Keto diet is a diet that has proven to be effective for weight loss in practice. Find out why it is effective and how weight loss is possible.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet, also called the ketogenic diet, is rich in fat and low in carbohydrates (low-carb and high fat, LCHF diet for short). Do you now have doubts because there is no logic that you need to take a lot of fat to melt your fat layers?
The answer lies in the way the fat in your body is burned.
In order for our body to function, it needs energy. Carbohydrates are the most accessible and simplest source of energy, and when we don’t get enough of them, the body has to find another source of energy for its muscles.
To provide the necessary energy, body begins to burn fat, and then we begin to lose weight and this condition is called ketosis.
Ketosis is a condition of the organism that occurs as a consequence of a metabolic process called keto genesis. During this process, the liver begins to create ketone bodies and the cells begin to use them as a source of energy.
Is this process unnatural?
Given today’s diet, it is. However, if you look back to the distant past, it is quite natural that the organisms of our ancestors in this way adapted to periods when there was not enough food.
Ketosis is a natural process and a way for the body to adapt to new conditions and a new way of eating.
The keto diet aims to encourage weight loss by causing this process in the body, and that way we got the name of this diet.
What are the symptoms of ketosis?
You have decided to try the keto diet, but you are not sure that you are doing it properly? How do you even know you are in a state of ketosis?
You need to know how to recognize the symptoms of ketosis!
These symptoms are not pleasant, especially at the beginning of the diet, but they are a sign that the keto diet is starting to show results in your body. You may experience the following symptoms:
- weakness and fatigue
- metallic taste in the mouth and bad breath
- nausea and abdominal pain
- frequent urination
To help you overcome these beginner symptoms of a keto diet, you can drink plenty of liquid, take vitamins, minerals or make protein drinks that will give you energy and ease the symptoms of ketosis.
Most of these symptoms disappear when the body adapts to the condition caused by ketone bodies in the body. If you are unsure of the symptoms, ketones in your urine may indicate that you are in a state of ketosis. This requires measurement and testing using special tapes.
The most reliable way, however, is to measure ketones in the blood.
What does a ketogenic diet mean?
Ketogenic diet primarily means reduced intake of carbohydrates – 20 to 50 grams per day. Although a diet that has less than 100g of carbohydrates is classified as a low-carb diet, such an intake of carbohydrates will not allow your body to reach a state of ketosis.
In addition to the minimum intake of carbohydrates, this diet also includes the intake of fats and proteins.
The ideal proportion of nutrients in a keto diet is 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
Should you count calories when you are on this diet?
You should! You need to know how many calories you need to take during the day to lose weight and how to combine fats and proteins.
- The amount of protein you need to get through the keto diet should be in line with your weight and height. The rule is to have 1g (0.035 oz) of protein per 2.2 lbs (1kg) of weight. When you multiply that number by 4, you get the number of calories you need to take from protein.
- The rest of the calories in the keto diet should be fat. To determine exactly how many calories that is, you need to subtract the number of protein calories from the total number of calories.
- You will easily reach the amount of carbohydrates of 20-50g by eating fruits and vegetables, so you should not count them.
What to eat when you are on a keto diet?
Theoretically, it is now clear how this diet works and what a balanced keto diet looks like. But what exactly to eat when you are on a keto diet? Is there a menu?
In fact, a ketogenic diet is simple. You should avoid ready-made food and processed products, sugars, starch, pasta and turn to real food.
- Meat, fish, and seafood. You can eat chicken, beef, pork, turkey. Unlike most diets that recommend lean meats, it is not the case with this diet. You can eat fatty meat and chicken skin, but you should avoid meat products. As for fish, you can eat all kinds of fish and seafood.
- Eggs – can be prepared any way you want. They are an excellent source of protein.
- Oil – Vegetable oils, sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and other sources of fat will help you prepare food and include the fatty part of foods that are needed in the keto diet.
- Dairy products – full-fat sour cream, cheese, butter, yogurt. Be moderate with milk because it contains milk sugar.
- Vegetables – cabbage, cucumber, spinach, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, onions, lettuce, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and everything else that grows above the ground.
- Nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and all other similar nuts.
- Sugar in all forms – avoid sweets, juices, cereals, cakes…
- Starch – bread, potatoes, pasta, muesli, legumes, beans, root vegetables.
- Margarine – although it is a type of fat, it is not a healthy fat and it is never a good choice.
- Fruit – it is not completely forbidden, but you should choose the one that is less sweet, because it still has a certain dose of sugar, so you can easily exceed the intake of carbohydrates.
The best way to achieve successful results with a ketogenic diet is to accept a menu like this. Before you start a new diet, eliminate from your kitchen all the products that are not desirable on your menu during the keto diet.
Instead, stock up on foods that you will use in your daily diet. So there is less chance that you will be tempted and interrupt your diet.
The keto diet menu does not require any special, low-calorie foods to fill the pantry or refrigerator. The key is to use everyday food, but make smarter choices.
If you want to follow the rules of a ketogenic diet, you will have to love the kitchen and cooking. And if you need a specific example, here’s how to organize your keto menu.
Types of a ketogenic diet
The keto diet is a popular weight loss variant for overweight people and very popular with athletes. The choice of diet type depends on the level of physical activity.
There are three types of ketogenic diet:
- The standard keto diet for weight loss, which actually comes down to the LCHF diet we described. With a diet like this, it is very difficult to be physically active.
- The targeted keto diet is intended for people who engage in physical activity. Unlike the standard, this type of diet recommends an additional intake of carbohydrates just before training, in order to give enough energy for training. That will be an additional 20-50g of carbohydrates. It is necessary to reduce fat intake for this amount of calories.
- A cyclical ketogenic diet that combines the days when a standard keto diet is followed, and the days when carbohydrates are eaten, called “filling” days. It is usually 5-6 days of the LCHF diet and 1-2 days set aside to replenish spent glycogen in the muscles.
What are your experiences with the ketogenic diet?
If you follow the rules, you will have positive experiences with the keto diet. You will feel exhausted in the first week, but you will lose a lot of weight. Much of that weight is water.
It is true that the first symptoms of ketosis can scare and discourage you. But they are completely normal. It is a sudden change to which the body needs to adapt. Frequent urination is one of the ways in which the body adapts and is a sign that it is releasing excess liquid.
This diet was developed primarily for therapeutic purposes and should, therefore, be considered credible. Experience has shown that a ketogenic diet is useful in treating and relieving the symptoms of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and is often mentioned as an effective weapon in the fight against cancer. It was only later that it began to be used as a weight loss diet.
Can too much fat and protein in the diet affect the weight loss process?
Experience with the keto diet has shown that poor application of the rules can lead to results which you did not expect and which are not satisfactory. Here are some of the reasons:
- You have too high expectations. At the beginning of this diet, you lose a lot of weight through the loss of liquid. The loss of fat layers is less visible and much slower. If you do physical activity, you should keep in mind that muscles also have their own weight. So, you lose fat, but it’s not immediately visible.
- You have not reduced your carbohydrate intake enough. Some people will reach a state of ketosis with 50g of carbohydrates per day, while for some this is too many carbs, and they need 20g for the desired results. Every organism reacts differently. Track your results.
- You eat too many nuts. Although they are on the menu of this diet and are a great substitute for snacks, you should not overdo it so as not to ingest too many calories.
- You eat too many dairy products. Sometimes too much protein from dairy products can slow down ketosis and lead to increased insulin levels. The higher the level of insulin, the fewer ketone bodies there are, so there are no results.
- You are not consistent and you cheat, snack, eat sweets too often.
Does a ketogenic diet have bad consequences?
There are certain health conditions when the keto diet is not a good choice. This is, for example, the case when you have a kidney problem. They have a role to play in removing waste from our body. The LCHF diet increases the number of ketone bodies in the blood, so the kidneys have more work to do and can become overloaded. If you have kidney issues, a ketogenic diet is not the right diet choice for you.
There is also a suspicion that foods rich in fats and proteins can increase the level of bad cholesterol. Although there are numerous claims that this diet has the opposite effect, if you have a issue with high cholesterol and heart problems, it would be best to consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting the diet.
Of course, any exaggeration is harmful, so you need to pay close attention to yourself and the signs that your body sends you, which may indicate that something is wrong. One of the risks that can occur when you follow this diet is ketoacidosis, which is often confused with ketosis.
Ketoacidosis, unlike ketosis, is not a normal process in the body and is not something that should be tolerated.
It is a sign that there are too many ketone bodies in the blood, and then it becomes acidic. Symptoms such as frequent urination, bad breath that smells of acetone, constant thirst, and fatigue are the signs that should be closely monitored. These symptoms are accompanied by weight loss, and this is what you want to achieve with a weight loss diet.
Don’t let that confuse you. Be careful, monitor the signals your body sends, and see a doctor if this condition persists. True, this phenomenon is more common in people who suffer from diabetes and rarely occurs in healthy people.
Recognize keto flu!
No, it’s not a new type of flu, but a possibility of side effects when using this diet. This phenomenon is common among people who have never used this type of diet before.
It is called keto flu because the symptoms that occur are very similar to those of the common flu.
If symptoms occur, it does not mean that you have caught a cold and are spreading viruses around, but that you are part of the small number of people who have a hard time adjusting to this diet. Symptoms include:
- Muscle cramps
- Inflammation of the muscles
- Stomach problems (pain)
As you can see, all of the above is very similar to the problems we experience during a cold or flu season, so it is not surprising that it can be confused with it.
How to distinguish it from the common flu?
This can best do the doctor, if you suspect that you have keto flu, contact the professional. In principle, the main difference is that this flu is not contagious and does not have a raised temperature.
How long do symptoms last?
This depends on the person, but the usual duration is about a week.
The most common mistakes in keto diet
Like with many other diets, mistakes can be made with this way of losing weight. Many are afraid to do something they shouldn’t and to spoil all the progress they have made. These are unnecessary worries. There is no need to burden yourself with things that can easily be corrected.
Mistakes people often make when practicing this method of removing excess weight are:
- Excessive reduction of food – Many people think that they will accelerate the process of weight loss if they reduce the amount of calories. For normal functioning of the body, and proper functioning of the body, it is necessary to eat healthy. Therefore, these extreme reductions of food are not recommended.
- Not eating properly – When they decide on such a diet, many people begin to avoid meat, or fat. Not every kind of food of animal origin is bad, nor is it necessary to avoid all kinds of fat.
- Dehydration – Many of us do not drink enough water, this is a fact. Not related to this whether you are on the keto diet or not, you should always drink enough water. In this way, you will feel better, and your body will be healthier.
- Lack of sleep – One of the strangest changes that can happen to people under such a diet is insomnia, or lack of sleep. This is not good, and it is recommended to many to go to bed at usual time and to sleep.
Even if you made a mistake in the keto diet rules, do not despair, it is enough to be aware of it, and everything can be corrected.
Benefits of a keto diet
This diet is used as a therapy in the treatment of many diseases. When using keto diet as a weight loss diet, it is best to stay healthy. Then you can expect to see the benefits of a keto diet:
- Weight loss due to the process of ketosis that burns excess body fat
- Lower blood sugar levels, due to reduced carbohydrate intake and ketone formation
- More energy when your body gets used to the new diet
- Building muscle if you exercise and lift weights, because the food you eat is rich in protein, and they play an important role in building muscle.
Like other diets in which you do not get the full range of nutrients, the keto diet is not a long-term solution nor should it be a lifestyle. It is just a way to reach your ideal body weight. In order for the pounds not to return, you do not need to exhaust yourself.
It is enough not to return to the old diet and to look for a lifestyle in a healthy and proper diet and regular physical activity.