Going on a ketogenic diet comes with a lot of health benefits that range from losing excess weight to getting better concentration as well as getting increased energy levels. This diet comes with benefits, that by far, go beyond what a lot of people know.
This article will let you know all about a ketogenic diet and the benefits as well as side effects it comes with.
- 1 What is a Keto Diet?
- 2 Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- 3 What to Eat on a Keto Diet
- 4 What is Ketosis?
- 5 Is Ketogenic Diet Healthy?
- 6 Ketogenic Diet FAQ
- 7 Ketogenic Diet Recipes
What is a Keto Diet?
A keto diet is a diet which is well known to be very low in carbs. With this, the body produces ketones in the body which will serve as energy. This diet has many names to which it is referred to. It is also called low carb diet or low carb high fat among a number of other names.
Typically, normal diets with high amounts of carbohydrate mean that the body will use glucose as its primary source of energy. This also means that the fats in your body are not needed for energy and so, are stored. However, when you lower your intake of carbohydrates, your body is taken into a state which is known as ketosis.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
Very good ketone levels come with a lot of benefits which range from weight loss to better mental and physical performance. Eating diets low on carbohydrates can be beneficial to just about anyone. Here are some of those benefits which a ketogenic diet has to offer.
1. A ketogenic diet helps with weight loss. Essentially, the ketogenic diet uses the fat in your body as a primary source of energy. When you are on a keto diet, the level of your insulin will drop greatly and help your body to burn fat. This reduction in the level of fat in your body will automatically help the loss of weight.
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2. A ketogenic diet helps to increase your level of energy as well as reduce hunger. Since the ketogenic diet uses body fats as a primary source of energy, your body will have a more reliable source of energy. This will make sure that you have a lot more energy to use throughout your day. In addition, since fats are more satisfying, you will find that you fill full for longer periods of time.
3. A ketogenic diet helps to control blood sugar. As a result of the kinds of food you eat on a keto diet, the level of sugar in your body will be lowered. This can also help to manage as well as prevent diabetes.
4. A ketogenic diet helps in insulin resistance. A ketogenic diet, since it is low in carbs, helps to lower insulin to a lot healthier levels. This will also help to keep away the risk of diabetes.
5. A ketogenic diet helps with mental focus. When you reduce your intake of carbs, you prevent unhealthy levels of increase in your blood sugar. This will help you to get better concentration and focus.
6. A ketogenic diet helps to control cholesterol and blood pressure. Some of the blood pressure issues which many people face are associated with excess weight. Since keto diet can help you to lose weight, the blood pressure issues which come with too much weight can be well taken care of.
Keto diets also help to improve cholesterol levels which are mostly linked to arterial build up.
7. A ketogenic diet helps to improve the conditions of epileptic patients. With a ketogenic diet, an epilepsy patient can use even fewer medications and still have excellent results. Both adults and children who suffer from epilepsy can use a keto diet to improve their condition.
What to Eat on a Keto Diet
It is important to plan ahead when you want to start a keto diet. You should have a workable diet plan ready before you begin because it will determine how fast you get into a ketogenic state.
This diet plan should ultimately be one that very much limits carbohydrate. You should completely avoid refined carbohydrates like starch, wheat, and even fruit.
Avoid foods like pasta, potatoes, cereals, bread, and legumes. You can take fruits like star fruit, avocado, and berries but you should take these in moderation. You should generally avoid sugar, tubers, grains, and fruit.
It can definitely be difficult to follow a healthy diet especially if it is something you are not used to but you are going to get the results you look forward to.
Basically, it is important to eat real food such as eggs, meat, vegetables, yogurt, and nuts. Occasionally, you can have some fruits. It is also very advisable and totally recommended that you leave processed food out of your diet as well and any food that comes with colorings preservatives.
Ultimately, keto diet is about beginning to live a healthier lifestyle. Here is a comprehensive list of what to and what to not eat on a keto diet;
What To Eat Anytime
1. Grass-fed animals and wild animal sources
Lamb, beef, venison, goat, wild-caught fish as well as seafood, poultry, pastured eggs, butter, gelatin, ghee and pastured pork. These foods are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Also, eat offal, and grass-fed kidneys, heart, kidneys and other organ meats.
2. Healthy Fats
- Eat saturated fats like tallow, lard, butter, goose fat, clarified butter/ghee, coconut oil and chicken fat and duck fat.
- Eat monounsaturated fats like macadamia, avocado and olive oil
- Eat polyunsaturated omega 3s, especially those ones that come from animals such as seafood and fatty fish.
3. Non-starchy vegetables
- Leafy greens such as bok choy, endive, chives, lettuce, endive, Swiss chard, chard, spinach, and radicchio.
- Some cruciferous vegetables like kohlrabi, kale (dark leaf), radishes.
- Celery stalk, cucumber, asparagus, bamboo shoots zucchini and spaghetti squash.
5. Beverages and Condiments
- Still water, coffee (you can choose to drink it black or add cream or coconut milk), black tea and herbal tea.
- Mustard, pickles, mayonnaise, pesto, homemade bone broth, homemade fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
- All spices and herbs, zest, lemon or lime juice.
- Whey protein (make sure there are no artificial sweeteners, additives, soy lecithin and hormones), egg white protein and grass fed / hormone free gelatin.
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What to Eat Once in a While
1. Vegetables, Mushrooms, and Fruit
- Some cruciferous vegetables like red cabbage, white and green cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, broccoli, fennel, rutabaga/swede
- Nightshades such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)
- Some root vegetables like leek, spring onion, mushrooms, onion, winter squash and garlic.
- Sea vegetables (nori, kombu), bean sprouts, okra, sugar snap peas, globe, wax peas, water chestnuts.
- Coconut, olives, rhubarb
2. Grain-fed animal products and full-fat Dairy products
Beef, eggs, poultry, eggs, and ghee. Farmed pork is too high in omega 6 so you should avoid it.
Dairy products cottage cheese, plain full-fat yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream, cheese. Do not take products labeled ‘low fat’ because a very good number of them are full of starch and sugar and barely help to ward off hunger.
Bacon – be careful to avoid added starches and preservatives. If you eat enough antioxidants, it is okay to have nitrates too.
3. Nuts and seed
- Macadamia nuts
- Almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, flaxseed, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sesame seeds.
- Brazil nuts. Do not eat too many of them to avoid high levels of selenium.
- Fermented soy products
- Natto, tamari, Tempeh, or paleo-friendly coconut aminos
- Edamame, black soybeans
- Healthy sweeteners with no carbs such as erythritol, stevia, swerve.
- Thickeners like xanthan gum, arrowroot powder
- Sugar-free tomato products such as passata, puree and ketchup
- Carob and cocoa powder and extra dark chocolate
- Some sugar-free chewing gums and mints contain carbs so you should avoid them
- Vegetables, nuts, seeds and Fruits with Average Carbohydrates
- Root vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot and celery root
- Cantaloupe, watermelon, Galia and Honeydew melons
- Cashew nuts, chestnuts and pistachio
You can take the following in very small amounts although it is better to completely avoid them: peach, kiwi fruit, kiwi berries, nectarine, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, orange, apple, plums, dragon fruit, cherries, pears, apricot, fresh figs
Dry white wine, dry red wine, unsweetened spirits. If you are trying to lose weight, avoid these.
What To Completely Avoid
1. Foods rich in carbohydrates, processed foods as well as factory-farmed meat
2. Avoid all grains including whole meals such as millet, sorghum, oats, whole wheat, corn, rye, barley, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, sprouted grains, quinoa and white potatoes. Also do not eat any products from grains pizza, bread, cookies, pasta, crackers. Sugar and sweets
3. Do not eat factory-farmed pork and fish. They are high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acid. Farmed fish may also contain PCBs. In addition, avoid fish high in mercury.
4. Avoid Processed foods which contain carrageenan such as almond milk products), MSG which is found in some whey protein products), sulphites which is found in gelatin and dried fruits, BPAs and wheat gluten
5. Avoid artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda. Also avoid sweeteners containing saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame, Aspartame, Sucralose and others like them. These may lead to cravings.
6. Stay away from refined fats and oils such as cottonseed, sunflower, canola, safflower, grapeseed, soybean, corn oil and trans fats such as margarine.
7. Avoid ‘low fat,’ ‘zero-carb,’ and ‘low carb’ products like chewing gums and mints, diet soda and drinks may be high in carbs or may contain artificial additives.
8. Avoid milk. First of all, milk is difficult to digest, because it does not contain the “good” bacteria which is usually eliminated during pasteurization and may also contain hormones. Secondly, milk is considerably high in carbs. When you have to take coffee or tea, replace the milk with cream. You could have a little amount of raw milk but bear it in mind that it could bring it extra carbs.
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9. Avoid alcoholic as well as sweet drinks such as sweet wine, beers and cocktail.
10. Do not take tropical fruits such as banana, mango, pineapple, papaya. Also avoid high-carb fruits like grapes and tangerines. Also avoid fruit juices even if they are completely fresh and pure. You can drink smoothies in small quantities. These can at least help to keep hunger away.
11. Stay away from Sausages and meat covered in breadcrumbs, meat with starchy or sugary sauces, hot dogs.
12. Also, avoid soy products but you can take a few non-GMO fermented products which have quite a number of great health benefits.
13. Also avoid wheat gluten but you can use them in foods that is very low in carbohydrate.
14. Also, avoid BPA-lined cans. If you can, use naturally BPA-free packaging such as glass jars. You can also make ingredients such as ketchup, ghee, mayonnaise, ketchup, coconut milk. BPA has been connected to a lot of negative health effects which include impaired cancer and thyroid function.
14. Avoid these too: carrageenan such as almond milk products, MSG like you would find in some whey protein products as well as sulphites such as in gelatin and dried fruits.
Basically, you should bear it always in mind that a ketogenic diet is high in fats, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrate. If you get hungry during to the day and need to snack, you can eat cheeses, seeds, nuts or peanut butter to reduce the hunger.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural process which the body begins to help a human being survive when there is a low intake of food. When the body is in this state, the body produces ketones from the breakdown of in the liver.
A properly handled keto diet would usually compel your body to go into a metabolic state and this is as a result of very low intake of carbohydrates. Naturally, when you take in a lot of fats and starve yourself of carbohydrates, your body starts to burn ketones which serves as the primary source of energy.
How to Know If You Are In Ketosis
You can use your blood strips or urine to check if you are in a ketosis. However, blood strips can be expensive and urine strips may not be exactly accurate. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following symptoms;
1. Bad breath; ketone contains a body called acetone which to some extent, excretes in the breath. This smell is usually temporary and will go away soon. However, if you detect that unusual bad breath that reminds you of the sharp smell of overripe fruit, it is a symptom that you are in ketosis.
2. Higher levels of energy and reduced hunger; natural, as you enter the ketosis, you will start to experience higher levels of energy as well as a reduction in the levels of hunger.
3. More urination; keto is naturally a diuretic which means you will find yourself urinating more. When you observe that this is happening, it may be a proof that you are in ketosis.
4. Dry mouth; one effect of increased urination is a dry mouth. You will, therefore, experience the dry mouth a lot if you have entered ketosis and as you begin to urinate more. It is important, therefore, that you drink a lot of water during this period in order to replenish your electrolytes.
Is Ketogenic Diet Healthy?
Yes. The ketogenic diet is very healthy. As a matter of fact, it comes with lots and lots of health benefits which we have already looked at. Even though this diet comes with a few side effects, it comes with a lot more health benefits ranging from providing more energy to helping with weight loss and controlling blood sugar. In all, the ketogenic diet is a very healthy diet.
Ketogenic Diet Side Effects
Even though a ketogenic diet as we have already seen, is a very healthy diet, it comes with quite a number of side effects which most of the time, are as a result of dehydration. It is, therefore, advisable to drink so much water during this period in order to prevent dehydration and avoid some of these side effects.
Here are some of the side effects of a keto diet;
1. Heart palpitations; you may notice, as you transition to keto, that your heart beats harder and faster. This is quite normal so you do not really have to worry about it. Take lots of fluid and enough salt to prevent it from persisting.
2. Constipation; this is something else you may notice as you transition to keto and it is mostly due to dehydration. Simply increase your intake of water and eat more vegetables that contain fiber. If this does not work, a probiotic or psyllium husk powder will be of great help.
3.Lower levels of physical performance; when you have just started taking a keto diet, you will likely notice limitations in your physical performance. However, this is just your body adapting to the diet. As you continue with the diet and your body gets used to it, this side effect will go away and your strength and persistence will get back to normal again.
4. Cramps; you will also notice that you are having cramps especially in your legs. But do not worry, this is only a minor thing. Just ensure that you drink a lot of water and eat enough salt in your food.
5. Hair loss; this is a very rare side effect of keto diet but it could happen in the first five months of using the keto diet. You can cut down on this by making sure to get at least eight hours every night and doing too much restriction on calories.
6. Indigestion; this is another side effect of transitioning to the keto diet. Even though this diet can actually help to eliminate indigestion, you may experience same indigestion in the beginning. You may have to reduce the amount of fat you take at the beginning and then increase it as time goes on.
What is Keto Flu?
Keto flu is experienced by many people who are newly transitioning to the keto diet. However, this would mostly go away after a few days. You can also minimize this or completely eliminate it.
At the beginning, you may feel discomforts which would include cramps, headache, fatigue, and nausea among many other things. Keto flu happens for a number of reasons the two most primary of which are;
1. The diuretic nature of keto; because of this, you will find that you need to urinate more often which will lead to you losing water as well as electrolytes from your body. Increase your intake of water to fight this. You can also take bouillon cube or Powerade Zero. These will help to replace the electrolytes and water you have lost.
2. The transition process; your body is already configured to take in higher carbs and lower fat. However, because you are transitioning, your brain may not have enough energy which can lead to effects like nausea, grogginess, and headaches. To help minimize this, you can make your reduction of carb intake a gradual process.
Replacing electrolytes and increasing your intake of water should go a long way to combat keto flu.
Ketogenic Diet FAQ
Here are some of the questions which people most commonly ask about keto diet;
1. How long does it take to get to ketosis?
It does not take a long time. Usually, two or three days is enough for you to get to ketosis. This will happen if you keep to your carbs limit.
2. How fast could I lose weight and how much?
This depends of a number of factors which include your age, body fat and metabolism.
3. Is it necessary for me to measure ketones?
It is good to check your ketone levels every day especially if you are new to transitioning. As soon as you and your body adapt to the transitioning, you will not have to do this measuring on a daily basis.
4. How long does it take to become adapted to your keto transitioning
Getting used to your keto transitioning could take up to three weeks or four. Your adaptation will, however, be quicker if you avoid carbs a lot in the first week. You can also engage in a sustained physical activity to hasten this.
Ketogenic Diet Recipes
Below are some of our recipes you can include in your keto diet plan.
- Super Easy Crisp & Crunchy Broccoli Slaw Recipe
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps Recipe
- Loaded Baked Avocado and Egg Recipes
- Easy Weeknight Keto Pepperoni Low Carb Pizza Crust
- Creamed Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops Recipe
- Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe
- Garlic-Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe
- Easy Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe
- Sausage Soup with Peppers and Spinach Recipe
- Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Mushroom Sliders Recipe
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