The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat diet, vary similar to the Atkins diet and other low carb diets. By reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, this causes your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that causes the body to produce ketone bodies out of the fat and using them for energy, instead of using carbs.
When you eat carbs, your body produces glucose and insulin. Your body uses the glucose as the primary energy and causes the fat to be stored. So when you lower your carb intake, it causes the body to go into a ketosis state. Ketosis is a natural way for our body to help us survive when the body is starving. In this state, our bodies produce ketones. Ketones are produced from fats that the liver breaksdown from fat.
Essentially, the point of this diet is to force your body into a metabolic state. You are not starving yourself in this diet but actually starving your body of carbohydrates.
What Can You Eat on Keto Diet?
The following is some examples of what you can eat on a keto diet. Check out Tasteaholics guide for more details.
Meat like red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel
Eggs like omega-3 whole eggs
Unprocessed cheese like cheddar, goat, cream, blue cheese, and mozzarella
Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds etc.
Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
Avocados like whole and freshly made gucamole
Green vegetables and low-carb veggies like tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
What Foods Should Be Avoided?
Sugary foods like soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream and candy etc.
Grains and starches like wheat-based products, rice, pasta, and cereal etc.
Beans like peas, kidney beans, lentil, and chickpeas etc.
Root vegetable like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc.
Some condiments, low-fat, alcohol, and sugar-free diet food can contain carbs and sugar that is processed.
There have been many studies that show a keto diet can possibly help with some health conditions. However, these studies are far from conclusive. The ketogenic diet was originally created for treating neurological diseases, but there are some cases that have helped with the following health conditions. The ketogenic diet improved risk factors and reduced symptoms for heart disease, some cancers, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Polycystic ovary syndrome, brain injuries and helped with acne. It is recommended to talking with your doctor and a nutritionists if you have concerns.
What Are The Side Effects of Keto Diet?
There are many common side effects that have been associated with starting a keto diet. The most common is called induction flu, which can mimic flu-like symptoms. Headaches, feeling tired, lethargic, nausea, experiencing brain confusion, leg cramps, constipation, bad breath, heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure, and even temporary hair loss are all common side effects reported when starting a keto diet. Most of these side effects usually end after being on the diet for a weeks. It has been said that adding more salt and water to your diet will help with some of these side effects as a last resort.
Speak with your doctor or a nutritionist, if you think this diet is best for you. There are some health benefits to this diet but check with your doctor to be sure if it is right for you. There are plenty of guides for beginners to start this diet. Keto Academy program is a good beginners guide, if you are interested.
Special thanks to Diet Doctor for cover photo
*Note: There is no shame in starting a diet but I would strongly recommend speaking with a nutritionist and your doctor before starting any diet.