The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a low-carb diet that promises fast weight loss. They based the diet on a biochemical principle that regulates the functioning of our body: ketosis.
A drastic diet that must be observed and dictated only by specialized doctors. It is not a do-it-yourself diet precisely because it modifies the processes of our body. They usually carried the diet out for 21 days, and a period of rest follows. Let us find out everything about the keto diet, how it works, and what the contraindications are.
Keto diet: what is it?
The keto diet is a diet that provides a very low intake of carbohydrates in favor of high content of proteins and fats. The reduction of carbohydrates for the benefit of consuming other nutrients aims to force the body to use fat as energy to help the body lose weight. The ketogenic name derives this diet reduces the consumption of carbohydrates, leading to the formation of the so-called “ketone bodies.”
As expected, the keto diet was born as a food plan to reduce epileptic seizures in those who did not respond to drug therapy, especially in children. Low-carb diets were used around the 1920s for this very purpose.
From the 1960s onwards, they have used these diets to treat obesity and the presence of diseases such as diabetes, acne, and polycystic ovary syndrome. They observed that they could have possible beneficial effects on seizures, body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol, and hunger.
Therefore, the keto diet has increasingly established itself as a diet for losing weight, combined with healthy physical activity, within a balanced lifestyle, and, where recommended by the doctor with the intake of food supplements.
Why is the ketogenic diet called the 21-daydiet?
The ketogenic diet is a diet that requires very careful control and monitoring. That is why the ketogenic diet should not last beyond 21 days—the body well-tolerated for three weeks. The ketogenic diet should not last beyond 30 days and be as varied as possible.
Types of the keto diet
There is no single type of keto diet. Still, there can be various types with different proportions of nutrients, a cyclical carbohydrate intake, a restriction of calories, and specific formulas designed for vegans and vegetarians. The main variations of the keto diet are:
- Standard type: this is the most classic and most severe keto diet;
- Modified type: provides for a reduction in carbohydrate intake, but less drastic;
- Cyclical type: a variant that provides for a cyclical increase in carbohydrate intake once or twice a week, designed for those who find it difficult to respect a diet with such a low carbohydrate content, every day and for prolonged periods;
- Targeted typology: a food plan designed for those who play sports and allows you to add the consumption of carbohydrates during training days;
- Type with high protein content: often followed by those who practice bodybuilding or the elderly;• Vegan or vegetarian type: these variants replace foods of animal origin with foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and fermented foods;
- Dirty type: in which the proportions between nutrients are the same as the classic one, but instead of healthy fats, unhealthy fats are consumed, in which drinks and “fast food” foods can also be consumed;
- Lazy type: so-called because it only provides a rigid calculation of the carbohydrates consumed every day, which must not exceed 20 g, while leaving free the intake of fats and proteins.
Ketogenic diet: what to eat
What do we eat during our initial three weeks of dieting?
A guideline of the correct ketogenic diet provides an energy breakdown of:
- 10% from carbohydrate
- 15-25% protein
- 70% or more from fat
It is advisable to include supplements in the diet to make up for the lack of mineral salts, omega three, and vitamins.
Now let us see what to eat in quantity, what to eat less and what to give up.
What to eat in quantity
In large quantities, you can eat all animal proteins such as:
- Meat, eggs, and fish.
- Seasoning fats and oils
To include vegetables such as salad, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, thistles, cauliflower, fennel, flowers, radicchio, celery, green peppers, radishes, turnip greens, ribs.
What to eat in moderate quantities
You can eat them but in limited quantities and recommended by the doctor:
Vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, artichokes, green beans, red and yellow peppers, asparagus, leeks, and onions
Dried fruit, to be consumed, however, in small quantities.
Fresh fruit only three times a week.
What not to eat
We must avoid all cereals and derivatives such as:
- Bread sticks
Also to be avoided: legumes, potatoes, fruit, sweet drinks, alcohol, and foods that may include hidden sugars such as fruit juices, which contain 90% added sugar and only 10% pulp.
Attention also to the sugars contained in candies, chewing gum, drugs, supplements … just the accidental intake of sugars and ketosis stops: the body would return to function as before, and the effort made up to then vanish.
An example diet for a week
Before starting such a diet, we should contact a professional. It can be a very dangerous diet for our body if not carried out under strict medical supervision.
With this diet, they estimate the loss of 3 kilos per week.
A ketogenic diet usually consists of:
- two hard-boiled eggs with a side of sautéed vegetables or a slice of toast with cheese and avocado
- a turkey burger with cheese and avocado side dish or salad with turkey, hard-boiled eggs, rocket, avocado, gorgonzola, and croutons (30 grams)
- bananas, pineapple, apples, persimmons, and mangoes in moderation or cheese
- pork chops with sautéed green beans or grilled salmon with spinach
Ketogenic diet and motor activity
To speed up and improve the process implemented with a low-calorie diet, it is always advisable to continue with adequate physical activity. A professional must also recommend physical exercise to achieve excellent results without weighing on a body that is already undergoing major changes.
We recommend it to train 3 times a week for at least 30-40 minutes: long brisk walks, outdoor jogging, yoga, or swimming are sufficient.
We should not forget that doing sports during a period of severe fatigue, such as the beginning of a diet, helps because it frees the mind and reduces stress.