The ketogenic diet is considered by many to be a miracle diet for losing weight quickly. But what is this extreme diet, and what advantages and disadvantages does it bring? EAT SMARTER explains.
Table Of Contents
- What is the ketogenic diet?
- What does a ketogenic diet look like?
- What foods are prohibited?
- What foods are allowed?
- Our free meal plan
- Keto Diet: An Experience Report
- What Are the Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet?
- Lose weight with the ketogenic diet
- Health benefits in diabetes & epilepsy
- What Are the Disadvantages of a Ketogenic Diet?
- frequently asked Questions
- Our 20 best ketogenic recipes
- Knowledge to take away
What is the ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a form of a low-carb diet. It is characterized by an extraordinarily low-carbohydrate and low-sugar, but very high-fat diet. Due to the lack of carbohydrates, the metabolism changes and gets into the so-called ” ketosis. “
What exactly is ketosis? Usually, the body gains energy from the carbohydrates in the diet – it is, therefore, dependent on the supply of glucose. If these carbohydrates are missing as an energy supplier, the body has to help itself in another way.
In the liver, fats are then converted into so-called ketone bodies, which are used instead of carbohydrates to generate energy and, for example, maintain the performance of the brain. This state of energy production is called “ketosis” and is the principle on which the ketogenic diet is based. It takes the body some time to get used to this changing process.
The ketogenic diet is a form of a low-carb diet and is based on high-fat and extremely low-carbohydrate food intake. Due to the lack of carbohydrates, the body burns more fat as a source of energy.
Read also: Common Myths Associated With Keto Diet.
What does a ketogenic diet look like?
During a ketogenic diet, energy needs should be met as follows:
- Carbohydrates: 10 percent
- Proteins: 30 percent
- Fat: 60 percent
What foods are prohibited?
If you want to eat a ketogenic diet, carbohydrate-containing foods are taboo. Therefore, the following foods are rarely or not on the menu in the ketogenic diet:
- Cereals: pasta, rice, muesli
- Legumes: chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils
- Bulbous / root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parsnips
- Z uckerhaltiges: candy, soft drinks, and sugary fruit drinks, cakes
- Fruit: high-sugar types of fruit such as bananas, apples or pineapples
- Unhealthy fats: industrially processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise
- Ready meals & spice mixes: often contain a lot of sugar
- low-fat diet products
What foods are allowed?
The list of prohibited foods is long – so what’s left? Fatty foods and protein must be integrated into the diet. This should often land on the plate:
- Meat: red meat, steak, ham, bacon, chicken, and turkey
- Oily fish: salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel
- Dairy products: butter, cream, cheese (cheddar, goat, cream cheese, mozzarella)
- Nuts & seeds: walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, linseed, chia seeds
- ( low-carb) vegetables: especially green vegetables, tomatoes, onions and avocado
- healthy oils: virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
- Spices: salt, pepper, herbs
- Fruit: low-sugar types of fruit in small quantities such as berries
What Are the Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet?
Such an extreme waiver shouldn’t be in vain. So what’s the background to this diet? Here we present the advantages of this diet form.
Lose weight with the ketogenic diet
The word “diet” already implies: this diet can help you lose weight and thus counteract obesity. Some studies even showed that the ketogenic diet is far more effective than the low-fat diet. Also, no calories have to be counted on this diet.
Research showed that people who consumed a ketogenic diet lost more than twice as much weight and body fat as the group who followed a low-calorie, low-calorie diet.
According to studies, the ketogenic diet is more effective than low-fat diets because it relies on increased protein intake. This has already shown health-promoting effects in many studies. Lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity also play a role in the success of the ketogenic diet.
Since many are still looking for the miracle cure to lose weight as quickly as possible, the question also arises here: How fast can you lose weight with the ketogenic diet?
Food coach and fitness trainer Kirsten Sellmer says: “The motto for losing weight is: It is better to do it slowly, but permanently. If you lose weight in a short time, as many diets and weight loss programs promise, you lose water – and with a small amount, Calorie intake also includes a certain amount of muscle mass. However, the energy from the fat reserves is hardly used. If you then return to your original diet, the yo-yo effect is programmed, and the love handles continue to grow. “
Health benefits in diabetes & epilepsy
This condition, also known as diabetes, exists primarily in two forms: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system targets the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This means that the body can no longer utilize the sugar it consumes. In type 2 diabetes, the cells become insensitive to insulin. This insulin resistance increases the blood sugar level.
A ketogenic diet was particularly useful in type 2 diabetes: insulin resistance was reduced by 75 percent, and increased fat burning had a positive effect on the weight of the patient – overweight is one of the causes of type 2 diabetes. In one study, seven out of 21 types two diabetes patients could even do without any medication if they followed a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet for diabetes patients also proved itself in a comparative study: the ketogenic test group lost 11.1 kilograms, while the group that ate more carbohydrates only lost 6.9 kilograms. This is particularly important when it comes to being overweight in type 2 diabetes. Here too, 95.2 percent of the ketogenic testers could do without medication, but only 62 percent of the carbohydrate group.
The ketogenic diet has long been recommended for children with epilepsy or Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s disease is also based on insulin resistance in the brain: blood sugar cannot be absorbed by the cells in the brain. The ketone bodies that result from a ketogenic diet can potentially serve as a replacement supplier for the energy deficit. Damaged brain cells cannot be regenerated in this way, but weakened cells could be strengthened as a result.
The ketogenic diet has also been shown to be useful in other diseases. Before starting a ketogenic diet for medical reasons, it should be clarified with a doctor.
- Heart disease: The ketogenic diet lowers body fat, blood pressure, and blood sugar, and improves HDL cholesterol
- Acne: A low insulin level and the consumption of little sugar or processed foods have a positive effect on the complexion
- Cancer: In some studies, a ketogenic diet could slow tumor growth. This is because many cancer cells primarily draw energy from sugar, but hardly utilize fats and fatty acids. However, this is only a supporting measure and not as a substitute for medical treatment use .
What Are the Disadvantages of a Ketogenic Diet?
So far, no specific side effects of the ketogenic diet have been identified. The following symptoms sometimes appear in the changeover phase: fatigue increased feeling of hunger, sleep problems, headaches, nausea, and digestive problems. These complaints are usually over after a few days.
To avoid this, a gentle start can be chosen and started with a healthy low-carb diet. You should also make sure that you eat until you are full. A targeted restriction of calorie intake is not necessary because the body will automatically burn fat and protein through ketosis.
Nevertheless, a ketogenic diet should always be carried out under medical supervision. With medical backgrounds, the step to ketogenic nutrition should be done in consultation with the doctor and not independently. But also when it comes to losing weight, this should first be clarified with a doctor.
Because a high-fat diet can lead to deposits on the vessels, which in turn can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, uric acid production increases through a ketogenic diet, which increases the risk of gout. This is also why the doctor should be regularly visited, and uric acid checked.
There are also insufficient studies on the ketogenic diet. Like behind every food, the yo-yo trap lurks as soon as the menu is ended. You should be aware of this before starting the ketogenic diet.
Such an extreme limitation also affects the quality of life. If the ketogenic diet has a therapeutic or health background, this decision is made with the doctor anyway. If it is about losing weight in the long term, you should make this decision to make the extreme switch because even a balanced and long-term change in diet in combination with sport leads to the goal of losing weight!
Kirsten Sellmer recommends: “A healthy weight loss rate is around half a kilo to a kilo per week. However, the initial weight also plays a role here.”
frequently asked Questions
1. Do you lose muscle with the ketogenic diet?
Muscle loss can occur with any diet. The high protein content in the ketogenic diet, however, minimizes this, and additional strength training can build muscles. This can be a little more difficult than with regular carbohydrate-rich food.
2. Do I have to do without carbohydrates forever?
No. However, you should avoid this during the first two to three months, after which it can even be beneficial to consume more calories and more carbohydrates now and then. This keeps your metabolism busy. After that, however, the ketogenic diet should be strictly followed again.
3. How much protein do I need to eat on the ketogenic diet?
Sufficient proteins should be eaten with the ketogenic diet, but not too much either. This can raise the level of insulin and reduce the formation of ketones. Proteins should cover about 35 percent of the energy requirement.