Keto diet, how to do it? Benefits and Risks

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The premise of the keto diet or ketogenic diet of eliminating or reducing carbohydrates as much as possible and going to fats and proteins is a trend that is becoming more and more popular.

This low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan shares many similarities with low-carbohydrate diets. Recently, its rise has been observed in specific sports fields, and it is currently a widely used alternative to lose weight.

Although numerous studies have indeed shown that a ketogenic diet has its uses in helping you lose weight, the truth is that it is not recommended for everyone. Therefore, before starting it, it is convenient to know what it consists of, how to do it, its benefits, and risks.

What is the keto diet?

The term keto diet is the adaptation of the ketogenic diet, that is, the ketogenic diet. It refers to a food model whose primary mission is the creation of ketone bodies, metabolic compounds generated in the liver in response to the lack of energy reserves.

This diet is related to the drastic reduction of carbohydrates and their replacement by fats, where the body, running out of energy reserves, has to resort to fats to use them as fuel. 

The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and causes a transition in the body’s metabolism in which fats and ketones replace carbohydrates.

How does the ketogenic diet work?

The body obtains glucose from simple carbohydrates, such as milk, sugar, fruit, or complex carbohydrates, such as cereals, flour, pasta, or legumes. 

In this regard, the keto diet reduces the intake of carbohydrates. It increases the content of proteins and healthy fats in proportions of between 50 and 60% fat, 20 to 30% protein, and 10% or fewer carbohydrates.

Types of ketogenic diets

There are several types of ketogenic diets, among which we can mention:

  • Standard ketogenic diet. It is an eating plan deficient in carbohydrates, moderate protein intake, and high in fat. 
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet. This plan includes more frequent carb eating periods, for example, five days of keto foods followed by two days of carbs.
  • It adopted the ketogenic diet. This modality allows it to add carbohydrates on sports training days.

It is noteworthy that only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been the subject of extensive study. On the other hand, cyclical or adapted diets are more advanced methods and are mainly used by athletes.

What benefits does the keto diet provide?

The keto diet can provide many benefits, including:

  • Increases satiety and decreases appetite. Numerous studies have established that a diet based on the parameters of the ketogenic diet -the consumption of fats and proteins- helps control hunger because it generates a feeling of satiety for a longer time.
  • Reduces epileptic seizures. Scientific research supports that the keto diet can significantly reduce epileptic episodes in children.
  • It helps patients with type 2 diabetes. Its benefit for diabetic patients is that it controls blood sugar levels, and on the other hand, it decreases and reduces the negative impact of high insulin levels.
  • They are used in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer. Reducing carbohydrate intake lowers glucose levels, which is the fuel that fuels cancer cells. This diet is also used to treat many types of cancer and reduce the growth of tumors.

Scientific evidence that the keto diet works

There are at least 31 randomized controlled trials showing faster weight loss with low-carb diets, according to the latest report from the UK Public Health Collaboration. Three of these studies published by renowned scientific media are:

  • Annals of Internal Medicine year 2004. This medical journal of the American College of Physicians published a study that showed that compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program reported more significant weight loss.
  • The Journal of Nutrition 2015. This journal from the American Society for Nutrition discussed research that revealed that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet reduces abdominal.

How is the keto diet done?

Ketogenic diets are characterized by menus of five meals, where eggs, meat, dairy, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds are the protagonists. 

Depending on each person’s circumstances and physical condition, the maximum limit of daily carbohydrates is usually established between 20 and 50 grams. 

The approximate ratio of daily calorie intake on the keto diet is:

  • 60 to 75% fat.
  • 25 to 30% protein.
  • 5 to 10% carbohydrates.

Foods to eat on the keto diet

A ketogenic diet consists mainly of getting calories from fatty foods and some protein. To achieve this, meals should be made around the following foods:

  • Meat. Red meats, ham, sausages, chops, chicken, and turkey.
  • Fatty fish. Such as salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.
  • Eggs. Preferably rich in omega-3 and pasteurized.
  • Nuts and seeds. Flax seeds, pumpkin, chia, almonds, and walnuts.
  • Avocado. They are consumed whole or in guacamole made naturally.
  • Low carb vegetables. Among these most are the green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
  • Condiments. Food can be seasoned with salt, pepper, and healthy herbs and spices.
  • KETO products: there are specific preparations for this type of diet, shakes, bars, snacks.

Foods to avoid on the keto diet

On the keto diet, you should avoid any foods high in carbohydrates. Foods that are reduced or eliminated on the ketogenic diet include:

  • Sugary foods The consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, milkshakes, ice cream, and sweets is avoided.
  • Fruit. All fruits are allowed, except small portions of forest fruits, such as strawberries.
  • Cereals or starches. Products derived from wheat, rice, pasta, and grains are eliminated.
  • Dietary product. They are not consumed as they are highly processed and rich in carbohydrates.
  • Some condiments or sauces. Those that contain sugar and saturated fats are avoided.
  • Saturated fats. The intake of refined oils and mayonnaise is limited.
  • Alcohol. Because of their high carbohydrate content, many alcoholic beverages are eliminated from this diet.
  • Beans or legumes. Peas, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas are not consumed.
  • Root vegetables and tubers. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are eliminated.

Sample Gourmet Keto or Ketogenic Diet

Charles Orrico, the nutritionist at the Fit Club Madrid gym, proposes a gourmet menu for one day that meets the requirements of a ketogenic diet:

  • Breakfast. Natural cheese and dried fruit omelets.
  • Food. Salmon with vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, and olive oil.
  • Afternoon snack. Tuna and avocado tart.
  • Dinner. Grilled fish with vegetables and an ounce of dark chocolate for dessert.

weekly ketogenic meal plan

In a weekly projection of the keto diet, the options to eat would be the following:

  • Breakfast. Based on bacon, eggs, tomatoes, basil, goat cheese omelet, ketogenic milkshakes, avocado, salsa, peppers, onions, and spices, sugar-free yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder, and stevia and corn omelet. Cheese and ham with vegetables.
  • Food. They can be made with a chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese, seafood salad with olive oil and avocado, sliced ​​ham and cheese with walnuts, hamburger with sauce, cheese, and guacamole.
  • Dinner. You can use salmon with asparagus cooked in butter, meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables, pork chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad, chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese accompanied by vegetables, burgers with bacon, egg and cheese, white fish, eggs and spinach cooked in olive oil.

Risks of the keto diet

A strict ketogenic diet must be used with specific objectives in certain circumstances and constantly supervised by a professional. 

The keto diet is not recommended in specific pathologies, such as people with thyroid, kidney, liver, or pancreatic problems. 

Along the same lines, it is not recommended to follow this diet in the long term since it is very unbalanced, so it would not be an adequate diet to maintain weight, and it can cause a rebound effect.

Such as a decrease in energy and mental capacity, an increase in the sensation of hunger, insomnia, nausea, digestive upset, and decreased exercise performance.