The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is an extremely popular high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet and perhaps the best way to quickly burn body fat while minimizing muscle loss. This method is one of bodybuilders secrets used during the pre-contest phase to achieve very low body fat. (Unlike many other restrictive diet plans, this one actually has many health benefits and can improve health biomarkers such as insulin resistance, glycemic control, HDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels and change LDL pattern from small, dense type (bad) to large, fluffy type (good). Initially, the Ketogenic Diet has mainly been used as a therapeutic method for controlling epileptic seizures. Recent researches have reestablished interest in this diet plan for treating diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative and other diseases, including ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s, narcolepsy, heart disease, Parkinson’s and many, many more.)
Ketogenic Diet plans focus primarily on the limited carbs intake and the maximum expense of moderate amounts of fat and protein. Under normal conditions, almost all carbs eaten will be converted into glucose, which is the key source of energy for the body. While on Ketogenic Diet, the blood glucose levels fall and the liver glycogen stores are depleted, causing the body to enter the state of ketosis. The liver begins to process fats and produce ketone bodies, which pass into the brain and become alternative energy source.
Ketogenic Diet Foods to Eat
- All Kinds Of Meat
- Fish, shrimp, crabs, squid, mussels
- Ham, bacon
- Cheese, cottage cheese
- Mayonnaise, olive oil, butter, cream, mustard
- Small amounts of nuts and seeds
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, celery, asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, artichokes, onions, avocados, zucchini, and basically any other low starch vegetables
Ketogenic Diet Foods to Avoid
- Bread, pasta and all kinds of cereal
- Rice, lentils and all kinds of beans
- Carbohydrate-rich vegetables, such as carrots, peas, potatoes and corn
- High-carb fruits: grapes, apricots, bananas, olives and peaches, as well as extracts and juices from these fruits
- Beers and non-diet soft drinks and beverages
- Cake/pastries, candy, honey, sugar
The fastest way to enter a state of ketosis is to completely eliminate all carbs for the first three days and to maintain the intake of fat and protein in a ratio of 4:1. The next day protein intake is increased in order to maintain muscle mass and the ratio should be 2:1 (fat:protein), also adding minimum intake of carbohydrates from vegetables high in fiber and vitamins. The daily amount of protein should be around 2.0-2.5gr/kg for women and 2.5-3.0gr/kg for men. As fats are the main energy source for the body, while on Ketogenic Diet, they have to be carefully chosen. Saturated and processed fats should be avoided. As with the Low-Carbohydrate Diet, the Ketogenic Diet includes one cheat day each week (usually on the weekend), when high carb consumption would refill muscle carbohydrate stores and cause growth, while the rest of the body will continue to burn fat. Active people and athletes should have the cheat day on the last workout day of the week. “Cheating” should start several hours before exercise and continue until the next morning. This way the body won’t use ketones for energy during the workout and will bring down the level of blood glucose to lower levels than during the state of ketosis, which will lead to greater anabolic effect during the carb filling the next morning.
Maintaining the Ketogenic Diet should not last more than 8 weeks and should be followed by a 4-6 week period of a Balanced Diet. When the body is in a state of ketosis, it is not advised to do heavy weight lifting or any overly strenuous activities, which can deprive the brain of glucose causing dizziness and fainting.
- Getting down to a low body fat percentage with minimum muscle loss
- Increases the body’s ability to burn fat for fuel
- Long cardio workouts are unnecessary because the body is constantly in fat-burning state
- Unlike carbohydrates, excess ketones will simply be expelled from the body.
- Decreased appetite
- Energy boost after the first few days of adjustment
- Reduced insulin levels and cardiovascular risk
- Difficulty concentrating in the early days during the change of metabolism
- Can lead to elevated levels of lipids if eating too much saturated fat
- Not suitable for people with kidney or liver problems
The urine has a low pH, which stops uric acid from dissolving, leading to crystals, which may lead to formation of kidney stones.
In summary, the Ketogenic Diet is highly-effective maximal fat burning method and may represent the most effective means of weight loss and fat reduction. However it is highly essential to consult with your doctor before implementing any diet, with the Ketogenic Diet being no exception, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking prescribed medications.