What is Ketogenic Diet?

It is simply a high fat and low carb diet offering various health benefits.

The diet can help you in improving health and in losing weight as shown by more than 20 researches.   Besides, the diet can offer benefits against Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, cancer, and diabetes.

Anything you need to know about ketogenic diet is covered in the article.

What is Ketogenic Diet?

The diet is mostly termed as keto, and it is simply a diet with high fat and very minimal carb, and it shares many similarities with low-carb diets and Atkins.

The diet involves lowering intake of carbohydrates and making some replacement with fat.   Your body gets into a metabolic state known as ketosis after the reduction of carbs.

Your body becomes effective in burning fat for the production of energy after that occurs. Besides, your body converts fat in the liver into ketones, which can offer energy to the brain.

Significant reduction in insulin and blood sugar levels can be caused by ketogenic diets.  Many health benefits are provided by the reduction alongside increased ketones.

Food pyramid diagram for the ketogenic diet.

Various kinds of Ketogenic Diets

Different types of ketogenic diets exist, which include:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): The diet has high fat, moderate protein and very minimal carb.  The diet is mainly made of 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat.
  • High -Protein Ketogenic Diet: The diet is similar to standard ketogenic diet but contains more proteins at a ratio of 5%carbs, 35% protein, and 60% fat.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): The diet allows you to increase carbs alongside workouts.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): The diet comprises of higher-carb refeed like five days of the ketogenic diet, followed by two days of high-carb.

Nevertheless, extensive research has only been carried on high-protein and standard ketogenic diets.  Targeted and cyclical ketogenic diets are higher improved processes, utilized mainly by athletes and bodybuilders.

Notably, the information in the article is primarily applied in the standard ketogenic diet. However, most of the principles can be implemented in other types.

Can you lose weight by the help of Ketogenic Diets?

The best way to reduce your risk factor for disease and lose weight is the use of ketogenic diet.  The ketogenic diet is effective when compared with the recommended low-fat diet as indicated by the study.

Also, you lose weight without tracking your food or counting calories with ketogenic diet as it offers satiety.   Individuals on a ketogenic diet were found by research to lose 2.2 times more weight than people on a diet with low fat and restricted calorie. Also, HDL cholesterol and Triglyceride levels got enhanced.

Another research showed that individuals on the ketogenic diet lost weight three times those on UK’s recommended diabetes diet.  A ketogenic diet is effective than a low-fat diet because of different reasons.  Among the reasons is increased consumption of protein, which offers many benefits.

Although increased ketone lowers the blood sugar levels, while enhanced insulin sensitivity might play a vital role.

Diabetes and Pre-diabetes Ketogenic Diets

Impaired insulin function, high blood sugar, and change in metabolism are some of the characteristics of diabetes.   Excess fat is associated with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and type2 diabetes.  However, Ketogenic diet might aid you in losing the excess fat.

While a research indicated that ketogenic diet enhanced insulin sensitivity by 75%, another research involving 21 patients with type 2 diabetes reported that seven of the individuals stopped all diabetes medications.

A group on ketogenic diet lost 11.1kg while a group on higher-carb lost 6.9kg in another research.  If you consider the connection between type 2diabetes and weight, this is an essential benefit.   Besides, 95.2% of the ketogenic group reduced or stopped diabetes medication in comparison to 62% in higher carb group.

Ketogenic diet

Additional Health Benefits of Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic diet started as a means of treating neurological diseases like epilepsy.   According to research, the ketogenic diet has on different health conditions like:

  • Acne: you can enhance acne by eating less processed foods or less sugar, which lowers insulin levels.
  • Brain injuries: the diet can help in recovery after brain injury and decrease concussions as revealed by an animal research.
  • Heart disease: the diet can enhance risk factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, HDL levels and body fat.
  • Cancer: Currently, the diet is used to slow the growth of the tumor and to treat various kinds of cancer.
  • Epilepsy: ketogenic diet can lead to great reductions in seizures in children with epilepsy as shown by research.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: the progression of Alzheimer disease may be slowed down and the symptoms reduced by the diet.
  • Parkinson’s disease: an analysis revealed that the symptoms of the disease were enhanced by the diet.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: Insulin levels may be reduced by ketogenic diet, which plays a significant role in polycystic ovary syndrome.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that research in many of the conditions is still not conclusive.

Foods not to Use

You should limit foods with high carbs.  The list of food to be avoided or reduced in ketogenic diet includes:

  • Alcohol: most alcoholic beverages may eliminate you from ketosis because of the carb content.
  • Sugar-free diet foods: the foods are high in sugar alcohol, which affects ketone levels at times. Besides, the foods are highly processed.
  • Unhealthy fat: avoid or lower the consumption of processed mayonnaise, vegetable oils and others.
  • Sugary foods: candy, ice cream, cake, smoothies, soda, fruit juice and others.
  • Some sauces or condiments: they usually have unhealthy fat and sugar.
  • Starches or grains: cereal, pasta, rice, wheat-based products and others.
  • Fruit: all fruits beside small portions of berries such as strawberries.
  • Diet products or low fat: Besides being high in carbs, they are highly processed.
  • Tubers and root vegetables: parsnips, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and others.
  • Legumes or Beans: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas and others.

Foods to consume

  • Condiments: pepper, salt and healthy spices and herbs.
  • Low-carb veggies: peppers, onions, tomatoes, most green vegetables and others.
  • Avocados: freshly made guacamole or whole avocados.
  • Healthy oils: avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Seeds and nuts: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and Almonds.
  • Cheese: unprocessed cheese (cream, goat, blue, cheddar or mozzarella).
  • Cream and Butter: if possible, use from grass-fed animals.
  • Eggs: use omega-3 or pastured whole eggs.
  • Fatty fish: tuna, trout, mackerel, and salmon.
  • Meat: Turkey, chicken, bacon, sausage, ham, steak, and red meat.

A one week ketogenic meal plan sample:


  • Breakfast: tomatoes. Eggs and bacon
  • Lunch: chicken salad with feta cheese and olive oil.
  • Dinner: salmon containing asparagus cooked in butter.


  • Breakfast: goat cheese omelet, basil, tomato, and egg.
  • Lunch: stevia milkshake, cocoa powder peanut butter, and almond milk.
  • Dinner: vegetables, meatballs and cheddar cheese.

Ketogenic diet


  • Breakfast: ketogenic milk shake
  • Lunch: shrimp salad with avocado and olive oil
  • Dinner: pork chops with salad, broccoli, and parmesan cheese.


  • Breakfast: omelet with spices, onion, peppers, salsa and avocado
  • Lunch: a handful of celery sticks and nuts with salsa and guacamole
  • Dinner: chicken stuffed with cream cheese, pesto and vegetables


  • Breakfast: sugar-free yogurt with stevia, cocoa powder and peanut butter.
  • Lunch: Beef stir fry cooked with vegetable and coconut oil
  • Dinner: cheese, egg, bacon and bun-less burger


  • Breakfast: Cheese and Ham omelet with vegetables
  • Lunch: Cheese and Ham slices with nuts.
  • Dinner: Spinach, egg and white fish cooked using coconut oil.


  • Breakfast: mushrooms, bacon, and fried eggs.
  • Lunch: guacamole, cheese, salsa and burger
  • Dinner: eggs and steak with a side salad.

It is recommendable to rotate meat and vegetables over long term since each kind offers different health benefits and nutrients.

Ketogenic Snack that are Healthy

  • Cheese
  • Fish or fatty meat
  • Cheese with olives
  • A handful of seeds and nuts
  • 90% dark chocolate
  • One to two boiled eggs
  • Cream and strawberries
  • Celery with guacamole and salsa
  • Full-fat yogurt mixed with cocoa powder and nut butter
  • Low-carb milkshake with nut butter, cocoa powder and almond milk
  • Leftover meals in smaller portions

Hints for Eating Out a Ketogenic Diet

Making most keto-friendly restaurant meals when eating out is not difficult. Many restaurants provide fish-based dish and some meat.   You can order the meal but replace high-carb food with vegetables.

Other great options are egg based meals, such as bacon, eggs, and omelet.

Bun-less Burger are also favorite, but you can leave the bun and swap fries with vegetables, but add more eggs, bacon, cheese and avocado.

To have a dessert, order double cream with berries or mixed cheese board.

Side Effects and How to Reduce Them

For healthy people, the ketogenic diet is safe, but as your body adapts, you might experience some initial side effects.

The side effects are known as keto flu, which lasts for a few days.

Reduced exercise performance, digestive discomfort, nausea, sleep problems, increased hunger and poor mental and energy function are side effects of the flu.

You can minimize the flu by trying a regular low-carb diet for a few weeks as you start.   The diet might teach your body to burn excess fat before you eliminate carbs completely.

The mineral and water balance of your body can be changed by a ketogenic diet, hence consuming mineral supplements or adding more salt to your meal can help.

To lower the side effects with the use of minerals, take 300mg magnesium, 1000mg of potassium and 3000-4000mg of sodium in a day.

While starting, avoid restricting calories too much and eat to fullness as ketogenic diet leads to weight loss without intended calorie restriction.

Ketogenic Diet Supplements

Supplements are not a requirement, but some are important.

  • Whey: to increase your daily protein intake, use a half spoon of whey protein in yogurt and shakes.
  • Creatine: it offers many benefits for performance and health. Also, it aids you in combining exercise and a ketogenic diet.
  • Exogenous ketones: the supplement increases the level of ketones in the body.
  • Caffeine: Have benefits for performance, fat loss and energy.
  • Minerals: Minerals and added salt can be helpful when starting out because of mineral balance and shifts in water.
  • MCT oil: the oil increases ketone levels and offers energy when added in yogurt or drinks.

Most Common Questions regarding Ketogenic Diet

  1. Can I eat carbs again?

Yes, but eliminate them as you start.  You can eat carbs after the beginning 2-3 months when necessary and later return to your diet.

  1. Does one lose muscle?

The loss of some muscle on any diet is a risk.  Nevertheless, muscle loss may be minimized by high ketone levels and high consumption of protein, mostly if you lift weights.

  1. Can one build muscle on a ketogenic diet?

Yes, although it might not also work on a moderate-carb diet.

  1. Is it important to refeed?

No, although few day with higher-calorie may be beneficial at times.

  1. What is the recommendable percentage of protein to eat?

The consumption of protein should be moderate, because high intake can lower ketone and increase insulin levels rapidly.  The upper limit of the total calorie intake is 35%.

  1. What is wrong if I am constantly weak, fatigued or tired?

You might not be using ketones and fats effectively or in full ketosis.  However, lowering your carb intake or using supplements such as MCT oil might help.

  1. Why does urine smell fruity?

Because of excretion of byproducts made during ketosis.

  1. What can I do with my smelling breathe?

The side effect is common, but can be reduced by chewing sugar-free gum or drinking naturally flavored water.

  1. Is it true that ketosis is dangerous?

Mostly, confusion occurs between ketoacidosis and ketosis.  However, ketosis is natural, while ketoacidosis happens if diabetes is not controlled.

Ketosis on a ketogenic diet is healthy and typical, while Ketoacidosis is dangerous.

  1. What can I do if I have digestion problems with diarrhea?

This is a common side effect, which passes after 3-4 weeks.   However, if it persists, make sure you eat more high-fiber veggies or take magnesium supplements to help with constipation.

Although Ketogenic Diet is Great, It is not for everyone

The diet is ideal for individuals trying to enhance their metabolic health and those who are diabetic or overweight.

For athletes and people who want to add high amounts of weight or muscles, the diet is not suitable.  Besides, just like any other diet, ketogenic diet works if you remain consistent and stick to it for a long term.

Nevertheless, the ketogenic diet has been proven to have health and weight loss benefits.