The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto
Ketogenic Diet is a very efficient way for weight loss and It seems like everyone is talking about the keto diet – this high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that promises to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. For this reason, KETO got very Popular in the last year as a strategy for quick wear. Here is everything you need to know about ketogenic nutrition!
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet changes the way your body converts food into energy. If you eat a lot of fat and few carbohydrates, you enter ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses fat as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. If your body is unable to produce glucose from carbohydrates, your liver converts fatty acids from food into ketones, an alternative energy source. Burning ketones instead of glucose reduces inflammation and leads to weight loss.
However, the keto diet is by no means new but has been known for almost a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers found that elevated blood ketone levels led to fewer epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who do not respond well to anti-epileptic drugs.
Health benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- Burn fat: With the keto diet, you can lose weight very quickly. Ketones suppress ghrelin – your hunger hormone – and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), making you feel full. Reduced appetite means that it is easier to go for long periods without eating, which encourages the body to go to its fat reserves to get energy.
- Feed the brain: Ketones provide instant energy to your brain and up to 70% of your energy needs if you limit carbohydrates. Fat nourishes the brain and keeps it strong and healthy. The brain is at least 60% fat, so it needs a lot of good fats to function properly. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 support brain growth and development, while saturated fat keeps the myelin (the insulating layer around the brain) strong so your neurons can communicate with each other.
- Reduces inflammation: The keto diet has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect you from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
- Lowers blood sugar: The keto diet can reverse and even cure diabetes. It stabilizes insulin levels and lowers blood sugar to the point that many diabetics can limit their medication if they switch to this diet.
- Increases energy: Ketosis helps the brain to produce more mitochondria, the power generators in your cells. More energy in your cells means more energy for you to get things done.
How do you know you are in ketosis?
You are in ketosis when your ketone level is 0.8 (millimoles per liter). You can test your levels with urine sticks, blood sticks, or a blood meter. You can also test your breath acetone level with a breath analyzer.
However, if you simply follow how you feel in your body, you can also easily determine if you have already reached ketosis. Here are signs that indicate you are probably in ketosis:
- Weight Loss: The Keto Diet burns fat. If you lose weight, you have probably reached ketosis.
- Reduced hunger: Ketones suppress your hunger hormones and make you feel full for longer.
- Flu-like symptoms: you may experience symptoms of keto flu such as headaches, chills, and lightheadedness. This is how you get over it.
- Keto Breathing: People often have a metallic taste in their mouth due to elevated ketone levels.
Ketogenic Diet Menu: What Is There To Eat With Keto?
1. low carbohydrate vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, but have many nutrients, including vitamin C and various minerals.
Vegetables and other plants contain fiber that your body does not digest and absorb like other carbohydrates. So look especially at digestible (or net) carbohydrates, which are total carbohydrates minus fiber.
Most vegetables contain very little net carbohydrates. However, if you eat a portion of “starchy” vegetables such as potatoes, yams or turnips, it can exceed the daily allowed amount of carbohydrates.
The net carbohydrate allowance for non-starchy vegetables ranges from less than 3g/100g (raw spinach) to 10g/100g (beetroot).
Vegetables also contain antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cell damage.
Low-carb vegetables are excellent substitutes for foods with higher carbohydrate content. For example, cauliflower can be used to imitate rice or mashed potatoes and “zoodles” can be made from zucchini.
Here you will find sufficient information about the different nutritional values.
Fish and shellfish are very ketogenic-friendly foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium, but practically free of carbohydrates.
However, the carbohydrates in the different types of shellfish are different. While shrimps and most crustaceans, for example, do not contain carbohydrates, this is the case with other types of shellfish.
Although these crustaceans may be included in a ketogenic diet, it is important to consider these carbohydrates when trying to stay within a narrow range.
Here are the carbohydrate levels per 100g portions of some popular shellfish species:
- Octopus: 4g
- Mussels: 5g
- Cuttlefish: 3g
- Mussels: 7g
- Oysters: 4g
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish have high levels of omega-3 fat, which have been found to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people.
In addition, the frequent consumption of fish has been associated with a reduced risk of disease and improved mental health.
Tip: Eat at least two portions of seafood per week.
Avocados are incredibly healthy. 100 g or about half of a medium avocado contains 8 g of carbohydrates. However, 7 of these are fibers, so the net carbohydrate amount is the only 1g!
Avocados are rich in various vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral that many people often cannot get enough of. In addition, a higher potassium intake can help to ease the transition to a ketogenic diet.
Avocados can also help to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
4. meat and poultry
Meat and poultry are considered basic foods in a ketogenic diet.
Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbohydrates and are rich in B vitamins and various minerals, including potassium, selenium, and zinc.
They are also an excellent source of high-quality protein, which has been shown to maintain muscle mass during a very low carbohydrate diet.
It is best if you choose meat from grazing animals. This is because animals that eat grass produce meat with higher levels of omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid, and antioxidants than animals fed on cereals.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has unique properties, making it particularly suitable for a ketogenic diet.
First of all, it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a fast energy source.
The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, a somewhat longer-chain fat. It is believed that the mixture of MCTs and lauric acid from coconut oil can promote persistent ketosis.
Coconut oil can help obese adults lose weight and abdominal fat. In one study, men who ate 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day lost an average of 2.5 cm from their waists without making other dietary changes.
Eggs are considered one of the healthiest and most versatile foods in the world.
A large egg contains less than 1g of carbohydrates and about 6g of protein. Eggs are therefore the ideal food for a ketogenic lifestyle.
It has also been shown that eggs trigger hormones that increase the feeling of fullness and keep the blood sugar level stable. It is important to eat the whole egg, as most of the nutrients from an egg are contained in the egg yolk. These include the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect eye health.
Although egg yolk has high cholesterol levels, most people do not have high blood cholesterol levels. In fact, eggs appear to help modify LDL in a way that reduces the risk of heart disease.
7. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy, high-protein foods.
Although they contain some carbohydrates, they can still be included in a ketogenic lifestyle.
100g of Greek yogurt provides 5g of carbohydrates and 10g of protein. The same amount of cottage cheese provides 5g of carbohydrates and 15g of protein.
It has been shown that both yogurt and cottage cheese help to reduce appetite and promote a feeling of fullness.
8. Olive oil
Olive oil offers impressive benefits for your heart.
It is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that reduces risk factors for heart disease.
In addition, extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants known as phenols. These compounds protect heart health by reducing inflammation and improving artery function.
As a pure source of fat, olive oil contains no carbohydrates. It is an ideal base for salad dressings and healthy mayonnaise.
Since it is not as stable at high temperatures as saturated fats, it is recommended that olive oil be used for cooking only at low heat or added to foods after cooking.
9. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy, high-fat and low-carbohydrate foods.
Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, which makes you feel full and reduces your overall calorie intake.
Although all nuts and seeds contain few net carbohydrates, the amount varies quite a lot between different species.
Please consult our nutrition tables before you start eating any nuts!
10. Butter and cream
Butter and cream are good fats for a ketogenic diet. Each contains only traces of carbohydrates per serving.
Butter and cream were believed to cause or contribute to heart disease for many years due to their high saturated fat content. However, research has shown that saturated fat, as far as most people are concerned, is not associated with heart disease.
Some studies even suggest that moderate consumption of high-fat dairy products could possibly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Like other high-fat dairy products, butter and cream are rich in conjugated linoleic acid, the fatty acid that can help break down fat.
Conclusion of the Ketogenic Diet
Would you like to start with the ketogenic diet? It’s definitely worth a try because you will certainly feel better once you reach ketosis. As explained above, reaction and well-being vary from person to person, but you can definitely start with the above points. It’s also always a good idea to consult a doctor before you embark on the keto adventure – have fun and success!