The ketogenic diet or for short keto diet is a low carb diet, high-fat diet, and moderate protein diet. Because of that, your body burns fat for energy instead of burning carbs. As you can imagine this involves reducing your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat intake. Which puts your body into a metabolic state named ketosis.
In this stage, your body becomes efficient at burning fat. Because it doesn’t have any carbs it has to produce energy from something else. And that something else is fat, which is processed by the liver and turn into a compound called ketone, used by the body as an energy source.
On a typical diet, your body will use carbs as a primary source of energy, which is turned into the liver in glucose. Because of that, your body will no longer need fat, which is stored in fat cells. But when food intake is low your body enters the ketogenic state burning body fat. This is a normal and natural process.
The idea of this diet is to make your body enter this stage and burn fat without starving yourself, and there are many health advantages to this including weight loss. Another way to enter this stage is by fasting.
What to eat
To remain in a ketosis state it is better to eat fewer carbs, the fewer the better. Keep your carbs intake lower than 50 grams. If you can under 20 grams is even better.
- low carb meat, aim for less than 5% carbs and a normal amount of meat is enough (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb etc)
- fish and seafood, all fish are good and fatty fish are the best (tuna, salmon, herring etc)
- natural fat (coconut oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil etc)
- vegetables growing above the ground (spinach, kale, broccoli etc)
- high-fat dairy, aim for unprocessed dairy
- nuts and seeds (walnuts, sunflower seeds, avocado)
- condiments (salt, pepper etc)
Avoid this food
All foods that are high in carbs should be eliminated from your diet.
- sugar (all sweets, honey, artificial sweeteners also you should read labels for hidden sugar)
- grains and starches (bread, pasta, pizza, rice, corn, cereals etc)
- root vegetables and tubers (carrots, potatoes, sweet patents etc)
- beans and legumes (lentils, peas etc)
- low-fat dairy
- all process foods
- fried food
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You can drink water, sparkling water, tea, coffee but don’t use sweeteners. And some experts say that the occasional glass of wine is ok.
Avoid drinking sodas, diet sodas, juices, frappuccino, energy drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, vitamin water, soy milk, coconut water, cafe late, beer because these drinks have calories from carbohydrates.
Regarding alcohol, pure spirits are accepted because they don’t have any carbs. Wishy, brandy, tequila shot, dry martini, vodka. But if you add sweeteners, sodas, juices, syrups, energy drink or anything else that has carbs your drink will not be accepted on a keto diet. Drinks like a margarita, Cuba Libre, cosmopolitan, body marry etc.
Types of keto diet
There is more than one way of doing keto. And this need comes because there are people like athletes who want to build mussels and sustain an intense workout. So keto has evolved in more than one type.
The only difference is the variation in protein and carbohydrates. But if you are not an athlete the standard keto diet is perfect for you, especially if you want to lose weight.
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD) This is the standard diet, that most people use for weight loss. Where 75% of your diet comes from fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs (less than 50 grams)
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) You are adding carbs before or after a workout and the rest of the day you follow the standard keto diet. This diet is not for weight loss but for physical performance boost.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) This is a variation of keto for bodybuilders where you give yourself a day or two per week to eat carbs so you resupply glycogen stores. And for the rest of the week, you follow the standard diet.
High-protein ketogenic diet Design for heavy training and muscle building. This is similar to the standard diet but with one difference, you add more protein. You eat 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
How do you know you are in ketosis
As I said ketosis is a stage in which your body uses ketones as a fuel source instead of glucose.
Ketones = a source of energy made from fat that is processed in the liver, resulting in ketones.
Glucose = a source of energy made from carbohydrates that are processed in the liver, resulting in glucose.
There is a couple of different analyses that you can take to know that you are in keto stage. Blood test (that measure your blood glucose and blood ketones), urine testing and breath samples.
But there are also different signs that don’t require testing.
- Increase urination, keto is a natural diuretic and because of that, you will go to the bathroom more than usual.
- A dry month and first, the more liquids you eliminate the more you will feel a dry month and an increased first. Your body is telling you that he needs more electrolytes (like salt).
- Keto breathes, your breath will smell like fruits, that happens because of a ketone called acetone that is eliminated through your breath. But this is a temporary effect.
- Reduced hunger, you will see that you will get less hungry than before and you can go much longer without eating. This happens because your body will use its own fat as a source of energy.
- Increased energy, first days you will feel tired, in this period your body changes focus from producing and burning glucose to producing and burning ketones. After that period your body gets efficient at this and you will fell an increase in energy.
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