The Keto Diet: What You Need to Know Before You Try it?

The keto diet was created to treat patients with diabetes, but some doctors decided to try it for weight loss. We figure out who suits and how such a diet can be dangerous, how to choose products and make a menu.

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet, or ketogenic diet, is a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. The keto diet can help lower blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity, feel better, and lose weight by altering metabolism. The change in diet induces a state of ketosis, a metabolic regime in which the body gets fuel from animal food. Ketone bodies become the main source of energy: acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. These are substances that are formed in the liver from the body's fatty tissues and consumed fats. Ketone bodies nourish internal organs, muscle tissue and brain instead of glucose. The process of ketosis can be triggered by fasting, but the keto diet allows you to enter this state and stick to it all the time without risk to health.

Signs of ketosis:

  • acetone or fruity breath;
  • an increase in the level of ketone bodies in the blood, urine and respiration;
  • decreased appetite and hunger;
  • loss of strength, which after a few days can be replaced by normal health and increased brain activity;
  • disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, thirst and frequent urination;
  • weight loss;
  • irritability;
  • insomnia.

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state of the body in which fats and adipose tissues of the body become the main source of energy instead of glucose.

Types of the keto diet:

  • Standard: 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates from the total calorie intake;
  • Cyclic: five days on keto alternates with two days on high-carb foods
  • Target: suitable for those who play sports; with a high protein content: differs from the standard version in the ratio of elements (60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates).

Most of the research and expert articles focus on standard and high protein regimens. Cycling and targeting are less studied and are recommended for athletes and bodybuilders. The keto diet is a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates. The body gets its energy from animal food instead of glucose. Such a diet can help lower blood sugar and insulin levels and help you lose weight.

What foods should you avoid on a ketogenic diet?

The keto diet cannot be called carbohydrate-free: their daily amount is 5% of the diet or 20-50 grams of the product. But in order to start and maintain a state of ketosis, you need to remove from the menu or reduce the amount of high-carb foods:

  • cereals and starchy foods: rice, pasta, flakes, potatoes;
  • sugar-sweetened foods and drinks: soda, fruit juices, baked goods, and so on;
  • any fruit other than berries;
  • beans and beans;
  • diet foods and foods with a low percentage of fat;
  • sauces and flavors that contain sugar and unhealthy fats;
  • alcohol.

Foods to include in the diet.

The main foods that are included in the keto diet:

  • meat: steaks, sausages, bacon, chicken and turkey;
  • fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel;
  • seafood;
  • eggs;
  • butter and sour cream;
  • cheeses: cheddar, goat, cream, mozzarella or blue cheese;
  • nuts and seeds;
  • olive, coconut and avocado oil;
  • fresh avocado and guacamole;
  • low-carb vegetables: most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers;
  • seasonings: salt, pepper, spices and herbs.

Low carb foods that are suitable for the keto diet:

0% carbohydrates: beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, pork (including bacon), jerky, salmon, sardines, trout, butter, olive, coconut and avocado oil, water, coffee, tea. 0-5%: liver, shellfish, shrimp, tuna, lobster, cod, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, cheese, sour cream, yogurt (including Greek yogurt). 5-10%: Broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, kale, eggplant, bell peppers, green beans, avocados, olives, strawberries. 10-15%: grapefruit, apricot, walnuts. 15-25%: almonds, peanuts.

For a snack, experts advise eating seafood, cheese, olives, meat, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, berries, dark chocolate and small portions of food left over from breakfast, lunch and dinner.


  • Breakfast: bacon, eggs, tomatoes.
  • Lunch: chicken salad with feta cheese and olive oil.
  • Dinner: salmon and asparagus in oil.


  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with goat cheese, tomatoes, basil.
  • Lunch: cocktail of almond milk, peanut butter and cocoa with sugar substitute.
  • Dinner: meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables.


  • Breakfast: keto milkshake - for example, with peanut butter or strawberries.
  • Lunch: shrimp salad with avocado and olive oil.
  • Dinner: pork ribs with broccoli, salad and parmesan.


  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with avocado, salsa, bell peppers, onions and spices.
  • Lunch: nuts, celery sticks with salsa and fresh guacamole.
  • Dinner: chicken in pesto sauce with cream cheese and fresh vegetables.


  • Breakfast: yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa and sweetener.
  • Lunch: beef in coconut oil with vegetables.
  • Dinner: Burger without buns with bacon, cheese and egg.


  • Breakfast: mushroom omelet with ham and cheese.
  • Lunch: ham, cheese, nuts.
  • Dinner: white fish, egg and spinach in coconut oil.


  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
  • Lunch: burger with salsa, cheese and guacamole.
  • Dinner: steak, salad, egg.

For the keto diet, all-natural foods are suitable: meat, fish, butter, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, low-carb vegetables, nuts and seeds.

The effectiveness of losing weight on the keto diet

No diet alone has a long-term weight loss effect and can be harmful to your health. After a temporary weight loss, people return to their previous state, and sometimes they recover more strongly than before the change in diet. A safe and effective way to achieve your desired weight and maintain health and good physical shape is with the help of specialists to choose the right lifestyle and diet that you can follow all the time. Experts confirm that a keto diet is 2.2 times more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. Weight loss occurs due to:

  • increasing the amount of protein in the diet;
  • decreased appetite ;
  • changes in eating habits;
  • getting energy from fat instead of glucose;
  • fast fat burning;
  • improved metabolism due to increased insulin sensitivity.

The keto regimen does not require constant calorie counting, creates a feeling of fullness, accelerates the process of burning fats and prevents their formation.

The keto diet for diabetes

Scientists have confirmed the benefits of a keto regimen for people with type II diabetes. In one case, 95% of patients reduced or stopped their medication, compared with 62% of participants who followed a high-carbohydrate diet. In another, 75% of study participants had increased insulin sensitivity. In addition, research is underway on the potential use of ketosis to fight cancer cell formation, treat acne, childhood epilepsy, heart and brain disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's syndromes. But the collected scientific material is still insufficient for a substantiated conclusion. The keto diet has been used effectively in the treatment of type II diabetes. Otherwise, the medical benefits of low-carb diets require more research.

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