy ketogenic diet should contain about 70-75% fat, 10-30% protein, and no more than 5% (20-50 grams) of carbohydrates per day.
A ketogenic meal plan, like any healthy diet, should include whole foods and plenty of high-fiber, low-carb vegetables. Choose healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, and butter to increase the fat content of dishes.
Keto-friendly snacks should be high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. For example, it is possible to increase fiber intake by snacking on low-carb sliced vegetables with a high-fat sauce.
Preparing a shopping list can go a long way in deciding which foods will fit into a ketogenic meal plan. It is necessary to give preference to red meat and poultry, eggs, low-carb vegetables, whole dairy products, and healthy fats. On the other hand, it is recommended to prioritize fresh, healthy, and organic foods and to restrict highly processed products and unhealthy fats as much as possible.
Finally, it’s important to remember to focus on high-fat, low-carb foods like eggs, meats, dairy products, and low-carb vegetables, as well as sugar-free beverages.
Examples of meals from a ketogenic diet
Ketogenic type menu 1
Breakfast: A coconut milk chia seed pudding topped with coconut and walnuts.
Lunch: a salad made with green vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, cheese, and turkey.
Dinner: Coconut chicken curry.
Ketogenic type menu 2
Breakfast: two eggs with avocado in the oven.
Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken.
Dinner: Pork chops with vegetables.
Ketogenic type menu 3
Breakfast: two fried eggs fried in butter with sautéed vegetables.
Lunch: a bunless burger topped with cheese, mushrooms, and avocado on a bed of greens.
Dinner: Pork chops with green beans sautéed in coconut oil.
Ketogenic type menu 4
Breakfast: an omelet with fresh mushrooms.
Lunch: a tuna salad with celery and tomato on a bed of greens.
Dinner: roast chicken with cream sauce and sautéed broccoli.
Ketogenic type menu 5
Breakfast: whole yogurt topped with granola ( mixture of oatmeal and oilseeds such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews).
Lunch: a steak with brown rice, cauliflower, cheese, fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, etc.), and an avocado.
Dinner: Steak with broccoli and cheese gratin.
Ketogenic type menu 6
Breakfast: Cauliflower toast topped with cheese and avocado.
Lunch: a thick slice of breadless salmon topped with pesto.
Dinner: meatballs served with zucchini noodles and parmesan cheese.
Ketogenic type menu 7
Breakfast: peppers stuffed with cheese and eggs.
Lunch: an arugula salad with hard-boiled eggs, turkey, avocado, and blue cheese.
Dinner: grilled salmon with spinach sautéed in coconut oil.
Beginning the ketogenic diet can be a daunting task, but with the right information and guidance, it can be an incredibly successful way to improve your health.