The ketogenic diet is a low-carb eating plan that helps the liver manufacture ketones that can be utilized as energy. Also called a low-carb high-fat diet or low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet first became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as a way to treat childhood epilepsy. In fact, the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Russell Wilder designed the diet in 1924, but it fell out of favor in the 1940s after the development of medications designed to target seizures.
In late 1994, the ketogenic diet received mass attention after a television program focused on how Charlie Abrahams, the epileptic son of Jim Abrahams, a Hollywood producer, experienced vast improvement after switching from medical therapies to the ketogenic diet. While mostly known for its connection to childhood epilepsy, the diet can help with weight loss and much more.
In order to give you an overview of what this diet entails, what follows is a look at the diet and what you should eat to achieve ketosis, how to get started, what a sample meal plan looks like, what side effects there could be and how to avoid or remedy them.
Purpose of Ketogenic Diet, What to Eat & How to Achieve Ketosis
What is keto? For beginners, ketogenic is a lifestyle change that can help your body to behave like a fine-tuned fat-burning machine. It was first viewed as a means of treating childhood epilepsy, but can also be a useful option if you want to accomplish the following:
- Weight loss
- Reverse type 2 diabetes
- Increase mental focus
- Enhance physical endurance
- Normalize blood pressure
- Reduce acne outbreaks
- Reduce migraines
Yes, the benefits of adopting the ketogenic diet include the aforementioned and more, and these benefits are actually similar to the benefits that can derived from most strict low-carb diet plans. The ketogenic diet can help your body create ketones, which are little fuel molecules.
Your body will tap into it as an alternative fuel source when there is scant glucose reserves. Whenever you consume little by way of carbohydrates, your body will produce ketones, which will be transformed into sugar in short order. When you follow the ketogenic diet, your body will run almost entirely on fat as your insulin levels drop and your fat-burning capacities ramp up.
While most people can follow the ketogenic diet, if you are on medicine for diabetes, on medication for hypertension, or are breastfeeding, you should not follow this diet. In such cases, it’s best to consult with a medical professional who might be able to recommend an adapted form of the diet that you can safely follow.
Some sources say that people following the diet should stick to a carb allowance of only 5%, and should pick from the following food classifications:
- Fats & Oils (meat or nuts as well as coconut oil and butter)
- Vegetables (above-ground variety such as leafy green produce)
- Nuts & Seeds
- Beverages (primarily plain water or water with stevia-based flavors, lime juice, or lemon juice)
How to Start
When it comes to the ketogenic diet for beginners, it’s important to get started by altering what you eat. That might be the most difficult challenge since you may be accustomed to eating the sorts of things that are not in line with the ketogenic principle.
Your meals should include meat such as steak, chicken, turkey; fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout; eggs fortified with omega-3 fatty acids; butter and cream; cheese that is unprocessed; nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, and walnuts; healthy oils like avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil; produce like green vegetables, peppers, and avocados; and condiments like salt, pepper, and spices.
The aforementioned foods should make up the bulk of your meals on the ketogenic diet. If you follow this diet, you will get your body to enter a ketogenic state that will help you get results.
Ketogenic Meal Plan
When it comes to considering what a ketogenic diet is, a good way of understanding what it entails is to look over a sample meal plan for a one-week period. What follows therefore is a sample meal plan focused on ketogenic diet for beginners:
- Breakfast: Fried eggs served with bacon and mushrooms
- Lunch: Burger with guacamole, salsa, and cheese
- Dinner: Steak served with eggs and salad
- Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, and tomatoes
- Lunch: Chicken salad topped with feta cheese and olive oil
- Dinner: Salmon served in asparagus simmered in butter
- Breakfast: Omelet with egg, goat cheese, tomato, and basil
- Lunch: Milkshake with almost milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and stevia
- Dinner: Meatballs, produce, and cheese
- Breakfast: Milkshake with almost milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and stevia.
- Lunch: Shrimp salad topped with avocado and olive oil
- Dinner: Pork chops with broccoli, salad, and cheese
- Breakfast: Omelet with egg, spices, avocado, onion, peppers, and salsa
- Lunch: Nuts and celery stick served with salsa and guacamole
- Dinner: Chicken stuffed with cheese and pesto with a side of veggies
- Breakfast: Unsweetened yogurt with stevia, peanut butter, and cocoa powder
- Lunch: Beef stir-fry with vegetables
- Dinner: Burger without the bun served with bacon, cheese, and egg
- Breakfast: Omelet with egg, cheese, and ham with produce
- Lunch: Slices of cheese and ham with nuts
- Dinner: Fish, spinach cooked using coconut oil, and egg
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s a good idea for you to rotate the produce and meat used as part of the diet since each offers different nutritional benefits. This will help you avoid malnutrition.
Possible Side Effects
As useful as the ketogenic diet can be, there are adverse effects that you need to be aware of going in. For instance, there are initial side effects that could materialize, such as keto flu, which includes symptoms like nausea, sleep problems, increased hunger, and even digestive discomfort. This is actually normal as your body gets used to the dietary change and will typically subside after a few days.
Something else to keep in mind is that the ketogenic diet may alter the balance of water and minerals in your body. In order to counteract this, you should add more salt to your food or use mineral supplements. Your medical professional can provide guidance.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a ketogenic diet is, the aforementioned will give you a rundown as to what it entails so that you can decide whether or not to give it a try. It has been proven to be effective on many fronts. Just be sure to follow the eating plan and, if you’re unsure, talk to your doctor or a nutrition consultant for guidance on how to proceed.
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.