If you are looking to lose weight, the ketogenic diet is an alternative with its risks and benefits; this low-carbohydrate diet and a menu focused on the consumption of natural fats, and proteins that help to reach the optimal state of ketosis is presented as an alternative to others similar like the Atkins.
The amount of kilos that can be lost with the ketogenic diet depends on how overweight you are and following the plan to the letter so that the results are optimal.
But, contrary to what it may seem when looking at the list of allowed delicious foods, it is a strict weight loss plan because it is forbidden to try sugars and consume hydrated carbon, which is essential to drink a lot of water daily.
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Description of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is a weight loss plan in which the proportion of carbohydrates is significantly reduced to promote fat oxidation, leading to ketone bodies’ formation. Thus, these compounds are used in an alternative way by the brain as an energy source without glucose.
The proportion of carbohydrates in a ketogenic diet is usually well below the recommended total calories and generally provides around 10% or less of the energy in the form of carbohydrates; there are different types of plans, including those that only allow fruits and vegetables in controlled amounts, while others eliminate carbohydrates.
There is also the ketogenic diet based on fasting as a vehicle to promote the formation of ketone bodies that must be sustained to achieve weight loss at the expense of significant fat oxidation.
How to do the ketogenic diet
A term coined by Russell M. Wilder in 1921, the main objective of the ketogenic diet is to generate the formation of ketone bodies, therefore being a plan similar to that followed on a fast. This objective can be achieved through an insufficient intake of food or by a restriction of those that are rich in carbohydrates and are replaced by the consumption of foods rich in protein or fat.
The ketogenic diet, in all its variants, should only be carried out under medical supervision and for a limited time with menus that include a medium percentage of proteins combined with foods with natural fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, pork fat, cream) and a low level of carbohydrates.
Before talking about how the ketogenic diet is done, it is necessary to know how the combination of foods that make up each menu works and, above all, to understand that glucose, the simplest molecule to convert and use as energy, is always the one chosen by the body before the rest of the existing options.
By using glucose as the primary energy source, the body stores fat as a reserve and the more carbohydrates are consumed, the higher blood glucose rises. If more proteins and natural fats are destroyed, the body adapts and changes its way of obtaining energy; instead of using glucose, it uses the body’s fat as an energy source, generating weight loss.
To do a ketogenic diet, it is necessary to plan the daily menu considering that most of the dishes should be composed of natural fats, proteins and a low amount of foods that provide carbohydrates. A little cheese or a handful of almonds is allowed between main meals and as a snack.
It is important to remember that not all fats are the same. Thus, natural fats such as olive, coconut or avocado oil provide health benefits, while the “trans fats” found in hamburger meat, margarine and all fried food should be avoided as they harm health.
What to eat on the ketogenic diet
What is ketosis?
The body uses ingested carbohydrates to generate glucose for energy. When not enough carbohydrates are consumed to meet the body’s daily glucose needs, the body will use stored fat to create more glucose for energy.
In this way, the incomplete degradation of fatty acids will generate ketones in the body, leading to the desired state of ketosis. In short, without carbohydrate consumption, the body will begin to consume glucose and stored fat, causing the weight to be lost gradually but constantly.
The 30-day ketogenic diet to lose weight is based on the principle that certain foods should not be combined to get the body into ketosis and burn fat more quickly; it includes a list of allowed and prohibited foods that must be respected.
With the ketogenic diet, it is unnecessary to worry about counting calories since fats and proteins have a tremendous power of satiety for long periods. Still, for those who practice sports, it is necessary to be alert because the burning of calories is more significant, and it is essential to eat enough to have energy.
With this list of foods, it is possible to organize the weekly menu, considering that the 30-day ketogenic diet must be divided into stages.
The first stage from day 1 to 10
- Meats of all kinds and sausages (not in sandwiches, not with bread).
- Fish (Preferably: salmon, tuna, cod, sardines).
- Cheeses of all kinds.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Tomato but only ½ per day.
- Low-fat yogurt.
- Mayonnaise (Avoid the one with added carbohydrates and prefer the sugar-free version).
- Golf sauce.
- Lemon juice.
- Gluten cookies.
- Diet gelatin.
- Peanut or groundnut.
- Diet drinks.
- Coffee or tea.
Important Note :
On the five today, they started making the diet one day you can eat all you want; this trick is essential as it allows a day without restrictions because it is considered that the body has already been used to hydrate combine and other foods, anxiety decreases. You begin to lose weight more quickly.
The second stage, from day 11 to day 20
To the foods allowed in the first stage are added:
- ½ litre of low-fat milk.
- I have assorted raw or cooked vegetables.
- Fruits are limited to 2 oranges, two peaches, one apple, six plums, or 1 cup of raspberries daily.
The third stage, from day 21 to day 30
In this third and last stage, the following are added:
- Whole wheat noodles.
- One diet dessert per day.
Walnuts or almonds can be consumed since they have a lower level of carbohydrates but only a small handful per day since they contain a high level of Omega 6.
Black pepper, cloves, dill, ginger, mint, oregano, rosemary, parsley, cumin, coriander seeds, thyme, and turmeric can produce flavour foods.
A ketogenic diet prohibits foods.
During the time that the ketogenic diet is carried out, the following foods are prohibited:
- Whole milk
- Common pasta.
- Starches (potatoes, legumes, etc.).
- Nothing that has a lot of carbohydrates.
After 30 days of the ketogenic diet, it mustn’t repeat itself for another equal period. It will be necessary to let a month pass if you want to lose more kilos and be careful not to commit excesses so as not to regain the lost weight, adding some physical activity such as walking, thus avoiding a sedentary life.
It is widespread that, as with any diet to lose weight, a “plateau” period occurs, a period in which weight loss stops; there are numerous reasons for this to happen, and in that case, there are several methods that help to follow losing kilos such as varying eating patterns and eliminating certain foods that form a habit.
Thus, for example, you can eliminate some dairy products, increase your fat intake a little more and reduce your carbohydrate intake to a minimum until you lose weight again.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
A ketogenic diet takes time for the body to adjust and enter a state known as ketosis; it depends on each person’s physical condition, physical activity load and the current diet the person was on until starting the new eating plan.
However, the quickest way to achieve ketosis is to exercise before breakfast, restrict or limit your carbohydrate intake to 20g or less per day, and control the water you consume.
Sample menus for each stage of the ketogenic diet
Menu first stage of the ketogenic diet
|Meal||Food and Drink|
|Breakfast||1 cup of green tea, two scrambled eggs, one slice of ham and cheese|
|Midmorning||One handful of green olives|
|Lunch||Grilled fish, two boiled eggs|
|Afternoon Snack||One natural yogurt, 1 cup of green tea|
|Mid Afternoon||One handful of almonds|
|Price||Lemon and rosemary chicken, one small serving of fresh lettuce and spinach salad|
Menu second stage of the ketogenic diet
|Breakfast||Ketogenic shake||One serving|
|Lunch||Tuna burger||One serving|
|Chard with light white sauce||1 cup|
|Afternoon snack||Plain yogurt with a handful of fruits||One serving|
|Green tea||1 cup|
|Mid-afternoon||Green olives||One handful|
|Dinner||Zucchini lasagna||One serving|
|Grated carrot||1 cup|
Third stage menu
|Breakfast||Coffee with Milk||1 cup|
|Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Ham||One serving|
|Small Fruit||One piece|
|Midmorning||Cheese Slice||One slice|
|Lunch||Lettuce and Arugula Salad||One serving|
|Whole Wheat Spaghetti a la Caprese||One portion|
|Afternoon||Natural Yogurt||One serving|
|Mid Afternoon||Cheese Piece||One piece|
|Dinner||Chicken or Fish Casserole and Vegetables||One serving|
|Diet Gelatin||One portion|
Variants of the ketogenic diet
There are different versions of the ketogenic diet, including some famous ones like the Atkins or the Pronokal Method. The Atkins Diet is considered the most popular ketogenic diet; therefore, there is a lot of information about it and countless recipes with the foods allowed in your meal plan.
The Pronokal Diet is more complex since it combines the ketogenic diet with the protein diet and is reinforced by consuming products from the brand itself.
There is also the Siken Diet, a weight loss method similar to that of Pronokal, with the same combinations but offers different customizable weight loss plans, always combined with the ketogenic diet.
On the other hand, there is the cyclical ketogenic diet. Still, it is not recommended for those seeking a weight loss plan since it is more beneficial for those who practice bodybuilding and need a particular nap while working their muscles through intense physical training.
With the cyclical ketogenic diet method, a regular ketogenic diet is followed for a period that is usually five days and then goes to a stage called “carb-up” for a period that will not exceed two days. With this plan, replenishing the glycogen storage for training during the rest of the week is essentially possible.
Contraindications of the ketogenic diet
Most weight loss diets have some contraindications, and in the case of ketogenic, it is no different; for that reason, it is always recommended to do it under medical supervision.
It is also necessary to highlight that a poorly balanced diet contributing nutrients to the body should not be done for more than a month. Otherwise, it can affect health with complications like kidney, liver and hypertension problems.
Likewise, the ketogenic diet is not advisable in people who suffer from liver or heart problems since there have been cases of the development of arrhythmias, proving with some studies that there may also be a decrease in attention span and lack of speed to process visual information quickly.
Advantages and disadvantages of the ketogenic diet
Just as every diet to lose weight has its contraindications, some advantages and disadvantages must be considered before starting the ketogenic diet.
Advantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss
- It is effective for weight loss.
- It helps to improve the lipid profile as it reduces the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Total and slightly increases HDL cholesterol.
- It encourages the absence of hunger and therefore allows you to lose weight because the satiating power of its food is greater than that of other diets.
- Fat is lost, but muscle mass is sustained.
Disadvantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss
Although the ketogenic diet for weight loss has benefits, it is also necessary to analyze its weaknesses, and among them, the most important are:
- Low intake of vitamins.
- Low contribution of minerals.
- Low fibre intake.
- Possibility of suffering from bad breath due to the low production of ketone bodies.
To avoid suffering these unwanted effects of the ketogenic diet, it is possible to resort to nutritional supplements that help cover nutrient deficiencies and prevent constipation due to low fibre intake.
Ketogenic diet recipes
Having specially created recipes for the ketogenic diet makes it easier to follow the eating plan. It’s even possible to convert high-carb recipes into preparation that help you get into ketosis without sacrificing taste.
Low Carb Rosemary Lemon Chicken
This recipe is straightforward, quick to prepare, and delicious; it can be designed and frozen in portions for use during the week.
- One whole chicken.
- Juice of 1 lemon.
- One lemon cut into slices.
- One onion.
- Two garlic cloves minced
- Two cups of chicken broth.
- Olive oil.
In a bowl, mix the lemon juice and slices with the rosemary, mix well, and place everything inside the chicken, seasoning the outside with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan, place a little olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides, constantly stirring so it does not stick.
Add the onions, garlic, and chicken broth to the chicken.
Cook for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with the pan covered.
Baked Fish with Mustard
The ketogenic diet allows you to eat fish, but it is advisable to prepare it healthily, so here we share a simple recipe to prepare whole fish only seasoned with salt, pepper, mustard and a little soy sauce.
- 600 grams of fish.
- Soy sauce.
- Olive oil.
- One onion cut into slices.
Place the fish on aluminum paper, season with salt and pepper, spread with mustard, a drizzle of olive oil and soy sauce, and distribute the sliced onion.
Wrap the fish with the aluminum foil and place it on a platter, cooking in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Beef cubes with vegetable garnish
These veal-garnished beef cubes are super easy to make and delicious, combining beef, some veggies, and mozzarella cheese.
- Forty grams of red pepper.
- 60 grams of spinach.
- 25 grams of veal.
- Thirty grams of aioli sauce.
- Virgin olive oil.
- 50 grs of mozzarella.
Dice the bell pepper and beef and spread them with a little aioli sauce.
Put a little olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the meat and pepper for about 5 minutes.
Remove and place in a source accompanied by the garnish that is very simple to prepare since it is only necessary to mix the rest of the ingredients of the recipe except the mozzarella that is added on top previously grated together with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper.
As the ketogenic diet is deficient in carbohydrates and protein, preparing simple and good-tasting preparations such as shakes or smoothies that provide the body with ketogenic benefits is essential.
Because this diet is very restrictive, it is essential to start creating and making preparations such as shakes or smoothies that provide ketogenic benefits to the body.
- One glass of 200 ccs natural yogurt.
- One egg white.
- One teaspoon of low-fat white cheese.
- One small peach without skin and stone.
- Sweetener to taste.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until obtaining a homogeneous and smooth mixture.
Serve very cold.
Ketogenic Diet Video
Below we share a video that explains the ketosis process and how it influences when it comes to obtaining gradual weight loss during a month, while it is advisable to do the ketogenic diet.
After knowing what ketosis is and how it works in the body, it is easier to understand why the ketogenic diet helps you lose weight progressively and constantly. Even though the ketogenic diet for weight loss has advantages and disadvantages, it is a plan that meets the expectations of those who want to lose weight and do it effectively.
However, the recommendation is that to follow the ketogenic diet, you must have medical control since it is a food plan restricted in vitamins, minerals and low presence of fibre.
For those who want to obtain results quickly, the ketogenic diet to lose weight can meet your expectations. Still, if you wish to change your lifestyle and eating habits, the option nutritionists recommend is a plan that allows you to achieve greater long-term effectiveness; the best will be a balanced and personalized diet in which there is no lack of nutrients.
The most important thing to remember is that the ketogenic diet for weight loss can only be done for a limited time (30 days maximum) because it is a weight loss plan rich in protein and fat but low in fibre.
Being restrictive, weight loss is always at the expense of the lack of supply of essential nutrients that the body needs for normal development, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.