The ketogenic diet (also known as, the keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health and weight loss benefits.
In fact, many scientific studies have shown that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health (1).
Here is an in-depth newcomer manual for how to lose weight on the keto diet.
How to Lose Weight on a Ketogenic Diet
This diet involves the extreme reduction of carbohydrate intake and while replacing those calories with fat. The goal of this carb reduction is to put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
SUMMARY The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. This diet has been proven to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and change the body’s metabolism away from sugar burning and into fat for fuel.
Ketogenic Diets Can Help You Lose Weight Fast
The best thing about the ketogenic diet is that it’s so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tediously spending time tracking your food intake (16).
One study found that people on a ketogenic diet tend to lose 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat intake diet. (17).
Another scientific weight-loss study found that people on the keto diet lost 3 times more weight than those on a doctor-recommended food plan (18).
There are several reasons why a ketogenic approach is superior to a low-fat, restrictive diet, including higher ketones, increased protein intake, lower blood sugar levels, and improved insulin sensitivity. (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26).
SUMMARY A ketogenic diet can help you lose 2-3 times more weight than a popularized low-fat diet without restricting calories.
4 Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are 4 different types of the ketogenic diet, including:
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is the most popular form of Keto with an extremely low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains macros of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes a higher intake of protein. The macro ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet includes short periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 standard ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days to “refeed” and cycle out of ketosis.
Keeping in mind, the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively by scientists across the world. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced versions of the Ketogenic Diet and are usually used by athletes, personal trainers, or bodybuilders.
The information that will be provided in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet, though a lot of the same information also applies to the other versions listed above.
SUMMARY There are several types of following the keto diet. The standard (SKD) ketogenic diet is the most well-researched and recommended.
The Many Health Benefits of Keto
The ketogenic diet was originally invented as a tool for treating neurological diseases such as epilepsy.
Scientists have discovered that the Ketogenic Diet can actually help with many health conditions:
- Cancer: This diet is being used to help treat several types of cancer and has also been proven to slow tumor growth (4, 34, 35, 36).
- Heart disease: Proven to help prevent risk factors by lowering body fat percentage, lowering cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure and balancing blood sugar levels in the body (32, 33).
- Alzheimer’s disease: The keto diet may be shown to slow its progression in the brain and reduce some symptoms of Alzheimer’s (5, 37, 38).
- Parkinson’s disease: A study discovered that the keto diet helped improve symptoms of this degenerative disease (39).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: Proven to help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in this syndrome (40).
- Epilepsy: Extensive research has shown us that a ketogenic approach can cause huge reductions in seizures in epileptic children (3).
- Acne: By eating less sugar and processed foods, its shown to help improve acne flares (42).
- Brain injuries: One study found that the keto diet can reduce concussions and aid rehabilitation after a traumatic brain injury (41).
However, it is important to keep in mind that research into the Ketogenic Diet is relatively new and far from conclusive.
SUMMARY: A ketogenic diet may provide many additional health benefits dealing with metabolic, neurological or insulin-related diseases.
Ketogenic Diets and Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is often defined by changes in metabolism, high blood sugar levels and low insulin function in the body (27).
The biggest impact the ketogenic diet can have on diabetes and prediabetes results from helping you lose excess fat on the body, which is often linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome (28, 29, 30).
One scientific study discovered that the ketogenic diet improved patients’ insulin sensitivity by an incredible 75% (29).
An additional study in people with type 2 diabetes discovered that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all of their diabetes medications after switching to a ketogenic diet (28).
For more information, check out this article on the benefits of low-carb diets for people with diabetes.
SUMMARY: The ketogenic diet can cause weight loss and insulin sensitivity, leading to huge health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet
Most of what you eat should be based around these foods:
- Organic Meat: Beef, bison chicken and turkey.
- Wild-Caught Fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, etc.
- Eggs: Organic, free-range preferably.
- Butter and cream: Grass-fed only
- Cheese: If you do not have a dairy sensitivity
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, coconut, walnuts, etc.
- Healthy Fats: Coconut oil an avocado oil is best, avocados, etc.
- Low-carb Vegetables: Most green veggies, sparingly tomatoes, onions, etc.
- Condiments: unprocessed, with no added sugars, soybean oil, starches.
SUMMARY: Most of your diet should include foods such as organic meat, wild-caught fish, eggs, nuts, healthy fats, and lots of low-carb veggies.
Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet
Avoid any foods that are high in carbs.
Here is a list of types of foods to heavily reduce or eliminate on a ketogenic diet:
- Sugary foods: Sweets, Desserts, Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, etc.
- Starches or Grains: Wheat, flour, bread, all types of rice, quinoa, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Fruit: All fruit, with the exception of lemons, or limes
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, etc.
- Processed Foods: These are unhealthy and often high in carbs.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, soy-based oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Condiments or sauces: These products often contain sugars or unhealthy fats.
- Alcohol: Often high in carbs, and shown to stall weight loss efforts
- Sugar-free” diet” foods: These foods also tend to be highly processed and high in sugar alcohols.
SUMMARY: Avoid all carb-based foods like grains, sugars, beans, potatoes, desserts, juice and even most fruits.
“Keto Flu,” and Other Common Side Effects
While the ketogenic diet is safe for most people, there may be some minor side effects while your body adapts to your new diet.
This is often referred to as the “keto flu” and is usually over within a few days of transitioning to a ketogenic diet.
Keto flu is known to cause poor energy and mental function, hunger, minor sleep issues, and diminished exercise performance.
To minimize these side effects, you can try a gradual reduction of carbohydrates for the first few weeks. This may decrease side effects while teaching your body to burn more fat before you completely eliminate carbs from your diet.
This reduction of carbohydrates can also change the water and mineral balance inside your body, so adding extra minerals or taking supplements like magnesium is proven to help.
SUMMARY: Many of the side effects of starting a ketogenic diet can be limited by easing slowly into the diet and taking various supplements.
Supplements for a Ketogenic Diet
Although no supplements are required, some can be useful for reducing “keto flu” symptoms and boosting weight loss results.
- Keto III: Keto III delivers exogenous ketones in the form of bet-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) salts, to quickly establish acute ketosis. Get KETO III here!
- Salt & Minerals: Added salt and other minerals is important on this diet. Celtic Salt is boosted with minerals and great for bringing out flavors in foods!
- Fat Burner: Our product ACCELERATOR is designed to provide a healthy boost to your metabolism.
- Magnesium Glycinate: taking minerals like Magnesium is proven to help transition into ketosis.
SUMMARY: Supplements can be beneficial on a new ketogenic diet. Including exogenous ketones found in Keto III, Fat burner supplements, and various minerals.
Frequently Asked Questions: Ketogenic Diet
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the ketogenic diet.
- Can I ever eat carbs again?
Yes. However, it is important to significantly reduce your carb intake initially. Once the desired weight is reached, you may slowly incorporate healthy carbs back into your diet.
- Will I lose muscle on this diet? There is always a risk of losing muscle on any new diet. However, the high protein intake, higher calorie intake and high ketone levels may help minimize muscle loss when compared to other diets.
- Do I need to refeed or carb load during this diet?
No. Although, a few higher-calorie days may be beneficial every now and then to jump-start your metabolism.
- How much protein can I eat on keto?
Protein should be moderate, as a very high intake can metabolize as sugar which can spike insulin levels and lower ketones. About 35% of total calorie intake is probably the upper limit on a ketogenic diet.
- Why am I tired, weak or fatigued?
You may not be experiencing full ketosis or be eating enough fats. To counter this, lower your carb intake and increase your daily fats. A supplement like magnesium is proven to help.
- I heard ketosis was extremely dangerous. Is this true?
No. Often people confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a very natural body state, while ketoacidosis only occurs in uncontrolled diabetes.
- I have digestion issues and diarrhea. What can I do?
This common side effect usually passes after 3–4 weeks. Magnesium supplements and High-quality Probiotics can help with constipation.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Right For You?
A ketogenic diet can be great for people who are struggling to lose weight, diabetic or looking to improve their metabolic health.
And, as with any lifestyle change, this diet will only work if you are consistent and stick with it in the long term.
Keeping in mind, that all bodies require a customized approach, it is important to get the help of professionals when changing your diet. Make sure to consult your doctor with any extreme changes to your diet.
For a fully customized weight loss plan designed with you in mind, schedule a consultation with a health coach and see what Custom Health Centers can do for you.