You’ve probably heard about the ketogenic diet, or keto diet by now, but do you know what kind of diet it is exactly, and what are the benefits it offers?
It’s one of the most popular methods to shed excess pounds and improve your overall health, study says. The keto diet, or ketogenic diet, is a high-fat, low-carb diet that promotes fat loss and improves certain conditions like cognitive decline and type 2 diabetes.
But, that’s not all. There’s so much more to know about this low-carb diet, and if you’re looking for a way to get jump start on your health and fitness goals, you might want to know a few things about this diet, like what to eat and avoid, before trying it out.
Here are the fundamentals of the ketogenic diet, but you can always find more information about the keto-lifestyle in The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners by Amy Ramos.
What Is Ketogenic Diet?
It’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that involves a drastic reduction of carb intake which is replaced with fat. When you reduce your intake of carbohydrates, you put your body into the metabolic state known as ketosis. And when your body goes into ketosis, it starts burning fat for energy incredibly efficiently.
Also, it turns fat into ketone bodies in the liver that provide brain with energy.
This diet can reduce insulin and blood glucose levels significantly. This, along with the increased ketone bodies provides many health benefits.
Different Versions of the Ketogenic Diet
There are several different types of this diet, including the following:
- SKD – Standard ketogenic diet which is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet that usually contains 5 percent carbs, 20 percent protein, and 75 percent fat.
- THD – Targeted ketogenic diet that allows adding carbohydrates around workouts.
- CKD – Cyclical ketogenic diet includes periods of higher-carbohydrate refeeds, like five days on ketogenic diet followed by two high-carbohydrate days.
- High-protein ketogenic diet includes a bit more protein than the standard version. It usually conatins 5 percent carbs, 35 percent protein, and 60 percent fat.
The targeted and cyclical versions of the ketogenic diet are mainly used by athletes and bodybuilders. In this article, we talk mostly about the standard ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic Diet Can Aid Weight Loss
The ketogenic diet is quite filling, so you will shed pounds without tracking your food intake or counting calories.
One research showed that people on a keto diet improved their HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels besides losing weight.
Ketogenic Diet for Prediabetes and Diabetes
The chronic disease called diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose, changes in metabolism, and impaired insulin function.
But, one research discovered that the keto diet improves insulin sensitivity by incredible 75 percent. Another one found that this diet helped some participants with type 2 diabetes to stop taking diabetes medications.
Since weight is closely related to type 2 diabetes, the fact that keto diet helps you lose excess weight means it helps prevent prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Additional Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diet
Numerous studies show that the ketogenic diet is beneficial for a wide range of health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease – the diet improves risk factors for heart disease like HDL cholesterol levels, body fat, blood glucose, and blood pressure.
- Cancer – the keto diet is included in the treatment of many types of cancer and slow tumor growth.
- Epilepsy – the diet reduces seizures in children with epilepsy, shows research.
- Alzheimer’s disease – the diet might slow the progression of the disease and alleviate its symptoms, study says.
- Parkinson’s disease – according to one study, the ketogenic diet helps reduce symptoms of the disease.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome – the diet could help the treatment of this syndrome thanks to its ability to lower insulin levels.
Note – please have in mind that research into many of these areas is not conclusive.
Foods to Eat
Make sure you base most of your meals around the following foods:
- Fatty fish – trout, salmon, mackerel, tuna
- Meat – steak, red meat, bacon, turkey, chicken, sausage
- Eggs – preferably omega-3 whole or pastured eggs
- Cheese – goat, cheddar, mozzarella, cream, or blue unprocessed cheese
- Butter and cream – preferably grass-fed
- Healthy oils – extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
- Seeds and nuts – walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
- Condiments – healthy herbs and spices, as well as salt and pepper
- Low-carb vegetables – green vegetables, onions, tomatoes, peppers
Foods to Avoid
Avoid any food that’s high in carbohydrates. If you are on a ketogenic diet, you should eliminate or reduce the following foods:
- Sugary foods – fruit juice, soda, ice cream, cake, candy, smoothies
- Fruit – all fruit except berries in small portions
- Starches or grains – wheat-based products, pasta, rice, cereal
- Legumes or beans – kidney beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils
- Root veggies – carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Diet or low-fat products as they are usually high in carbs
- Unhealthy fats – mayonnaise, processed vegetable oils
- Alcohol as it contains lots of carbs
Here’s a sample keto meal plan for one week.
We hope you’ll use this article as a guide to get started on the ketogenic diet that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals this year.