Fitness and diet enthusiast should be quite familiar with the ketogenic diet, it is basically a form of dieting that is composed of food with a low carb content and a high percentage of fat. Keto diet offers a lot of healthy benefits to the body.
Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight therefore making the body less susceptible to certain diseases and infections like cancer, diabetes and epilepsy.
The benefits of keto diet are not just limited to weight loss or prevention of diseases, it has other beneficial results as well as risk factors that are associated with it.
If you are considering a change in diet, it is important that you carefully study this guide before you change your diet.
This guide should be able to;
Extensively explain the ketosis process associated with a switch in diet.
The carb withdrawal symptoms that will occur.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet
Major tips that a beginner should known before the diet switch.
Examples of acceptable keto food and snacks.
Side effects associated with a ketogenic diet
What is a ketogenic diet?
A keto diet is a very low carb diet combined with a high fat content, it is a diet that offers lots of health benefits that the body requires in order to function effectively.
There are other diet that are similar to the keto diet for example, the low carb diet is mostly thought to be the same thing with the keto diet however there is a difference between the two.
In the low carb diet, an individual may just reduce the daily recommended intake of carbohydrates he/she consumes.
It may results in little or no withdrawal symptoms however a keto diet involves an extreme reduction in the amount of carbs consumed, replacing it with high consumption of fat. This is accompanied by a metabolic process known as ketosis.
In ketosis, your body reacts to this change by burning up fat(turning it to ketones) instead of carbs in order to supply energy to the organs of the body.
Ketogenic diets are also known for their ability to cause an obvious decline in the insulin and blood sugar level in the body.
The metabolic process characterized by the burning of fat for fuel instead of the body’s regular energy source(glucose) is referred to as ketosis.
Ketosis occurs when there’s an abrupt decrease in the intake of carbohydrates. When there is a drastic reduction in the amount of carbohydrates consumed there is a decrease in the supply of the body’s source of energy (glucose) to the organs.
The body substitute for this reduction by converting fat into ketones in order to supply the body with energy. This process is known as ketosis.
One of the most efficient way to initiate ketosis is to follow a strict keto diet (I.e you reduce your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams), add more of fat to your diet and reduce your intake of protein as well.
When protein is consumed in large quantities, it can be converted into glucose, you do not want this to happen because you need the glucose level to be low in order to initiate ketosis.
Another practice that can help initiate the process is known as intermittent fasting. Although there are different variations to intermittent fasting the most basic method involves eating all your meals for the day within 8 hours and fasting for the remaining 16 hours( I.e you start eating your meals by 11am and stop eating by 6pm).
The 4 types of ketogenic diet
There are different variations of the ketogenic diet, as a beginner to the keto world, it is important that you study these different diet forms carefully in order to determine the particular version that you will engage in.
The different forms of the ketogenic diet include;
High protein ketogenic diet:
The high protein ketogenic diet is low in carbs but rich in protein, it is widely recognized in the fitness world for its ability to support weight loss and it also helps to build up muscle mass.
A ketogenic diet may be composed of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs.
Standard ketogenic diet
This is the basic and most popular form of the ketogenic diet, it is composed of a very low carb content, average protein content and a high percentage of fat(I.e 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates).
Cyclical ketogenic diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet is basically a rotation between a low carb diet, high fat diet and a high carb diet(I.e you engage in a low carb and high fat diet for few days then you switch to a high carb diet).
It is popular among fitness enthusiasts seeking to build their muscle mass or improve their ability in athletic performance though further research needs to be conducted to prove this claim.
In the cyclical ketogenic diet, you engage in the standard ketogenic diet (I.e a diet rich in fat and low in carbs) for 5 days then consume a regular intake of carbs for 2 days. It is cycle of repeated action from a low carb diet to a high carb diet.
During the standard ketogenic diet, the strict meal plan must be duly followed however there are other variations to the cyclical keto diet.
The days where the carbs intake is high is referred to as the “refeeding days”. The body uses these days to refill the depleted glucose level, during the refeeding days the body slips out ketosis in order to gain the benefits associated with the consumption of carbohydrates.
Targeted ketogenic diet
This is basically the standard ketogenic diet that allows you to add carbs to your diet during your workout times (I.e any day you workout, you are free to consume carbohydrates).
It is advisable to consume a lower amount of fat when you engage in a targeted ketogenic diet in order to ensure fat loss.
Although four types of ketogenic diet have been discussed, only two (Standard and High protein) have enough studies, research and evidence to support the claims and healthy benefits it is associated with.
Targeted and cyclical ketogenic diet needs more extensive studies, they are however used mainly to build muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
Healthy benefits of the ketogenic diet
A ketogenic diet offers lots of healthy benefits to the body, it aids weight loss and also helps to prevent the body from the risk of certain diseases including diabetes and epilepsy.
Ketogenic diet and weight loss
The ketogenic diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and burn fat, excessive fat in the body can lead to certain diseases including obesity, heart and liver problems.
The role of the ketogenic diet is quite controversial, some studies claim that a ketogenic diet is highly comparable with a low fat diet in its ability to effect weight loss while others claim that ketogenic diet is more effective in weight loss than a low fat diet.
Ketogenic diet also have a high satiety rate probably due to the high amount of protein it contains, it also helps to reduce the triglycerides level in the body.
The weight loss capability of ketogenic diet can be traced to the increased level of ketones which aids in lowering blood sugar level.
Ketogenic diet and diabetes
A considerable amount of people in the world suffer from the disease, several possible solutions have been studied with the aim of managing this disease.
Ketogenic diet is a great way to manage diabetes, it regulates blood sugar and supports insulin function. Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet can also boost insulin sensitivity.
Other diseases or infections that can be controlled by the ketogenic diet include;
Heart disease: Excessive fat in the body can lead to heart related problems, it increases the bad cholesterol (LDH) level in the body, blood sugar and blood pressure, they all play a role in influencing heart disease.
Engaging in a ketogenic diet helps to reduce cholesterol level, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure and sugar level.
Cancer: Recent studies and researches have shown that keto diet has the ability to inhibit the growth of tumours though further research needs to made to fully establish the relationship between ketogenic diet and cancer.
Foods that make up a ketogenic diet
Ketogenic foods should be carefully selected, the food should be low in carbs, rich in protein and fat. If the food you choose contains carbs higher than 50 grams, you are ruining the diet.
Your ketogenic diet food constituent should be;
Omega 3 egg
Walnuts, macadamia, pecan, almonds, peanut.
Chia seeds, flax seeds pumpkin seeds.
Guacamole, whole avocado.
Tuna, herring, mackerel, wild salmon, trout.
Pepper, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms,
Ham, steak, grass fed beef, venison chicken, turkey, bacon, organ meat.
Honey, mustard, ketchup, maple syrup, salad dressing with added dressing, barbecue sauce.
Beans, lentils, kidney beans,
Nut and seeds
Cashew, covered fruit.
Margarine, mayonnaise, processed vegetable oil.
Snacks to consider while engaging in keto diet
Fatty meat, beef jerky
Plain cottage cheese, boiled eggs
Chia seed, pumpkin seed
Other snacks include;
Keto friendly sushi, dark chocolate, full fat Greek yogurt, guacamole, celery, olives.
Guidelines/Tips for a successful ketogenic dieting
Switching from a regular diet to a ketogenic diet can be difficult and tasking however there are several tips that should make the process easier for you.
The first thing and most important thing to do is to study and make research on ketogenic diet. If you are reading this article this shows that you have already taken step 1 towards your diet change.
Studying about the diet before you begin will help you to know what you are expecting, what you should or shouldn’t do.
Decide on a date
If you want to begin a keto diet, you have to pick a date, highlight it on your calendar and plan ahead towards achieving it. You need to clear your pantry, fridge and cupboard from all the food that will be tempting when you begin the diet.
Choosing a start day helps to keep you focused and pointed towards a particular goal, it also gives you enough time to plan ahead of your set date.
Read the labels
If you really want to succeed with the keto diet then you have to get used to reading the labels of food while shopping. You need to know the carbohydrates, protein and fat content contained in any product you buy.
Avoid brands with high sugary and carbohydrates content, stick with products that contain 20-50 grams of carbohydrates.
A ketogenic diet will demand a complete turnover in the kind of food you buy therefore you need to reorganize your pantry, fridge, cupboard and replace the chocolate, candies, soda and alcohol with food that are low in carbs and high in fat.
Plan in advance
A ketogenic diet will demand your total dedication, you need to be committed to your daily eating routine, plan meals in advance as this will help to prevent you from deviating or wasting time when you are ready to cook your meal.
Get a template
There are so many sites that contain a ketogenic diet plan, you can create your weekly menu through the format already laid out.
Ensure that your menu is completely keto friendly.
Tread cautiously with fast food
Stick with a keto friendly recipe when you visit any fast food however it is better to enjoy your keto home cooked meals in the comfort of your house.
Pack your snacks
Our world today is packed with a lot of processed foods as a keto diet devotee it is advisable that you pack a keto friendly snack before you leave the house this should help curb the cravings.
Reduce physical activity
During the first 2 weeks of keto diet you might experience carbs withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue or dehydration.
Discuss with a doctor or dietitian
If you have any further questions concerning the ketogenic diet, it is advised that you consult your dietitian or doctor.
A week keto friendly menu (use this sample to create your food menu)
Omelette with mushrooms, salsa, pepper and broccoli.
Ground beef wrap with bell pepper.
Salmon and asparagus.
Cream cheese pancakes with strawberries.
Chicken salad, tomatoes, avocado, onion and olive oil.
Stuffed chicken, cream cheese and grilled Zucchini.
Smoothie containing chia seed, spinach almond milk and protein powder.
Avocado shrimp salad.
Tacos with salsa.
Egg muffins, sun dried tomatoes.
Tuna salad, avocado and tomatoes.
Chicken breast, cauliflower rice and green beans
Greek yogurt, keto friendly granola, cocoa powder and strawberries.
Leafy green, tomatoes and fatty fish.
Beef stew with onions, herbs and celery.
2 fried eggs, avocado and blackberries.
Beef burger with, kale, tomato and guacamole.
Pork chops and starchy vegetables.
Scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes and sunflower seeds.
Broccoli and low carb chicken.
Zucchini noodles and buttered shrimps.
Are there side effects associated with ketogenic diet
Ketogenic diet is a safe choice for most healthy people however there are some withdrawal effects associated with the reduced consumption of carbs.
This doesn’t exactly mean that you are sick, it just shows that your body is trying to adapt to the new change.
Studies have shown that the withdrawal symptoms occurs few days after the reduction of carbohydrates in a diet. The most common symptoms observed include; fatigue, nausea, dehydration, increased hunger, decrease strength, reduced athletic performance.
In order to reduce the magnitude of these symptoms, it is advisable to stick to a regular low carb diet for few weeks before advancing with a standard ketogenic diet.
As you begin with a low carb diet, you are teaching your body how get use to the idea of burning fat for energy rather than the regular carbohydrate.
Water and mineral balance in the body can also be affected by a ketogenic diet as a result of this, most dietitians advise their patients to take mineral supplements as this will help to maintain water and mineral balance.
Ketogenic diet is packed with lot of healthy benefits, it aids weight loss and also protects the body from the risks of certain diseases however it is not suitable for everybody.
Depending on your job or lifestyle it is important that you speak with a dietitian before you start the keto diet. Ensure that you study the different types of ketogenic diet before choosing the most effective one that supports your lifestyle.