Let me teach you about the ketogenic diet, or as I’m sure you’ve heard of it “The Keto Diet”.
It will help you lose incredible amounts of weight as well as solve a number of health problems.
It’s definitely no fad and that’s why countless women have untaken this diet for crazy amounts of fat loss.
So what’s so special about the Keto Diet?
There are possibly thousands of diets available for people to try.
Each one promising to lose the pounds, shift the excess flab from the belly and finally deliver the trim, slim body longed for.
All diets have their benefits, some work really well, others work short-term and some are just impossible to follow, because of the complexity involved or because they result in feeling sluggish and hungry most of the time.
It’s extremely challenging finding the right diet to fit in with lifestyle and expectations.
When looking for a diet that delivers effective results, it’s probably best to select something that is proven to have significant health benefits as well as helping to lose weight effectively.
Everyone would like to find a diet that doesn’t result in feeling hungry, depleted of energy and that allows enjoyment of good food abundantly.
No one wants a diet that restricts every meal to be cooked in the kitchen and simply increases feelings of unhappiness.
Enter the Keto Diet.
The Keto Diet: A Scientifically Backed Diet
This is a scientifically proven method that has worked for many decades, backed by over 20 different studies conducted under medical conditions.
The Keto Diet is a plan that pushes the body into a metabolic state called “Ketosis”.
When in this state, the body uses fat as fuel, rather than carbohydrates or sugar as fuel.
It was originally developed back in the 1920s by Dr. Russell Wilder MD at the Mayo Clinic especially for those suffering from epilepsy.
The Keto Diet specifically involves removing sugar from the body and provides an eating plan that can be incorporated into everyday life.
As well as helping those with epilepsy, there is evidence that the diet can also help diabetics, cancer patients and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
So, not only does the Keto Diet help to lose weight, but it could also enhance health.
The Keto Diet in a Nutshell
The basics involved with the Keto Diet are as follows:
- The diet is extremely low carb but high fat (“good” fat)
- Keto reduces your carbs by replacing with “good fats” and puts the body into “ketosis”, a metabolic state
What is Ketosis?
When the body is deprived of carbs and sugar, it burns fat differently.
It reaches a state called ketosis and burns fat for energy instead, rather than carbs.
Fat in the liver is transformed into “ketones”.
As well as changing the way the body burns fat, the Keto Diet also reduces blood sugar and insulin levels (which is why it is so beneficial for diabetics).
How Quickly Does The Keto Diet Work?
The body can shift into Ketosis between one to three days, and if followed, weight should start dropping within a week.
This is because when on the diet, the body starts using up its stores of glycogen (these are carbs).
Once depleted, water is the first weight reduction but bear in mind, the initial weight loss will only be water – whilst encouraging, it isn’t fat loss yet.
Different Types of The Keto Diet
There are different versions of the Keto Diet to pick and choose what works best for any lifestyle, here are the options:
- CKD (or Cyclical Ketogenic Diet). This is a mix of the Keto Diet and yet allows the consumption of carbs too. It usually involves 5 days of Ketogenic dieting and two days of eating carbohydrates (best for athletes or weight training body-builders)
- SKD (or Standard Ketogenic Diet). This is the most common of all the types of the Keto Diet and delivers a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. Expect to eat mainly fat and a very small amount of carbs (5% of the diet). This is the Ketogenic diet most recognized and respected by medical specialists
- High Protein Keto. Similar to the SKD version, but with more protein. Carbs should be restricted to just 5% while the fat content is high, at around 60%.
- TKD (Targeted Ketogenic Diet). This is great for carb-lovers as it allows carbs as long as exercise is included. (Best for athletes or weight training body-builders)
The Keto Diet is for you if…
- You hate counting calories. A Ketogenic diet should leave you feeling very full without the need to count calories
- You want to lose weight quickly. People on the Keto Diet lose more than double the amount of weight than those counting calories
- You want to improve your cholesterol levels (the Keto Diet improves triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels)
- You are diabetic (type 2 diabetes and prediabetes). Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet improves insulin sensitivity by up to 75% and some people can even stop using diabetic medication on a successful Keto Diet (always seek advice from your doctor before stopping any medication and before embarking on this type of diet).
- You often feel hungry when on a diet. The Ketogenic diet should leave you feeling full – except for the very beginning while your body adapts. Most people on Keto continue to lose weight for months and months, they stay on the diet for life because it staves off hunger pangs
The Numerous Health Benefits of The Keto Diet
As previously mentioned, a Ketogenic diet has a number of proven health benefits.
Generally, it is a great option for diabetics and epileptics but it is also an excellent lifestyle choice for those with other conditions such as:
- Cancer. The Keto Diet is currently undergoing rigorous studies and is used to treat slow cancerous tumor growths and other cancers (proving effective).
- Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies show that the Keto Diet could improve dementia symptoms and slow down the disease.
- Heart Health. The Keto Diet can reduce cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.As it also delivers significant weight loss, it is an excellent choice for those prone to heart disease problems.
There are other medical studies that show very encouraging results for those with Parkinson’s, polycystic ovaries and it has been proven to help reduce acne (due to lowering insulin levels and the reduction of sugar).
Keto – What You Can Eat
So what can be eaten on a Ketogenic diet?
The following foods are all suitable:
- Meat (red meat, ham, bacon – occasionally, dark areas of chicken, turkey, steak, sausage, etc.)
- Fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, sole, halibut, haddock, shrimp, etc.)
- Cheese (unprocessed – cheddar, blue and feta)
- Full-fat cottage cheese (occasionally)
- Full-fat ricotta cheese (occasionally)
- Full-fat plain Greek yogurt (occasionally)
- Oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil (limit sunflower, safflower and corn oil)
- Nuts and Seeds
- Low-Carb Vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, courgette, cabbage, lettuce, spinach. Aubergine, fennel, etc.)
- Garlic (occasionally)
- Avocados (including home-made guacamole)
- Peanut butter (occasionally)
- Almond butter (occasionally)
- Condiments (salt and pepper)
- Flax seeds
- Cayenne pepper
- Pistachio nuts (occasionally)
- Cashew nuts (occasionally)
- Ground ginger (occasionally)
- Garlic powder (occasionally)
- Onion powder (occasionally)
- Sweetener (very occasionally)
- Almond milk
- Plain tea
- Black Coffee (occasionally)
Keto – What You Can’t Eat
The most important element of the Keto Diet is to avoid high carbs.
These are the foods to be avoided when on Keto:
- Wheat/grains/starch (rice, pasta, cereal, etc.)
- Cold cut meat (with added sugar)
- Marinated meat (usually laced in sugar)
- Chicken nuggets
- Fish Goujons/fish fingers/fish in breadcrumbs
- Sugar (carbonated drinks, fruit juice, cake, sweets, biscuits, ice cream, cereal, anything sweetened)
- Beans (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, black turtle beans, soybeans, pinto beans, lima beans, etc.)
- Root Vegetables (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, swede, carrots, parsnips, potatoes)
- Fruit (except berries)
- Diet Products Including Sugar-Free Diet Food (note that these are usually high carb)
- Sauces (check the sugar content and unhealthy fat)
- Vegetable Oil
- Dried fruit mixes
- Nut butters (with sugar)
- Chocolate covered nuts and raisins
- Artificial trans-fat
- Maple syrup
- Ice cream
- Sweetened yogurt
- Soda water
Keto Side Effects
No diet comes without some side-effects.
The Keto Diet does have side-effects but they usually wear off as the body gets used to a different eating lifestyle.
The following side effects are common and should pass over just a few days.
- Poor energy
- Poor mental function
- Increased hunger
Remember, Keto side-effects should only last a few days.
However, to minimize side-effects, try a low-carb diet for a few weeks before embarking on Keto.
This prepares the body to burn fat before completely removing carbs and is a good, gradual lead-up to taking on a Ketogenic lifestyle.
Here are some more tips:
- Add extra salt to mealtimes as the Keto Diet can alter the balance of water and minerals in the body
- Add potassium (1000mg/daily) to minimize side effects
- Add potassium (300mg/daily) to minimize side effects
- Always eat until full so calorie intake is not restricted too much
Eating Out on the Keto Diet
One of the beauties of the Keto Diet is that dieters can still enjoy eating out in restaurants and there’s no need to turn down any invitations!
Keto is very restaurant-friendly and that’s because most restaurants serve meat and fish. Just watch the sauce and how the food is cooked.
It’s easy to replace high carbs with vegetables.
Here are some great eating-out options:
- Burgers (minus the bun and switch out French Fries for vegetables) especially cheeseburgers.
- Guacamole, salsa and sour cream
- Berries for dessert or why not enjoy a cheese board?
Keto is not for you if…
Some diabetics are unsuitable for Keto, for example, type 2.
That’s because there is an increased cardiovascular disease risk and on Keto there is a lot of fat.
It’s best to discuss options with a doctor first, to make sure the diet is appropriate for diabetic conditions.
It is also unsuitable for those with nutrient deficiencies (e.g. vitamin deficient).
Dairy is forbidden as are many fruits or whole grains so supplementing might be an alternative.
It’s also not a good option for vegans or vegetarians due to the limitations of certain fruit and vegetables.
Important Things to Bear in Mind
Before embarking on Keto, consider a few things.
Firstly, to see results, it’s important to be strict and stick with the diet.
Even small slip-ups could prevent the diet from working.
For example, eat a piece of fruit that isn’t Keto-friendly and the body could quickly switch to burning carbs rather than fat.
For those that don’t like fat, Keto is not right because most of the calories will come from fatty food. For no-meat fans, Keto shouldn’t be attempted because it involves a lot of protein!
As an example, weighing in at 10 stone will equate to needing 64g of protein a day.
Another piece of good news is that on the Keto Diet, supplementing is fine.
Some people might want to add a good multi-vitamin to the daily routine along with a fiber supplement.
Keto – FAQ
To conclude, we have some answers to questions you may well ask.
1. Will I be able to eat carbs again?
Yes, you will be able to consume some carbs but the Keto Diet is based on minimum carbohydrates.
To work well, you should dramatically reduce your carb intake.
Once you’ve followed a Keto Diet for 2 or 3 months, you can eat some carbs (but limit it to very occasionally).
Don’t make it a habit and get straight back to Keto the day after.
2. Does Keto involve losing muscle mass?
As with any diet, you might lose muscle but because Keto is high protein you shouldn’t lose too much.
Concentrate on weight training to maintain your muscle mass.
3. What is the protein rule on Keto?
You should keep your protein intake at a moderate level because if you over-eat protein you will spike your insulin levels.
Stick to around 35% of your daily calorie consumption.
4. How do I combat tiredness?
It is normal to feel some tiredness when you begin Keto but if it continues, you might not be using your fats properly.
Try a supplement of MCT oil or go back and think about your carb intake, perhaps you need to lower it further.
5. My urine has a funny odor!
This is also normal and is down to your body excreting substances that occur when you reach the state of ketosis.
6. I have bad breath.
This is common. Brush your teeth regularly and chew gum to counter the effects (make sure the gum is sugar-free).
7. The diet is upsetting my stomach.
Keto does sometimes cause diarrhea but it should only last 3 or 4 weeks while your body adapts.
7-Day Keto Meal Plan and Menu
Feel free to mix and match your favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
You don’t have to eat the ones you don’t like!
Finally, as with any diet, to see results, the Ketogenic diet must be adhered to.
Keto simply may not be right for some.
Various diets just don’t suit certain lifestyles but the Ketogenic diet does work for millions of people across the globe.
If the variety of food offered doesn’t seem appealing, or perhaps the side effects last longer than a few weeks, there might need to re-think a diet plan.
Perhaps speak to a doctor for advice on the best diet to fit with personal lifestyle and body needs?
For those with diabetes or those who are seriously obese or with a health problem, while the Keto Diet might be a suitable option, it is best to seek advice from a medical practitioner first.