The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been gaining popularity in recent years. The diet was originally designed to help people with epilepsy control their seizures, but it has been found to have other benefits as well. Some of the best known benefits of the ketogenic diet include fat loss, weight loss, and improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. The ketogenic diet has become extremely popular among people looking to improve their health, reduce their calorie intake, or simply follow a strict diet regimen without feeling restricted.
What is the keto diet?
The keto or ketogenic diet is known to belong to the so-called LCHF diet (Low Carb High Fat), ie diets that are designed to include a diet high in fat and very low in carbohydrates . The keto diet is a more extreme variant of this group of diets, and the way it works is by the body entering a state of ketosis, in the liver, so that fats begin to be used as a source of energy.
For example, when you eat something that is very rich in carbohydrates, your body will start producing glucose and insulin . Glucose is the molecule that is most easily broken down in the body and used as a source of energy, which is why it automatically represents the main source of energy. Insulin is produced to bind glucose and thus, through the bloodstream, provide energy for the whole body.
When it comes to a process such as ketosis, the diet is based on that, by replacing glucose as the main source of energy and switching to fat . Because glucose is the primary source of energy, fats are not processed and stored instead. Typically, we are used to eating a lot of foods that contain carbohydrates in our daily diet, but the moment we stop doing that and start following the principles of some of the LCHF diets, we give our body a kind of instruction to enter the process of ketosis.
Ketosis is actually a natural process that the body starts to help us survive in times when we are starving . During this process, we produce ketones, which are formed from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The goal of the keto diet is to force this process, that is, to bring the body into this specific metabolic state , not by starvation, but by reducing the intake of carbohydrates .
It may not seem like it at first glance, but our bodies are extremely adaptable , especially when it comes to changing the way we eat, and the moment we eliminate carbohydrates and increase the intake of fatty foods, our body begins to use ketones as a primary source of energy. , and it has been shown to have numerous benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss, but general physical and mental health.
Keto diet – health benefits
As we have already mentioned, the keto diet has many advantages, which are especially reflected in weight loss, increased energy levels, and doctors often recommend it as part of medical therapy . Basically, it is estimated that most people can try a keto diet without serious consequences.
Ketogenic diet – weight loss as one of the main benefits
When it comes to the effect of weight loss and the keto diet, the reasons for that are obvious. When entering the state of ketosis, the body begins to use stored fat as a source of energy, which directly causes weight loss . During the keto diet, insulin levels drop drastically, which is the main reason why fats stop being stored and start to be used as a source of energy.
From a scientific point of view, the keto diet has shown the best results in terms of weight loss even when compared to another LCHF diet, in the long run . In order to start the process of ketosis, that is, to accelerate the production of ketones and the burning of fat deposits, many people drink so-called keto-resistant coffee in the morning.
Helps control blood sugar
The keto diet naturally reduces the amount of sugar in the blood , by starting to eat foods that affect it. Numerous studies have even shown that this diet is better in preventing or tolerating diabetes, when compared to diets based on lower calorie intake.
In case you have type 2 diabetes , or you have reason to think that you are at risk of this disease, it is recommended that you try to switch to a keto diet .
Ketone diet for better focus
Many people do not choose the keto diet for the purpose of losing weight, but to improve their focus and concentration, because ketones are an excellent source of “fuel” for the brain . When you reduce the intake of carbohydrates, at the same time you prevent the excessive rise of blood sugar, which results in a better concentration. On the other hand, research has shown that higher fat intake provides better focus .
The keto diet increases energy and reduces the feeling of hunger
By giving your body a better source of food when it comes to energy, thanks to the Keto diet, you will automatically provide more energy during the day . When it comes to fatty foods, fat molecules have proven to be the most efficient fuel, and as an added plus comes the fact that we feel much more saturated when we eat fatty foods, and stay that way longer.
Ketogenic diet for epilepsy
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the keto diet has been used successfully as part of epilepsy therapy, and is still used for the same purpose today, especially in children who have uncontrolled seizures . The main advantage of this diet in people who suffer from this disease is that it enables the unhindered use of epilepsy medications, while at the same time providing control and balance in terms of nutrition.
The bonus of the keto diet is the control of cholesterol and blood pressure
The keto diet improves the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, which are most associated with the formation of blockages in the arteries. Studies have also shown stability when it comes to high blood pressure , which is most associated with weight gain, which is just an added bonus, since the keto diet is extremely effective when it comes to weight loss.
The keto diet helps with insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a danger in itself, because if this condition is ignored or neglected for some reason, it can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. What the keto diet actually does is help to lower insulin levels. bring to a healthy normal .
Even if you are an athlete, it is not a problem to switch to a keto diet and you cannot feel any consequences from optimizing your insulin levels, especially if you enrich your diet with foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
The keto diet is useful in the fight against acne
One of the more positive and obvious benefits of a keto diet for your body are improvements in the condition of your skin . Certain studies have shown that the keto diet generally has the effect of reducing inflammation and skin lesions. On the other hand, one of the first parameters of these studies is that a diet based on a larger amount of carbohydrates affects the appearance of acne.
When it comes to treating acne, it is recommended to reduce the intake of dairy products in the diet, as well as to follow a strict skin cleansing treatment .
What does the keto diet mean?
To start a keto diet, the first thing you need to do is plan ahead , which in translation means that you already have a prepared diet plan by all criteria. The type of food you eat is crucial to the rate at which you enter a state of ketosis . The more restrictive you are when it comes to carbohydrates, that is, if you reduce their intake to less than 15 g per day, you will enter a state of ketosis much faster.
One way to limit the amount of carbohydrates in your diet is to reduce the amount of vegetables, nuts and dairy products . Do not eat any artificial products that contain wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starch (potatoes, beans, legumes) or fruit. Small exceptions are avocados, carambola or berries, which can be eaten in moderation.
Keto diet – a list of foods that you should and should not eat
Foods you are allowed to eat during the Keto diet
- Meat and eggs – fish, beef, lamb, poultry
- Green vegetables – spinach, kale
- Vegetables that grow above ground – broccoli, cauliflower
- Whole milk products – cream, cheese, butter
- Nuts and seeds – macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Avocados and berries – raspberries, blueberries and other berries that have less effect on the glycemic index
- Zaslađivači – stevia, erythritol
- Other fatty foods – coconut oil, salad dressings and sauces, saturated fats, etc.
Foods you should not eat during the Keto diet
- Cereals – wheat, corn, rice
- Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup
- Fruits – apples, bananas, oranges
- Tubers – potatoes, beets, etc.
We have divided foods into several main groups, including fats, meat and meat products, fish and seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts, dairy products, spices and food additives, and beverages.
Try to remember that the keto diet is very rich in fat, moderately rich in protein and very low in carbohydrates, so your nutrient intake should be around 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates .
The classic recommendation for this diet is 20 to 30 g of pure carbohydrates for daily intake , however if you manage to halve this amount, or at least keep it as low as possible, as well as the glucose level, and the results you want to achieve will be much better. If you are following a keto diet because you aim to lose weight, it would be good to try to monitor your general carbohydrate intake.
What it means? Pure carbohydrates are carbohydrates without additional fiber , which is why there is a difference in the recommended intake between pure carbohydrates, and overall.
Protein should always be consumed with fat to fill the rest of the calories you need to ingest, and in case you feel hungry during the day you can always eat some nuts, seeds, cheese or peanut butter to soothe hunger, but keep on keep in mind that even these small snacks can significantly slow down the weight loss process. Sometimes we may think of eating a snack instead of a meal, so for these reasons there are now keto fast food options, which should make things a lot easier for you if you hate to cook.
Ketogenic diet and vegetables
When it comes to vegetables, the keto diet allows you to eat mostly green vegetables, where your meal should be a combination of protein with vegetables, and fatty foods on the side . A great example would be chicken breasts in olive oil, served with broccoli and cheese, or a steak with butter, and spinach on the sides, topped with olive oil.
If you still don’t fully understand what net carbohydrates are, here’s an additional explanation. Let’s say you plan to eat broccoli, which is generally considered a very healthy vegetable, but not so popular with most people. One cup (conditionally speaking) of broccoli contains:
6 g of carbohydrates
2 g of fiber
We will get the net value of carbohydrates after subtracting dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate value of broccoli , after which we will get the amount of 4 g, ie the net value of carbohydrates in one cup of broccoli. Below you can see a list of the most common vegetables that have a low carbohydrate content (the amount of half a cup), so it is perfect for combining in the keto diet.
- Spinach (fresh) – 0.1 g
- Chinese cabbage (fresh) – 0.2 g
- Lettuce (romaine) – 0.2 g
- Cauliflower (steamed) – 0.9 g
- Cabbage (fresh green) – 1.1 g
- Cauliflower (fresh) – 1.4 g
- Broccoli – 2 g
- Prokelj – 2 g
- Cabbage – 2.1 g
- Green beans – 2.9 g
Ketosis – symptoms and how to achieve it
As we have already mentioned in the text, ketosis is actually an extremely natural process , which can seem complicated and confusing, especially when all possible information is taken into account, but we have tried to make it easier for you to understand this process and how to start. this process.
Reduce your carbohydrate intake. Many people focus exclusively on net carbohydrates, which should not be the case if you want to start with this diet and actually enter the process of ketosis. What you actually need to do is limit carbohydrates globally , if you want to achieve results. To begin with, try to reduce the intake of net carbohydrates below 20 g per day, and the general intake below 35 g.
Limit protein intake. Many people try the Atkinson diet first, and then decide to try keto, but the first mistake they make is usually that they do not limit their protein intake, but continue as before. The reason why there is an insistence on limiting intake lies in the fact that excessive consumption interferes with the process of ketosis. If you have the ambition to lose weight, it would be ideal to consume between 0.6 and 0.8 g of protein , for which when it comes to the keto diet calculator is an ideal way to calculate the amount that suits you.
Don’t worry about fat anymore. The best thing about a keto diet is that it is based on a very fatty diet, so the idea is to eat as much fat as possible so that your body can start the ketosis process as soon as possible . Remember that on the keto diet you do not lose weight by starvation, but quite the opposite.
Drink plenty of water. Try to drink a gallon (4.5 liters) of water a day. It sounds too much, but you should really try to drink as much water as possible and stick to it , because this way you not only regulate many vital functions in the body, but you also control excessive hunger.
Forget the notion of snacks. Generally speaking, weight loss is much easier to implement successfully when you have fewer jumps when it comes to insulin in the blood. Unnecessary nibbling of everything and candles, even when you are not hungry, and usually just because you are bored, can only slow down or stop weight loss.
Start fasting. Fasting can be a great way to increase ketone levels, on a daily basis.
Introduce physical activity. As a general fact, it is known that exercise is healthy, so if you want to achieve the best possible results with the keto diet, consider some kind of daily training lasting 20-30 minutes . Even a short walk can help regulate weight and blood sugar levels.
Introduce dietary supplements. Although often not necessary, introducing various supplements into the diet when it comes to the keto diet can actually be optimal and there are various ways to do it properly.
Remember to always be careful and read food labels regularly , especially the parts related to ingredients, because in too many cases you will come across hidden carbohydrates , especially in products that look like they were created for the needs of the keto diet.
Optimal ketosis and macro nutrients
There are a number of shortcuts and tricks when it comes to achieving optimal ketosis, but this is not the type of ketosis that should interest you. Namely, optimal ketosis can be achieved through nutrition only (nutrition aimed at weight loss), which means that you do not need a magic pill for that. All you need to do is stay persistent, disciplined, and focused, especially when it comes to the food you consume , which is why it is important to take care of how much protein and carbohydrates you eat.
How do you know if you have reached ketosis?
You can “detect” ketosis through blood or urine tests , but you don’t even need that much complication, primarily because urine strips are considered extremely defective, while blood strips are expensive, so it’s really not worth trying to find out on this way. Instead, we present a short list of symptoms that you can recognize and thus be sure that your body has reached ketosis .
Increased urination. Ketosis is a natural diuretic, so you will notice that you visit the toilet much more often, and beginners may notice that they go to the toilet much more often, primarily due to the influence of acetoacetate, a ketone that affects increased urination.
Dry mouth. Dryness of the oral cavity and increased feeling of thirst can occur, which is a completely natural consequence of increased urination. To prevent this, try to drink as much water as possible and regularly replenish electrolytes (salt, potassium, magnesium).
Bad breath. Acetone is a ketone that is partially excreted in the oral cavity, and therefore in our breath. It has a special, sharp smell reminiscent of overripe fruit or nail polish remover, but you don’t have to worry about that because it usually doesn’t last long.
Reduced hunger and increased energy. Usually after worrying about the keto flu, which we will explain further, you will see that you are much less hungry, but also that you have a lot more energy during the day.
Since many people tend to drive themselves crazy with measurement and testing, it is much better to focus on the nutritional aspect, and monitor what you eat , in order to supply yourself with all the necessary nutrients.
What is the so-called keto flu?
Keto flu is actually a very common symptom , especially in beginners and this child, but it usually passes after a few days, and in addition, there are ways to reduce the symptoms or even eliminate them completely. There are several reasons for the occurrence of keto flu , but the two main ones are:
As we have already mentioned, the keto diet is a diuretic . As you urinate more often, you lose more water and electrolytes from your body. You usually try to make up for this by drinking a lot more water and replenishing your electrolytes in other ways, but the main thing is to replenish your electrolytes.
Transition and getting used to change. Your body is initially “programmed” to process, and therefore require, a higher carbohydrate intake and lower fat intake, for which, among other things, you need enzymes. During the period of getting used to the new diet, your brain will work on energy reserves (because your body has not yet entered the process of ketosis), so fatigue, nausea and headaches can occur . If these symptoms are very pronounced in you, then it is advisable to reduce your carbohydrate intake gradually, and not to cut it abruptly.
After you increase your water intake and replenish your electrolyte stores, you should notice that the symptoms of keto flu have decreased or completely disappeared. When it comes to the keto diet for beginners, the average person who starts eating 20-30 g of carbohydrates a day should get used to it in about 4 to 5 days . Some experts advise that it is better to reduce the intake of carbohydrates immediately to below 15 g per day, in order to enter ketosis in the first week. If you still have symptoms of keto flu, check your electrolytes again and adjust.
Also, if you are used to training and are generally in shape, you will probably notice that you have lost a little strength and endurance after starting the diet. This shouldn’t worry you, because it’s typical to start with , but as soon as your body adapts a little, you will stop feeling that way.
Types of ketogenic diet
There are several types of keto diets, depending on what you want to achieve, whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or simply care about generally improving your health by trying this diet. In any case, if you want, for example, to increase your muscle mass, you are not wrong if you have opted for keto.
Namely, what you need to know is that glycogen stores are replenished during the keto diet, but you should know that if you want to build muscle mass with the help of a keto diet, that protein intake is crucial in that process . In that case, it is necessary to take about 1 or 1.2 g of protein per kilogram (depending on your body weight), which is best calculated individually. Generally speaking, building muscle mass through a keto diet can take longer , but the reason for that is primarily the loss of fat.
If there is a reason that you need to increase fat, not just muscle, then there are several types of keto diets that can lead you to fulfill your goal. That are:
Standard keto diet – a classic diet that most people are already familiar with.
Targeted keto diet – a variant that involves following a standard keto diet, with a small amount of rapidly degradable carbohydrates before training
Cyclic keto diet – a variation of the keto diet aimed at bodybuilders or competitors, which allows once a week intake of more intensive carbohydrate consumption and replenishment of glycogen stores
The keto diet is an example of a menu
When it comes to keto recipes, it can be said that this diet is very adaptable, which is why we have prepared an example of a keto menu , based on which you can get the impression of what this diet looks like and how it can be followed.
Keto menu for 7 days
Keto breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and tomatoes.
Keto lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese.
Keto dinner: Salmon with asparagus, all cooked in butter.
Keto breakfast: Yogurt to which you will add a little peanut butter, cocoa and stevia.
Keto lunch: Beef cooked in coconut oil and vegetables.
Keto dinner: Eggs, cheese, bacon and vegetables, without bread.
Keto breakfast: Ketogenic milkshake.
Keto lunch: Shrimp salad with olive oil and avocado.
Keto dinner: Pieces of pork with parmesan, broccoli and salad.
Keto breakfast: Eggs, tomato, basil and goat cheese. You can also make an omelet from these foods.
Keto lunch: Milk shake made from almond milk, with peanut butter, cocoa and stevia.
Keto dinner: Meatballs, cheddar and vegetables.
Keto breakfast: Omelet with avocado, salsa, paprika, onion and spices.
Keto lunch: A handful of nuts and celery sticks dipped in guacamole sauce and salsa.
Keto dinner: Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese, with the addition of vegetables.
Keto breakfast: Omelet with ham and cheese with vegetables.
Keto lunch: Pieces of ham and cheese with nuts
Keto dinner: White fish, eggs and spinach cooked in coconut oil.
Keto breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
Keto lunch: Burger with salsa, guacamole sauce and cheese.
Keto dinner: Beefsteak, eggs and vegetable salad.
In case you want to try and make some of the delicious keto recipes yourself, take a look at some that we have singled out below , because when it comes to the keto diet, the recipes are such that you will want to try them regardless of whether you are on a diet or not.
Keto recipe for porridge with nuts
- A handful of walnuts
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 150 ml of coconut mecca
- 2 tablespoons sweet cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Sweetener, optional
- 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients and let it stand so that the chia seeds absorb the liquid and make a thick pudding-like porridge. Add some more nuts on top, for decoration.
Keto recipe for omelet with vegetables
- 1/4 onion head
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 handful of spinach
- 50 g of fresh cheese
- are, pepper as desired
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the sliced onion to the strips. When the onion softens a bit, add the spinach and just sauté it a bit, then remove everything from the plate. Beat the eggs and pour them into the pan, then cover to bake like a pancake. When the eggs are ready, shake them on a plate, shake the onion with the spinach in one half and grate the fresh cheese on it. Fold in the other half of the “pancake”.
Keto recipe for tuna and avocado burgers
- 2 larger cans of tuna (in brine)
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 avokado
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 50 g of almond flour
- with, pepper, garlic powder
- coconut oil , for baking
Pour the squeezed tuna into a bowl. Add creamy lean cheese, parmesan and spices and mix everything well. Add the diced avocado to the mixture. Stir the mixture and make balls between your palms and roll them in almond flour. Fry in coconut oil.
Keto recipe for salad with prosciutto
- 100 g of mixed lettuce
- 2 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pine or sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
- 2 pieces of prosciutto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- are, pepper as desired
Fry the prosciutto in a hot pan until crispy, then cut it into small cubes or strips, and leave to cool. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl, add the cooled prosciutto and mix well.
Keto user experiences
When it comes to the keto diet, the experiences are mostly positive , except for the standard initial symptoms of an extreme change in diet or the symptoms of the keto flu. At the beginning, people mostly complain of a feeling of fatigue, nervousness or deconcentration , but they also agree that these symptoms pass very quickly after the body gets used to it and enters the process of ketosis for the first time.
Keto diet – side effects
There are several side effects encountered by people who first started this diet without having anything to do with keto flu. Symptoms are mainly related to dehydration and lack of micronutrients in the body, ie vitamins , and here is the form in which they occur.
- Reduced physical performance
In addition to the listed side effects, which are the most common, there are also less common ones such as:
- Breastfeeding problems
- Hair loss
- Increased cholesterol
It is clear that there are some symptoms or consequences that are not listed here, but they are all possible, which is why it is generally advised not to start any diet on your own , especially if you have a health problem or want to lose weight because you do not want to have long-term consequences just because you wanted a quick fix.
It is always best to consult a doctor or nutritionist first , and if you have any additional doubts, or you may be interested in another diet or type of diet for weight loss , you can find what you are interested in on our site and get more information.