Numerous scientific studies show that ketogenic diets can help you lose weight, and be beneficial against diabetes, some cancers, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, candidiasis … Here in this comprehensive and detailed guide, all information on the ketogenic diet, also called keto (of the English ketogenic diet).
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate , high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins diet and other low carbohydrate diets.
Normally our body converts carbohydrates into glucose, but with a diet low in carbohydrates (sugars), the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis . When this happens, the body increases its ability to burn fat to convert it into energy. For this, it transforms triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids, which the liver transforms into ketone bodies (a process called ketogenesis).
When does ketosis occur?
The body goes into ketosis when the carbohydrate intake is so low that it can not use it as a fuel source. In general, this occurs when fat accounts for 60 to 70% of overall calories, 20 to 30% protein, and less than 50 grams a day of carbohydrates.
It usually takes less than a day for the body to start producing ketone bodies for energy purposes.
A sure sign that this happens : when your breath starts to smell acetone. By the way, acetone stinks and gives you bad breath.
The 3 different types of ketogenic diets
The classic ketogenic diet : with a very low carbohydrate intake, a lot of protein and fat.
The cyclic ketogenic diet : this variant involves periods of carbohydrate recharge, with for example 5 days ketogenic followed by 2 days of carbohydrate refills.
Targeted Ketogen : Allows you to add carbohydrates around workouts.
What foods are allowed in the ketogenic diet?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of foods that can be consumed as part of the ketogenic diet:
Meat : red meat, ham, sausages, bacon, chicken and turkey.
Oily fish : salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and seafood.
Eggs : if possible raised outdoors because they contain more omega-3 2 .
Butter and cream : Look for grass-fed cow products where possible (better nutritional qualities).
Cheeses in moderation: Blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, whole white cheese, feta, mozzarella, whole milk ricotta cheese, Gruyere cheese.
Nuts and seeds in moderation: almonds and walnuts , flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
Vegetable oils in moderation: mainly extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, linseed oil, fish oil .
Low carbohydrate vegetables: most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
Low sugar fruits : blueberries, lemon, raspberries, strawberries.
Condiments : you can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Other : dark chocolate and cocoa powder, coffee and unsweetened tea
Do not eat too much cheese that contains a lot of protein. Excess protein can trigger gluconeogenesis (making glucose from certain amino acids).
Seeds and nuts are rich in omega-6 fatty acids (except macadamia) which our body has too much. This can cause inflammation, which can itself impede the keto-adaptation.
Same note for vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower, etc.) too rich in omega-6.
What are the foods to avoid?
In short, any high carbohydrate food should be removed:
Sweet foods : soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, sweets, etc.
Cereals or starches : flour-based products, wheat, rice, pasta, etc.
Fruits : all fruits, except small portions of fruits such as berries.
Legumes : peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas.
Root and tuber vegetables : potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips.
Alcohol : Due to its carbohydrate content, many alcoholic drinks can make you go out of the state of ketosis.