A ketogenic diet is a way of eating that allows your body to get into ketosis and start burning fat for fuel or energy (instead of carbohydrates or glucose). This increases your metabolism and decreases carbohydrate and sugar cravings.
It involves eating a high healthy fats, low carbohydrate and low to moderate protein content as well as timing meals so they are spaced out 5-6 hours apart.
The ratios below are designed to ensure people go into ketosis and stay there which is the main goal of this diet. When you’re in ketosis your liver is producing ketones which is an indication that the body is burning fat. For this plan to work, it’s important to remember that one is swapping carbohydrates with higher fat and a moderate protein intake.
- A ketogenic diet plan requires tracking the amount of net carbohydrates in the foods eaten and keeping their intake between 20 and 60 g/day or 5-15% of total daily calories. The net carbohydrates are calculated by subtracting fiber from the total carbohydrates on a nutritional label. The average amount of net carbs per day is 50g.
- Daily protein requirements depend on height, gender and activity level, generally about 20-25%
- Balance of calories come from fats, about 70-75%, animal and plant based fats
- Reduced hunger/appetite
- Calorie counting is optional
- may be too restrictive and difficult to adhere to long-term for some individuals
- simplest and most effective way to lose weight (especially in the first 6 months)
- very effective at reducing harmful visceral abdominal fat
- improved fat burning efficiency
- lowered blood glucose and insulin levels as well as increased insulin sensitivity
- effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes, particularly for those with multiple co-morbidities
- reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes (reduced insulin and blood sugar levels)
- dramatic reduction of blood triglycerides
- increased levels of HDL “good” cholesterol and “good” LDL – type A
- reduced blood pressure and therefore a reduced risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure
- most effective against metabolic syndrome
- therapeutic for several brain disorders including seizures and epilepsy
- too much fat in the diet, particularly from highly processed, toxin-laden unhealthy fats (those high in Omega 6 fatty acids and commercial animal sources)
- inability to digest high amounts of fats for those with compromised fat metabolism or from removal of gallbladder
- high cholesterol, heart disease, kidney problems, kidney stones, osteoporosis
- diet may be too high in saturated fats
- decreased tolerance of high-carbohydrate foods
- may lead to constipation
- state of ketosis – noticeable characterized by smelly breath (acetone like smell equivalent to nail varnish) and side-effects such as fatigue and nausea
- many other side-effects including nausea, dizziness, lethargy, dehydration, bad breath, constipation, loss of appetite, ‘brain fog’, irritability, and grouchiness
Who may NOT tolerate this diet well
- Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, especially those involving kidney or heart problems
- Individuals with kidney disease must consult their physician prior to starting this diet