The keto diet: characteristics, benefits, risks. A detailed guide for beginners

Keto diet food

What is the keto diet? Does it help you lose weight? What are its advantages over other weight loss plans? And what negative effects do you need to know before contacting it?

The ketone diet is a popular weight loss plan based on the complete rejection of carbohydrates and the inclusion of a large amount of fat and protein in the diet. At first glance, high-fat nutrition contradicts the idea of ​​losing weight in a general and common sense. After all, fats can cause disturbances in the work of the heart and blood vessels. Also, fatty foods are high in calories, can you lose weight if you just eat them?

More than 20 scientific studies, as well as the experience and practice of thousands of people in different countries, are dedicated to the study of these topics. The keto diet works and helps you lose weight without hunger.

But it is important to note that there are no long-term observations of the health status of people who follow a keto diet. The studies spanned several months and cannot tell you how safe the ketone diet is in the long term.

Meat with vegetables

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is about avoiding foods that contain carbohydrates and replacing them with foods high in fat. The proportion of fats in the diet should be 60-75%, the rest is full of protein: 25-30% of the diet, and no more than 5% of total food intake are carbohydrates.

Such a diet is not natural for the body, which is used to getting energy from carbohydrate foods. The body has to adapt to new nutritional conditions, for which it seeks an "alternative source" of energy. This becomes your own fat tissue.

By breaking down fats, the body produces ketones, which supply cells with energy. This process is called ketosis, hence the name of the diet.

Features of the keto diet

The ketogenic diet provides rapid weight loss for two reasons:

  1. reduces the level of hormones that stimulate hunger, thus suppressing appetite;
  2. breaks down fats in the body, reduces volume and body weight.

Fatty foods are very satisfying, so on a ketogenic diet you are not hungry, you do not need to count calories and convince yourself to eat less. This happens naturally, because eating too much fatty food is very difficult. At the same time, changes occur in the body:

  • lowers blood sugar;
  • insulin production decreases;
  • the insulin sensitivity of the cells increases.

These benefits make it possible to recommend a keto diet for people with prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are already elevated, but the pancreas still works.

The keto diet has other health benefits:

  • reduces the risk of certain cancers by suppressing weak and abnormal cells from oxidative stress;
  • The girl who lost weight on a keto diet
  • reduces the appearance of acne and acne by upsetting the balance of intestinal bacteria;
  • supports the work of the heart and blood vessels, since it introduces healthy fats in the diet that improve the cholesterol profile;
  • improves brain function;
  • reduces the risk of seizures in epilepsy;
  • normalizes hormones in women with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Finally, this diet is effective for weight loss. Compared to low fat diets, ketone accelerates weight loss 2-3 times, which is confirmed by studies by specialists from the US and Great Britain. Rapid weight loss coupled with a healthier body have made this meal plan popular in Europe and the United States.

The Keto diet: what to do and what not to do

The basis of the diet is high-fat foods and non-starchy vegetables. Allowed:

  • meat - beef, pork, turkey, chicken;
  • high-fat fish: mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring;
  • eggs;
  • butter, cream, cheese;
  • thermally processed nuts and seeds;
  • unrefined vegetable oils from the first pressing: sunflower, olive, coconut, linseed;
  • avocado;
  • spices - salt, dried spices;
  • non-starchy vegetables: peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens and onions, asparagus, cabbage, green leafy vegetables.

Here are some options for the keto diet.

Fish with vegetables

Breakfast.Bacon with eggs and tomatoes; omelette with onion, tomato, pepper and basil; protein cocktail; omelette with avocado and goat cheese; unsweetened yogurt with added cocoa; scrambled eggs with mushrooms; cottage cheese with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Lunch.Chicken salad with feta cheese and olive oil; seafood salad with avocado; a handful of walnuts and a few slices of fatty cheese; beef steak with vegetable salad; ham with cheese and walnuts.

Dinner.Salmon with fresh vegetable salad; meatballs with stewed vegetables and cheese; cheese-crusted pork chops with broccoli and garlic; chicken with vegetables in a creamy sauce; eggs with bacon and cheese; white fish fillet with egg and spinach.

It is necessary to exclude from the diet foods that contain unhealthy carbohydrates and fats. Among them:

  • sweets - desserts and sweet drinks;
  • cereals and products derived from them: cereals, pasta, bakery products;
  • legumes: beans, lentils, peas;
  • fruits and berries, except strawberries, raspberries, blueberries;
  • tubers: potatoes, carrots, beets;
  • industrial sauces with added sugar and preservatives;
  • low-fat dairy products;
  • sugar-free diet foods containing sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners;
  • foods with processed vegetable fats, margarine, palm oil.

When following a keto diet, you should not drink alcohol as it disrupts the ketosis process. Also, most alcoholic beverages are high in carbohydrates, which are excluded from this meal plan.

Side effects and contraindications of the keto diet

The transition to a low carbohydrate diet is stressful for the body, so side effects can be seen in the first few weeks.

Keto flu.A condition similar to the flu or a cold. Manifested by increased fatigue, sleep disturbances, and digestive discomfort. InfluenzaFatigue and sleep disorders keto flu symptomsoccurs during the body's adaptation period to new nutritional conditions and does not require dietary correction. But its manifestations can be minimized if you eliminate carbohydrate foods gradually, over several weeks.

Constipation and bloating.Too much protein can cause digestive problems. To avoid this, try to eat more fiber. It is rich in fresh vegetables and herbs.

Leg cramps.Diet changes the balance of water and minerals in the body, which can lead to an increased need for mineral salts. Add more salt to your food than usual. And take mineral supplements with magnesium, potassium.

For some diseases, the keto diet is contraindicated. You cannot contact your people with type 1 diabetes mellitus, disorders of the digestive system and kidneys. Not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. If you have type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, or heart disease, talk to your doctor about the safety of a low-carb diet.

Duration and results

The keto diet requires you to cut carbohydrate foods from your diet, many of which are healthy, such as fruits, legumes, and grains. The rejection of them can be manifested by a deficiency of nutrients:

  • B vitamins;
  • vitamin C;
  • antioxidant anthocyanins;
  • resistant starches for a healthy intestinal microflora

Obviously, long-term adherence to the keto diet carries serious health risks. Therefore, it is recommended to strictly follow your diet for two to three months. After that, you should add healthy carbohydrate foods to your diet on a daily or occasional basis, watching as the weight continues to decrease. Ultimately, you'll find your optimal nutritional balance to help you maintain your weight.