The Ketogenic diet
In this article we will discuss what the keto diet is, how it works, and some of the benefits that you can expect to see. We'll also provide a beginner's guide to getting started on the keto diet so that you can begin reaping its rewards right away!
How does it work?
Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
What are some of the benefits of the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet has been shown to lead to weight loss, increased energy levels, mental clarity, and a host of other health benefits. Some of the specific benefits that have been associated with the keto diet include improved insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, reduced inflammation, and more.
Who is this diet for?
If you are a person who:
- has been following a low-fat diet for years,
- eat foods labeled "diet" or "light",
- want to reduce insulin resistance,
- experiences the yo-yo effect,
then the ketogenic diet is for you!
Also, if you are someone who struggles with:
- high cholesterol,
- high blood pressure,
- celiac disease,
- insulin resistance,
- polycystic ovary syndrome,
- lack of energy
then the ketogenic diet could also be the solution you've been looking for!
Types of ketogenic diets
There are a few different types of ketogenic diets that you can try out. The type that you choose should depend on your goals.
Standard ketogenic diet is the most common type of keto diet that people follow. It involves eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. The ratio of fat to carbohydrates should be around 80:20. For example, if you consume 2000 calories per day, then 1600 of those calories should come from fat and only 400 of those calories should come from carbohydrates.
Cyclical ketogenic diet is a variation of the standard keto diet that allows for more carbohydrates to be consumed on certain days of the week. For example, you might eat a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet during the week and then eat a higher-carbohydrate diet on the weekends.
Targeted ketogenic diet is another variation of the keto diet that allows for more carbohydrates to be consumed around exercise. This can help you to have more energy during your workouts and improve your performance.
High protein ketogenic diet is a variation of the ketogenic diet that includes a higher ratio of protein. This can be helpful if you are looking to build muscle mass.
How to start a ketogenic diet?
First, you will need to calculate your macronutrient ratios. This will help you determine how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you should be eating each day.
Second, you will need to find keto-friendly foods that you can include in your diet.
And third, you will need to make sure that you are getting enough electrolytes each day.
You can figure out about how many calories you require daily using the following equation (or try a trustworthy online calculator, such as the one provided by the National Institutes of Health):
Male: 66.5 + 13.8 x (Weight in kg) + 5 x (Height in cm); 6.8 x age
Female: 655.1 + 9.6 x (Weight in kg) + 1.9 x (Height in cm); 4.7 x age
Next, multiply your total by one of the following, depending on your level of physical activity:
- Sedentary (little to no physical activity): 1.2
- Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days per week): 1.375
- Moderately Active (moderate exercise 5-7 days per week): 1.55
- Very Active (intense exercise everyday, or twice per day): 1.725
- Extra Active (hard exercise at least twice per day, training for a marathon, triathlon, etc): 1.9
This should give you an idea of approximately how many calories you need to maintain your weight. If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by staying below your baseline.
As a general rule of thumb, consuming 500 calories below your daily needs results in about one pound of weight loss per week. If weight loss is a goal of yours, consider utilizing an exogenous ketone keto supplement such as Keto Fire that features ingredients to help support a healthy metabolism and healthy weight management, while also boosting your energy level.
Since fat makes up the biggest chunk of your diet, it’s the easiest macronutrient to get started with. If you’re aiming for healthy fats to comprise about 70 percent of total daily calories, then you should multiply your total calorie needs by 0.70, which will determine the amount of calories which should come from fat. Then, simply divide that number by 9 (which is the number of calories in each gram of fat) to find how many grams of fat you need per day. As an example, if you are aiming for 2,000 calories per day, with 70 percent from fat, that means that you should be eating about 1,400 calories per day of fat, which translates to about 156 grams.
This might seem like a lot of fat, and it is (that’s the point!), but you can meet your needs more easily by including health-focused performance fats like olive and coconut oil, grass-fed butter and MCT oil in your diet.
Balancing protein intake is important, however. If protein makes up too much of your keto macros percentage, it can keep you from reaching ketosis. One convenient way to get the protein you need without consuming added sugar or too much carbs is to utilize Keto Protein powder. To determine how much protein you need, you’ll follow a similar set of steps as you did for fat. For instance, if you’re shooting for 2,000 calories per day and protein makes up about 15 percent of your daily keto ratio, you should multiply 2,000 by 0.15, which equates to 300 calories per day from protein. Next, divide 300 by 4 (which is the number of calories in each gram of protein) to determine how many grams of protein you need, which comes out to about 75 grams per day.
The Ketogenic Diet: What Can You Eat?
A low-carbohydrate diet means simplifying the food and the ingredients we will eat. The first step is to know what foods we can and cannot eat. The easiest way to categorize your products is to think of them in terms of green, red, and yellow foods:
🟢 Food marked with green light can be eaten as much as you want:
- Healthy fats from oils: coconut, avocado, macadamia, olives, sesame, fish, nuts and seed oils.
- Other healthy fats: lard, bacon fat, tallow, duck, goose and chicken fats, whole and refined butter, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (best in fatty fish and seafood).
- High-fat foods: avocados, olives, nuts.
- Beef, lamb, goat meat, game, pork, chicken, turkey.
- Fishes and seafood.
- Non-starchy vegetables: kale, lettuce, arugula, kohlrabi, zucchini, celery, asparagus, cucumber.
- Mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, and pickles.
🔴 Red light foods will keep you from reaching ketosis and should therefore be completely eliminated:
- Processed foods: anything with carrageenan, MSG, sulfites.
- Sugar foods and sweets: table sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, dietary foods, and artificial sweeteners (including those advertised as "low or no carbohydrate").
- Grains: wheat, barley, rice, buckwheat, rye, corn, millet, bulgur, pasta, bread, pizza dough.
- High-sugar fruits and juices: bananas, papayas, mangoes, pineapples, grapes, dried fruit (including dates and raisins).
🟡 Yellow light foods are foods that need to be restricted or eaten sparingly in order to achieve and maintain ketosis:
- Vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas.
- Mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers.
- Root vegetables: leeks, onion, garlic, radish, pumpkin, celery root, carrots, beets.
- Processed: grain, meat, dairy, eggs, cheese.
- Fruits: blueberries, rhubarb, watermelon, cantaloupe, melons, citrus fruits, apples, kiwi, figs.
- Some nuts and seeds.
How will I know if I have reached ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body begins to burn fat and convert it into energy, instead of glucose. For this reason, the build-up of bodies - called ketones - is used as the primary source of energy. Remember - ketosis is the main focus of the ketogenic diet.
To measure the level of ketones in your bloodstream, you'll need to purchase a test kit (also available from most pharmacies). You'll need to prick your finger and then place a drop of blood on the test strip, which measures your ketosis level. While blood level testing is the most accurate way to determine if you're in ketosis, these test kits are more expensive, so you'll likely choose urine strips.
What side effects should I watch out for?
Making a drastic change in your diet often has side effects. If you start a ketogenic diet and notice some side effects like low blood sugar, cravings for sweets, a decline in strength, or
changes in the functioning of the bladder and intestines. But don't worry! You can work around them by making careful dietary changes:
The ketogenic diet will bring you health improvement, energy gains and weight loss. As you meet your overall health goals, you may find that you gradually become able to add more carbohydrates to your diet. However, all of this should take the form of healthy food - like more types of vegetables and fruits.
Before your ketogenic diet starts in earnest, make sure you are ready to commit to this lifestyle and can overcome your craving for high-carb sweets and snacks. The good news is that when you start the ketogenic diet, you'll likely see quick physical results. Then you will notice a decrease in the desire to snack and eat carbohydrates!