The ketogenic diet, or the keto diet for short, is a high-fat and low-carb diet that has tons of health benefits. In fact, more than 20 studies show that this kind of diet helps you improve your health and lose weight.
Ketogenic diets can even benefit against epilepsy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Here’s an easy beginner’s guide to a keto diet.
First, let's start with...
WHAT’S A KETOGENIC DIET?
The ketogenic diet is a very high-fat, low carb diet that has a lot of similarities with Atkins diet and other low-carb diets.
It involves significantly reducing your intake of carbohydrates and eating fat instead. This reduction will put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis then makes your body become highly efficient in burning your fats for energy. It also turns your fat into ketones in your liver, which gives energy for your brain.
Ketogenic diets can cause huge reductions in insulin and blood sugar levels. Along with this, is an increase in ketones and many more health benefits.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KETO DIETS
There are many versions of the keto diet. This includes:
- Standard keto diet - This is a very high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet. It usually contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and just 5% carbs.
- Cyclical keto diet - This diet includes periods of high-carb refeeds, like 5 ketogenic days then 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted keto diet - This diet permits you to eat carbs around workouts.
- High-protein keto diet - This is almost the same as your standard keto diet, but with more protein. The usual ratio is around 60% fat, 35% protein, and again only 5% carbs.
It’s good to note that only the standard and high-protein keto diets have been researched on extensively. Cyclical and targeted keto diets involve a more advanced approach and are mainly used by athletes or bodybuilders.
The info on this article applies mostly to the standard keto diet, although many principles apply to the other kinds as well.
There are many versions of the keto diet. The standard keto diet is the most recommended and the most researched.
KETOGENIC DIETS CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
A keto diet is a great way to lose weight and target risk factors for many diseases. In fact, studies show that the keto diet is superior to the commonly recommended low-fat diet.
Additionally, the diet fills your stomach up so you can lose weight without having to count calories or track your food consumption.
A study found that people on a keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than people on a low-fat and calorie-restricted diet. HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels also improved on people who followed the keto diet.
Another research found that people on the keto diet lost up to 3 times more weight than people on the recommended diet by Diabetes UK.
There are many reasons why a keto diet is far better than a low-fat diet, including your increased protein intake, which gives a ton of benefits.
The lower blood sugar level, better insulin sensitivity, and increased ketones also play key roles.
There are tons of studies that detail the weight loss effects of a keto diet.
A keto diet can help you lose more weight than the commonly recommended low-fat diet. What’s more, this happens without getting hungry.
KETO DIETS FOR DIABETICS
Diabetes is identified by changes in your metabolism, higher blood sugar, and damaged insulin function.
The keto diet can help you lose the excess fat that’s linked to pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
One study discovered that the keto diet improved insulin sensitivity by a staggering 75%.
Another study of people with type 2 diabetes discovered that 7 of 21 participants were able to discontinue their intake of all diabetes medications.
In another study, the keto group lost 24.4 pounds compared to just 15.2 pounds to the high-carb group. This is a significant benefit when looking at the link between type 2 diabetes and weight.
Additionally, around 95.2% of the keto group were able to stop their diabetes medication, compared to just 62% in the higher-carb group.
The keto diet can boost your insulin sensitivity and help you lose weight, which leads to significant health benefits with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
The keto diet was actually originally used as a tool for treating neurological diseases. An example is epilepsy.
Research now shows that diet can have huge benefits for a variety of health conditions.
- Heart disease - The keto diet can target risk factors like HDL cholesterol levels, blood sugar, blood sugar, and body fat.
- Cancer - The keto diet is now being used to treat many types of cancer and slow down tumor growth.
- Alzheimer’s disease - The keto diet can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s and slow its progression down.
- Epilepsy - Research shows that the keto diet leads to a massive decrease in seizures in epileptic children.
- Parkinson’s - A study found that the diet improved symptoms of people with Parkinson’s disease.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome - The keto diet helps reduce insulin levels, which play a major role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Brain injury - An animal study discovered that the diet can help recovery after brain injury and reduce concussions.
- Acne - Because of eating less sugar and processed foods and also the lower insulin levels, the keto diet can help improve acne.
Keep in mind, however, that research in a lot of these areas are far from conclusive.
A keto diet can give you tons of benefits, especially with neurological, metabolic, and insulin-related diseases.
FOODS TO AVOID
Any food that’s high in carbs has to be limited.
Here’s a list of foods you need to limit eating or eliminate totally on your keto diet:
- High-sugar foods - Ice cream, candy, smoothies, fruit juices, and soda, etc.
- Starches or grains - Cereal, rice, pasta, and other wheat-based products, etc.
- Fruit - All kinds of fruit except certain berries like strawberries.
- Legumes or beans - Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas, etc.
- Tubers and root vegetables - Parsnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc.
- Diet or low-fat products - These are highly-processed food and high in carbs.
- Some sauces or condiments - These contain unhealthy fat and lots of sugar.
- Unhealthy fat - Limit your consumption of mayonnaise and processed vegetable oils, etc.
- Alcohol - Because of their carb content, alcoholic beverages can derail your keto diet.
- Sugar-free foods - These often have high sugar alcohols which in some cases affect your ketone levels. These kinds of food also tend to be highly-processed.
Steer clear of carb-heavy foods like sugars, rice, legumes, grains, candy, potatoes, juice, and even majority of fruits.
FOODS YOU CAN EAT
Your meals should be composed of mainly these foods:
- Meat - Ham, red meat, steak, bacon, sausage, chicken, and turkey.
- Fish - Salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel.
- Eggs - Omega-3 whole eggs or pastured eggs.
- Butter and cream - Go for grass-fed whenever possible.
- Cheese - Unprocessed cheese is best. You can go for cheddar, goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese or mozzarella.
- Seeds and nuts - Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, etc.
- Healthy oils - Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil.
- Avocado - Freshly made guac or whole avocados.
- Low-carb vegetables - Green vegetables, onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
- Condiments - Salt, pepper, and many herbs and spices.
It’s best for your diet to be based on whole, single-ingredient foods.
Just make sure that the majority of your diet includes foods like low-carb vegetables, avocados, healthy oils, nuts, butter, eggs, fish, and met.
A KETO MEAL PLAN EXAMPLE FOR 1 WEEK
To get you started, here’s a ketogenic diet meal plan that’s good for one week.
Breakfast - Bacon and eggs with tomatoes.
Lunch - Chicken salad with feta cheese and olive oil.
Dinner - Salmon with buttered asparagus.
Breakfast - Egg, tomatoes, fresh basil, and a goat cheese omelette.
Lunch - Peanut butter, almond milk, a milkshake of cocoa powder and stevia.
Dinner - Meatballs, vegetables, and cheddar cheese.
Breakfast - A keto milkshake.
Lunch - Shrimp salad drizzled with olive oil and avocado on the side.
Dinner - Pork chops, broccoli, and a salad with parmesan cheese on top.
Breakfast - Omelette with salsa, onion, pepper, and spice, and avocado on the side.
Lunch - Some nuts and celery sticks with salsa and guac.
Dinner - Chicken stuffed with cream cheese and pesto, with vegetables on the side.
Breakfast - Sugar-free yogurt with cocoa powder, stevia, and peanut butter.
Lunch - Stir-fried beef in coco oil with vegetables on the side.
Dinner - Burger without buns with bacon, egg, and goat cheese.
Breakfast - A ham and cheese omelette with vegetables on the side.
Lunch - Slices of ham and cheese with a handful of nuts.
Dinner - Seared salmon, egg, and spinach stir-fried in coconut oil.
Breakfast - Fried eggs with crispy bacon and mushrooms.
Lunch - Burger with a salsa dip, some cheese, and guac.
Dinner - Steak and a salad on the side.
Always rotate the vegetables and meat for the long-haul, as each variety provides different health benefits and nutrients.
You can eat a wide range of delicious and nutritious meals on a keto diet.
HEALTHY KETOGENIC SNACKS
In case your stomach craves for food between meals, here are some tasty, keto-approved snacks:
- Fatty meat
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Dark chocolate
- A low-carb milkshake
- An almond milk milkshake with cocoa powder
- Full-fat yogurt with nut butter
- Strawberries with cream
- Celery with a salsa dip
- Small portions of your leftover keto meals
Great keto snacks include dark chocolate, nuts, boiled eggs, olives, cheese, and meat.
TIPS FOR WHEN YOU EAT OUT
It’s not that hard to order restaurant meals that are keto-friendly when you’re eating out.
Most restaurants have some kind of meat or fish dish. Order these and just replace any high-carb food with vegetables.
Egg-based meals are also a great alternative such as omelettes or a breakfast meal of eggs and bacon.
Another go-to restaurant meal is the bunless burger. You can swap the french fries for vegetables instead. Add cheese, avocado, bacon, and/or eggs to amp up the meal.
At Mexican restaurants, you can eat any type of meat with extra guac, cheese, sour cream, and salsa.
For dessert, asked for berries in cream or a mixed cheese board.
When you’re eating out, choose a meat, fish, or egg-based dish. Order vegetables instead of carbohydrate-laden dishes or starches, and order a cheese board for dessert.
HOW TO MINIMIZE THE SIDE EFFECTS
Although the keto meal is safe to practice for healthy people, there can be some initial side effects while your body is adapting.
This is referred to as the keto flu and will usually go away in a few days.
Keto flu includes poor mental function and poor energy, sleep issues, increased hunger, nausea, decreased exercise stamina, and digestive discomfort.
To minimize these side effects, you can go for a regular low-carb diet for the initial weeks. This can tell your body to burn more fat before you get rid of carbs completely.
A keto diet can also change the mineral balance and water balance of your body, so add extra salt in your meals or take mineral supplements to help.
For minerals, go for 300 mg of magnesium, 3,000-4,000 mg of sodium, and 1,000 mg of potassium a day to minimize the side effects.
At least at the start, it’s important to eat until you’re already full to avoid too much calorie-restriction. Usually, a keto diet will induce weight loss without intentionally restricting calories.
Many side effects of a keto diet can be limited. Easing your way into the diet and taking supplements can help a lot.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR A KETO DIET
Although supplements aren’t really required, they can be useful.
MCT oil - These are added to yogurt or drinks. They provide energy and help increase your ketone levels.
Minerals - Adding salt and other minerals can be useful when just starting your keto diet to shift your water and mineral imbalance.
Caffeine - Caffeine has lots of benefits for fat loss, energy, and performance.
Exogenous ketones - This supplement can raise your body’s ketone levels.
Creatine - Creatine has huge benefits for your health and performance. It gives more benefits when you combine a keto diet with exercise.
Why - Put half a scoop of whey protein in your keto shakes or yogurt to up your daily protein consumption.
Some supplements can be very beneficial on a keto diet. These include minerals, MCT oil, and exogenous ketones.
Here are answers to common questions about the keto diet.
1. Can I eat carbs?
Yes. However, it’s really important to significantly reduce your consumption of carbs. After the first 2-3 months, you can start to eat carbs on certain special occasions - just go back to the keto diet right after.
2. Will I lose a lot of muscle?
There’s a risk of losing muscle in any diet. However, if you consume lots of protein and have high ketone levels, it can minimize muscle loss, especially if you’re lifting weights.
3. Can I gain muscle on a keto diet?
Yes but it may not be as effective when doing a moderate-carb diet.
4. Do I have to carb load or refeed?
No. But a few days of higher-calorie intake can be good every now and then.
5. How much protein should I eat?
Protein intake should be moderate as high intake can lower your ketones and spike your insulin levels. Around 35% of your total calorie intake is more or less the upper limit.
6. What if I get constantly weak, tired, or fatigued?
You probably aren’t in full ketosis or using fats and ketones efficiently. To combat this, lower your carb intake some more and revisit the tips above. A supplement like MCT oil or exogenous ketones can also help.
7. My urine smells a little fruity. Why?
Don’t get alarmed. This is just because of the by-products excretion in ketosis.
8. My breath stinks. What should I do?
It’s a common side effect. Try chewing sugar-free gum or naturally flavored water.
9. I heard ketosis is dangerous, is that true?
People often mix up ketosis with ketoacidosis. The former is completely natural while the latter happens in uncontrolled diabetes.
10. I have diarrhea and digestion issues, what should I do?
This is a common side effect that passes after 3-4 weeks. If it continues, eat more high-fiber vegetables. Magnesium supplements also help with constipation.
A KETO DIET IS NOT FOR EVERYONE
A keto diet can do wonders for people who are diabetic, overweight, or looking to enhance their metabolic health.
It’s less suitable for those wishing to add lots of muscle or gain weight, or for elite athletes.
And like any diet, it only works if you’re consistent and stick to it for a long time.
That said, few things are well-proven in health and nutrition as the weight-loss benefits of a keto diet.
READY TO GIVE KETO A TRY? WAIT!
You are not being told about many of the most important keto breakthroughs being discovered by leading doctors and medical research centers.
There’s no big conspiracy.
It’s just that these breakthroughs usually don’t get much publicity.
That’s because they’re reported in medical journals intended for doctors such as The New England Journal of Medicine… The Journal of the American Medical Association… Lancet… The American Heart Journal… among many others.
Or; in some cases, these discoveries are made in prestigious health centers in other parts of the world, and receive little or no coverage in the US media.
In still other cases, highly respected medical doctors uncover these breakthroughs in clinical studies in their own private practices. They report their findings to professional medical societies, but these discoveries often escape the notice of the mass media.
All of this leaves gaping holes in the health information you should be getting. Yet these “under-reported” discoveries can be of tremendous importance to you and those you love.
That’s why we created Health Confidential.
Until Health Confidential came along, if you wanted to try to keep on top of new keto developments and scientific keto breakthroughs, you would have to subscribe to a shopping cart full of professional medical journals and newsletters.
And you’d have to spend a king’s ransom for the privilege!
You might also have to get a medical degree to understand many of the articles. But now that’s changed, thanks to Health Confidential.
Here are our top 3 studies you can read right now that will help give you a shortcut to success during your keto journey to weight loss: