Ketogenic diet plan: understanding its history, process, and benefits

The ketogenic diet plan for beginners.

The ketogenic diet or ketosis diet is one of the most popular methods of losing weight. It does not only bring several health benefits to our body but it also improves the emotional and mental state of a person.

The diet was started in the 1920s to treat patients with epilepsy. It is believed that the cure must start in the food they take such as changing the amount of food or fasting.

However, fasting for a long period of time brings danger to patients such as making them dizzy and giving them low levels of energy. Thus, the ketogenic diet was developed. The researchers of Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland have found out that if patients reduce their carbohydrate intake, seizures will less likely to occur.

The researchers have found the ketogenic diet to be effective and they also introduced it in patients suffering from diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The ketogenic diet requires low-carb, adequate protein, and high-fat while it burns body fats. It has three types which are the standard, cyclical, and targeted ketogenic diet.

Most of us live in high levels of carbohydrates to function and our bodies use glucose or sugar as energy. Glucose cannot be produced by our body therefore, we eat foods that have glucose. Our body can only store glucose good for 24 hours in our liver and tissues. Once we stop consuming foods with glucose, our body will burn fat instead.

‘Ketosis’ happen when the liver breaks down fat into glycerol and fatty acids (or beta-oxidation). This allows the production of acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate which are ketone bodies or ketones. These three types of molecules are water-soluble. When a person is in ketosis, he gets fueled up using the ketones rather than glucose by burning the fat.

To understand better what is ‘ketosis’, check out the following:

Reaching ketosis

Ketosis is easy to achieve and it is straightforward. However, it can be confusing and complicated especially if it is your first time hearing the terminology. To guide you, here are some of the things you need to learn and to do:

  1. Decrease your carbohydrates intake: Limit both net carbs and total carbs because most people tend to only focus only on net carbs. Limiting both aspects will give you better results. Stay below 20 grams net carbs and 35 grams of total carbs each day.
  2. Stop eating snacks: Stop taking unnecessary snacks because this might eventually lead to slow weight loss. Also, do remember that weight loss is better when your insulin is lower.
  3. Take supplements: Although not necessary, it will still help if you take some supplements while on the diet.
  4. Do not worry about fat: You don’t lose weight through starvation in the ketogenic diet, so make sure that you are eating enough of fat. Remember, fat is the major source of energy in the ketogenic diet.
  5. Exercise: Start exercising now since it is good for the body and it is healthy. Add 20-30 minutes of exercise once a day, to get the optimum results of the ketogenic diet.
  6. Drink lots of water: Make sure that you always drink lots of water each day and you are staying consistent in your water intake. It helps in regulating several bodily functions and helps control levels of hunger.
  7. Restrict protein consumption: Another feature is to limit protein intake. If you have too much protein, ketosis will be limited. Ideally, you can eat between 0.6 grams to 0.8 grams of protein per pound lean body mass.

Benefits of Ketogenic Diet

Lose weight

There are multiple benefits of the ketogenic diet. The first benefit is to help in weight loss. Nowadays, the majority of people are obsessed with losing weight to fit in the society and to prevent diseases.

One diet plan they follow is cutting calorie intake and fat content while eating foods rich in carbohydrates. Indeed, this has multiple health benefits, however, it is hard to sustain over time. Many people result in binge eating in the long run because they get hungrier as calories are cut in their diet.

Thus, one remedy is to switch to low-carb diet or now known as a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet will lessen hunger and help in boosting weight loss. When we eat a small amount of food with carbohydrates, less insulin is released. When insulin is produced in a minimal amount, energy or fat is not stored in the body anymore.

The ketogenic diet is high in protein and healthy fats, thus it helps you to feel fuller and prevent overeating sweets and junk foods. Overeating will ultimately result in weight gain and other diseases but undergoing ketogenic diet can reverse such habits.

Improve performance

 

This diet can also help to increase mental and physical performance. With the increase consumption of fatty acids, it can help you focus and concentrate better on your daily work at school or at home.

In addition, it enables you to have enough energy for a whole day of activities such as taking examinations, working in the farm, and lifting weights in the gym.

Therapy for brain and neurological disorders

Glucose is essential for our brain to fuel several bodily processes. This type of diet is helpful for those who suffers from epilepsy especially to those cases that don’t respond to medication. In a recent study, it has been found out that seizure is less likely to occur in children who undergoes ketogenic diet. For some cases, patients become seizure free with constant usage of the diet.

Moreover, the ketogenic diet is now being studied thoroughly to help people especially adults who have Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The results will be very helpful in preventing this disease that makes half of the adult population suffer.

Protect against heart diseases

This diet will also prevent heart diseases such as cardiac arrest, stroke, hypertension, hypotension, atheroma, and other cardiovascular diseases since it is a diet which consists low-carb and high healthy fats like fish, nuts, and olive oil. This can also decrease the likelihood of infections and complications because of heart ailments.

Heart diseases that people experiences today are caused by inflammation which is due to eating unhealthy foods. Such foods include trans-fat, sugar, and junk foods.

Prevent Diabetes

The ketogenic diet is helpful too for people with type 2 diabetes and those who doesn’t have insulin medications. This is also one of the best remedies for those who are previously suffering from diabetes and wishes to reverse their condition.

Since this diet limits the carbohydrate consumption, it also decreases sugar and other processed food intake. In addition, it improves dyslipidemia and the immune system to fight against diabetes.

It must be noted however that people who suffer from diabetes must always consult their doctors first before engaging in the ketogenic diet to make it successful and safe.

Protect body against cancer

Studies show that the ketogenic diet can starve and kill cancer cells in the body. Processed foods which are low in nutrients can cause the cancer cells to increase in numbers. But since the ketogenic diet is a low-carb and low-sugar diet, it can effectively reduce or fight cancer.

This type of diet should be followed by anyone especially to those whose family have a history of cancer. The ketogenic diet can prevent several cancers such as colon cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer, and others.

Foods to eat and not to eat in Ketogenic Diet

After we have understood how ketogenic diet works and its benefits in our body, it is time now to familiarize ourselves with what to eat in this diet plan.

The ketogenic diet must always start with a plan. The more you restrict yourself with carbohydrates, the greater chances of letting yourself enter in ketosis.

The first thing to do is to limit your carbohydrates by eating dairy, nuts, and vegetables only. Avoid eating processed carbs such as wheat, cereals, pasta, bread, doughnut, cookies, and other baked products. Also, prevent sugar or sweet foods such as maple syrup, artificial sweeteners, diet soda, and honey. There are also fruits to avoid in this diet such as bananas, apple, and oranges.

You can eat star fruit, berries, or avocado which must be moderately consumed. Also, consume dark green and leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.

In this diet, you will also need to eat various kinds of meat such as beef, poultry, lamb, and fish. The ketogenic diet will also require you to eat dairy products such as egg, cheese, cream, and butter.

Nuts and seeds such as macadamias, sunflower seeds, and walnuts are also included in the diet. In addition, essential oils like coconut oil which is high in saturated fats must be consumed in the ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in good fat. Your diet is ideally to be 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% in protein.

Usually, 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates is the ideal consumption for ketogenic diet in everyday use. However, the lower you consume carbohydrates, you’ll more likely to achieve better results in the future. You can snack on nuts, cheese, peanut butter, or eggs if you find yourself hungry in a day.

Sample Menu

Ketosis takes time before you finally get into it. It takes about two weeks of letting your body adapt to eating low carbs diet.

One of the good things of the ketogenic diet is it doesn’t lose muscles in comparison with carb-based diet plans. In high-carb, restricted calorie kind of diet; both the muscle and body fats are affected. Meanwhile, in a ketogenic diet, you can burn fat without affecting the body muscles. This leaves you with a better physique after weight loss or called as body recomposition.

This is a sample menu of the ketogenic diet good for one week. This meal is created to enable you to have three healthy meals each day that can address satiation, protein intake, and fiber consumption.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 3 eggs with sausage, cheese, and spinach
  • Lunch: Lettuce, bacon, and tomato salad. You can also add mayo and hot sauce if you want. Lastly, adding chunks of avocado is a healthy option in this salad.
  • Dinner: Asparagus and baked salmon. You can also make a simple sauce from lemon juice, pepper, salt,  garlic, and butter.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Baked bacon and 2 to 3 eggs
  • Lunch: Salad consisting of red onions, tomato, bacon, salmon, olive oil, vinegar, and hot sauce.
  • Dinner: Beef patties with cheese and vegetables.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Omelette (eggs with cheese and vegetables)
  • Lunch: Cottage cheese, walnuts, and blueberries
  • Dinner: Meatloaf

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Omelette (eggs with cheese and vegetables)
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with lettuce
  • Dinner: Cabbage with ground beef. You can also add butter, garlic, onion, flakes, and hot sauce.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Coffee and Omelette
  • Lunch: Coleslaw and spam fries
  • Dinner: Taco with beef, vegetables, sour cream, and cheese.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Omelette (eggs with cheese and vegetables)
  • Lunch: Taco salad. Add this with sour cream, salsa, and cheese.
  • Dinner: Roasted pork and vegetables. The vegetable must be broccoli, sprouts, or cauliflower.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: Eggs with avocado
  • Lunch: Chicken wrapped in lettuce with hummus
  • Dinner: Pork with slice onions, cream cheese, peppers, and cheddar. Bake this menu and enjoy the meal.

Side effects of the ketogenic diet

Starting with the ketogenic diet could have few side-effects. The first is muscle cramps. Cramps usually occur both at night or day and it is an indication of lack of vitamins and minerals. To combat this issue, make sure you drink water and put salt on your food.

Another side effect of the diet is dehydration, constipation, heart palpitations, indigestion, rashes, and reduced physical performance. This will be prevented by consuming vegetables rich in fiber and drinking more water.

These side-effects are the normal reaction of our body as it shifts to another phase. But if the problems still continue, it is best to see a doctor because this may be an indication of greater health problem.

Our body is used to the routine of breaking down carbs as we use it as energy. It has built an arsenal of enzymes for this routine and only a few of the enzymes for dealing with body fats. Then suddenly, we switch to a diet that deals with an increase in fats and less in glucose. As our bodies undergo in ketosis, it will use the remaining glucose.  With this, our body will have depleted glycogen in the muscles which cause lethargy and decrease of physical performance.

Thus, it is normal that people experience aggravation, mental fogginess, dizziness, and headaches or the ‘keto flu.’ This is due to electrolytes that are washed out in the body. The solution is to drink water and increase sodium intake.

Ketoacidosis

Meanwhile, if the production of ketones or ketone bodies and blood sugar gets too high, you can experience ‘ketoacidosis’. This is the stage where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. This combination makes your blood too acidic, which can change the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. If you don’t get prompt treatment for it, you could go into a coma or die

In this condition, your blood will become acidic which can affect the normal functioning of the liver, kidneys, and other internal organs. If there is no immediate medication on ketoacidosis, you will likely to go into a coma or die.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, the ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diet plans today that people of different ages can try. It is important to give value to the food we eat to be disease-free. Do not forget to also consult an expert if we are planning to change our lifestyle and start living healthy.