A Ketogenic Diet For Beginners: Foods To Eat On A Keto Diet

A ketogenic diet is also known as the keto diet Is the eating plan that is made up of consumption of high fats foods, moderate protein intake, and extremely low carb consumption. 

It is a lifestyle of meal consumption that has been reported to be of several health benefits, such as its role in polycyclic ovarian syndrome patients. Those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have expressed how helpful the keto diet has been. How it has improved their symptoms, help with weight loss, and general upliftment of health.  

Several studies have also suggested the value of keto diet in diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and epileptic patients.

How a ketogenic diet works? 

In the normal metabolic process for energy production, carbohydrates are converted into glucose and use up by various organs and tissues as an energy source, but in the absence of carbohydrates, the liver breaks down fat for energy. 

The breakdown of fat produces fatty acids and ketone bodies, which lead to excess ketones in the blood. The excess amount of ketones in the blood is called ketosis. Ketone bodies travel to the brain and become the primary source of energy, which has been shown to reduce epileptic seizures.

Types of the ketogenic diet

  1. Classic ketogenic diet: is the use of ratio 4:2:1 (4 times more fat, 2 part proteins, and 1 part carbohydrate). 4 times more fat means 75% of the meal is fat, 20% of the meal is protein, and 5% of the meal is carbohydrates.
  2. High protein ketogenic diets: this plan uses a ratio of 60% fats, 35% proteins, and 5% fats.
  3. MCT ketogenic diet is the use of medium-chain triglycerides(MCT) oil for the majority of the percentage of fat consumed. MCT is found in coconut oil, and it is best to consume with other types of fats to prevent diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  4. Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This meal plan means the person on this plan can take carbohydrates meals only after an exercise section. This plan is mainly used by bodybuilders and athletes.
  5. Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): is the cyclic scheduling of what nutrients to take for a period of time, for example, the intake of high fats and moderate protein for 5 days and high carb for the last 2days of the week or 6 days of high fat and moderate proteins and 1 day of just only carbohydrates.

What are the health benefits of ketogenic diet?

  • Weight loss without counting calories or restricting calories
  • Reduce polycystic ovarian syndrome issues as testified by women who suffer from PCOS and has tried out a ketogenic diet
  • Reduce episodes of epileptic seizures
  • It improves diabetes due to the low intake of carbohydrates, which reduce the presence of glucose in the blood and low need for insulin and subsequently improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • It slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Slow down the fast replication of cancer cells.
  • Clears acne /improves acne
  • Improves Parkinson’s symptoms

What food can you eat on a ketogenic diet?

  • Seafood
  • Nuts (Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Walnuts, Peanuts, and Pistachios)
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocado oil
  • Greek yogurt, fermented yogurt, and kefir
  • Cheese
  • Meat: poultry, lamb, goat, pork, and beef
  • Vegetables: Spinach, asparagus, leaf cabbage, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, and brussels sprouts
  • Spices
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds
  • Berries such as strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

What to drink on a ketogenic diet?

High-fat foods that are good for ketogenic diet

  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fish oil
  • Chia seed
  • Groundnut ( all nuts in general)
  • Salmon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Flaxseed
  • Olives
  • Tofu
  • Full fat yogurt
  • Margarine
  • Butter
  • Nut butter
  • Tuna

What can you not eat on a ketogenic diet?

  • Sugary foods
  • Alcohol
  • Grains (bread, oatmeal, pasta, rice, etc.)
  • Beans or legumes
  • Fruit
  • Potato chips
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Diet products
  • Unhealthy fats 
  • Sugary beverages like juice and soda.
  • Sweetened cocktails
  • Beer

Side Effects of Ketogenic diet

Although the ketogenic diet looks very healthy, still there are some side effects such as: 

  • Keto flu (weakness, insomnia, headache, irritability, bad breath, increased hunger, bloating): this only lasts for a couple of days at the initial start of the diet.
  • Slow growth
  • Kidney stones
  • Constipation
  • Acidosis (increased blood acidity)
  • Hypoglycemia

Lastly, If you’re intrigued to try keto, discuss with your physician before starting on any excessive weight loss plan.