The ketogenic diet - Evidence-based Complete Beginners keto guide

What is a Keto diet? Sample Diet Plan for 2021

The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, enough protein, and a low-fat diet. This diet forces your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates by shifting our metabolism to ketosis.

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate and high healthy fat diet that can have thousands of health benefits.

It is scientifically proven that a ketogenic diet can be very effective in losing weight without any exercise and improve your health. [2]

A ketogenic diet also has benefits against diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease which we talk about later. [3] [4] [5] [6] 

What is ketosis?

what is ketsis

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state, in which the body uses ketones, produced by the burning of stored fat, as a primary energy source instead of glucose produced by the burning of carbs. 

When there is not enough glucose, our body starts using an alternate source of energy. Our liver metabolizes fatty acids at a very high rate and converts them into ketones. And these ketones are released into the blood for use as energy. 

It takes typically 2-4 days to get into ketosis. Ketosis can also occur during fasting, pregnancy, and starvation. [7] [8] [9]

When you are in ketosis, it also shuts the hormone insulin. Insulin promotes the storage of fat. [10]

What are ketones?

what is ketones

Ketones are acids, produced when our body burns for energy instead of carbs. 

Ketones can only produce when our body does not have enough glucose to produce energy then the body starts to burn stored fat as an alternate source of energy and byproducts ketone bodies produced. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20 

How are ketones produced?

  • Our body burns glucose and glycogen stores for energy.
  • When the body is on low carbs, then glucose and glycogen stores went out and our body starts to look for an alternate energy source of energy.
  • After that our body starts to burn stored fat and dietary fat for fuel
  • After the burning of fat ketones is produced.

How many ketones are normal in a ketogenic diet?

According to experts, if you are in a ketogenic diet your blood ketones level should be between 0.5  mmol/L to 3.0 mmol/L. ketones level more than 3 mmol/L consider very high and needs immediate medical treatment because there is the risk of developing ketoacidosis.

How to measure ketones level?

There are four 3 most common ways to measure ketones level

1. Breath testing

In this, you have to buy a breathalyzer. These are easily available in the online store.

2. Urine ketone strips

In this, you gave to put drops of urine on strips and these are easy to use. just follow the instruction.

3. Blood ketone meter

This method is the most accurate and easy to use. It measures the ketone level in the blood.

What is the ketogenic diet?

ketogenic

The ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates and a high healthy fat diet (similar to Atkins, and low carb diet) which can help you to burn your fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. [23] [24]

It involves reducing carbohydrate intake drastically and replacing carbs with fat.

This drastic reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into ketosis (a metabolic state)When carbs intake decreases, then your body uses fat for energy and body use fat more efficiently than ever also called ketosis.

Body fat turns into ketones in the liver, which provide energy to the body. This is why it’s called the ketogenic diet. [25] [26]

How many carbs in a ketogenic diet?

Generally, you can eat 20g to 50g (5-10%) carbs in a ketogenic diet. But it depends upon the kind of diet you are following. In a Standard ketogenic diet, you can eat 50g (10%) carbs, in a Cyclical ketogenic diet 50g (10%) carbs, in High-protein ketogenic diet 20g carbs, and in a Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) also 50g but you can add additional 20g to 30g during an intense workout. Based on 2000 calories need a day.

How much protein in a ketogenic diet?

Generally, you can eat 50g-90g (10-20%) protein in the ketogenic diet. But if you are following a high protein ketogenic diet, you can eat up to 140g (35%) protein. This is calculated based on 2000 calories needs a day because according to USDA 1g of protein contains 4 calories.

Types of the ketogenic diet

There are four types of the ketogenic diet

1. The standard ketogenic diet (SKT)

This is the most common type of ketogenic diet and usually for beginners.

The main principle is, you have to eat as low as possible amount of carbs and a high amount of fat.

In terms of grams

  • 40-60 g of protein
  • 20-50 g of carbohydrate
  • No set limit for fat

On a standard keto diet, you plan your meals around fat and snacks like butter ghee, fatty fish, avocados, meat, coconut oil, and olive oil. [27]

2. The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)

This diet allows you to add carbs. It is more common in athletes who want to live a keto lifestyle but also need more carbs.

In this, you can add 20-30 grams of carbs before 30 minutes of exercise.

In term of the ratio

  • 65-70% fat
  • 10-15% carbs
  • Around 20% protein

In terms of grams

  • 70-90 g of protein
  • 20-50 g of carbohydrate
  • No set limit for fat

The best option to add fruit, grain-based food, or dairy products.

3. The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD)

In this, you can add one or two days a week with a high carb day. It depends on exercise and your preference.

Your days on which you eat high carbs known as “carb-loading”. Carbs loading can last for 1-2 days.

The cyclical keto diet is recommended for bodybuilders and athletes to maximize weight loss.

In regular days

  • 75% fat
  • 15-20% protein
  • 5-10% carbs

In terms of grams

  • 40-60g of protein
  • 20-50g of carbohydrate
  • No set limit for fat

On carb-loading days

  • 25%-25% of fat and protein
  • 50% of carbs

The targeted ketogenic diet and The cyclical keto diet are very advanced for many people and suitable advanced for the very active individual.

You should not try these.

4. High-Protein, Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)

This ketogenic diet just like a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein.

Carbs are still restricted to less than 10%, but protein intake increases and fat intake decreases.

In term of the ratio

  • 60% fat
  • 5% carbs
  • 35% protein

Many people find it easier to follow. In this, it is harder to reach ketosis because protein also converted into glucose.

But a high protein keto diet will help you in weight loss.

How to get into ketosis?

There are several ways to get into ketosis these are the most effective. There is a separate article on how to get into ketosis fast even in 24 hours.

Food should eat on a ketogenic diet

If you are not sure what should you eat in a keto diet, then our food list will show you what should you eat.

Your majority of food should be around these food items. [35]. To know more about food on the keto diet click here.

1. Meat – Chicken, pork, lamb, ham, bacon, turkey, ground beef

2. Fat and oil – Butter, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, mayonnaise, lard

3. Some vegetables – Cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, onion, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus.

4. High-fat dairy – Heavy cream, ghee, butter, sour cream, cream cheese

5. Nuts

You should be careful about eating nuts as a snack because it is very easy to eat more than you need. There are more than 15 nuts and seeds you can enjoy on your keto diet.

Brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds, peanut butter, walnuts, hazelnuts

6. Seafood – Salmon, trout, tuna, catfish, lobster, snapper, cod, halibut, mussels, crab

7. Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

8. Artificial sweeteners – Sucralose, Saccharin, Cyclamate

9. Some Alcohol – Dry wine, champagne, rum, gin, whiskey, tequila does not contain any carbs.

10. Eggs

What should drink on a keto

You should be conscious of what you are drinking. These are some keto-friendly drinks.

1. Water

Water is the best ever option for the ketogenic diet.

It contains 0g carbs. You can drink water with ice or hot water, you can add natural flavoring like lemon juice, lemons, etc.

2. Unsweetened Tea

Drink black tea, green tea, or herbal tea. But remember, don’t add sugar.

3. Coffee

A small amount of milk or cream is fine.

You can add coconut oil or butter. But don’t add sugar.

Food should avoid on a keto

Any food which contains high carbohydrates should be avoided. These are some

1. Fruit

You should avoid all fruits except berries.

2. Grain and grain products

Grains contain too many carbs. 100g of grain contains 43g of carbohydrates.

So if you are on a keto diet, you can’t eat it.

Wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, millet, sprouted grains, cereal, bread, pasta, etc.

3. Sweets

Sweets contain sugar, so you should avoid it. Some natural sweeteners can be good such as honey, etc. but it is better to avoid sugar.

Candy, chocolate, pastries, pies, ice cream custard, etc.

4. Some oil

All the oils are not good. So be should be avoided.

Soybean oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, etc.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol contains carbs so you should avoid it.

Beer, sweet wines, sweetens alcoholic drinks, Piña Colada, cider, Regular beer, etc.

5. Sweet sauce

Avoid sauces such as hot sauces, BBQ sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, etc.

6. Sweetens drink

Sweetened drinks contain too much sugar and ultimately carbohydrates.

You should avoid juice, soda, sweetened tea and coffee, smoothies.

7. Low-fat dairy

Low-fat dairy contains low fat and high carbs.

Avoid skim milk, low cheese, cream cheese, fat-free yogurt, skim mozzarella.

8. Root vegetables

Root vegetables contain lots of carbohydrates. They are better for health, but not for the keto diet.

Potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips, yams

Sample Diet plan

This is how you can design for one day.

For one day

  • Breakfast:- egg – half an egg, 10g bacon, heavy whipping cream, 20, butter, a 10g slice of apple.
  • Morning snack (if you need): – peanut butter- 5g peanut butter, 10g butter
  • Lunch:- tuna fish – 30g tuna fish, 10, celery, heavy whipping cream, 30g
  • Afternoon snack:- keto-friendly yogurt – 20g of whipping cream, 15g  sour cream, artificial sweeteners, small strawberries.
  • Dinner:- cheeseburger – 10g green beans, 25g butter, 10g lettuce, 10g cheese, 20g minced beef, 35g cream.

For one week

This will help you to design the keto diet for one week.

1. Monday

  • Breakfast:- 30g butter, 2 eggs, pepper, and salt.
  • Lunch:- beef, salad, sesame mayonnaise.
  • Dinner:- boneless chicken, cheese, olives, pesto

2. Tuesday

  • Breakfast:- butter, cheddar cheese, provolone
  • Lunch:- egg, salt and pepper, fresh cheese, olive oil
  • Dinner:- pie crust, cheese, tomato, ground beef

3. Wednesday

  • Breakfast:- butter, fresh spinach, eggs, heavy whipping cream, cheese
  • Lunch:- butter, chicken broth, green cabbage, mushroom
  • Dinner:- butter, bacon, yolk, cheese

4. Thursday

  • Breakfast:- egg, ground ginger, coconut oil
  • Lunch:- goat cheese, avocado, walnut, heavy whipping cream
  • Dinner:- eggs, cheese, provolone, leafy green, olive oil

5. Friday

  • Breakfast:- eggs, butter, shredded cheese, mushrooms
  • Lunch:- salmon, mayonnaise, spinach, lime
  • Dinner:-  eggs, cheese cream, ground beef, olive oil, avocado, etc.

6. Saturday

  • Breakfast:- egg, butter, spinach,
  • Lunch:- egg whites, cream cheese, coconut flour
  • Dinner:- butter, green cabbage, ginger, ground beef

7. Sunday

  • Breakfast:- raspberries, heavy whipping cream, eggs, coconut oil
  • Lunch:- goat cheese, olive oil, prosciutto, green asparagus
  • Dinner:- broccoli, small capers, butter, heavy whipping cream

Some recipe ideas for the keto diet

These are just ideas. You should make your own recipes, if you don’t know you can click here these will redirect you to Amazon.

  • The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet, with More Than 125 Delectable Recipes and 5 Meal Plans to Shed Weight click here
  • The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes for Busy People on the Keto Diet. to get click here
  • Simply Keto: A Practical Approach to Health & Weight Loss, with 100+ Easy Low-Carb Recipe click here
  • Keto Diet Cookbook For Beginners: 550 Recipes For Busy People on Keto Diet (Keto Diet for Beginners) click here
  • For more

There you can find all the recipes in detail and easy to understand. For free you can click here these will redirect you to websites where also some free recipes may help you.

Some other health benefits of a ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet was actually invented for treating epilepsy.

Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet can have many health benefits.

1. The ketogenic diet for weight loss

The ketogenic diet is most effective for weight loss with very low-risk factors. [36] [37]

After entering ketosis, the body burns fat more efficiently.

After that, your boy will burn fat at night while you sleep.

So your body burning fat 24/7.

Research has shown that the ketogenic diet is better than a low-fat diet. [38] [39] [40] [41]

You can lose weight without fasting or tracking your food intake.

2. The ketogenic diet for cancer

Cancer cells are fed off with the sugar.

But when in a ketogenic diet carbohydrate intake is minimal so there is no sugar and the body uses fat for energy.

Cancer cell prefers to suffer, but when you limit the sugar.

It will limit to the growth of cancer cells and give time to the immune system to respond. [45] [46]

Sometimes cancer cells starved to death because there is no sugar to feed off.

The ketogenic diet has anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects on human brain tumors. [47] [48]

So ketogenic diet a be used as an effective and alternative therapy for brain cancer. [49] [50]

3. The ketogenic diet for diabetes

Diabetes is generally associated with high blood sugar and imbalanced insulin function.

Ketogenic diet effectively controls glycemic in a patient with type 2 diabetes such that medication reduced or discontinued in most of the patients. [51

In one study it is found that it improved insulin sensitivity by approximately 75%. [52]

One study found that diabetes medication reduced in 10 participants, discontinued in 7 participants out of 21 participants. [53]

In another study found that 95% of the ketogenic group were also able to reduce or stop diabetes medication compared to 62% of the high carbs group. [54]

4. Ketogenic for heart diseases

It might be difficult to believe that the diet in which you use more fat can help you increasing good fat and reducing bad fats.

It is because the keto diet decreases the level of insulin, as a result, these types of diets can stop your body from making more cholesterol.

This means you will have less blood pressure, less likely to have harder arteries and heart failure. [55] [56]

4. The ketogenic diet for Alzheimer’s disease

Research has also shown that the ketogenic diet is also good for neurodegenerative diseases.

Although more studies are needed for long-term keto diet effects on the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. [59]

Keto diet can be effective prevention and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but this ketone production and carbohydrate restriction is important. [60]

5. The ketogenic diet for Epilepsy

A ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s and 30’.

The ketogenic diet was developed to remove the limitation of the use of fasting to treat epilepsy. [61]

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, but the ketogenic diet is proved very effective for Epilepsy. [62]

A ketogenic diet can be used as an alternative for non-surgical pharmacoresistant patients with epilepsy of any age. [63]

6. The ketogenic diet for acne

Acne is the most common in teens and adolescents, although 90% of them have acne, It is common in adults as well.

In studies, it was shown that a diet high in sugar and carbs can worsen acne. [64

But later on, experimental research failed to show the link between food and acne.

Now research suggesting that carbohydrates can have a bad effect on acne due to the negative effect on hormonal regulation. [65]

7. The ketogenic diet for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease caused by nerve cell damage and cell death as a mitochondria dysfunction and due to deterioration of the dopamine-producing cells. [67]

Parkinson’s disease is also benefited from a ketogenic diet, maintaining for 8 weeks.

It improves the symptoms of motor and non-motor.

However, it showed greater improvements in non-motor symptoms. [68]

8. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

the ketogenic diet reduces the insulin level in the blood which can help with PCOS. [71]

A study found that ketogenic diet significant improvement in weight, percent free testosterone, and fasting insulin in women with obesity and PCOS over a 24 week period. [72]

9. Brain injuries

Found that the keto diet can reduce concussions and aid recovery after brain injury. [73]

The ketogenic diet is also very effective in improving the outcomes of Traumatic Brain Injury. [74]

10. Appetite control

A keto diet can help you to control your appetite.

When your body burns fat 24/7, it has access to months of stored energy. [75]

This makes it easy to eat and lead to very fast weight loss.

Side effects of Keto-diet

When we suddenly change our body’s metabolism from burning cars to ketosis, it may have shown some side effects. Because our body now has to use new fuel for energy.

You can feel these side effects after 2-5 days of starting.

1. Keto flu

Some people feel some side effects initially called keto flu. You can feel more or less. Its symptoms include.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue etc.
  • Sleep issue
  • Poor energy and mental function
  • Increased in hunger
  • It can also change the water and mineral balance of your body.

But initial symptoms will disappear within weeks when your body adapts to fat burning.

2. cramps

Muscles, especially leg cramps are very common when people starting a ketogenic diet. These are very minor.

You should worry about that.

Make sure you are drinking fluid and also add salt to your food.

3. Constipation

Constipation is also very common due to dehydration.

When you start the keto – diet. Your body loses fluid quickly.

In starting urination frequency can be increased.

This can cause constipation. You make sure you are drinking lots of water and add some vegetables to your diet for fiber. This can solve your problem.

4. Heart palpitations

Transition to keto can alter your heart rate are but it is normal.

You should not worry about that.

Fluid and salt intake will help you with this.

5. Reduced physical activity

Your body performance can be decreased initially due to the body adapting to fat.

As the transition completes your physical performance will return to normal.

Less common side effects

6. Hair loss

If you are seeing hair loss within five months of starting the keto diet. It is temporary.

7. Keto rash

There is no reason behind hair loss, why some people start to itch when they start keto.

8. Gout

There a temporary increase in the risk of gout during the first 1-2 months.

9. Elevates cholesterol

Quito-diet can slightly elevate in cholesterol due to the elevation of good cholesterol in the blood.

10. Gallstones

Some frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

1. When ketosis become dangerous?

If you are a patient with uncontrolled diabetes, then high levels of ketones in your blood can become too dangerous.

A high level of ketones can cause dehydration can make your blood more acidic, this can cause death. This called ketoacidosis. [76]

But otherwise, ketosis and the ketogenic diet are good for everything.

2. Is the keto diet bad for your liver?

So much saturated fat harder to metabolize and if you already have a liver condition it can make it worse.

So you should eat no more than 7% of your daily calories.

3. How long you should stay on the ketogenic diet?

You should follow a ketogenic diet for a minimum of three months to see results. The first 3 to 6 months are a ketogenic adaptation phase.

There is no challenge of how long you should stay on the ketogenic diet.

But remember you should always follow a proper diet plan to avoid any nutritional deficiency.

4. Is the keto diet bad for your heart?

The ketogenic diet is good for your heart.

You might be thinking that eating too much fat can increase cholesterol in your blood, which is bad for your heart.

But that’s not the case, ketogenic diet increases the good cholesterol level in your blood that decreases the heart attack risk.

When you are in ketosis, your body uses fat more efficiently. It is also good in the long run.

5. How much weight you can lose?

If you lose 1 kg per week it is not extreme. 4-5 kg weight loss in one month is very easy. But if you go to the extreme you can lose weight more than that.

That is why the keto diet is best for losing weight. But in the first month, you will lose mostly water.

6. Is keto diet good for the long-term?

Present scientific studies show the beneficial effects of the ketogenic diet in the long term. It reduces body weight, improves blood pressure, increases good cholesterol, good for the heart, etc. [77]

7. Does keto pills work?

Among keto product, raspberry ketone is the most famous. Yes, it works. It breakdown fat more effectively in cells and help to burn fat faster.

8. Is a ketogenic diet bad for your kidneys?

There is no believable evidence that the keto diet is bad for the kidney or can cause kidney stones. So you can stay on the ketogenic diet.

9. Is a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss?

Yes, the ketogenic diet is very effective not only for weight loss but also for several diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, etc.

But our main focus is on weight loss for which you are reading this article.

A ketogenic diet is also very effective for weight loss. [78]

 Although there is a need for more research to confirm the long term effectiveness of a ketogenic diet. 

A ketogenic diet effectively burns stored fat, which results in very fast weight loss.

But this diet is very difficult to follow for a long time. Because you to quit most of your favorite carbs and which is almost impossible to do for the rest of your life.

If you want to follow a ketogenic diet for weight loss, you can try other effective methods for weight loss without quitting your favorite carbs. But if you want to try something different you should try the ketogenic diet.

But you should know the ketogenic diet more effective for weight loss than a very low carbs diet. [79]

A ketogenic diet is very effective in losing weight in diabetic and no diabetic than a normal diet. [80]

But you will regain most of your lost weight after switching back to a normal diet.

10. Is a ketogenic diet safe for the long term?

Yes, the ketogenic diet is safe for the long term. Although the studies are limited on a long-term ketogenic diet. [81]

11. Who should not try the ketogenic diet?

You should not try a ketogenic diet if you are at any stage of pregnancy, breastfeeding, anyone with an eating disorder, or any other medical condition.

Keto genic diet is safe as we have discussed above, but you should always meet your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, blood pressure problem, kidney problem.

This diet should be under the supervision of a professional and your diet should be pre-design. So you can avoid any nutrient deficiency or any other side effects.

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