Here is a detailed and ultimate beginner’s guide to the Keto Diet.
What is Ketogenic Diet? How does it work?
A keto diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet, also called LCHF wherein the body generates ketones in the liver to be used as energy. In a high carbohydrate diet, the body produces glucose(the primary source of energy) and insulin leading for the fats to be stored. Reducing carb intake allows our body to operate in a state called ketosis. The idea is depriving yourself of just the carbohydrates to get the best results and not of all food.
Moreover, it works around the appetite increasing hormone called ‘ghrelin’. After eating, this hormone drops, varying inversely with how overweight one is. So whenever we lose weight in a carb diet, the ghrelin levels rise and the body feels starved resulting in their inevitable failure. However, this is not the case in a keto diet.
Different Variations of Ketogenic Diet
There are several variations of the Keto Diet:
1. Classic or the Original Ketogenic Diet
Macronutrient ratio 4:1 of fat to protein and carbs, 90% of calories come from fat, 6% from protein, and 4% from the carb.
2. Modified Ketogenic Diet
Modified Keto Diet is a less restricted form of the classic keto diet. The Macronutrient ratio in the modified keto diet varies between 2:1 – 1:1.
3. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) Oil Diet
The MCT oil diet is more flexible with a macronutrient ratio of 1:9:1 and also it allows a larger variety of food due to the higher carbohydrate and protein allowance.
4. Modified Atkins Diet
The Modified Atkins Diet is a mix of the classic ketogenic diet, and the Atkins Diet. the Modified Atkins Diet with a macronutrient ratio of 0:8:1 limits the number of carbs, encourages fat and does not limit protein.
5. Low Glycemic Index Diet
The Low Glycemic Index Diet does not intend to promote ketosis rather it emphasizes complex carbohydrates over simple sugars with a macronutrient ratio of 2:3.
6. Intermittent Fasting
The Ketogenic Diet provides the body enough fat which gets converted into fatty acids and ketones in the liver. This metabolic state is called ketosis. Both intermittent fasting and prolonged periods of fasting help the body to achieve ketosis. Fasting in this context refers to the complete restriction of macronutrients.
The macronutrient ratios and their caloric percentage counterpart for different variations of the ketogenic diet are summarized below:
|Classic Keto (4:1)||90%||6%||4%|
|Modified Keto (3:1)||87%||10%||3%|
|Modified Keto (2:1)||82%||12%||6%|
|Modified Keto (1:1)||70%||15%||15%|
|MCT Oil (1:9:1)||50% MCT / 21% LCT||19%||10%|
|Low Glycemic Index Diet (2:3)||60%||28%||12%|
|Modified Atkins Diet (0:8:1)||65%||29-32%||3-6%|
Ketogenic Diets Can Help You Lose Weight
Ketogenic Diets are very effective for weight loss. They help you lose fat, preserve muscle mass and lowers the risk of disease.
Mechanisms behind ketogenic diets and weight loss:
1. High Protein Intake
The increased intake of protein in some ketogenic diets aids in weight loss.
2. Food Elimination
Limiting your carb intake noticeably decreases your calorie intake, which is a key for weight loss.
3. Increased Fat Burning
Keto diets rapidly increase the amount of fat burned during rest, daily activity and exercise.
4. Appetite Suppressant
Keto diet keeps you full for a longer period of time due to changes in hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.
5. Decreased Fat Storage
Keto diets might have a reduced effect on the process involved in the conversion of sugar into fat.
Your body may burn extra calories each day during the conversion of fat and protein into carbs for fuel.
7. Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Keto diet helps to improve metabolism and fuel utilization by improving insulin sensitivity.
Basic Rules to Follow A Ketogenic Diet
Follow these basic rules if you want to try the keto diet for weight loss:
- You should aim for 20 grams of carbs or fewer per day.
- Stock up on meat, cheese, whole eggs, cream, fish, avocado, nuts, oils.
- Use MCT oil or coconut oil regularly or try taking supplements.
- Track your progress every 3-4 weeks.
- Don’t forget to eat your veggies they will help you keep full.
- Have a plan and go-to snacks or meals.
- Salt your food and you can even take electrolytes.
- Be consistent. There’s no shortcut to success.
Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
- Therapeutic for several brain disorders: enhanced cognition, increased memory, fewer migraines.
- Fighting some types of cancer.
- Suppress the appetite, as a result, you end up eating much fewer calories.
- Preventing Heart Disease: lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides in the blood, better cholesterol profiles.
- Decreasing Inflammation: Improves acne, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, arthritis, etc.
- Improve energy levels and sleep.
- Helps in proper kidney functioning and preventing gout by keeping the uric acid levels in check.
- Better Gastrointestinal and Gall Bladder Health: Improves digestion, less risk of gallstones, less gas and bloating, less heartburn and acid reflux.
- Assisting Women’s Health: Helps in stabilizing hormones and increased fertility.
- Eye Care: Less risk for cataracts and more stable vision.
- Assists in gaining muscle and improving endurance.
- Reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disorders while preventing muscle loss.
- Reduces blood sugar and insulin levels and assists in the improvement of Type 2 Diabetes.
- Effectively reverse the symptoms of neurologic and metabolic diseases.
Side-Effects of Ketogenic Diet
The keto diet promises rapid weight loss. But there can be serious health consequences and negative side effects for those who are unaware.
1. The “KETO FLU”
It includes poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance.
2. Nutritional Deficiencies
The keto diet entirely eliminates certain food groups and limits the types of food you can have. Many of these foods contain vitamins, nutrients, and minerals which you cannot get from any other source, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
3. Constipation and Bowel Changes
Keto Diet eliminates most fruits and vegetables, as these foods are rich in fiber they help keep you regular. Without these foods, you may experience difficulty having a bowel movement and eventually constipation.
4. Loss of Electrolytes
When the body enters ketosis, your body will start dumping its stores of glycogen, a substance in your fat and muscles that carries excess weight. This will increase how often you urinate and can lead to an unavoidable loss of electrolytes, Electrolytes are essential to cardiac function and normal heart beating.
During the early stages of the keto diet, people are prone to dehydration issues. Prevent dehydration by drinking more water—at least 2.5 liters per day—and start as soon as you begin cutting carbs in preparation for the diet.
6. Kidney Stones and Kidney Damage
High levels of nitrogen created by excess protein may increase pressure in your kidneys. This can lead to the formation of kidney stones and damage your kidney cells.
7. Bad Breath
Ketones, byproducts of the fat-burning process that are produced during ketosis are excreted by your lungs, they leave as foul-smelling acetone. Because of this fat-burning process, you may develop bad breath.
How Long Should I Be on The Ketogenic Diet?
A 3-month commitment to the diet is a minimum commitment to allow your body to fully adapt to the new fat based fuel source. Most people who follow a western diet are not proficient at metabolizing fat optimally, this period allows the body time to become “fat-adapted”, utilizing dietary fat efficiently and effectively. There are different types of nutritional plans that will enable a ketogenic lifestyle, and flexibility is one of the hallmarks of the diet that make it easy to adopt as a lifelong tool to improve your health.
Stay tuned for the next installment on the Keto Diet, we will discuss the foods we should eat, dietary information, who should do it and much more. Until next time, keep the faith!