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Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet

Keto Diet

If you actively keep an eye on the latest weight loss trends, you may have already come across the ketogenic or keto diet. The diet was primarily developed to treat neurological issues, but it soon turned into a quick and healthy way of losing weight — thanks to the low-carb advocates.

So, what is keto diet? It is a high-fat and low-carb diet that promotes the body to convert fat deposits (instead of carbs/glucose) into energy. 

Research studies have reported various health benefits of keto diet, including weight loss and treating epilepsy, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. But since every good comes with bad, we can’t ignore the downsides of this diet. 

Let’s unlock the secrets of the keto diet and the foods to eat and avoid. We will also give you a 5-day keto diet plan for an easy kickstart!

What Is Keto Diet?

The keto diet is a century-old way of treating medical conditions and boosting optimal health. This low-carb, high-fat diet was first introduced in the 19th century for diabetes management. Soon, in 1920, it was used to treat epilepsy in children who were not responding positively to medication. 

Later, clinical researchers tested the diet’s efficacy on cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOs), and Alzheimer’s disease. 

In the 1970s, the Atkins diet — a low-carb and high-protein diet — popularized the “low-carb” phenomenon and became a huge commercial success. It set the ground for other low-carb diets, including the keto diet. 

Compared to the other high-protein, low-carb diets, the keto diet is high in fats, around 70% to 80%, with low to moderate protein. 

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

The keto diet revolves around depriving the body of carbohydrates, which are the main source of glucose. 

The glucose provides energy to the body cells to ensure proper functioning. Instead of carbohydrates, the keto diet makes your body extract energy from the stored fat, reducing the overall fat content in the body. This type of energy is called “ketones.”

A normal human brain requires around 120 grams of glucose daily as it doesn’t store the compound. During keto fasting, when you eat minimal carbs, your body starts to break down glucose from the liver to release it in the blood. 

Once the stored glucose is completely utilized, the hormone insulin decreases, and the body starts to look up to the fat deposits for energy. The liver begins breaking down the fat to create ketone bodies, keeping your body up and running without glucose.

That’s how the keto diet works.

4 Types of the Keto Diet

You will come across multiple types of the keto diet, each including different types of food and proportions. The 4 most common ones include:

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): It contains 10% carbs, 20% protein, and 70% fat.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): It involves 5 ketogenic days and 2 days of higher-carb refeeds.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): With this diet, you can take carbs around physical workout sessions. 
  • High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD): It includes 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 60% fat.

The SKD and HPKD are common among fitness enthusiasts. The CKD and TKD are more popular among athletes and bodybuilders.

Keto Diet: Foods To Eat and Avoid

If you’ve been wanting to go on the keto diet for long, it’s high time you do some practical work. Keto diet is a great way to live a happy and healthy life. So, head to your nearest supermarket and get your hands on these keto diet foods: 

  • Meat: Red meat, chicken, ham, turkey, sausage, and bacon
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel
  • Eggs: Pastured eggs
  • Dairy Products: Grass-fed butter, heavy cream, and unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, goat, cream, or blue
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Oil: Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil
  • Veggies: Green veggies, onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, herbs, and any low-carb spices
  • Snacks: Low-carb sushi bites, hard-boiled eggs, keto-friendly protein bars, 90% dark chocolate, full-fat Greek yogurt, strawberries, avocado, guacamole, celery, salsa, and beef jerky.

Your main focus should be on whole, one-ingredient keto diet foods. Now, which foods should you avoid? As a rule of thumb, don’t go close to high-carb foods, such as:

  • Sugary Items: Sodas, smoothies, fruit juices, cakes, ice cream, candies, alcohol, etc.
  • Grains: Wheat-based products, such as rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruits: All fruits, except berries (small quantities)
  • Beans or Legumes: Peas, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc.
  • Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, etc.
  • Low-Fat Products: Low-fat mayonnaise, salad dressings, and condiments
  • Unhealthy Fats: Processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.

Keto Diet Plan Example

Here is an example of a keto diet plan for 5 days:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Egg muffins, your favorite veggies, and baby tomatoes
  • Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad with olive oil, feta cheese, and olives
  • Dinner: Salmon with any green veggie stir-fried in butter
  • Snacks: A handful of strawberries with Greek yogurt

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Spinach omelet, boiled eggs, tomatoes, and almond milk
  • Lunch: Peanut butter with stevia milkshake or smoothie, salad, and sliced strawberries
  • Dinner: Tacos with salsa and cheese
  • Snacks: Low-carb sushi bites

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Nut milk and chia pudding with coconut and blackberry toppings
  • Lunch: Avocado shrimp/tuna salad
  • Dinner: Pork/lamb chops with parmesan cheese and salad
  • Snacks: Keto-friendly protein bars

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Omelet with avocado, tomatoes, and almond milk
  • Lunch: A handful of nuts with guacamole/salsa
  • Dinner: Chicken/turkey stuffed with pesto or cream cheese and stir-fried veggies
  • Snacks: 90% dark chocolate

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Sugar-free Greek yogurt with peanut butter and berries
  • Lunch: Ground beef/chicken tacos with diced bell peppers
  • Dinner: Loaded cauliflower with cheese and mixed veggies
  • Snacks: Hard-boiled eggs

As you can see, it’s all about mixing and matching. Depending on your mood, you can make variations in your daily meals, but stick with low-carb and high-fat keto diet foods. 

The Benefits of Keto Diet

The benefits of keto diet go far beyond treating epilepsy. Studies have found its efficacy in improving different health conditions, including:

However, more research is required in many areas to be sure of the benefits of keto diet. 

The Side Effects of Keto Diet

The keto diet is generally safe for healthy people with no underlying medical issues. However, as your body becomes used to the dietary change, you may experience a few side effects. 

The most common side effect of the keto diet is the keto flu, which causes constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Typically, it goes away within a few days.

Some less common side effects of the keto diet include:

  • Nausea
  • Low energy
  • Increased hunger
  • Sleep difficulties 
  • Digestive issues
  • Compromised mental functioning
  • Poor workout performance

The good news is that you can easily avoid these symptoms. Try having a low-carb diet in the first few weeks instead of eliminating them. This will make your body adaptable to burning more fat. 

You can also add extra salt to your meals to regulate your water and mineral imbalance. Moreover, don’t be too strict in restricting your calories, and try keeping yourself full. The keto diet plan usually results in weight loss even without calorie restriction. 

Conclusion

The keto diet is an effective and old-school way of losing weight and treating many health issues. It is healthy and doesn’t cause any severe side effects. 

The main concept of the keto diet is to include low carbs, moderate proteins, and high fats, so your body will rely on the fat deposits for energy instead of the glucose. It results in apparent changes in your body, making you look fitter and feel healthier. 

Stay in touch with your doctor to achieve optimal health most safely. 

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