The Keto Diet: What it is, How It Works And Why It May Not Be Safe

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The Keto Diet stands for the Ketogenic Diet. It is a low carb, high fat diet that joins The Atkins Diet and other low carb diets in many resemblances.

The benefits of the Keto Diet are numerous. It is actually proved that it is a diet for people looking to lose weight, but has also many other health benefits for people with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and even Alzheimer and Parkinson (but only when done correctly).

If you are interested in the Keto Diet, the first step to start with is to learn everything about it, so that you will get over being frustrated of starting your diet, and not risk its failure. 

We are trying our best to gather all the information we think will be useful for you, but unfortunately, we can’t get into the smallest details, that can and will change the way you perceive your diet. 

This is why we recommend to you the 28-Day Keto Challenge.

It is a guide where you will find everything, from the diet’s helpful weight loss tools, to healthy diet plans and recipes. So, if want to leave nothing to chance, you know what to do.

1. What is a Keto Diet?

As we just mentioned above, The Keto Diet is a low carb, high fat diet that has numerous health benefits. 

It consists on raising blood ketone levels which produces a new energy source for your body and brain cells. It is the process of switching the body’s metabolism from carbohydrates into fat and ketones.

The Keto Diet pushes your body to burn fats in order to provide energy to the body and also turn fat into high number of ketones in the liver in order to provide energy to the brain.

2. How does the Keto Diet work?

The Keto Diet makes your body decrease its carbohydrate intake which puts your body in a positive metabolic state named ‘ketosis’.

This metabolic state will increase your blood ketones and decrease your blood sugar and insulin levels, which result in improving your health in different ways.

3. The four Keto Diet types:

We have four different versions of the Keto Diet

SKD or the Standard Keto Diet: We recommend this diet because it is the the most popular and researched form. It is a high fat diet since it contains 75% of fat, but is very low carb with 5% of carbs and moderate protein with a ratio of 20%.

High protein Keto Diet: This is a very similar version to the Standard Keto Diet. The only difference is that it contains more protein with a ratio of 35% and a little bit less of fat that becomes 60%.

TKD or the Targeted Keto Diet: This diet is also a variation of the Standard Keto Diet with only one major difference that concerns the how and when to eat the carbs.

On the Standard Keto Diet, you need to keep the carbs low all the time, while this version allows you to consume your daily dose of carbs around workouts: before, during or after.

CKD or the Cyclical Keto Diet: This version requires a rotation meal plan: a high fat, usually a low carb ketogenic meal during five days, balanced by two days with higher carb intake.

4. How to start a Keto Diet:

  • Decrease your protein intake.

As we mentioned earlier, the Keto Diet is not a high protein diet, which is great because high protein diets often end up stressing the kidney. So, be careful with your protein intake.

  • Use fat cleverly.

Do not fear fat! Fat is your source of energy, especially if you are on a Keto Diet. 

If you are looking to lose weight, eat just the minimum amount of fat that makes you feel satisfied and nothing more. Because, the Keto Diet plan consists on keeping the carb and protein ratio constant, which makes fats the ruling element of your weight.

  • Drink water.

If the average consumption of water is to drink eight cups, you should double it and drink sixteen cups instead when being on the Keto Diet.

Drinking water is very important on this diet because the extra carbs your eat stays in your liver as glycogen bound to the molecules of water. 

This means that eating low carbs consumes glycogen, which is good because it make you burn fat, but it also means decreasing your water’s reserve.

  • Eat less

Try to minimize your food consumption and therefore your carbs consumption by eating only when you are hungry. Forget all about the ‘three to four meals per day’, make your own meal plan and focus on low carb foods using the food suggestions you will find below.

  • Exercise 

This is not necessary but is recommended, exercising always make you healthier and will certainly help you reach your purpose faster if you are on the Keto Diet to lose weight.

5. What to eat on a Keto Diet:

When we talk about the Keto Diet being a low carb diet, it means that you have to limit your cabs intake from 20 to 50 grams per day. While this might seem a bit difficult, there are multiple healthy foods that you can use to make a proper meal plan.  

  • Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is very keto friendly because it is a very low carb food. Of course, the carbs vary depending on the types of fish. Some of them are even carb free like shrimp, crab and salmon, yet are very rich in vitamins and minerals (such as potassium and selenium).

We also recommend trout, tuna, and mackerel.

Not only fish is good for your diet, but researches have also shown that eating fish decrease diseases’ risks and help improve your health mentally and physically as well.

Two meals a week that include seafood recipes are always a good idea. However, make sure you keep count of the carbs you are consuming.

  • Meat and Poultry

If you are on a Keto Diet, you know that Meat and Poultry are considered as essential foods for such a diet. Whether it is Red Meat, Bacon, Chicken or Turkey, meat and poultry do not contain carbs. And, in similarity with seafood, they are a great source of B vitamins and minerals such as potassium and selenium (and also zinc).

Meat and Poultry are also very efficient in low carb diets in general since they conserve muscle mass thanks to their high quality protein.

If you have the choice, eat grass fed meat instead of grain fed meat. It is healthier and its nutritional values suit your Keto Diet more.

  • Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and Seeds are recommended for your diet because they are high fat and low carb foods.

They only provide your body with around 8 grams of carbs per ounce. Of course, the amount of carbs varies according to the different types. Here are some examples mentioning the net carbs (or the digestible carbs):

  • Almonds: 2 grams 
  • Sesame seeds: 3 grams
  • Walnuts: 2 grams 
  • Pumpkin seeds: 4 grams

They are also high in fiber, which your body system does not digest like other carbs, and that makes you easily feel full and therefore consume fewer calories. Not to forget that a regular consumption of nuts and seeds help you age better and prevent from heart diseases risks and depression, along with some types of cancer.

  • Low Carb Vegetables

Low carb vegetables or non starchy vegetables such as onions, peppers, or green vegetables are very nutritious foods that are low in both calories and carbs. The net carbs vary from 1 to 8 grams per cup.

  • Spinach : 1 gram
  • Cooked Brussels Sprouts: 8grams

Vegetables are very rich in many nutrients such as vitamin C, different minerals and fibers. And in addition to being very healthy, they are very important for your diet because they can replace some high carbs food.

For example, cauliflower can be eaten instead of rice or mashed potatoes, and spaghetti squash can take place of spaghetti.

They have numerous other benefits like protecting from free radicals that can damage the cells and therefore decreasing diseases risks like heart disease and cancer. 

Other foods: Butter and Cream; Eggs; Cheese; Avocados, etc.

6. Is the Keto Diet safe?

The Keto Diet is proved to be very healthy and safe, just not for anyone. 

It is actually a suited one of people suffering from obesity or diabetes (often type 2) and also has several benefits for children with epilepsy.

So, although getting into ‘ketosis’ can be convenient for some people, some others usually perform better on high carb diets.

If you are on a Keto Diet though, you probably should prepare yourself to experience some side effects: the ‘low carb flu’ that comes with low energy, bad breath, increased hunger, digestion problems, sleep issues and leg cramps. 

These side effects are usually temporary and end within a few days or weeks.

If you want to minimize these effects, you can start with teaching your body how to burn more fats with a regular low carb diet and then switch to the Keto Diet.

Also, make sure to get a good dose of minerals (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) to keep their balance. Add salt to your food or try mineral supplements.

Remember, any drastic change in your Keto Diet can impact your health seriously. 

So, always keep your nutritionist updated to be careful and learn about any dietary changes.

But, if you prefer taking things in handle, we remind you of the 28-Keto Challenge that absolutely have everything you will need to know.

Hey there, I'm Helen, founder and editor in chief here at Perfect Shapes. After my best friend mistook my excessive weight gain for me being pregnant, I decided to take control of my life and get into shape. I'm on a mission to share my insider health tips with all of you.... Read More

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