Excess weight, chronic inflammation, cellular damage. These are the problems in which you run into the wrong supply.
To avoid or at least solve these very serious problems, important changes in your diet are necessary, and the best way is to induce your body into a state of nutritional ketosis, a condition in which your body burns fat as the primary fuel to produce energy, instead of sugar.
To achieve nutritional ketosis, you have to follow a ketogenic diet.
But what exactly is the ketogenic diet?
This article will give you a complete introduction to the ketogenic diet, how you can apply it to your lifestyle and which ones positive changes you can reach through it.
The ketogenic diet is a nutritional strategy based on the reduction of food carbohydrates, which “forces” the body to independently produce glucose necessary for survival and to increase the energy consumption of fat contained in adipose tissue ( 1 ).
A ketogenic diet means ” diet that produces ketone bodies ” (a metabolic residue of energy production).
Regularly produced in minimal quantities and easily disposable with urine and pulmonary ventilation, ketone bodies reach a higher level than the normal condition.
The undesired excess of ketone bodies, responsible for the tendency to lower blood pH, is called ketosis. Even the ‘ motor activity affects, positively or negatively (depending on the case), on the condition of ketoacidosis.
The presence of ketone bodies ( 2 ) in the blood has different effects on the body; some are considered useful in the weight loss process, others are “collateral“.
There is not just one type of ketogenic diet and all dietary styles that provide less carbohydrate than necessary, such as the Atkins diet or LCHF ( low carb, high fat – low carbohydrate, high fat) are ketogenic.
Some types of a ketogenic diet are used in the clinical setting, but these are systems mainly used in the field of fitness and aesthetic culture.
Characteristics of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet (in English ketogenic diet or keto diet) is a nutritional scheme:
Low in calories ( low-calorie diet )
Low percentage and absolute carbohydrate content (low carb diet)
A high percentage of proteins, even if the absolute quantity (in grams) is more often medium-high percentage and absolute lipid content.
Application of the ketogenic diet
This food strategy is used above all in three contexts (very different from each other):
Weight loss (preferably under medical supervision)
Food therapy of certain metabolic pathologies such as hyperglycemia and hypertriglyceridemia (ONLY under medical supervision)
Reduction of symptoms associated with childhood epilepsy (ONLY when the subject is not responding to drug therapy and ONLY under medical supervision).
The benefits of the ketogenic diet (simple keto diet )
A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on the minimum consumption of net carbohydrates ( 3 ).
What are the net carbohydrates?
Total carbohydrates minus the fiber content, the higher this value is the more the food is not good), moderate amounts of protein depending on the needs of each individual and high consumption of healthy fats, these are the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis.
There are several reasons why you should try the ketogenic diet.
It can be really beneficial for people who suffer from chronic conditions, or for people who simply want to be healthier. In fact, the ketogenic diet can help you pursue the following goals:
If you are trying to lose weight, the ketogenic diet ( 4 ) is one of the best ways to do it, as it helps you access your fat reserves and then use them as fuel for energy.
The human body can use both fats and sugars as a fuel source. That being said, fats are definitely a preferred source since they are cleaner and healthier as they release far fewer reactive oxygen (ROS) and free radicals.
And by eliminating the sugars from your daily diet, you are definitely going to reduce the risk of developing chronic inflammation in your body ( 5 ).
4. Decreases the risk of cancer.
The ketogenic diet helps prevent cancer ( 6 ). Concept explained very well by Dominic D’Agostino: all our cells including cancer cells use glucose as a fuel source.
That said, cancer cells do not have the metabolic flexibility to adapt to using ketones for energy, unlike your regular cells that can do so.
What does this mean? That once your body enters a state of nutritional ketosis, cancer cells no longer have what it feeds and undergo death.
5. Increases muscle mass.
Jeff Volek, a dietician specialized in ketogenic nutrition, has shown how this can affect your health and your athletic performance in a positive way ( 7 ). In fact, ketones have a structure similar to that of branched amino acids and can, therefore, be very useful in building muscle mass.
6. Reduces appetite.
Constant hunger can surely lead to an accumulation of weight as you will tend to eat in excess and certainly more often ( 8 ).
A ketogenic diet can help you avoid this problem since reducing consumption of a certain type of carbohydrate certainly also reduces the symptoms of hunger.
7. Lower insulin levels.
When you consume carbohydrates, these are transformed into sugars within your body. As a result, this causes an increase in blood sugar levels which results in a spike in insulin levels ( 9 ).
This over the years can develop into insulin resistance, which can then progress into type 2 diabetes.
Several studies have indeed shown that diabetic patients who are following this type of diet have significantly reduced their dependence on medicines and may eventually reverse the disease process.
The different types of ketogenic diet
(simple keto diet)
As I always say this type of diet does not follow and must not follow the same rules for everyone.
Based on our starting condition, the composition of this type of diet varies according to our objectives and our needs.
1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (skd).
Recommended for most people, as it is very effective. It focuses on high consumption of healthy fats (70% of your diet), moderate protein (25% of your diet) and few carbohydrates (5% of your diet) ( 10 ).
Keep in mind that there is no limit to fat because energy needs vary from person to person.
2. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (tkd).
Recommended for those who have particular fitness goals to pursue. With this approach, you eat the entire daily carbohydrate intake in one meal, 30-60 minutes before exercise ( 11 ).
The idea is to use energy from carbohydrates efficiently before it destroys our state of ketosis.
In this case, it is recommended to eat easily digestible carbohydrates and therefore a high glycemic index to avoid weighing down the stomach. After training, increase your protein intake to help muscle recovery, then continue to consume your fats.
3. Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (ckd).
Recommended for athletes and bodybuilders ( 12 ). The goal is to alternate between a normal ketogenic diet and fixed days of high carbohydrate consumption.
The idea is to take advantage of carbohydrates to restore the glycogen stores of your muscles that are emptied during exercise.
4. High Protein Ketogenic Diet (hpkd).
This is a variant of the Standard Ketogenic Diet ( 13 ). The goal is to increase protein intake by 10% and decrease fat intake by 10%. If you are at the second level of obesity,
for example, this may initially help you lose weight, after which you have to switch to the Standard Ketogenic Diet.
5. Restricted Ketogenic Diet (rkd).
Recommended for those people who have to fight important diseases like cancer ( 14 ), and it is in fact very low in net carbohydrates.
Eliminate these foods before approaching the ketogenic diet ( simple keto Diet )
Before arriving at a list of useful foods to get into nutritional ketosis, it is important to observe how you are eating now and what you absolutely need to take out of your home.
So let’s talk about sugars, starches, processed and packaged foods because a ketogenic diet focuses on eating real food. Also, pay attention to certain types of milk, hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola oil, sunflower seeds, etc., peanut butter, soy products and sweetened drinks in general.
The ideal foods to eat in the ketogenic diet ( Semple Kito Diet Menu )
So now that we have eliminated all sources of trans fat and all the sources of unhealthy food, what is the next step?
Net carbohydrates must absolutely be minimized (vegetables are carbohydrates that must be eaten), remember that you need to consume only a moderate amount of protein based on your needs.
What remains is high consumption of healthy fats so as to force your body to produce energy using fat as the primary fuel source.
So what are the fats to start introducing into your diet: (simple keto diet )
Animal sources rich in omega-3 healthy fats like wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and krill.
Olives and extra virgin olive oil (make sure it is of quality).
Raw grass-fed yellow butter.
Macadamia nuts, pecans, raw almonds.
Various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, cumin and hemp.
Ghee or clarified butter,
Raw cocoa butter,
Organic grazing eggs.
When it comes to building your nutritional plan, it’s important to eat lots of fiber-rich vegetables and antioxidants and other important nutrients.
Your best choices include
Zucchini, and parsley.
While fruit is generally healthy for you, most of it should be avoided in the ketogenic diet because it contains high amounts of sugar.
That being said, some berries are healthy to eat in moderate amounts, I’m talking about blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, as they are rich sources of antioxidants that can definitely support your health.
Speaking of beverages, obviously the most important is water, but you can also drink coffee, very rich in antioxidants but attention to quality and without added milk and sugar. Herbal tea, as it is rich in various antioxidants and nutrients.
Who should not follow the ketogenic diet ( A simple keto diet )?
The ketogenic diet is certainly excellent for optimizing your health. However, not everyone can follow this diet. If you fall into one of these categories that I am going to mention to you, I recommend that you do not follow the ketogenic diet for safety reasons.
1. Pregnant women
In this state, the body needs nutrients that come from different sources. So drastically restricting the sources of starch, in a sense healthy, can have a negative impact on your child’s health.
Women who are breastfeeding. In this phase, women need oxalacetate, an essential compound to create lactose for breast milk, which is essential for the growth of the child.
2. Athletes who are about to start a new season.
Athletes can surely get huge benefits from producing energy through ketones, but this can take 4 to 6 weeks before your body reaches ketosis.
During this time, your body has not yet adapted to using fat as a source of energy, this can prevent you from achieving your optimal performance.
If you want to take advantage of the ketogenic diet, give your body time to adapt to this transition.
3. People who have had their gallbladder removed.
Your gallbladder has the job of storing bile, allowing your digestive tract to absorb the fat sources appropriately.
Without a gall bladder, the sources of fat are not absorbed in the right way, this can lead to a nutritional deficiency, why this? Because most of the calories in this type of nutrition come from fat.
4. People who have had kidney stones.
If you have developed kidney stones in the past, the ketogenic diet could increase your chances of having them again.
This is because ketones increase the production of uric acid and thus the formation of stones (if you have already had them).
On the other hand, therefore, if you have never had them, kidney stones can be prevented with a ketogenic diet because potassium consumption is increased thanks to the vegetables I described to you previously and the consumption of foods with a high-fat content like the avocado. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.
5. People still growing.
This is because the ketogenic diet reduces the production of an essential hormone in the development of bones and muscles of children and young children.
6. Naturally thin people.
Those who are naturally very thin, and therefore have a body mass index of less than 20, should avoid the ketogenic diet because this could lead to further weight loss and therefore decrease your overall health.
7. People with metabolic disorders.
Disorders such as Gaucher’s, Tay-Sachs, Niemann-Pick, and Fabry, can interfere with fat metabolism, so in this case, a ketogenic diet is not recommended as it aims at energy production from fat.
8. People suffering from anorexia.
These people could reach a rapid famine by following this type of diet, as they are already drastically limiting the consumption of calories and are extremely afraid of eating fat.
And starting a ketogenic nutritional plan, they could certainly suffer from low energy, precisely because it is a plan that focuses mainly on fats, and avoiding them, one would remain strongly below the daily caloric needs of the individual.
9. People with pancreatic insufficiency.
This is a condition in which your pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to help you digest and absorb the nutrients in your digestive tract.
If you have an enzyme deficiency, I suggest that you fix this condition before approaching the ketogenic diet, because your digestive system will encounter several difficulties in absorbing dietary fat.
Possible side effects in the very early phase of the ketogenic diet (Simple keto diet )
Starting a ketogenic diet can definitely help you tremendously optimize your health in several ways. But like the major food changes, it can have undesirable effects in the short term, obviously not alarming, such as:
1. A little tired:
You could start feeling fatigued at the beginning of this type of diet. The reason is that your body is adapting from using carbohydrates to produce energy to using healthy fats to produce energy, so during this phase, you may experience a small drop in energy.
The transition does not occur from day to night, it can take from 1 day to 30 days to reach a state of nutritional ketosis.
2. Urinate frequently:
During the first days of this type of diet. You may notice that you will go to the bathroom more often. This is an indication that your body is discharging the glycogen present in the liver and muscles through the urine.
Also, as the insulin levels in your blood start to drop. The excess insulin is excreted in the form of urine.
3. Digestive problems:
Constipation is commonly reported at the beginning of this type of diet. But should disappear in the first few weeks after your body has become accustomed to healthier foods.
4. Sugar desire:
You could develop an intense sugar craving when your body switches from sugar to fat as fuel. I strongly encourage you to resist at this very brief moment.
Reaching nutritional ketosis following a ketogenic diet. It is one of the most radical but beneficial changes in your lifestyle that you can make to improve your health.
Like most dietary changes, always remember to listen to your body. If you experience any side effects not mentioned above, you need to make minor adjustments to your diet.