What is the Keto Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. In general, well-formulated ketogenic diet will consist of approximately 5-10% carbohydrates, 15-30% protein, and 60-75% fats. These numbers are guidelines and should be adjusted for the needs and goals of the patient.
The metabolism breakdown
The theory is that you lose weight diet due to the breakdown of both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones. Nutritional ketosis is a metabolic state that shifts the body’s main energy source from glucose to ketones. It differs from a diabetic ketoacidosis, where ketonemia can exceed 20 mmol/L with a concomitant lowering of blood pH. In nutritional ketosis, ketonemia reaches a maximum level of 7-8 mmol/L with no change in blood pH. Healthy ketosis is considered 0.5 to 3.0 mM blood ketones and can test via urine strips.
What foods are allowed?
Mostly fatssuch as oils, mayonnaise, avocado and fatty meats like skin-on poultry, fattier parts like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, egg yolks, salmon, tuna, pork shoulder, and bacon. For vegetables, you opt for those lower in carbohydrates such spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers.
Proteinis not as big a part of the diet as fat given that in small amounts, the body can change protein to glucose. Excess amino acids, from the ingestion of protein beyond that which is needed for muscle growth and repair, can be converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis. Therefore, if you surpass your protein intake, it will slow down your body’s transition into ketosis.
The cons and pros
During the first week, you may experience what they call the “keto flu” with symptoms muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and mental fogginess and hunger. By week four you can expect some weight-loss and the “flu” symptoms should improve as your body adjusts to the new energy source. You will know you are in ketosis either by using over-the-counter urine test or with more subjective symptoms like, bad or fruity breath, reduced hunger, sharper mental focus and changes in exercise performance.
You will probably lose weight in the short-term, however there are limited randomized, double-blinded clinical trials to assess success for patients following the diet long-term. One study with 20 participants published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition found that those on the diet did not lose more weight than those on a non-keto diet. But they did have fouler moods and higher levels of inflammation.
People with kidney or liver conditions should not attempt a Keto diet. Pregnant or nursing women, underweight people, those with a history of eating disorders or anyone with heart disease should first consult with their physician and dietitian before attempting this diet. The use of the Keto diet for people with diabetes is controversial, especially for those taking insulin, would require careful monitoring.
A daily multivitamin with minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium can fill in potential gaps. It is also important to ensure you obtain 25-30 g of fiber daily
If you decide to pursue the Keto diet, incorporate unsaturated fats such as avocado, olive oil, avocado oil, some nuts and seeds rather than inflammatory fats like animal fats.
Fats: Olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, avocado oil, MCT oil, avocados
Proteins: Beef, poultry, eggs, fish (grass-fed)
Non-starchy veggies: Leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), cucumbers
Eat sparingly (have some carbs)
Full-fat dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt
Medium-starchy veggies: Carrots, beets, parsnips, artichokes, potatoes
Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Fruits: Berries, bananas, melons
Foods to avoid
All types of sugar: coconut sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup
Grains: Wheat, oats, all types of rice, corn
All foods made with flour: Breads, pastas
All processed/packaged food