What is The Keto Diet? – Is It Right For Me

Diet Food

Want to quickly lose weight without extensive workouts and crash diet plans? Well, that’s all of us.

In my weight loss expedition, I delved a little more into the latest diet rage which is Keto Diet. I found how you can eat chocolate, cheese, and meat and still reduce weight.

What is the Keto diet?

Keto or Ketogenic is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Purpose of the Keto diet is to use fat as the primary energy source instead of glucose and it is achieved by lowering the carbohydrate intake. This reduction in carbs induces body in a metabolic state known as ketosis.

During ketosis, our body breakdown fats and produces ketones. These ketones are used to maintain the optimal supply of energy in the body instead of carbs.

End goal of a balanced Keto diet is to shift the body’s metabolism from carbs towards fats which are achieved through starvation of carbohydrates.

Why it is so popular?

Saying Keto diet is popular would be an understatement as the enthusiasm and interest towards keto diet are not going to subside at the moment.

But if you are thinking that this obsession with a diet is bizarre, then hold on for a second. Let me give you a sneak peek of the amazing health benefits of the keto diet.

  • Reduce epileptic seizures – Keto has been suggested under medical supervision for children with certain types of epilepsy as it can decreases the epileptic seizures to half and in some cases, some children have even become seizure free.
  • Weight loss – No surprise in this, its hands down No 1 reason for Keto diet being all the rage today. When the body gets used to of the keto diet, people experience steady energy with fewer hunger pangs. This control over appetite eventually pays back in the form of weight loss.
  • Mental performance – ketosis offer a steady supply of fuel to the brain which enhances mental performance.
  • Type 2 diabetes – the diet improves insulin sensitivity and with proper management, diabetics can even stop their medication.
  • Metabolic syndrome – Adults on keto diet have shown improvement in key symptoms of metabolic syndrome than those on the standard diet.
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease – low-carb diet has proved to be effective in somewhat delaying the aging of the brain. Thus it’s helpful for patients at the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Bipolar disorder – properly planned and managed keto plan has been shown to be an effective mood stabilizer for some people suffering from bipolar disorder.

What you can eat on a Keto Diet:

We will also come towards the food items, but first, you should understand that the Keto diet is very precise about the macronutrients. Your general macronutrient intake ratio during keto diet should be:

  • Calories from fat – 60 to 75%
  • Calories from protein – 15 to 30%
  • Calories from carbs – 5 to 10%

Keto food

Now, that you know the ideal ratio, carefully plan your diet from the following fat-rich food items.

  • Meat – Chicken, bacon, red meat, ham, steak sausage, and turkey
  • Fish – fatty fish like trout, salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Oils – healthy oils like avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil.
  • Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamias, etc
  • Eggs – Pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
  • Dairy – unprocessed cheese like mozzarella, cheddar, blue, goat, or cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, high fat cream, and Butter.
  • Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, kale, onions, peppers, etc
  • Fruits – melons, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
  • Condiments – salt, pepper, spices, and healthy herbs
  • Sweeteners – monk fruit, stevia, erythritol, and other low-carb sweeteners
  • Drinks – unsweetened coffee and tea
  • Chocolate – dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids and cocoa powder

Anyone looking for good tasty keto recipes should take a look at our article on the best ketogenic cook for beginners.

Different types of Keto diet:

Carb-restricted diet plan is extremely challenging to follow especially if you’re a desert & starchy veggie lover like me. Well, thanks to the other variants of keto diet which are a little more flexible yet equally efficient in burning the fat.

Following are the common keto diet types:

Standard Keto Diet (SKD):

This is the classic type of keto diet which is ideal for beginners. It’s a standard high-fat, moderate protein and low-carb diet.

Macronutrients ratio of SKD looks like:

  • 75% fat (150 grams)
  • 15-20% protein (90 grams)
  • 5-10% carbs (50 grams)

So, shuffle around the allowed food items mentioned above and plan your meals and snacks in light of this ratio.

Targeted Keto Diet (TKD):

All the athletes and active people out there, this keto variant is just right for you. This variant allows you to add little more carbs around the workouts so that you can effectively maintain your exercise performance without compromising over the keto lifestyle.

TKD allows the individuals to intake additional 20 – 30 grams carbs half an hour before and after the workout. Extra carbs will enhance recovery while the workout won’t let the additional carbs store in the body.

Macronutrients ratio for TKD will be:

  • 65-70% fat
  • 20% protein
  • 10-15% carbs

Consider fruit, grain-based food or dairy products for the additional carbs.

Dirty Keto Diet:

Dirty Keto Food

Dirty keto is just the standard keto with one key difference and that is, it doesn’t care about the fat sources of your diet.

Dirty Keto follows the same macronutrients breakdown that SKD follows, but it is not particular about the healthy food choices like SKD is.

Dirty Keto allows you to treat yourself with fast food, sausages, cheese sandwiches and still lose weight. Sounds tempting? Well, it is, but you will miss out on the micronutrients which are equally essential for healthy growth.

Other drawbacks of dirty keto diet include inflammation, puffiness, bloating, rebound weight gain, and keto flu.

Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD):

This ketogenic diet is best for athletes and bodybuilders whose focus is not only on losing fat but also on building lean mass. It involves two phases;

  • Standard keto phase for five days a week
  • Higher-carb reefed phase for the next two days

On the non-keto days, maximum calories come from the carb-rich food. This makes the macronutrient ratio looks somewhat like this:

  • Standard Keto Phase
    • 75% fat
    • 15-20% protein
    • 5-10% carbs
  • Carb-loading phase (Off-days)
    • 5-10% fat
    • 20-25% protein
    • 70% carbs

There’s no hard and fast rule for the off-days. You can save your carb-loading days for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and vacations and you won’t miss out the delicious cakes and scrumptious pizzas.

Being a newbie, I decided to stick with the Standard Keto Diet and refrained from experimentation with my diet plan. Did you find any keto approach that idealistically fits with your lifestyle?