A ketogenic diet is a form of the low-carb diet. It is characterised by a diet that is extremely low in carbohydrates and also low in sugar, but very high in fat. Due to the carbohydrate deficiency, the metabolism changes and gets into the so-called “ketosis”.
What exactly is ketosis? Normally, the body gains energy from the carbohydrates supplied by food – it is therefore dependent on the intake of carbohydrates. If these carbohydrates are missing as a source of energy, the body has to find other ways to help itself.
In the liver, fats are then converted into so-called ketone bodies, which are used instead of carbohydrates to produce energy and, for example, maintain the performance of the brain. This state of energy production is called “ketosis” and is the principle on which the ketogenic diet is based. The body needs some time to get used to this changed process.
What does a ketogenic diet look like?
During a ketogenic diet the energy requirement should be covered as follows:
Carbohydrates: about 12 percent
Proteins: about 30 percent
fat: about 58 percent
Which foods you should not touch?
For those who want to eat ketogenic foods, It containing carbohydrates are especially taboo.
Therefore, the following foods, are rarely or not at all on the menu of a ketogenic diet:
Cereals: pasta, rice, muesli
Pulses: chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils
Tuber/root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parsnips
Sugary: sweets, soft drinks and fruit juice drinks containing sugar, cakes
Fruit: sugar-rich fruit varieties such as bananas, apples or pineapples
Unhealthy fats: industrially processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise
Ready meals & spice mixtures: often contain a lot of sugar
low-fat dietary products
Also interesting: Myths around the keto diet
Which foods are allowed?
The list of prohibited foods is long – so what is left? This should often end up on the plate:
Ketogenic diet food list
Meat: red meat, steak, ham, bacon, chicken, and turkey
Greasy fish: salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel
Dairy products: Butter, cream, cheese (cheddar, goat, cream cheese, mozzarella)
Nuts & Seeds: Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
Vegetables (low carbohydrate): mainly green vegetables, tomatoes, onions and avocado
healthy oils: virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
Spices: salt, pepper, herbs
Fruit: low-sugar fruit varieties in small quantities such as berries
What are the advantages of a ketogenic diet?
Such extreme abstinence should not be in vain. So what is the background to this form of nutrition? We present the advantages of this dietary form here.
Losing weight with the ketogenic diet
The word “diet” already implies it: this form of nutrition can help to lose weight and thus counteract overweight. Some studies even showed that the ketogenic diet is far more effective than the low-fat diet. In addition, this diet does not actually require calories to be counted.
One study found that people on ketogenic diets lost more than twice as much weight and body fat as the group of people on low-fat, calorie-reduced diets.
According to studies, the ketogenic diet is more effective than low-fat diets because it relies on increased protein intake. This has already shown health-promoting effects in many studies. Lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity also play a role in the success of the ketogenic diet.
As many are still looking for the miracle cure to get slim as quickly as possible, the question arises: How quickly can you lose weight with the ketogenic diet?
Health benefits of diabetes & epilepsy
This condition, also known as diabetes, exists primarily in two forms: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system is directed against the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. As a result, the body can no longer utilize the sugar it has absorbed. In type 2 diabetes the cells become insensitive to insulin. This insulin resistance causes the blood sugar level to rise.
Ketogenic nutrition has been shown to be particularly effective in type 2 diabetes: insulin resistance has been reduced by 75 percent and the increased fat burning has had a positive effect on weight – overweight is one of the causes of type 2 diabetes. In one study, seven out of 21 types 2 diabetes patients were even able to avoid any medication if they followed a ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet for diabetes patients also proved its worth in a comparative study: The ketogenic test group lost 11.1 kilograms, while the group that ate more carbohydrates only lost 6.9 kilograms. This is particularly important with regard to obesity in type 2 diabetes. Again, 95.2 percent of the ketogenic testers were able to avoid medication, but only 62 percent of the carbohydrate group.
The ketogenic diet has long been recommended to children with epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is also caused by insulin resistance in the brain: blood sugar cannot be absorbed by the cells in the brain. The ketone bodies produced by a ketogenic diet can possibly serve as a substitute for the energy deficit. Although damaged brain cells cannot be regenerated in this way, weakened cells could be strengthened.
Studies have also shown that the ketogenic diet is effective for other diseases. Before starting a ketogenic diet for medical reasons, it is essential to consult a doctor.
Heart disease: The ketogenic diet lowers body fat, blood pressure, and blood sugar and improves HDL cholesterol levels
Acne: A low insulin level and the consumption of little sugar or industrially processed foods have a positive effect on the skin's appearance
Cancer: In some studies, a ketogenic diet was able to slow down tumor growth. This is due to the fact that many cancer cells mainly draw energy from sugar, but hardly use any fats and fatty acids. However, this is only a supporting measure and should not be used as a substitute for medical therapy.
What are the disadvantages of ketosis diet foods?
So far, no concrete side effects of the ketogenic diet have been observed. During the changeover phase, the following symptoms sometimes occur: listlessness, increased hunger, sleep problems, headaches, nausea, and digestive problems. However, these symptoms are usually overcome after a few days.
To avoid this, a gentle start can be chosen and started with a normal low-carb diet. You should also make sure that you eat until you are full. It is not necessary to restrict calorie intake because the body will automatically burn fat and protein through ketosis.
Nevertheless, a ketogenic diet should always be carried out under medical supervision: If there is a medical background, the step to a ketogenic diet should be made in consultation with the doctor and not independently. But also when it comes to losing weight, this should first be clarified with a doctor.
This is because a diet that is only rich in fat can lead to deposits on the vessels, which in turn can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. A ketogenic diet increases uric acid production, which increases the risk of gout. This is another reason why the doctor should be consulted regularly and the uric acid should be checked.
In addition, there are not yet enough studies on ketogenic diets. As behind every diet, the yo-yo trap lurks as soon as the diet is ended. You should be aware of this before you start the ketogenic diet.
After all, such an extreme restriction also influences the quality of life. If the ketogenic diet has a therapeutic or health background, this decision is made with the doctor anyway. If the aim is to lose weight in the long term, the decision to change to an extreme diet should be made consciously. Because a balanced and long-term change in diet in combination with sport can also lead to the goal of losing weight!