What is Keto diet, how can it help you lose weight and what keto diet recipes you can try at home? Everything a beginner needs to know, in the guide below.
What is the Keto diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet highly appreciated nowadays.
It shares many similarities with the Atkins diet because both of them promote the reduction of carbs and their replacement with fats. This reduction of carbs puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where fats from your diet and body are burnt to get more energy.
The work “ketogenic” or “keto” comes from the small fuel molecules called “ketones”. When you eat fewer carbs or very few calories, the liver starts to produce ketones from fat deposits. These ketones are the new source of fuel that recharges both the body and the brain.
The keto diet basically teaches your body that fat is the most important fuel that needs to be consumed, instead of stored.
The ketogenic diet has 2 phases:
- The attack phase: eat at least 4 times per day, for instance at 08:00, 11:30, 15:00, 18:30. Eat 500 calories less than usual, because now you have to force the body to burn more fat. Women could eat 1.500 calories and men 2.000 calories. This phase usually lasts for 2 weeks, top.
- The maintaining phase: keep the 4 meals per day, but increase the number of calories – women should eat 2.000 calories and men 2.500. Add 1-2 slices of whole-grain bread per week, but all the other rules remain unchanged. This phase can last as long as it is needed, so that you can reach the ideal weight, but no more than a month.
In both stages, you need to drink at least 1.5 l of water per day, to which you can add mineral water, green tea, black tea, and coffee, in small quantities. Combine these keto diet rules with 30 minutes of sport each day and you will accelerate your weight loss process.
Types of ketogenic diets
There are several ways in which you can adop the ketogenic diet, such as:
- The standard ketogenic diet (SKD): it contains 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs
- The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): the pattern is 5 days of ketogenic days, followed by 2 days of high-carbs intake.
- The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): you can add carbs around workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: a standard ketogenic diet, but with more protein. The ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
Keto diet foods
Foods to eat
Prepare your keto diet menu around these foods:
- Meat: chicken, turkey, red meat, steak, bacon, ham, sausage.
- Fatty fish: salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel.
- Eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Butter and cream: choose grass-fed when possible.
- Cheese: unprocessed cheese, such as cheddar, cream, goat, blue or mozzarella.
- Nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and so on.
- Healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil.
- Avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Low-carb veggies: green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and so on.
- Condiments: salt, pepper, and various healthy herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid
Limit any consumption of foods high in carbs, such as:
- Grains or starches: rice, pasta, cereal, wheat-based products.
- Fruit: all fruits, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: lentils, chickpeas, peas, kidney beans.
- Root vegetables and tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots.
- Low-fat or diet products: these are often high in carbs and processed.
- Some condiments or sauces: they may contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: cut processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels.
- Sugary foods: fruit juice, soda, smoothies, candy, cake, ice cream, and so on.
Keto diet benefits
One of the main reasons why people follow the ketogenic diet is to lose weight. There are over 50 studies out there that made important connections between a keto diet plan and health benefits such as improved concentration, reducing insulin and bad cholesterol levels, maintaining good blood pressure in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, etc.
A study conducted in 2004 on 83 obese patients with a body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2 and high glucose and cholesterol levels showed that their weight and body mass index decreased significantly after following a long term keto diet plan.
Keto diet side effects
Although the keto diet is beneficial for healthy people, there are some risks you also need to keep an eye on, while your body adapts to the new changes.
One of them is the so-called “keto flu“, a collection of symptoms that one may experience in the first days after starting the ketogenic diet. These symptoms may include nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, weakness, sugar cravings, muscle cramps, increased hunger, poor energy, and reduced mental function, etc.
If you’re thinking of giving the keto diet a try, we’ve got you covered with a collection of keto recipes that we’re absolutely sure you’re gonna fall in love with. Let us know your favorites!