Ketogenic Diet – This is not the diet that will help you loses ten kilos in two weeks. It is a very valuable dietary pattern with countless health benefits which is very powerful when it comes to weight loss. Over 20 studies show that this diet can help to lose weight, as opposed to crash diets, and to improve health ( 1 ).
A ketogenic diet is often prescribed in type 2 diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. It is not meant that you should follow the diet structurally, but it is only meant to bring your body to a certain state, the state of ketosis, with the body becoming fat as the main source of fuel instead of glucose.
What does the ketogenic diet exactly mean?
The ketogenic diet is mainly aimed at eating very few carbohydrates. Instead, many fats and proteins are eaten. Although the diet is often compared with Atkins, this is absolutely not true, as Atkins focuses more on protein than on fats.
In particular, the drastic reduction of carbohydrates and their replacement with fat is characteristic of the ketogenic diet. The reduction of these carbohydrates causes the body to come into a different metabolic state called ketosis. This makes the body very efficient with fuel that burns the fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Also, fat in the liver is converted into ketones.
The ketogenic diet can cause a significant reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin levels. This results in greater insulin sensitivity, or a stable blood sugar level.
In short: The ketogenic diet is a carbohydrate poor, fatty diet. It lowers blood sugar levels and insulin and causes a shift of carbohydrates to fat as primary fuel.
Different forms of the ketogenic diet
Within the ketogenic diet, different forms can be distinguished, such as:
The standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This diet is very low carbohydrate, contains little protein and is very fatty. It consists of 75% of fat, 20% of protein and only 5% of carbohydrates.
The cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet is monitored according to a 5 day ketogen pattern according to SKD ratios followed by two days in which carbohydrate intake is increased.
The targeted ketogenic diet (GKD) : In this variant, you follow the SKD, which adds carbohydrates around training. Especially in bodybuilders, this variant is popular, as the insulin peak that occurs then causes amino acids to be better absorbed by the muscles.
The protein-rich ketogenic diet (EKD): This diet is similar to SKD, but contains more protein. The ratio here is 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
Only the standard and protein-rich ketogenic diet have been studied extensively. The cyclic and targeted ketogenic diet are advanced methods that are mainly used by bodybuilders and athletes to promote performance.
In the rest of this blog we only deal with the standard ketogenic diet (SKD).
Ketogenic diet to lose weight
The ketogenic diet is a particularly effective way to lose weight and minimize the risk factors for disease. ( 2 , 3 , 4 ). Research results show that SKD is absolutely superior to a low-fat diet to effectively lose weight. ( 5 , 6 ).
The SKD has such a saturating effect that counting calories is unnecessary. One study even showed that SKD was able to drop 2.2 times as much as a low-calorie and low-fat diet. In addition, levels of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were improved ( 7 ).
A SKD in diabetes and prediabetes
Typical characteristics of diabetes include altered metabolism, chronic high blood sugar levels and decreased insulin activity. In the ketogenic diet, carbohydrate intake is lowered so that insulin sensitivity can increase by as much as 75% ( 8 ).
In another study, patients with diabetes 2 were followed during a ketogenic diet and at least one third of participants could stop insulin medication. ( 9 )
Other health benefits
The ketogenic diet originally originated as a treatment method in neurological conditions, such as epilepsy. For example, the diet is applied to:
- cardiovascular disease to improve blood pressure and blood sugar
- in cancer to slow down tumor growth ( 10 , 11 ).
- In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, the diet can delay the onset of symptoms. ( 12 )
- In Parkinson’s disease, SKD may reduce the symptoms. ( 13 ).
- In acne , high insulin levels are often the cause. In a low-carb diet, and thus lower insulin levels, the symptoms will decrease drastically.
Foods to avoid
With the ketogenic diet you will avoid as much nutrition as possible with carbohydrates. Think especially of rice, bread and other cereals, sugar-rich foods are absolutely no-go! In summary:
- Sugar-based foods: soda, fruit juices, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
- Cereal or starchy products, such as rice, pasta etc.
- Fruit: All fruits, except small portions of berries and strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas etc.
- Carrots and tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low fat or dietary products: this food is highly recommended, and in addition they often contain many carbohydrates.
- Sauces from a jar or bottle: These often contain sugar, or worse, glucose fructose syrup.
- Unhealthy fats, such as processed vegetable oils, fry sauce etc.
- Alcohol, because of the carbohydrates, can get the body out of the ketosis.
- Sugar-free foods, as they are often highly processed.
Foods that you should eat properly
At the ketogen you focus on foods like:
- Meat : red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
- Oily fish : such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs : organic free-range or omega-3 eggs.
- Butter and cream : preferably from grassy cattle.
- Cheese : uncooked cheese (cheddar, goat cheese, cream, blue or mozzarella).
- Nuts and seeds : almonds, walnuts, linseed, pumpkin seeds, chia seed etc.
- Healthy oils : mainly extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocados : whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Carbohydrated vegetables : most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Spices : You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Preferably choose foods that are unprocessed, so in the full natural matrix. If you want to eat the ketogen, base your diet on foods like meat, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, healthy oils, avocados and carbohydrate vegetables.
Example week menu of the ketogenic diet
To help you get started with the ketogenic diet, I have compiled a sample week:
- Breakfast: eggs, with bacon and tomatoes.
- Lunch: chicken salad with olive oil and feta.
- Dinner: Salmon with boiled asparagus and butter sauce.
- Breakfast: egg omelet, tomato, fresh basil and melted goat cheese.
- Lunch: Milk Shake of Almond Milk, Nut Pasta, Raw Cocoa powder and Stevia.
- Dinner: stir-fry vegetables with meatballs and cheddar cheese.
- Breakfast: a milkshake of coconut milk, strawberries and vanilla powder
- Lunch: shrimp salad with avocado and olive oil.
- Dinner: Pork broccoli and salad with Parmesan cheese.
- Breakfast: omelet with avocado, paprika, onion, spicy salsa and herbs.
- Lunch: a handful of nuts and celery rice with guacamole and spicy salsa.
- Dinner: boiled chicken with pesto and cream cheese and fried vegetables.
- Breakfast: ham cheese cheese with mixed vegetables.
- Lunch: Steak with a salad with mixed nuts and seeds.
- Dinner: white fish, egg and spinach stir-fried in coconut oil
- Breakfast: goat yoghurt with hemp seed, chia seed, cocoa powder and coconut shreds.
- Lunch: stir-fried steak with mixed vegetables in coconut oil.
- Dinner: Tartar with bacon, eggs and cheese.
- Breakfast: baked eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
- Lunch: Hamburger with Mayonnaise, Cheese and Guacamole.
- Dinner: steak and a salad with eggs.
Although a ketogenic diet initially seems very limited, it is easy to vary with vegetables. It’s just a matter of finding the way and you can certainly eat tasty.
If you get a drink between meals, which will not happen soon as the fatty meals are so nutritious, you can always fall back on the following snacks:
- fat meat or fatty fish
- nuts or seeds
- cheese with olives
- 1-2 hard boiled eggs
- 90% dark chocolate
- A milkshake with almond milk, cocoa powder and nut pasta
- Full fat yogurt with nut pasta
- Strawberries and full fat whipped cream
- Celery with salsa and guacamole
Although a temporary ketogenic diet is safe for healthy people, some side effects may occur while the body is in the keto state. When you are really sick, do the diet only under the supervision of a doctor.
Thus, during the onset of the diet, the symptoms of the so-called ketopril can be experienced, with complaints such as:
- low energy
- reduced thinking ability
- more hungry
- sleeping problems
- digestive disorders
- reduced sports performance.
When these complaints occur, it is advisable to add a minimum amount of carbohydrates and then rebuild them to get used to the body before eliminating the carbohydrates. Within two to three weeks the body must be well-behaved with the diet.
A ketogenic diet may also affect the body composition (especially the moisture and muscle mass), which makes it important to monitor the electrolyte balance. For this purpose, it is advisable to drink a glass of sole every day to provide the body with the necessary minerals during the ketogenic diet . Of course, one can also choose to add Celtic sea salt to the meals. Regular (feet) baths with magnesium are also a supplement for the supplement.
Eat at the beginning of the diet to a saturation level and do not be blind to caloric values, because your body will burn fats. Usually, a ketogenic diet causes weight loss without calorie restriction.
Questions about the ketogenic diet
1.To I keep eating carbohydrate free?
No, the ketogenic diet is solely of a temporary nature. However, it is important to eliminate them initially. After the first 2-3 months you can slowly reintroduce the carbohydrates.
2. Can I lose muscle mass?
Depending on the form of the ketogenic diet (SKD or EKD), the muscle mass may decrease slightly in a protein-restricted diet. By doing weight training during the diet, you can counteract the loss of muscle mass.
3. How much protein can I eat?
The intake of proteins must be moderate, as higher intake results in lower ketones. Hold approximately an upper limit of 35% of total calories.
4. What should I do if I feel weak or tired?
Then you are probably not yet in ketosis and your body is not yet fully capable of addressing fats as primary fuel. Reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase fat intake. A supplement of MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride) may also help.
5. My urine smells strange. How did that happen?
Nothing wrong! This is the secretion of the side products of ketosis.
6. Do I get out of my mouth?
That can indeed! This is also a side-product of the ketosis in which your body is located.
7. Is ketosis dangerous?
Ketose is often confused with ketoacidosis, a build up of acids in the blood. Ketose has a natural cause, while ketoacidosis is often the result of diabetes.
Of course, long-term maintenance of the ketogenic diet is not recommended. Make a maximum of three months. For a longer term, it is advisable to do this under the supervision of a physician.
8. Can I get diarrhea or get constipation?
Certainly, in the beginning diarrhea is often a complaint, as people can hardly handle the larger amounts of fats. Constipation often occurs after about three to four weeks. If clogging persists, try to eat blackberries, plums and fiber-rich vegetables. Magnesium can also relieve constipation problems.
A ketogenic diet can be very suitable for people with obesity or diabetes. Top athletes can also benefit greatly from this diet. Today, the ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly aware of the fight against cancer. The consistent implementation of the diet is essential for success.
People who want to get their metabolism in order will certainly spit yarn at the ketogenic diet.