The ketogenic diet food is based on a diet very rich in lipids (70% to 90%) and poor in carbohydrates (5% to 15%), i.e. proportions almost reversed compared to a conventional diet (25% to 35% fat and 45% to 55% carbohydrates). Protein intake remains unchanged. Deprived of carbohydrates, its usual source of energy, the body begins to break down fats in the liver via ketogenesis, which then produces ketone bodies. To activate this alternative energy pathway, it takes about three days of a low-carbohydrate diet (less than 50 g / d).
How to follow a ketogenic diet?
In practice, the ketogenic diet food is a diet essentially composed of vegetables low in carbohydrates (spinach, lettuce, mushrooms …), cheese, oilseeds (nuts and seeds), oil, butter, meat, fish and eggs. Sweet products, cereals, legumes, cookies, fruit, bread, and vegetable milk are completely prohibited. You will have to swap the bread and jam for an olive oil omelet with cucumber. The time to adapt to the ketogenic diet food is quite difficult, the state of ketosis causing nausea and fatigue at first.
The benefits of the ketogenic diet food
Originally developed for people with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is today adorned with all the virtues: it would slow down neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), would fight against diabetes and cancer and would even increase the expectation of life, according to different studies.
The ketogenic diet would also cause weight loss and lower cholesterol than that obtained with a reduced-fat diet. Other studies show that it is likely to bring the level of blood glucose concentration (HbA1c) below the threshold for diabetes. This diet was also the main treatment for diabetes before the appearance of insulin in the 1920s. Many athletes also practice the ketogenic diet to improve their performance and recovery.
The dangers of the ketogenic diet food
However, the long-term effects of consuming a ketogenic diet food are unknown. A permanently unbalanced diet induces vitamin and mineral deficiencies and risks of cardiac or metabolic disorders. A state of continuous metabolic acidosis also leads to demineralization and an increased risk of dehydration. Finally, high levels of ketones can cause kidney failure or even brain edema. In the end, it appears that the physiological response to this type of diet is very different depending on the individual. Some would be more sensitive to a high sugar/fat ratio when others, for example people with a high level of insulin resistance, get better results with a diet low in carbohydrates.
History of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet first appeared in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. She has gained a great reputation for her weight-loss powers, after forty years. This type of diet is mainly indicated to control and prevent seizures and seizures. It is believed by some to be beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been studied as an adjunct to cancer because cancer cells eat mainly carbohydrates.
Principle of the ketogenic diet also called the keto diet
The first thing to remember is that the ketogenic diet is a diet that mimics fasting (see our article on fasting), reproducing the same effects on the body as the latter. Indeed, during a fast, the organism deprived of glucose draws through the liver the elements which are useful to it, by transforming them into ketone bodies.
The principle of the ketogenic diet food is therefore to provide the body with ketone bodies, not through carbohydrates, but rather through lipids. Meals are therefore almost entirely made up of fat. Coconut, nut or olive oils, mayonnaise, cream, and butter find their place perfectly. Proteins occupy only a small part of this particular diet. As for carbohydrates, they are completely eliminated, making up only 2% of your plates. The ketogenic diet is one of the hypoglycemic diets.
In order to carry out a keto diet, you must make sure to supplement it with vitamins and intakes of magnesium and potassium. It is also advisable to drink lots of water.
How does the ketogenic diet work?
This slimming diet contributes to weight loss because it greatly reduces the consumption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. When their quantity is reduced in the organism, the latter must draw energy from other sources. The second option is the fat reserve of our body. When this reserve of fat is burned, the person begins to lose weight.
The process, in addition to using body fat, gives rise to ketone bodies, molecules that interfere with the hormones involved in controlling appetite, like ghrelin. Ketosis, which is located in the liver, is the main asset of the ketogenic diet.
For balanced nutrition, patients are advised to take potassium and magnesium supplements. They must temporarily give up physical exercise to avoid hypoglycemia.
Meals prohibited and food allowed
The keto diet food is extremely low in carbohydrates and high in fat. The restriction relates mainly to carbohydrates and not to lipids, vitamins, and proteins. In practice, those who follow it almost completely eliminate sources of glucose such as bread, pasta, rice, beans, and milk to prioritize foods such as vegetables, eggs (especially omelets), seeds, meat, and nuts. In such a diet, carbohydrate intakes do not exceed 50 grams per day, and, in the most extreme cases, they are completely removed from the diet. This lack of glucose forces the body to use other forms of energy.
To compensate for the reduction in carbohydrates, the consumption of fat should increase considerably, especially in the form of avocados, coconut oil, seeds, crème fraîche, olive oil, peanuts, and almonds. In addition, protein should also account for around 20% of daily calories. Chicken or fish should be eaten for lunch and dinner. Eggs and cheese should be included in the snacks.
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
This diet has many advantages. Initially, it is used for therapeutic purposes and its effectiveness is certain. The ketogenic diet is known for its anticonvulsant properties. As such, it is mainly prescribed for epilepsy. In addition, it is not uncommon to find it in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
In addition to these commendable results, the ketogenic diet food makes you slim down considerably. Therefore, it is suitable for people who want to lose weight quickly, while providing less physical effort than usual. Then, ketogenic bodies contribute to natural well-being, by their presence in the organism. They are therefore a significant contribution. It should also be noted that by following this diet, you eat regularly, thus avoiding violent feelings of hunger and emptiness in the stomach. The ketogenic diet food turns out to be very beneficial when it is practiced well.
Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet, like any diet, has side effects. The best known is the risk of nausea and vomiting which is quite common. Hypoglycemia linked to the virtual absence of carbohydrates in the diet should also be taken into account. But the most alarming risk is undoubtedly that linked to kidney stones, which can occur and cause numerous health damages. Finally, difficulties related to intestinal transit such as heaviness in the stomach and constipation are possibilities to consider.
Aside from the classic side effects, many decry the demanding nature of the ketogenic diet food. It is indeed difficult to succeed in this diet without the supervision of a duly qualified doctor.
Contraindications of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is contraindicated for people over 65, children, adolescents, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. It should also be avoided by people with an increased risk of ketoacidoses, such as type 1 diabetics, unstabilized type 2 diabetics, people with low weight, or those with a history of stroke or liver and kidney disease. It is also not suitable for people with gallbladder stones or people taking cortisone-based drugs. In these cases, the ketogenic diet must be authorized by the doctor and followed by a nutritionist.