The basic principle of the keto diet to follow is low carbs and high healthy fats in your daily diet.
Eating traditionally, our body uses CARBOHYDRATES as energy.
PROTEINS are the building blocks of cells, while FATS are essential for transporting vitamins, for the synthesis of many types of hormones, and for building cell membranes.
But not only carbohydrates, and glucose synthesized from them, can be an energy supplier.
As it turned out, our body can use fat as its main fuel, or rather, ketone bodies.
From them, the keto diet got its name.
A low-carb (or lowcarb) diet is a style of eating that is low in carbs and high in fat in the diet, but without the production of ketone bodies.
By sticking to lowcarb, the body does not synthesize ketones, but you may well lose weight, feel full for a long time and, at the same time, enjoy life very much.
Usually, lowcarb is divided into a liberal system and a moderate one. There is no proportion here, as in keto, there is a division by grams.
- Liberal lowcarb ~ 100 gr. carbohydrates per day
- Moderate – up to 50 gr. carbohydrates per day
- Strict – up to 20-30 gr. carbs per day (that’s already keto)
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a state of metabolism in which dietary fat is converted into ketones by the liver.
But in order to enter this state, it is not enough just to give up bread and rolls, it is necessary to strictly reduce the intake of carbohydrates and it is desirable to adhere to certain proportions and ratios between proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The ketosis formula looks like this: Proteins – 20% Fats – 75% Carbohydrates – 5%
Skewed towards carbohydrates or a significant increase in protein – and …, voila, you are not in ketosis.
Why is the keto diet good for weight loss?
To understand how this works, let’s delve a little into biology and biochemistry.
- Carbohydrates are hydrolyzed and converted into glucose
- In response to rising blood glucose levels, insulin is produced to deliver energy to cells.
- Nature does not provide for a constantly high level of the hormone, and having delivered glucose to consumers, insulin begins to decline.
- Glucose is the most accessible, quickly processed and quickly spent source of energy. Therefore, as soon as the level of glucose and insulin in the blood has decreased, our body needs to replenish its energy reserves. And we again feel hungry and run to the table.
- In keto – life support is provided by KETONES
- Ketones are synthesized by our liver from fat, not glucose
- In response to fatty foods, there is no sharp rise in insulin
- The transformation of fat into ketone bodies is very slow, so we feel full for a long time.
- Prolonged satiety reduces our desire to snack, so we eat less.
What are the benefits of ketosis and the keto diet?
Slimming and comfortable weight loss
Losing extra pounds is not the only nice BONUS on keto, but probably the most desired. When the body switches from glucose to ketone for energy, it easily begins to burn its own fat reserves, even if the energy from food has already run out.
At the same time, the keto diet allows you to lose weight forever.
By practicing keto, we get a fishing rod, not a fish. We understand the biochemistry of the digestive processes, the knowledge of how to plan your diet and much more.
Keto Improves Cognitive Performance
– memory, attention, concentration. On keto, everything in my head is clearer, sharper, faster. Due to the absence in the diet of foods that cause inflammatory processes (excess omega-6 fatty acids (seed oils), gluten, sugar), our brain is “cleansed” and everything becomes as it should be
Feeling of satiety and relief from constant thoughts about food.
Ketones are long lasting energy, so hunger doesn’t bother you. There are no obsessive thoughts about food, you do not look at the clock waiting for lunch, you do not carry containers of food and snacks with you. You are free
Improving physical health.
The keto diet has been successfully used in the treatment of diabetes, autism, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, epilepsy, and even cancer.
By practicing keto, you GET RID OF BAD EATING HABITS and normalize your eating behavior.
And finally, keto is the stabilization of the psycho-emotional state . After all, angry, because hungry is not about keto.
Are there any disadvantages and contraindications for keto?
Despite all the advantages and bonuses that keto brings, it has a number of disadvantages.
- Like any other diet, the keto diet may not be right for you. It’s a matter of comfort and physical condition. That also happens.
- Keto is not suitable for children, pregnant or lactating women. Liberal low-carb diet – yes. Strict keto (non-medical self-practice) – NO
- Despite the successful use of the keto diet in the treatment of type II diabetes, people with insulin-dependent type I diabetes need to follow keto under the supervision of a physician.
- Keto flu. Muscle weakness, fatigue, irritability and headache are the result of the body’s adaptation to new conditions. It passes.
- Keto rash. Not at all and not always. But more likely, people with a lot of excess weight will face it. This also passes.
- Smell of acetone at first. Acetone is the end product of the breakdown of ketones. It is mainly excreted in urine, breath and sweat.
- Problems with the stool during the adaptation period.
Ketoacidosis. This is probably the scariest horror story that scares everyone who has decided on keto. Ketones increase in people in ketosis, but ketoacidosis occurs ONLY when three conditions are met SIMULTANEOUSLY:
- critically low insulin levels
- critically high blood glucose
- and high concentration of ketones
If you do not have a severe form of insulin-dependent diabetes, if you are not a nursing mother who has abruptly entered ketosis, then ketoacidosis is unlikely.
- There are no long-term scientific studies on how long you can stay in ketosis. Keto is recommended and practiced by many doctors and has been successfully used in medical protocols for the treatment of serious diseases. There are over 2,900 scientific articles on the ketogenic diet on the pubmed medical portal, but only a few of them cover a period of being in ketosis for three years.
Contraindications to keto are:
- Fatty acid beta-oxidation disorders
- All types of carnitine deficiency
- Addison’s disease – chronic insufficiency of the adrenal cortex (stages 3 and 4) or hypocarticism
- Hereditary disorders of amino acid metabolism (aminoacidopathy)
- Renal and liver failure
- Porphyria (Vampire Disease)
- Some types of cancer with a mutation in the BRAF V600E gene
A keto and low-carb diet is varied, balanced (with a well-designed nutrition plan), and, of course, delicious. You can read everything you need to know about the diet in a detailed article about keto products . There is also a video instruction.
The basis of the keto diet
Proper oils and fats :
- Butter. Only 82%, no 72.5% or spreads
- Melted butter. It is also fashionably called ghee butter – Ideal for frying.
- Any rendered animal fat: chicken, duck, beef, pork, fat tail, etc. – Suitable for frying
- Olive oil – only in salads
- avocado oil
- Peanut (technically an approach, but peanuts are often GMOs)
Whole meat , preferably free-range. Meat offal is a storehouse of useful minerals and vitamins.
- Beef, pork, lamb, venison
- Poultry (duck, chicken, goose, turkey, etc.)
Wild fish and seafood . Pollock, cod, mackerel, flounder, herring, wild salmon (chum, coho salmon, sockeye salmon), squid. If you choose between not very fat haddock, but caught in the sea, and fatty trout, but grown artificially, then give preference to the first, simply “increasing the fat content” with an additional piece of butter in the finished dish 😉
Dairy and sour-milk products with high fat content
- Village cream, sour cream
- Sour cream 20-25% fat and above
eggs . If possible, farm, from chickens that are not fed with compound feed and grain
All dark green and non-starchy vegetables grown ABOVE the ground. All types of cabbage, leafy salads, greens.
- Milk, cottage cheese – a large amount of lactose. Choose the highest fat foods
- Industrially grown chicken. Too many hormones, grains and feed
- Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils) are acceptable in complex dishes and in combination with fat
- Carrots, beets, onions in small quantities, usually in soups
- Nuts. Despite the source of fat, many nuts are high in carbohydrates.
- Seasonal berries and fruits (for example, lemon, avocado are also fruits 😉 )
- Low-carb, gluten-free baked goods. The danger of too many calories and excess carbohydrates
- Sausages, sausages and all kinds of industrial meat products
- All types of seed oils: corn, sunflower, rapeseed, soybean and other vegetable
- Ketchup, salad dressings, jarred sauces, margarine, spreads, store-bought mayonnaise
- industrial baking
- Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals
- Sugar, honey, lots of fruit
- Juices, including freshly squeezed, sweet smoothies, cocktails
How to start keto?
Captain Obvious will tell you, “Success in any endeavor requires a plan. Clear, understandable, step-by-step plan”
Review the contents of your kitchen. Throw out without regrets all products from the list “Absolutely NO”
Having carefully drawn up a meal plan for the coming days, happily go to the store and buy healthy products. An example of a weekly meal plan can be requested from me.
Switch to three meals a day WITHOUT SNACKS. Breakfast, lunch at 13-15 and dinner at 19, but be guided by the feeling of hunger. If it’s time for dinner and you’re not hungry yet, don’t force yourself.
For the first 3-4 weeks, eat home-cooked meals and refrain from visiting catering establishments until you have established new habits.
To help all beginners who want to correctly and smoothly switch to such a diet, and not mindlessly pounce on fatty foods and pretty ruin their health, I have developed the Intensive Workshop “Slimming Revolution 2.0” . Follow the link, sign up and you can start practicing right away!
How do you know if your body is already in ketosis?
When the body begins to produce ketone bodies, you will definitely notice this by the following symptoms:
- Urination becomes more frequent to remove the breakdown products of ketone bodies.
- You feel thirsty due to the increased volume of fluid being excreted. So drink a lot more.
- Your scent changes . Acetone – the end product of the breakdown of ketones is excreted not only with urine, but also with sweat, and through breathing. This is temporary and usually goes away with time.
- Your general condition changes. There is much more physical energy, there is no feeling of hunger for a long time, and the head starts to work much faster.
Well, tests for measuring ketones in urine or express blood tests can reliably answer this question.
Keto flu. What is it and how to fight?
Keto flu is commonly referred to as a number of symptoms that occur during the adaptation period. They are very similar in sensations to the symptoms of a regular flu.
Muscle and headache, loss of strength, fog in the head, in some cases a rash.
But you should remember that this is a short-term phenomenon. To help your body deal with the keto flu as quickly as possible, start taking additional vitamin and mineral supplements at the same time you start your diet. Potassium, Sodium and Magnesium are the bare minimum! These essential minerals are the basis of many functions in the body.
Also increase your water intake to 3-4 liters per day.
Reduce your physical activity while you adjust. No hard workouts in the gym and exhausting classes.
Read more about the role of minerals in the keto diet in the blog.
Common mistakes on keto
Forcing events . Keto is not a quick fix diet. Be calm, let your body adapt. At the right moment, he himself will tell you in which direction you need to take a step.
Obsession with weight . Weight loss cannot be a permanent and straightforward process. Focus better on volume, note changes in the body according to clothing.
Comparing yourself and your results with others . Exhale, relax and enjoy. Compare your new self to your past self. By clothes, by well-being, but only with you!
Lack of focus on well-being ! You have to listen to yourself and enjoy the process. If you don’t like some product that everyone highly recommends for the keto diet, don’t force yourself with it! The priority should be a comfortable response of your body
Lack of a meal plan in the first weeks . This will allow you to significantly reduce cooking time, and save a decent amount of money when going to the store, and it will certainly save you from a breakdown.
Lack of water and minerals.
Failure to comply with your macros . Proportions of proteins / fats / carbohydrates.
Snacks . Snacking on keto is more of a tribute to a longstanding habit. If your diet is correct, then there should be no need for snacks.
Here I briefly showed what errors can be, and I have a separate article and video on this topic in more detail. It’s called “ Beginner Mistakes on the Keto Diet ”. Move on and study.
FAQ ABOUT KETO AND LOW-CARB DIET
1. HOW DOES KETO AFFECT THE HEART AND CHOLESTEROL?
A low-carbohydrate diet high in healthy fats leads to an improvement in the lipid profile – the amount of triglycerides is reduced and the level of “good” cholesterol is increased. These numbers indicate a lower risk of heart disease.
But in some cases (up to two percent of patients), there have been cases of a serious (repeated) increase in the level of “bad” cholesterol, beyond what can be considered normal.
More attention should be paid to the level of sugar in the blood. Since carbohydrates play a role in heart disease. High blood sugar tends to increase the chance that “bad” cholesterol will wreak havoc on your blood vessels and heart.
2. WHAT CONTRAINDICATIONS CAN BE TO KETO AND LOW-CARB FOOD ?
There are no contraindications for low-carb diets.
Strict keto is NOT RECOMMENDED
- pregnant and lactating, as well as children (with the exception of the treatment of certain diseases under the supervision of doctors)
- people with high blood pressure (Perhaps under medical supervision)
- people suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes (only possible under medical supervision)
3. HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?
Remember, you only need to eat when you are hungry. Someone is comfortable with 3 meals a day, and someone feels great if they eat 1-2 times a day. The only thing you need to focus on is hunger and satiety. Eat slowly and mindfully
4. IS THE KETO DIET KIDNEY SAFE?
Yes. Both keto and lowcarb are kidney safe. Because, it is associated with a high intake of fat, not protein. In fact, the keto diet may even protect your kidneys, especially if you have diabetes.
5. KETO AND ALCOHOL?
It is worth being careful with alcohol at the stage of weight loss. Choose clean and simple drinks and avoid added sugar. Like in cocktails.
But keto and alcohol have no direct contraindication.
6. HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN I LOSE AND HOW FAST?
This is very individual and can vary from 0.5 to 2.5 kg per week. It depends on your metabolic rate, age and activity level, etc. Focus on volume, not weight.
7. IS KETO COMPATIBLE WITH VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN?
It all depends on your rules and food preferences. If you allow dairy and eggs in your diet, then you should be able to get all the nutrients you need, including enough fat, by practicing a keto or low-carb diet.
If you are a strict vegan, a ketogenic vegetarian diet is not a balanced or sustainable option. Because vegans exclude all animal products, they must rely on a combination of grains, legumes, and seeds to get all the macronutrients they need. For this reason, keto and a vegetarian diet do not work well together.
8. CAN YOU EAT FRUITS ON KETO?
Fruits contain too many carbohydrates. One eaten apple is unlikely to throw you out of ketosis, but stopping fat burning is easy. Berries are preferred over fruits.