To follow a ketogenic diet, you should eliminate all the foods rich in carbohydrates, such as bread and rice, and increase the consumption of foods rich in healthy fats, while keeping a good amount of protein in your diet. This diet should be guided by a dietitian, so it can be a good diet to lose weight because, the body starts to use the fat it has stored as a source of energy instead of the carbohydrates that come from your diet.
This type of diet is mainly indicated for those who want to control and prevent seizures and epilepsy crisis. However, it is also used to accelerate weight loss and, in some cases, for the treatment of cancer, since the cancerous cells feed mainly of carbohydrates, which is the nutrient withdrawn from the ketogenic diet.
It is important that this diet is done with the supervision and guidance of a dietitian, as it is necessary to make a complete nutritional assessment to know if it is possible or not.
How does it work
The ketogenic diet consists in drastically reducing carbohydrates. Your daily intake of carbohydrates should only represent about 10 to 15% of your daily calories. However, this amount may vary according to the health status, length of diet and goals of each person.
To compensate for the reduced carbohydrates, there should be a large increase in fat consumption, represented by foods such as avocado, coconut, seeds, sour cream, olive oil, peanuts, nuts, walnuts and almonds. In addition, protein should also increase to about 20% of daily calories, meat, chicken or fish must be eaten for lunch and dinner, and egg and cheese should be included in snacks.
When you start this diet, the body goes through a period of adaptation that can last from a few days to a few weeks, in which the body adapts to produce energy through fat rather than carbohydrates. Therefore, it is possible that symptoms such as excessive tiredness, lethargy and headache may develop in the first few days, but eventually this will improve when the body is adapted.
Another ketogenic diet is the low carb diet the main difference being that the ketogenic diet has a much higher carbohydrate restriction.
Allowed and forbidden foods
The following table lists the foods that can and cannot be eaten in the ketogenic diet.
|Meat, chicken, eggs and fish|
Rice, noodles, corn, cereals, oats and cornstarch
|Olive oil, coconut oil, butter and lard||Beans, soy, peas, chickpeas and lentils|
|Sour cream, cheese, coconut milk and almond milk||Wheat flour, bread, salty toast in general|
|Peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, peanut butter, almond butter|
English Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Yam, Manioc
Fruits like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, olives, avocado or coconut
Cakes, candies, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, chocolate
Vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, onion, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, red chicory, cabbage, kale, celery or sweet pepper
Refined Sugar, Brown Sugar
|Seeds like flax, chia, sunflower||Chocolate powder, milk|
In this type of diet, when you eat a processed food it is very important to see the nutritional information to check if it contains carbohydrates and how much, so as not to exceed the amount that was calculated for each day.
Ketogenic diet menu
The following table provides an example of a complete 3-day menu of the ketogenic diet:
|Meal||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||Fried eggs in butter + Mozzarella cheese||omelet made with 2 eggs and stuffing of vegetables + 1 glass of strawberry juice with 1 tablespoon of flax seeds|
1 avocado vitamin with almond milk and 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds
|Morning snack||Almonds + 3 Slices of avocado|
Strawberry Vitamin with Coconut Milk + 5 Walnuts
|10 raspberries + 1 tablespoon of peanut butter|
Salmon accompanied by asparagus + avocado + olive oil
|Vegetable salad with lettuce, onion and chicken + 5 cashews + olive oil + parmesan|
Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and Parmesan Cheese
10 cashews + 2 tablespoons coconut chips + 10 strawberries
Fried eggs in butter + curd cheese
Scrambled eggs with oregano and grated Parmesan
It is important to remember that the ketogenic diet must be prescribed by a professional nutritionist, and follow-up is necessary to prevent problems such as low blood sugar and increased cholesterol levels.
Cyclic ketogenic diet
The cyclic ketogenic diet can help you maintain the weight lost and provides energy for physical exercise.
A cyclic ketogenic diet consists in following the diet for 5 consecutive days, and then doing a 2 day pause, in which you are allowed to consume foods with carbohydrates, such as bread, rice and pasta. However, foods like sweets, ice creams, cakes and other sugar-rich products should continue off your diet.
The ketogenic diet is not indicated for people over 65, children and adolescents, pregnant women and breastfeeding women. It also needs to be avoided by people at increased risk of ketoacidosis, such as type 1 diabetics, uncontrolled type 2 diabetics, people with low weight or a history of liver disease, kidney disease or cardiovascular changes such as strokes. It is also not suitable for people with gallbladder stones or those taking cortisone-based medication.
In these cases, the ketogenic diet should be authorized by the physician and followed up with a nutritionist.