Only lazy people haven’t heard of the keto diet. They write about it in blogs, show Instagram photos of rapid weight loss successes, and talk about its health benefits. This term has become the most trendy in 2018. A new round of popularity has come from recent research on the lives of peoples in the Far North who, by eating only meat and fat, suffer virtually no cardiovascular and heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s and type 2 diabetes. In this article, we have compiled a complete dossier on such a type of diet. We suggest you take a crash course in the basics of keto and find out if you can, indeed, eat bacon and butter and lose weight?
What is a Keto Diet?
Keto is the catch-all phrase for what is more properly termed the ketogenic diet or LCHF (Low Carb High Fat Diet). It is basically an extremely low carb, high-fat diet approach. The normal ratio in the classic version: 70-80 percent fat, 10-20 percent protein and roughly 5-10 percent of net carbs. For this we are promised a slim figure, great productivity, an energy boost, a cure for cancer and a rise in life expectancy by at least 10 years.
Although the keto diet has become famous today, it is about 50,000 years old, and was reintroduced by Dr. Atkins in 1920 to treat epilepsy in order to minimize the quantity of medicine required. It was also utilized in pre-insulin times to improve metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
So, is it feasible to consume a lot of fat and yet lose weight? The notion of weight reduction on a keto diet is based on a shortage of glucose, which is essential for adequate fat oxidation and energy delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) (CNS). Reducing net carbs to 50 g/day leads to energy hunger and drives the brain to hunt for alternate energy sources. The new “fuel” is ketone bodies, which the liver starts to generate from the fat ingested, as well as from the body’s own fatty tissue.
Generally speaking, ketones are present in small quantities in a person’s blood, even though he or she are on a high-carbohydrate diet. Their levels rise with starvation, diabetes, and low carbs in the diet. On a ketodiet, 70 percent of the energy necessary to fuel the brain comes from ketones. Thus, after 3-4 days, the body enters into a state of ketosis, utilising fat calories – ketone bodies.
Ketosis And Its Symptoms
Ketones have turned out to be a much cleaner and more economical fuel for the entire animal world. Humans have been using glucose as their primary source of energy for only 2000 years due to the development of agriculture, and as we know, insulin resistance and latent diabetes have affected over 2/3 of the entire population of developed countries in the last 50 years. Pets and animals in the zoo often suffer from diabetes, obesity and infertility.
Ketone bodies produce more heat and less waste than glucose processing. And they can be obtained from fat folds and visceral fat, but the body must enter a state of ketosis to do so.
External Signs of Ketosis
➦ The emergence of a large amount of energy. At first, you may have to go through keto-flu and a drop in energy, but after that there is a frantic burst of energy and multiple work capacity.
➦ Reduced appetite. Ketone bodies, particularly Β-hydroxybutyrate, reduce the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and affect cholecystokinin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling full.
➦ Thirst. You want to drink more than usual because of the reduced production of insulin, which has the ability to retain water, but which on keto quickly goes away.
➦ Clear thinking. Almost everyone who has switched to the keto diet reports a significant improvement in thinking functions over time.
These are all positive signs of entering a low carb diet, but there are also negative signs, including:
➦ Ketogenic Flu. Appears about the third day after starting the keto diet, in the form of headaches, lethargy, decreased performance and concentration of consciousness.
➦ Ketogenic respiration. Some ketone bodies give off the odor of acetone, which gives the breath a specific aroma.
➦ Digestive rearrangement. Constipation, diarrhea – these signs of gastrointestinal disorders temporarily occur against the background of changes in the composition of the gut microbiota.
➦ Decreased ability to work. Physically active people may notice that their strength and stamina have slightly decreased. This is due to the replacement of the usual carbs source of energy with an alternative one – ketone energy. Muscles lack the glycogen to release energy quickly, and the body has no time to burn fat and produce ketones.
➦ Insomnia. Sleep disturbances are seen initially and are associated with a natural lack of the right amount of glucose to nourish the brain. Over time, the ketones will block the energy hunger and sleep will improve.
Types of Keto Diet
There are 4 main types among the most popular Keto Diets.
Classic Keto Diet
The classic keto diet is ideal for beginners. It is the most popular type of ketogenic diet. It is designed for weight loss and improve physical and mental performance. The characteristic formula for the percentage of the macronutrients in Classic Keto Diet is: 75/20/5. An important point is choosing the “right” fat. Only healthy natural animal and vegetable fat of organic origin should be consumed in the diet.
Targeted Keto Diet
A Targeted Keto Diet involves adding carbs during periods of intense exercise. A standard ketogenic diet should be followed between workouts.
The targeted keto diet is for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and triathletes (ironman) who burn huge amounts of simple carbohydrates during a single workout. It provides fuel for muscle building, increasing strength, and improving overall performance, but is not suitable for regular gym-goers, anyone who does regular workouts just to keep fit. On the Targeted Keto Diet, you should monitor your ketone levels with a ketometer, and make sure you have fewer carbohydrates in your diet from fruits, since they go to your liver, not your muscles.
Tip: To build good muscle mass on a standard ketogenic diet, eat foods containing fast carbs 15 to 40 minutes before training or sporting events, and consume more protein after training.
Cyclic Keto Diet
The Cyclic Keto Diet is intervals with ketogenic and carbs days. For example, 5 days a week you eat according to the classic keto, and 2 days you eat with increased carbohydrate content (refeed), thus replenishing glycogen reserves. This diet is suitable for those who have already mastered the Targeted Ketogenic Diet and want to go one step higher, who regularly subject their body to intense training in order to quickly build muscle mass. On refeed days, carbohydrates should make up 60-70% of the total calories in the diet, fat up to 15%, and proteins at the same level as the standard diet.
Among carbohydrates, “complex” ones derived from unprocessed foods (berries, vegetables, quinoa, yams, sweet potatoes, brown rice, durum wheat pasta) should predominate. Such a refeed can help regulate sex hormones and thyroid function.
Important: Try to avoid large amounts of fat and carbs at the same time. This is very unhealthy and rapidly leads to steatohepatosis and non-alcoholic fatty hepatosis.
High-Protein Keto Diet
The high-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) is the least popular among ketogenics. It is suitable for those who want to lose weight while maintaining a muscular body composition. In the diet it is necessary to increase the amount of protein to 35% (3.2 g per 1 kg of muscle mass), not more than 60% fat and a few carbohydrates (5%). Such a protocol can be followed by bodybuilders during “drying off” before a performance to maintain no more than 10% body fat.
Basics of Keto
It is important to understand that a keto diet is personalized based on physical activity level, weight and anthropological parameters. There are many calculators available on the Internet to help you make the right calculations.
The most important thing in keto nutrition is to clearly observe certain proportions of the formula Protein – Fats – Carbohydrates:
➦ 70-75% fatty foods
➦ 20% protein
➦ 5-10% net carbs (maximum 50 g of carbs per day).
Considering that a regular diet provides about 45-65% of calories in the form of carbohydrates per day, the keto diet completely changes our traditional food pyramid and its basic principles.
The list of foods allowed on a ketogenic diet is quite impressive: fish, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, butter, vegetable oils, vinegar, lemon juice, olives, low carb vegetables (spinach, lettuce, cabbage, etc.), hard cheese (up to 100g per day), berries.
Acceptable foods that should be consumed in moderation are: whole milk, yoghurt and kefir from whole milk, vegetables high in carbs (except carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, peas and corn), wine, coffee without sugar.
It is recommended to limit consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, replacing them with monounsaturated (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and saturated fats (fatty meat, dairy products with a high percentage of fat). Coconut oil and Omega-3 found in oily fish, rapeseed and linseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are suggested.
Foods to Avoid
The ketogenic diet is relatively strict, with many foods banned because they interfere with the body’s ability to maintain itself in a state of ketosis.
Prohibited foods include: sugar, sugar substitutes and any sweet products (confectionery, ice cream, jam, honey), porridges and pasta, pastries, legumes, fruits and dried fruits (except berries), sweet vegetables (potatoes, beets, corn, carrots, etc.), soft and cream cheese, sweet soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, sauces, flavored yogurts.
What Can I Drink During the Keto Diet?
Regular water. It is necessary, because during the first days of keto dieting, the body is dehydrated due to the reduction of carbohydrates. You can add frozen herbal cubes, berries, citrus fruits, or a mix of them to water for variety.
Green or black tea. A natural drink with a minimum of carbs and plenty of antioxidants can be drunk without restriction hot or cold, but without added sugar.
Coffee. Does not contain calories and carbs, suitable hot or chilled without sugar. It speeds up the metabolism, concentrates attention and has an invigorating effect.
Plant milk. An alternative to cows’ milk, which contains sugar, is vegetable milk. Almond, coconut, flax, cashew or hemp milk is suitable for cooking, drinking on its own or as an additive to your morning coffee. However, watch the composition: it should not contain sugar.
Sparkling water. It is absolutely harmless, contains no artificial additives, so it does not contradict the principles of the keto diet.
Basic Supplements Recommended on the Keto Diet
Meal Replacements on the Keto Diet
Keto Science Ketogenic Meal Shake Chocolate Dietary Supplement
Nature Fuel Keto Meal Replacement Powder - Gluten Free with Coconut Oil MCTs
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Ketogenic Meal Balanced Shake Powder
Cheesecake Keto Meal Replacement Shake
KetoLogic Keto Meal Replacement Shake Powder
Delicious snacks on the Keto Diet
Atkins Protein-Rich Meal Bar
SlimFast Keto Fat Bomb
Quest Nutrition Chocolate Brownie
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An Example of the Weekly Keto Diet Menu for Weight Loss
The basis of the keto diet is high in fat and minimal in carbohydrates. When preparing your diet, you should remember that sugar is present in many familiar foods, from sweets to fruits and pasta.
So, what can you make for the ketogenic diet? Here is a typical keto diet menu by day of the week.
Breakfast: guacamole, raspberry pudding with chia seeds.
Lunch: chicken salad with olive oil, feta cheese and olives
Dinner: salmon and asparagus cooked in butter.
Breakfast: eggs, tomatoes, basil and spinach omelette.
Lunch: cauliflower soup with chicken broth, roast meat with arugula salad.
Dinner: chicken breast with mushrooms, pumpkin, salad with tomatoes and olives
Breakfast: green smoothie with spirulina or chlorella and chia seeds, sliced cheese and ham
Lunch: roast beef, green salad, grated red cabbage, 5 olives.
Dinner: pork chops with parmesan, broccoli and lettuce
Breakfast: omelette with avocado, salsa, peppers, onions and spices
Lunch: 100 grams of shrimp stewed with zucchini, olive oil, cheese and arugula
Dinner: chicken stuffed with pesto sauce and cream cheese, grilled zucchini side dish
Breakfast: keto pancakes with blueberries.
Lunch: fillet of beef with mushrooms and spinach
Dinner: salad with tomato, canned tuna, cucumber and olives with lemon
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon, Greek yogurt without sugar, berries
Lunch: fish fillet with broccoli and cherry tomatoes
Dinner: chicken breast with olive oil and mustard (10ml), lettuce with cucumber, half a lemon and grated cheese
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach.
Lunch: chicken soup and boiled broccoli
Dinner: spaghetti with zucchini and bolognese sauce
Healthy keto snacks can be used to remove hunger between meals: cheese, nuts, boiled eggs, cured meats, and replace sweets with berries and 90% dark chocolate.
Vegan keto diet is based on avocados, seeds, nuts, cold-pressed high quality oils (olive, coconut, pumpkin, walnut), as well as green and non-starchy vegetables, mushrooms, berries, fermented foods, seaweed.
Indications for Keto Diet
There are a number of health benefits that ketogenic diet may improve according to some sources:
Diabetes and prediabetes
As you know, diabetes is characterized by metabolic disorders, high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A ketogenic diet has been found to improve insulin sensitivity by 75%.
As you know, the great popularity of the keto diets is due to their high effectiveness in weight loss. After only a few days of keto diets, the body begins to effectively burn fat, using ketones as fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Obesity and metabolic disorders are a risk factor for a group of metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio and low HDL cholesterol. With almost one in three people on Earth now having extra pounds, a ketogenic diet could be one way to combat metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Fatty Liver disease
Fatty liver disease occurs when liver cells begin to deposit a lot of fat. If the diet contains mostly carbohydrates, the liver turns them into fats. This increases the risk of steatohepatitis inflammation and can lead to cirrhosis with irreversible changes to this organ.
Scientific studies claim that a keto diet can help manage the problem of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In one experiment, 69 patients followed a low-carbohydrate diet for 1.5 years. The diet consisted mostly of vegetables, berries, vegetable oils and healthy animal fats. Levels of glycated hemoglobin and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, an enzyme whose activity indicates liver disease, were monitored during the study. It was found that all subjects reduced their weight, their glycated hemoglobin score by one and their GGTP enzyme score by 30%, and improved their overall well-being.
Other Potential (unexplored) Benefits
Acne. One of the causes of acne is considered by dermatologists to be elevated levels of androgens. Eating sugary foods stimulates the production of insulin, which causes the release of androgens. Switching to ketoration has a number of benefits for the skin: it improves hormones, helps to fight dry skin, improves intestinal microflora, and suppresses inflammatory processes.
Epilepsy. Previously, the keto diet was widely used in the therapy of epilepsy as a way to simulate starvation, reducing the number of epileptic seizures. With the advent of effective antiepileptic drugs, its use is no longer necessary. Today, this dietary system is used only in pediatrics as a last resort treatment for this ailment.
Mental Health. Many studies show that low carbs diets, particularly LCHF, have a positive effect in treating mental illnesses such as anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and depression. According to lowcarbers, after switching to a ketodiet, the psycho-emotional state is much improved, mood increases, and anxiety goes away.
It has been established that carbs can cause glucotoxicity of brain cells – poisoning by glycation end products. In turn, high insulin levels resulting from excessive sugar intake cause damage to receptors on the surface of the blood-brain barrier. In addition, a high-carbohydrate diet damages the mitochondria, the energy-generating organelles inside brain cells. In contrast, switching to a low-carbohydrate diet reduces markers of brain inflammation, protecting neurons from overheating.
Physical endurance. Many high-intensity workouts are known to require carbs because they involve large bursts of energy. A ketogenic diet involves using fats rather than carbs, which are less efficient for energy formation, as fuel. The journal Nutrition & Metabolism published data on the effects of the ketogenic diet on endurance in February 2017. The study was conducted over 6 weeks with 42 athletes and showed a decrease in participants’ performance, work capacity and explosive strength.
LCHF is not suitable for increasing muscle mass, but it will help in maintaining it. This style of diet is for those who prefer aerobic exercise at a regular pace, such as cycling or long-distance running, rather than strength training.
Other studies have shown that the LCHF diet has no effect on performance in normal life, but it does cause subjective feelings of fatigue while overcoming physical exertion.
Migraine. Migraine is a neurological condition expressed by bouts of excruciating headache with nausea, vomiting, and intolerance of light, sound, and smells. The causes of this disease are still being studied, but it has been established that one of the provocateurs may be gluten, which creates an increased inflammatory background in the body. A ketodiet, which virtually eliminates foods containing gluten, can reduce the risk of headaches.
Benefits of Keto Diet for Healthy People
Adherents of the ketogenic style of eating claim numerous positive effects of the ketodiet, namely:
✔ Rapid weight loss
✔ Sense of satiety
✔ An increase in physical and mental health
✔ Suitable for the lazy, as there is no need to control the caloric content of food
✔ Appearance of additional energy
✔ Improved skin quality
Nutritionists say: there is no one diet that fits everyone, we are all different, with our own metabolism, microflora and genes.
Disadvantages of Keto Diet
The short-term effects of the ketogenic diet are well known, but the long-term health effects are little known due to limited literature.
Many physicians oppose the ketogenic diet, believing it to be harmful without significant benefit. The dramatic change in the body due to a change in energy source requires serious adaptation of the body to deal with the new conditions. Reducing carbs in the diet can lead to a state of hypoglycemia and periodic mood swings. Restricting fruits and vegetables worsens the intestinal microflora and causes gastrointestinal disorders. Large amounts of fat are fraught with bouts of pancreatitis and cholecystitis. The appearance of acetone odor from the body and urine indicates not only a state of ketosis, but also the toxic effects of ketone bodies on the body.
Low carb diets are dangerous for people with hidden metabolic disorders: there remains a risk of progression to ketoacidosis – metabolic cidosis in severe form, which is a fatal pathology.
Keto Flu condition occurs about 2-3 days after the beginning of certain food restrictions and the symptoms resemble a viral disease. It is characterized by weakness, headache, dry mouth, stomach problems and concentration disorders. The cause of this condition is a restructuring of the body’s metabolic processes.
Symptoms of keto flu vary from person to person, depending on the condition of the body, up to chills and fever. According to ketogenics, this condition should pass in about a week.
Risks of Ketogenic Diets
✔ Risk of fatigue and drowsiness
May last for the first few weeks of entering LCHF. The body needs time to adapt to the new energy conditions. In addition, lack of cellular nutrition and loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) reduces physical activity. To increase performance in the gym, it is recommended to drink a glass of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt or a glass of broth an hour before training.
✔ Risk of hypoglycemia
This condition may occur in response to a sharp exclusion of carbs from the diet and may cause exacerbation of desire for carbs foods, dizziness, weakness and sleepiness, decreased physical and mental performance, rapid heartbeat, tremors of hands and feet, cold sweats, mood swings (anger, tearfulness), headache. Hypoglycemia comes from the fact that insulin levels remain high at first, but in the absence of carbs, they plummet to levels that are extremely dangerous in understanding the brain
✔ Risk of constipation, through lack of fruits and vegetables
Constipation, flatulence, lack of relief after the act of defecation and other stool discomfort with the ketodiet is due to the fact that in the absence of carbs, large amounts of intestinal microflora are killed. The condition also worsens dehydration and an abundance of fatty foods, to which the body is not used to.
The introduction of avocados, green vegetables, leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula), broccoli cabbage, as they contain the dietary fiber innulin, will improve the condition. It is useful to consume flax seed, add fermented vegetables to the diet (sauerkraut, pickles), which are natural prebiotics and improve intestinal microflora. You can take magnesium citrate supplements. It is also necessary to drink as much as possible.
✔ Risk of nutritional deficiencies
Because of the rejection of fruits and vegetables in ketogenic diets, the body lacks a number of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, there is a loss of electrolytes – sodium, potassium and magnesium. This can be avoided by carefully designed menus and the introduction of dietary supplements.
There are also long-term side effects of keto nutrition, which include: hypoproteinemia, kidney stone disease, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.