Keto Diet is a low-carb diet which helps in burning fat more effectively and offers many health benefits as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
What does “Keto Diet” or “Ketogenic Diet” Means?
Ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it allows the body to produce small fuel molecules called “Ketones” which is an alternative fuel source for the body and used when your body blood sugar (Glucose) is in short supply.
What is Ketones?
Ketones are the chemicals made in your liver. These are produced when we don’t have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar or glucose into energy. At that time, our body needs another source to use fat instead, and liver turns this fat into ketones which is a type of acid and sends them into your bloodstream. Our muscles and other tissues can then use them for fuel. However, for the person who has diabetes, ketones can become an issue because in diabetes our body produces too many ketones in the blood and excess of ketones can become life-threatening.
Types of Keto Diet
Three main variations of the Keto Diet are:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD)
High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
Standard Ketogenic Diet
This is very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet contain 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs. Standard Ketogenic Diet is an ideal diet for those who want to lose fat fast with moderate intensity workouts such as walking, cycling, yoga, and weightlifting. With the Standard Ketogenic Diet approach, carbohydrates have to be significantly restricted. Consumption of 30 gm or fewer of carbohydrates is required to induce and stay in ketosis which is one of the primary purposes for limiting carb consumption.
Restricting carb vary from person to person, but the general rule is to avoid starches, added sugars, fruits and the foods which contain a high amount of carbs.
In Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD), the prime sources of carbohydrates are low carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy products.
Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD)
Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD) is a calorie restricted dietary approach of the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD). It is begins with fasting for up to 3 days, or you have a drink only water for three days. In the Restricted Ketogenic diet, is being tested for use against various forms of cancer. In this dietary approach, patients are restricted to consume less than 12 grams of carbohydrates per day, and blood ketone levels along with blood glucose levels are strictly monitored along with food intake. In general, calories are kept lower, though this is highly individualized.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)
High Protein Ketogenic Diet is recommended for those who are trying to lose excess body fat. In this, the prime goal is to drop fat from the body and not weight. Consumption of higher proportion to fat allows the body to maintain lean muscle mass, to build muscle if working out by using the fat already stored on the body as fuel even faster than the SKD. By modifying this diet you’d be eating up to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass, this amount of protein tends to have an added fat burning effect. Those who rise protein intake have an easier time losing inches while maintaining and gaining strength.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
Targeted Ketogenic Diet is basically nothing more than a regular keto diet that means with the exception of eating carbs around your workout times. Targeted Ketogenic Diet is meant for those who exercise regularly at high intensities or for extended periods. TKD diet approach provides a simple way to maintain a high-intensity exercise performance and promote glycogen replenishment without interrupting ketosis for the more extended periods.
Targeted Ketogenic diet (TKD) is suggested for those individuals who need carbs to fuel their exercise performance but cannot take in long carb loads of Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). This diet is also good for those individuals who have just started an exercise program and are not ready to carry out the amount of workout to optimize a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
The Cyclical Ketogenic diet (CKD) involves periods of higher-carb refeeds that means following five ketogenic days by two high carb days. Cyclical Ketogenic diet approach is suggested for those who indulge in a high-intensity workout for e.g., the bodybuilders and athletes. Because high-intensity workouts or activities are nearly impossible to train without the help of carbohydrates.
So, implementing carbohydrate refeeding days two days in a week is best practice to fully replenish glycogen stores so that they have a sufficient amount of sugar to fuel their training bouts.
The primary goal of Cyclical Ketogenic diet is to fulfill the replete glycogen during carb loads and deplete glycogen and increase ketone levels between the carb loads.
List of Keto Diet Foods
Check out, what you should eat on Keto Diet and what to avoid. As Ketogenic diet has become quite popular these days. Foods in the Keto diet are low-carb, a high-fat diet which is very useful for weight loss, diabetes, and epilepsy. According to some studies, it has been shown that this diet is also beneficial for certain types of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases. In the ketogenic diet, the carb consumption is limited to 20-50 grams per day.
Sea Food including fish and shellfish is a keto friendly foods. Because both of these are rich in B Vitamins, potassium and selenium yet virtually carb free. The number of carbs in different types of shellfish vary. E.g., most of the crabs and shrimp contain no carbs while other types of seafood do; still shellfish include on a ketogenic diet, so it is essential to account for these carbs when you’re trying to stay within a narrow range. Let’s check out the carb counts for 3.5-ounce (100-gram) servings of some popular types of shellfish:
Clams: 5 grams
Octopus: 4 grams
Mussels: 7 grams
Squid: 3 grams
Oysters: 4 grams
Fatty fishes like Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been found to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people. Having fish frequently has been linked to a decreased risk of disease and also known for improving mental health. It is recommended to consume at least two serving of seafood weekly.
Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy low carb diet, but the best type of vegetables for the ketogenic diet are those who are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates. Because when we are following a keto, our main aim is to limit your carbohydrates to be below 30 gm per day. Non-starchy vegetables are low in calorie and carbs but high in nutrients including Vitamin C and several minerals. Green vegetables contain the high amount of fiber which our body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs. Some of the vegetables has few net carbs. Although, one serving of starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams or beets can complete your entire carb limit of the day. The net carb count for the non-starchy vegetables which is ranges from less than 1 gram for 1 cup of raw spinach to 8 grams for 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts.
Low carb vegetables that you should include in our ketogenic diet are Celery, Avocado, Spinach, Asparagus, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, Brussel Sprouts. These green veggies contain antioxidants which help in protecting against the free radicals which are unstable molecules which can cause cell damage.
Cheese is not only delicious, but it is also very nutritious. There are numerous types of cheese, and they are low in carbs and high in fat which makes them a perfect fit for the Keto diet plan. One ounce that is 28 grams of cheddar cheese provides 1 gm of carb, seven gms of protein and 20% of the RDI for calcium. Cheese is high in saturated fat, but it has not been shown any rise in the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, some studies suggest that cheese may help in protecting against heart disease. Another benefit of cheese is that it contains conjugated linoleic acid which is a fat that has been linked to fat loss and improves your body composition. Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and beneficial fatty acids with a minimal amount of carbs.
Avocado is one of the healthiest low carb fruit, and it is rich in fiber, copper, folate, and potassium with Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin C and Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. It contains zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium. It just includes 2 net carbohydrates per 100 grams, so avocado is must on the list of the ketogenic diet. With numerous antioxidants, this fruit is low in saturated fats and high in phytonutrient content. Avocados have the high amount of oleic acid which helps in diminishing issues with inflammation and also beneficial for cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Meat and Poultry
Meat and Poultry are considered as staple food if you are on a Keto diet. This is the best way to fulfill your protein requirement is to consume fresh meat and poultry. Because, these contain no carbs and rich in B vitamins and several minerals which include potassium, selenium, and zinc. Beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, and lamb meat are also a great source of high-quality protein and several nutrients which has been shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet. So, it is best to choose grass-fed meat because animals who eat grass produce meat with a higher amount of conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants than grain-fed animals meat.
Coconut oil has unique health properties; it is high in medium-chain triglycerides(MCTs) which are known for increasing energy and help you to burn body fat. Coconut oil not only helps you in losing weight and reduce the dangerous belly fat which is also known as visceral fat and also helps your body to fight infections. Besides this, Medium-chain triglycerides(MCTs) are taken up directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a rapid source of energy. Coconut oil is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease because coconut oil has been used to increase ketone levels for those who have any brain disorders and nervous system. The main component of coconut oil is lauric acid which is a slightly long-fat fat, and it has suggested that MCTs and lauric acid together promotes a sustained level of ketosis and increase ketone production.
Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Plain greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy and high protein foods while these contain some carbs still they include in the ketogenic diet. 5 ounce, i.e. 150 carbs of plain greek yogurt provides 5 gms of carbs, and 11 gms of protein and that same amount of cottage cheese contains 5 gms of carbs and 18 gms of protein. Cottage cheese and plain greek yogurt are both helps in decreasing appetite and promote feelings of fullness.
As the most concerning things about the keto diet are the amount of saturated and animal fats. Olive oil has amazing benefits for the heart; it is also rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat which is known for decreasing heart disease risk factors. Moreover, it is too high in antioxidants known as phenols, and these compounds are known for protecting heart health by diminishing the inflammation and improving artery function.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and Seeds are very healthy, high fat and low-carb foods. For keto dieters, nuts and seeds are a dietary staple, and it is also a nutritional powerhouse. In spite of their plethora of health benefits, not all nuts and seeds are suitable for the ketogenic diet. For the keto nuts and seeds, you have to choose those nuts and seeds which contains more fat than carbs per gram of fruit. The top keto nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Other than Avocado, berries is another healthy fruit you can have in keto diet. Even though it is a bit high in sugar but it is a low carb fruit. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, low in carbs and high in fiber. Berries are known for reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar, lower insulin levels and even protect against diseases. Berries such as blackberries contains 14 grams of total carbs, 7 grams of sugar and 6 grams of net carbs, blueberries has 21 grams of total carbs, 15 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber and 17 grams of net carbs, raspberries contains 15 grams of total carbs, 5 grams of sugar, 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of net carbs and strawberries has11 grams of total carbs, 7 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of net carbs.
Butter and Cream
Butter and Cream has good fats which make them fit in Keto diet. Both butter and cream contain very few carbs per serving. From several years, butter and cream were believed to cause to heart disease due to their high saturated fat contents. However, according to studies, it has been shown that for most of the people saturated fat is not associated with heart disease. On the other hand, some studies have shown that the moderate consumption of high-fat dairy may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Butter and cream are rich in conjugated linoleic acid and this fatty acid that may promote fat loss.
Shirataki noodles become popular as a low-carb ketogenic pasta replacement. These noodles do not contain calories and carbs which makes them perfect for the ketogenic diet. Shirataki noodles are 97 percent water, and 3 percent fiber as these noodles are made up of glucomannan which can absorb 50 times weight in water and also contains the small amount of protein, fat, and calcium. Shirataki noodles can help in decrease your appetite and blood sugar spikes as viscous fiber in shirataki noodles form a gel that slows down food’s movement through your digestive tract which reduces the hunger or food cravings and makes it beneficial for weight loss and diabetes management.
Olives provide you the same benefits as olive oil. The primary antioxidant found in olives is oleuropein, and its anti-inflammatory properties protect the body cells from damage. Moreover, studies suggest that eating olives may help in preventing bone loss and decrease blood pressure. Olives vary in carb content due to their size, and half of their carbs come from fiber that means their digestible carb content is very less.
Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Coffee and Tea are incredibly healthy and carb-free drink on this planet. Both of these drinks contain caffeine which helps in increasing the metabolism and improve physical performance, mood, and alertness. Coffee and Tea have been shown to have significantly reduced the risk of diabetes. Those who drink coffee and tea intakes have the lowest risk of developing cancer. According to the Harvard Health Letter, Black tea or unsweetened tea considered as rich in health-promoting flavonoids promotes antioxidant flavonoids and improves the functioning of blood vessels to keep your heart well.
If you love chocolates, here is good news that dark chocolates are the part of the ketogenic diet. Dark chocolates and cocoa are a delicious source of antioxidants. Raw chocolate in its raw form is a potent superfood. They are several benefits of raw chocolates as it reduces appetite, regulates blood sugar, good for heart health, balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, increases focus and alertness, detoxifies the liver, facilitates aging and rejuvenation. Moreover, dark chocolates provide flavanols, iron, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, protein, and calcium.
Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diet
Keto diet is a low carb diet which not only helps you in losing weight but also leads to significant improvements in risk factors of heart disease including cholesterol. Let’s have a look at the health benefits of the ketogenic diet:
Hunger and Cravings tend to be the worst side effect of dieting. This is the one reason why people usually give up on dieting, and low carb diet leads to automation reduce appetite. There are several reasons behind this such as:
- People on the ketogenic diet eat more protein than normal people do.
- Ketones could reduce hunger, and liquid calories are calorie dense and not very satiating.
- Low energy diet can reduce hunger and increase satiety, they are less than 800 kcal per day, and are almost always ketogenic.
According to studies, low carb diet leads to automation reduction in appetite and calorie in leads consequently which helps in losing weight.
More Weight Loss at First
One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to cut carbs in your diet. This is what keto diet do; the ketogenic diet is a low carb diet. The main reason behind this is that low-carb diet rid excess water from your body, lower insulin levels and leads to rapid weight loss. It has been shown in some studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets people usually restrict their carbs sometimes lose weight 2-3 times without being hungry. In obese people, a low-carb diet found useful for up to six months as compared to conventional weight loss diet. Well, how much carbs you should eat in a keto diet depends on your goals.
Increased memory, cognition, clarity, and reduce migraines
Keto diet has been first used to treat the children with epilepsy at the Mayo Clinic in the 1920s. According to the researchers, ketogenic diet helps in increasing the stability of neurons and up-regulation of brain mitochondria and mitochondrial enzymes. Although, scientists have discovered increased cognition and enhanced memory in adults with impairments in these areas, and a growing body of research shows improvement at all stages of dementia. Ketosis has been shown to be effective against Parkinson’s disease as well.
Keto diet is known for decreasing inflammation which helps in improving acne, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, pain, etc. Researchers have found that the anti-inflammatory effects of caloric restriction or keto diet may be linked to ß-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Alternatively, we can say that the key player in many inflammatory diseases is suppressed by BHB, which is one of the main ketones produced from a ketogenic diet.
Improve Energy Levels and Sleep
Most of the people experience that the ketogenic diet improves energy levels and also helps in relieving sleep disorders. The mechanism involves here is the stabilization of insulin levels and readily available source of energy for the brain and body tissues. Well, the improvement in sleep is a bit more of a mystery. According to some studies, ketogenic dieting improves sleep by diminishing REM and increasing slow wave sleep patterns.
Triglycerides tend to Drop Drastically
Triglycerides are the type of fat (lipid) found in the bloodstream. Keto – Low carb diet is very effective at lowering blood triglycerides which are fat molecules that increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, excess visceral fat, type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and rare genetic conditions. The primary cause of rising triglycerides is carb consumption especially the simple sugar fructose. When people replace those carbs with the same energetic equivalent of fat, then they will see a decrease in triglyceride levels.
Increased levels of Good High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
High-density lipoprotein particles are produced in your liver and intestines which contains more protein than fat. High-density lipoprotein has been called as good cholesterol because it boasts protective, anti-inflammatory properties that regulate your immune system and protect against certain types of cancer.
Increase Fertility and Stabilizing Hormones in Women
Keto diet also helps in increasing fertility and stabilize hormones in women. According to studies, it has been shown that the problem of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can be treated by ketogenic diet. Also, it also relieves infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, acne, and obesity. By keeping the blood sugar levels low and stable, it lowers overall levels of insulin in the blood, helps equilibrate and stabilize other hormone levels, especially in women. This diet naturally has downstream benefits on a wide variety of metabolic pathways related to insulin, such as hunger and energy utilization.
Helps in Stabilizing Vision
High Blood Pressure has an adverse effect on eyesight and leads to an increase to an increased risk for cataracts. That means, keeping blood pressure levels low helps in improving vision. Moreover, it also helps in stabilizing vision in glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is a disease in which our cells which transmit visual information to the brain get damaged, and it results in vision loss and extreme cases, it can result in blindness. Glaucoma disease is usually more prevalent in diabetic patients than others.
Effective against Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the abdominal area and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride. The ketogenic diet is a healthy low carb diet which effectively reverses all the critical symptoms of metabolic syndrome which is a severe condition which raises the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Why you should not go for the Keto Diet Plan?
Keto Diet – Low Carb and high-fat approach which promises quick weight loss is not a good idea for everyone. Keto diet is cutting the carbohydrates from your diet that is from 50 grams a day or less to achieve a state of ketosis. No doubt, keto diet may have the benefits like anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, etc. as discussed above.
However, keto diet is more controversial. What ketogenic diet says is that to reduce the carbohydrates from your diet and increase protein and fat in your diet. According to a review published on August 13 in the European Journal of Clinical nutrition says on keto you’ll get 70 to 80 percent of your calories from fat, about 20 percent from protein, and as little as 5 percent from carbs.
Keto diet has many potential benefits and side effects as well. Below are the health risks of Keto diet that any beginners consider the keto diet approach need to know.
9 Health Risks of Keto Diet
Keto Flu is also known as the low-carb flu. In keto flu, 25% of the people sometimes experience symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, headache, etc. when they start the keto diet. Keto flu is not contagious or dangerous, but it can be very unpleasant. People went through these symptoms during the first week of a keto diet. The main symptoms of keto flu are fatigue, headache, irritability, lack of concentration and motivation, dizziness, weakness, stomach pain, muscle soreness, sugar craving, nausea, and muscle cramps.
The primary cause of keto flu is the body’s transition from burning sugar to burning fat for the energy needs, and when we switch high carb diet to low carb diet, it also lowers the insulin levels in our body. Well, this is not healthy, but this is the ultimate goal of a keto diet. When your insulin level starts diminishing, your liver starts converting fat into ketones which most of your cells can use in place of glucose. To cure keto flu, increase your salt and water intake.
Due to the lack of fiber in the diet and consuming low-carb foods like shakes and bars that may contain sugar alcohols. Some people face difficulty in digesting large amounts of dietary fat which can also lead to greasy diarrhea. Sugar alcohols can also ferment in the gut and brings gastrointestinal discomfort. If you are gone through diarrhea or gas when you start keto diet, then you should limit foods labeled as “sugar-free” and gradually adjust your carb consumption downward and fats upward. Try to build your diet around high fiber and low carb foods such as avocado, nonstarchy vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus. You can also fulfill your fiber consumption with chia seeds, almonds, and coconut.
Keto Diet can make you feel tired or fatigue. Ketogenic diet means restrict the carb consumption, and this is the reason you feel tired first when you start a keto diet. When your body is in the state of ketosis, you may experience fatigue because initially, your body adjusts to using an alternative source of energy apart from glucose. The primary goal of the ketogenic diet is breaking down the carbs into sugars and use as an energy that is a transition from high carb diet to low carb diet. At this stage, your body’s energy levels take time to adjust which results in fatigue. To fight with fatigue and lethargy, consume lots of water and salts when you are following a keto diet.
Headache and Anxiety
Splitting headache and anxiety is also another problem you may face when you start a keto diet. The main reason behind a headache is our brain preferably wants to run on glucose, so it burns the last stores of glucose before switching to ketones for energy. You may experience anxiety and find it difficult to concentrate as your brain adjust to using an alternative source of energy.
Lowers Athletic Performance
Keto Diet may endurance athletes perform better, but it has been seen that people are on the ketogenic diet performed more poorly at anaerobic exercise than those eating more carbohydrates. It depends on the task their performance was 4-15 percent lower than those who consume more carbs. So, it is advised athletes to avoid these diets unless they have any compelling reasons for following a low-carb diet – including keto.
Those who have Type 1 or Type 2 should not follow the keto diet without consulting the doctor. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a raise of acids in the blood, and this happens when your blood sugar is too high from a long time. This situation could be life threatening you don’t take it seriously when it starts. The leading cause of the DKA is the deficiency of insulin in the body that means your cells can’t use sugar in your blood for energy, so they use fat for fuel instead. This process of burning fat makes acids known as ketones, and if you follow the keto diet for long, they could build up in your blood. Also, that excess can change the chemical balance of the blood and upset your entire system.
If you feel the symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) such as s dry mouth, feeling thirsty, or peeing a lot, visit your doctor right away.
Hunger and Constipation
No doubt, keto diet helps you in losing weight, improve your mental clarity and boost energy. But, sometimes, the ketogenic diet can lead to uncomfortable side effects as constipation. Keto Diet is being restrictive in carbs that means consumption of an inadequate amount of fiber. Fiber is the main component of your diet that makes you feel full and relieve constipation. Without the proper supply of fiber in the body, you consistency feel the craving for food and will suffer from constipation.
In Keto diet, we have to switch to a low-carb diet. In the state of ketosis, we eliminate many important sources of minerals that help in proper muscle function such as sodium, potassium, and calcium if you are not getting all these from other sources then the lack of these minerals can leads to leg cramps. This problem is often resolved with magnesium supplementation. Another cause of leg cramps is dehydration, in the initial stages of the keto diet our body has to learn to metabolize fats instead of carbs, and this process leads to dehydration. So, keep yourself hydrated, have a sufficient amount of salt in your diet to cure leg cramps.
Disrupted Menstrual Cycle
Keto diet can affect your periods. In the state of ketosis our body start getting energy from fats instead of carbs often causes rapid weight loss, this can potentially lead to irregular periods initially in the ketogenic diet. Moreover, some women may even experience “Amenorrhea” — the abnormal absence of a menstrual cycle for three months or more — while following a very low-carb diet like keto. The most common cause of amenorrhea is hypothalamic amenorrhea, caused by cutting calories from the diet, low- carb diet, excessive weight loss, stress, intense workout. In the case of amenorrhea, you should see your doctor and start eating healthy.