A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners | Ketogenic Diet Benefits
The different benefits of the ketogenic diet
•Weight Loss -
If you are looking to lose weight then a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do it, as it helps the body access body fat and shed it. Obese people can especially benefit from this method. In one study, obese subjects were given a low-carbohydrate keto diet and a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, the researchers noted that the low-carb group of patients lost more weight (9.4 kilograms) than those who ate low-fat (4.8 kilograms).
•It is Anti-inflammatory -
The human body can use both sugar and fat as energy sources. However, the latter is preferable because it is cleaner and healthier energy since it releases far fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. By eliminating sugar from your daily consumption, you will lower the risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout the body.
•Build Muscle Mass -
Jeff Volek, Ph.D., is a professional dietician who specializes in how high-fat, low-carb diets can affect health and athletic performance. In one of his books, he states that ketones are similar in structure to branched-chain amino acids, which are useful for building muscle mass. Ketones allow us to spare these amino acids, leaving high levels of them available, which can boost muscle mass.
•Reduces Appetite -
Constant hunger can cause you to ingest more calories than you can burn, which will lead you to gain weight. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid this problem because by reducing your carbohydrate consumption you can reduce hunger symptoms. In one study, participants who were given a low-carb diet were less hungry, so they lost weight more easily.
•Reduces Insulin Levels -
When you ingest carbohydrates, they break down into sugars in the body. As a result, blood sugar levels rise and lead to insulin spikes. Over time, you may develop insulin resistance, which could become type 2 diabetes.
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The ketogenic diet can reduce the risk of cancer
Cancer is a devastating disease and a leading cause of death around the world. To make matters worse, doctors have virtually ignored the evidence that cancer is a metabolic and mitochondrial problem, leading conventional cancer therapies to fall short.
What many people don’t know is that cancer cells are mostly sugar-fueled. From this point of view, the ketogenic diet may be the best solution. By depriving them of their main source of energy, as well as by limiting proteins, cancer cells will literally starve.
In addition, research on the ketogenic diet as a way to fight cancer has increased over the years, and the data indicate that in addition to acting as a cancer prevention, the ketogenic diet could complement conventional therapies, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Different types of ketogenic diet you can try
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD: standard ketogenic diet)
SKD is the type I usually recommend to most people, because it is very effective. It is based on a high consumption of healthy fats (70% of the diet), a moderate amount of protein (25%) and very few carbohydrates (5%).
Targeted ketogenic diet (TDK: targeted ketogenic diet)
TDK is generally intended for passionate athletes. With this approach, you eat your daily amount of carbohydrates in one meal, 30 to 60 minutes before training. The idea is to use the energy provided by carbohydrates before they actually stop ketosis.
If you are following this approach, I recommend that you eat easily digestible carbohydrates with a high glycemic index to avoid upsetting the stomach. Then, after training, increase your protein intake to aid in muscle recovery, and finally eat the fat.
Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD: cyclic ketogenic diet)
If TKD is meant for passionate sportsmen, CKD is meant more for athletes and bodybuilders. In CKD, you alternate between a normal ketogenic diet and a series of high-carb days. Hence, “fill up on carbohydrates”.
The idea is to use carbohydrates to replenish glycogen lost during athletic activity or training.
Protein-rich ketogenic diet -
This method is a variant of the SKD. On a high-protein diet, you increase your protein portion by 10% and reduce your consumption of healthy fats by 10%. In a study of obese men who tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce hunger and significantly reduce the amount of food ingested, leading to weight loss. If you are obese or overweight, this technique may help you at first, then you can switch to an SKD after your weight has normalized.
Limited Ketogenic Diet
As mentioned, a ketogenic diet can be an effective weapon against cancer. To work though, it has to be a limited ketogenic diet. By limiting the intake of carbohydrates and calories, the body loses glycogen and begins producing ketones that healthy cells can use for energy. Since cancer cells cannot feed on ketones, they starve.
Get rid of these foods before starting the ketogenic diet
Before putting together an actual list of foods for the ketogenic diet, it’s important to first take a look at what you eat and get rid of anything that isn’t healthy. This means that you need to eliminate sugars, starches, packaged and processed foods from your diet, because the ketogenic diet is based on real, real foods.
Also, avoid drinking milk, because it contains the carbohydrate galactose: in essence, drinking just one glass can get you to the expected amount of carbohydrates for a whole day. Plus, avoiding milk helps people with lactose intolerance to start the ketogenic diet.
Many other products should be avoided, such as hydrogenated vegetable oils (canola oil), soy foods, and carbonated drinks. They may be low in carbohydrates, but they are unhealthy and can destroy your health.
The ideal foods for a ketogenic diet
- Coconut oil
- Animal omega-3 fats are derived from healthy sources, such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, and krill.
- Olives and olive oil (make sure they are certified by third parties, as most olive oils are stretched with vegetable oils)
- Natural grass-fed animal butter
- Nuts, such as macadamia nuts, almonds, and pecans
- Various seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, cumin, and hemp seeds
- Grass-fed cattle meat
- Lard and/or tallow
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Natural cocoa butter
- Pasteurized organic eggs
When setting up a ketogenic diet plan, it’s important to focus on green leafy vegetables, as they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and different nutrients. The best include broccoli, spinach, parsley, Brussels sprouts, and zucchini.
While fruit is generally healthy, you should avoid most of it on a ketogenic diet due to the high amounts of sugar. However, some berries are safe to eat, such as blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries, as they are high in antioxidants that can promote health.
As for the drinks, you have several choices. The most important is water, but you could also drink organic black coffee (no sweeteners or milk), which is high in antioxidants. You can also drink coconut milk and herbal tea, as they contain many antioxidants and nutrients.
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Who Shouldn't Follow a Ketogenic Diet?
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes that require nutrients from various sources. Therefore, severe deprivation of healthy sources of carbohydrates could negatively affect your baby’s health.
Women should avoid the ketogenic diet throughout the breastfeeding phase. This is because they need oxaloacetic acid, an essential substance for producing lactose for breast milk, essential for the baby’s growth.
An Athlete About to Start a New Season
Athletes can greatly benefit from ketones’ energy, but it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to reach ketosis. During this time, the body is not yet accustomed to using fat as an energy source, which can worsen your performance in upcoming athletic competitions. If you want to reap the benefits of a ketogenic diet, give your body time to adapt by planning during the off-season period.
People whose gallbladder has been removed
The gallbladder collects and holds bile, allowing the digestive tract to properly absorb dietary fats. Without it, dietary fats will not be fully absorbed, leading to nutrient deficiencies, as a ketogenic diet relies heavily on fats for nutrients. The solution is quite simple. Make sure you take two supplements with every meal that contains fat: ox bile (ox bile) and lipase. The bile ox will help you emulsify the fats to absorb them and replace the bile normally released by the gallbladder. Lipase is an enzyme that will help you digest fat.
Kidney Stones Sufferers
If you have experienced kidney stones in the past, a ketogenic diet may increase the chances of returning. This is because ketones are naturally acidic and increase uric acid production and stone formation. On the other hand, kidney stones can be avoided during a ketogenic diet by increasing potassium consumption through green leafy vegetables and other fat-rich foods, such as avocados. Staying hydrated throughout the day also helps reduce the risk of stones.
Who is still growing
In one study, epileptic children who were given a ketogenic diet experienced decreased symptoms and improved cognitive performance. However, according to a study published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, it can have a negative effect on the growth of their bodies in the long run.
Researchers claim that the ketogenic diet reduces the production of type I insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a hormone essential in developing bones and muscles of children and adolescents. If your child necessarily needs a ketogenic diet, you should first consult a doctor to discuss potential growth problems.
People who are thin by nature
Those who are thin by nature, and have a body mass index (BMI) of less than or equal to 20, should avoid the ketogenic diet as it could lead to further weight loss, which is dangerous to their overall health.
Those with Rare Metabolic Diseases
Disorders such as Gaucher disease, Tay Sachs disease, Niemann-Pick disease, and Fabry disease can interfere with fat metabolism, thereby affecting energy production. If you have any of the ailments mentioned, a ketogenic diet is not recommended as it relies heavily on fat for energy production.
Anorexics who follow a ketogenic diet run the risk of going hungry quickly because their calorie consumption is already limited. They have an extreme fear of eating fat, abundant in this diet. If they embark on a ketogenic meal plan, they may suffer from low energy because fat is the main source. However, with the support of medical care and psychiatric supervision, their overall health could benefit from ketones.
Pancreatic insufficiency - Pancreatic
Pancreatic insufficiency is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to help break down and absorb nutrients in the digestive tract.
If you have an enzyme deficiency, I would suggest treating it before embarking on the ketogenic diet. Otherwise, the digestive tract would have difficulty absorbing dietary fat.
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The side effects of a ketogenic diet
Once you start a ketogenic diet, you may notice that your breath smells bad due to the increased levels of acetone in the body. Acetone is a ketone produced during ketosis, excreted through the urine and partly through the breath.
On the bright side, detecting acetone in-breath is a great indicator that the ketogenic diet is working. To get rid of the bad smell, you can brush your teeth and/or rinse your mouth with coconut oil.
At the start of a ketogenic diet, you may start to feel tired. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why many decide not to continue with this approach for long, even before enjoying its benefits.
The reason you feel so fatigued initially is that your body is adapting to using healthy fats as an energy source rather than carbohydrates. The transition doesn’t happen overnight, and the body could go into ketosis at any time from seven to thirty days.
During the first few days of a ketogenic diet, you may notice that you go to the bathroom more often. This is because the body is discharging glycogen from the liver and muscles in the form of urine. Also, as blood insulin levels begin to drop, excess sodium is excreted in the urine.
A huge change in any diet can increase the risk of digestive problems, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. Constipation is commonly reported by those who start it, but it may go away in a couple of weeks as your body gets used to the healthier food you eat.
When your body switches from using sugar to fat, you may have powerful sugar cravings. However, I advise you not to fall into temptation.
You can try relaxation techniques such as the emotional release technique or yoga to distract yourself from the urge.
During the first few days of the ketogenic diet, you may start to find more hair sticking to the brush. Don’t worry; it’s not a cause for concern, as hair loss can manifest itself from any major dietary change in general. It will stop when the body reaches ketosis.