A ketogenic diet for beginners
A keto or ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet that can help you burn fat more efficiently. Many people have already experienced its many proven benefits for weight loss, health and performance…. Here, you will learn to eat a keto diet based on real food. You will find visual guides, recipes, meal plans and a simple 2-week program to get started, everything you need to succeed in keto.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet changes the way your body turns food into energy. Eating a lot of fat and very little carbohydrate puts you into ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. When your body is unable to get glucose from carbohydrates, your liver converts the fatty acids in your diet into ketones, another source of energy. Burning ketones instead of glucose reduces inflammation and stimulates weight loss.
The keto regime is not new, and it has been in existence for almost a century. It was originally developed to treat people with epilepsy. In the 1920s, researchers discovered that increasing levels of ketones in the blood led to a decrease in epileptic seizures in patients. The keto diet is still used today to treat children with epilepsy who do not respond well to antiepileptic drugs.
Who should NOT follow a ketogenic diet?
There are controversies and myths about a keto regime, but for most people, it seems to be very safe.
However, there are three groups that often require special attention:
- Are you taking any diabetes medications, such as insulin?
- Are you taking any medication for high blood pressure?
- Do you breastfeed?
Health benefits of the keto
Reduces inflammation: The keto diet is anti-inflammatory and may protect you from major degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Burn fat: You can lose a lot of weight – and quickly – on the keto diet. Ketones suppress ghrelin – your hunger hormone – and increase cholecystokinin (CCK), which satisfies you. A reduced appetite means it is easier to go longer without eating, which encourages your body to use its fat reserves to find energy. Learn more about the keto diet and weight loss.
Lowers blood sugar: The keto diet can reverse and even cure diabetes. Keto stabilizes insulin levels and lowers blood sugar levels, so that many people with diabetes can stop taking their medication when they switch to the diet. To learn more about the effects of ketone on blood sugar levels, click here.
It nourishes and nourishes your brain: Ketones provide an immediate supply of energy to your brain and up to 70% of your brain’s energy needs when you limit your carbohydrate intake. Your brain is made up of at least 60% fat, so it needs a lot of good fat to keep functioning. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 help the brain grow and develop, while saturated fats keep myelin – the insulating layer around the brain – strong so that your neurons can communicate with each other.
Increases energy: Ketosis helps the brain create more mitochondria, the energy generators in your cells. More energy in your cells means more energy for you to accomplish your tasks.
What to avoid
Here’s what you should avoid on a keto diet: carbohydrate-rich foods high in sugar and starch. This includes starchy foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. These foods are very high in carbohydrates.
Figures are in grams of net carbohydrate per 100 grams, unless otherwise indicated.
This means that if you are on a keto diet, you should avoid sweet foods completely, as well as starchy foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Also avoid processed foods and follow our keto diet advice instead.
In addition, the food must be mainly high in fat, and only moderately high in protein, because excess protein can be converted into blood sugar in the body. Avoid low-fat diet products. A rough guideline is about 5% energy from carbohydrates (the fewer carbohydrates, the more effective), 15% to 25% of protein and about 75% of fat.
How to know if you are in ketosis
You are in ketosis when your ketone level is 0.8 (i.e. in millimoles per litre). You can measure your level with urine sticks, blood sticks or a blood meter. You can also check the acetone level in your breath with a breath analyzer.
However, simply knowing how your body feels is a simple way to know if you have reached this weak point of ketosis. Here are the signs that you are probably in ketosis:
Reducing hunger: Ketones suppress hunger hormones and help you feel fuller for longer.
Keto Breathing: People often have a metallic taste in their mouths due to high levels of ketones.
Weight loss: The keto diet burns fat, so if you lose weight, you are probably in ketosis.
Flu-like symptoms: At first, you may experience keto flu symptoms such as headaches, chills and dizziness.
What to drink
So, what are we drinking on a ketogenic diet? Water is the perfect drink, and coffee or tea is perfect too. Ideally, do not use sweeteners, especially sugar.
A small amount of milk or cream in your coffee or tea is acceptable (but beware of milk coffee!). A glass of wine from time to time is good.