The ketogenic diet (keto) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve health. Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Here is a detailed beginner’s guide to the keto diet.
The ketogenic diet, also called the keto diet, is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits.
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease . In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the recommended low-fat diet. One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet.
Another study found that participants on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the Diabetes UK’s recommended diet. There are several reasons why a ketogenic diet is superior to a low-fat diet. One is the increased protein intake, which provides numerous benefits .
Diabetes is characterized by changes in metabolism, high blood sugar and impaired insulin function . The ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome.
One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% . Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop all diabetes medications .
The ketogenic diet actually originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases, such as epilepsy. Studies have now shown that the diet can have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions:
In short, any food that is high in carbs should be limited. Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:
To help get you started, here is a sample ketogenic diet meal plan for one week:
Always try to rotate the vegetables and meat over the long term, as each type provides different nutrients and health benefits.
In case you get hungry between meals, here are some healthy, keto-approved snacks:
Although no supplement is necessary, some can be useful.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the ketogenic diet.