Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: What to Eat and What to Avoid

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is based on the idea that by reducing carbohydrates and increasing fat intake, the body will enter a state of ketosis, where it will burn fat for energy instead of glucose. The goal of the diet is to change calories from glucose to fat, and it typically replaces between 60 and 80% of daily calories with fatty foods. Proteins make up 15-20%, while carbohydrates are restricted to no more than 50 grams.

Evidence shows that ketogenic diets help with weight loss, blood sugar control, and many other conditions. However, some people on ketogenic diets have experienced adverse effects, such as kidney stones and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. To avoid these issues, it is important to make sure you are getting enough nutrients from your food. Instead of potatoes or rice with meals, opt for a non-starchy vegetable.

Start cooking with more oil, such as olive or avocado oil. Keep in mind that old diet habits, such as making a skinless roast chicken breast, just don't make sense on a ketogenic diet because you won't get enough fat. The ketogenic diet is very high in fat (about 80 percent of daily calories), very low in carbohydrates (less than 5 percent of your calories), and moderate in protein (usually 15 to 20 percent of your calories). This is a rather drastic deviation from the generally recommended macronutrient distribution of 20 to 35 percent protein, 45 to 65 percent carbohydrate and 10 to 35 percent fat. Since you're eliminating whole grains and fruits (two of the most common sources of fiber), try to increase your fiber-rich vegetables and consider a supplement. A ketogenic diet generally requires that fats account for 60 to 80 percent of total calories, proteins absorb about 20 percent, while the remaining 10 percent comes from carbohydrates.

Proponents of a ketogenic diet often recommend limiting your intake of carbohydrates to between 20 and 30 grams per day to maintain ketosis. Eating fat to burn fat? It sounds contradictory, but that's what makes the ketogenic diet so unique. Also called a ketogenic diet, this low-carb, high-fat eating style can help you feel energized and laser-sharpened. It can even help you maintain a healthy weight while enjoying delicious and satisfying meals. One of the most common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet is that you can eat as much protein as you want. When most of your diet is made up of carbohydrates and proteins, as the average American diet is ketogenesis (the process of producing ketones) slows down. The standard rules of the ketogenic diet usually dictate a macrobreakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% net carbs daily, every day.

Although there is less high-quality research on the benefits of a ketogenic diet for other conditions, emerging evidence suggests that it might be useful for some people, and for many, it's certainly worth a try. Cyclic and targeted ketogenic diets are recent additions and are mostly used by athletes or bodybuilders. A study looked at the results of the ketogenic diet before and after 349 adults with type 2 diabetes over a 1-year period. The long-term outcome of the ketogenic diet is likely to be no different, especially given how difficult and restrictive it is to maintain. Early experimental research suggests that the ketogenic diet may have anti-tumor effects, probably because it reduces total calorie intake (and circulating glucose) for tumor growth. A randomized control trial of 47 patients with Parkinson's disease found that the ketogenic diet group showed greater improvements in non-motor symptoms than did the low-fat diet group.

The researchers concluded that a ketogenic diet can be considered a valuable non-drug treatment for PCOS. For those who train at high-intensity levels, consider a cyclic or targeted ketogenic diet to strategically incorporate more carbohydrates, which can help boost a gym session or a long run. A low-carb ketogenic diet can also help lower A1C and improve insulin sensitivity by up to 75 percent. Here are the basics of the ketogenic diet: start with simple meat, eggs, fats and vegetables mainly.

Bruce Chen
Bruce Chen

Medical & health reporter. Award-winning internet evangelist. Embraced the low-carb keto diet and lost 9 pounds.