How Does Keto Diet Work? Who Needs It?

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The keto diet or ketogenic diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets among people nowadays.

This diet encourages people to go for a low-carb diet with a high fat to lose weight and body fat.

 Many modern studies have also proven that the keto diet or ketogenic diet can help in fat loss and improve your overall health and body.

On top of that, modern studies also prove that the keto diet or low carb diet is also helpful in cutting down the risks of other health conditions like kidney disease, fatty liver disease, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. 

Besides that, those who suffer from high blood sugar or type 2 diabetes can also get help in weight loss by following a ketogenic diet.

This can lower the insulin levels in the blood for a longer time and helps in losing weight.

If you have tried other low-carb diets for body fat loss but have not received good results, it is time to try the popular ketogenic diet.

But, the keto diet is not all about saturated fats and other low-carb foods.

To get the best results, you need to understand how does the keto diet work.

Here is a detailed guide on how the keto diet works and how to maintain it for a healthy lifestyle.

All You Need to Know About Ketogenic Diets: Health Benefits, Side Effects, And More

Ketogenic diet

Who Discovered the Keto Diet?

In the 1990s, Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, first proposed a ketogenic diet or keto diet.

He has been experimenting with low-carb diet methods for a long time, since the 70s, and published his findings in a new book.

His book became an instant hit after its release.

The keto diet became famous as a low-carb diet for fitness enthusiasts, especially celebrities and actors all over the world.

Due to the constant endorsement and somewhat constant results, the Keto diet slowly became a mainstream option for low carb diets and is still popular among people.

What is a Keto Diet in Reality?

The human body usually uses carbohydrates to produce body fuel.

But, in the keto diet, the body uses fat for fuel. You replace the high carb diet with low carb diets filled with loads of fat.

The body has three sources to burn fats- carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

The human body prefers carbohydrates, which are easier to digest and convert to energy. 

In general, humans often take a High carb diet to get more fuel for their body.

If you opt for a very high-carb diet, your body will not use the body fat to get energy. Instead, it stores the fat, resulting in excessive weight and excess body fat.

The same things also happen if you opt for a low-fat diet.  

But, when you opt for a low carbohydrate diet like the keto diet, your body is forced to adjust to the high-fat diet.

As your meal mostly comprises high fats and fewer amounts of carbs, the body is forced to burn the fat and gain energy.

This, in turn, prevents fat storage inside your body, resulting in weight loss.

How Does The Keto Diet Work?

You already know that the basis of a ketogenic diet is ketosis. In this diet, you reduce the amount of carb intake and restrict it to 20-50grams.

Then, the missing 70% of carbs are replaced with fats or fatty food to force the body to perform ketosis.

Besides that, protein intake is also controlled. This ensures that the body is prohibited from using protein as fuel.

The main principle of the ketogenic diet is the principle of ketosis. Ketosis is the procedure of ketone burning.

When your body digests the high fat inside the liver with enzymes, Ketone is produced.

This Ketone is then burned in excessive body fat and weight gain. Cells produce energy to provide fuel for the body.

That means, with ketosis, your body uses the fat for fuel instead of glucose.

The blood sugar level also has a close relation with body weight. Your blood sugar level has a direct impact on your hunger.

If the level is higher, you will feel hungry more often. With a keto diet,  you can control the carb amount in your body.

Hence, your blood sugar level automatically goes down.

As a result, you do not feel hungry more often. In other words, your appetite decreases, and you feel fuller for a long time.

This allows your body to burn body fat instead of storing it.

Types of Keto Diets

In general, the ketogenic diet involves going on very low-carb diets instead of a low-fat diet to force the body into ketosis and burning the high-fat present in the body to produce energy.

But, the key to a successful keto diet is to measure the calorie intake as per the ratio.

But, following a strict ketogenic diet may not be easier for everyone.

Hence, different versions of the keto diet exist.

But, all of these follow the same principle of reducing the overall carb intake to burn excess body fat.

1) Standard Keto diet or SKD

The standard ketogenic diet, or SKD, is the most traditional keto diet in the world.

This diet is often used for diabetic patients or epileptic patients. Those with insulin sensitivity can also get great results by following the SDK.

The main principle of this low carb diet is to put the body in a steady ketosis state.

In a standard Ketogenic diet, you need to get 70%-75% fat, 5-10% of carbs, or not more than 50 grams per day alongside 20% protein.

The recommended fat foods or keto foods are filled with unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats or healthy fats.

In addition, you can add foods like nuts and seeds, fish, avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil.

These high fat food items are beneficial for people with high blood sugar.

These fast food items help your body produce more ketones and allow you to take a few more grams of carbs without stopping the ketosis method.

One Of the easiest ways to learn if your keto diet is working is to check your breath.

Your diet is in the right direction if your breath smells fruity or metallic.

2) Targeted ketogenic diet or Cyclical diet

The targeted ketogenic diet is great for those unable to tolerate the steady and continuous ketosis phase.

For such people, a short carb boost amidst a low-carb diet is necessary as they require more glucose due to certain activities they perform.

In this diet, you follow the ketogenic diet for three to five days a week and take three to two days off from it to give your body more benefits.

3) Modified Atkins diet or High protein keto diet

This diet is somewhat a mixture of the keto diet and the excess protein diet.

In this diet, you maintain a low carb diet without adhering to the strict principles of the keto diet.

Hence, you have increased protein intake (25%-20%), 60-65% of fat, and 10% of carbs.

4) Modified Keto

Another diet for high sugar patients or those who have insulin sensitivity is the modified keto diet. It is ideal for those who cannot opt for a strict keto regimen due to health issues.

This diet allows you to eat 15% carbohydrates, 55% fat, and 30% protein.

Hence you can add food items like whole grains, legumes, and fruits besides nuts and seeds to get that carb kick.

Despite being a modified diet, it can also help you lose weight.

Which Kind of People Need to Use a Keto Diet?

Before starting the ketogenic diet, you need to understand whether it is suitable for you.

Here are the cases where the keto diet works wonders-

1) You suffer from heart disease

Those who suffer from heart disease can get great benefits by following ketogenic diets.

As per modern studies, people suffering from heart disease and related diseases like hypertension, high amounts of cholesterol, and heart or artery blockage can lead a healthy lifestyle with a keto diet.

The keto diet forces your body to adjust to the low carb level and use the fat to get energy.

Hence, it cuts down the amount of bad cholesterol and increases the amount of HDL or good cholesterol.

It can also help in decreasing the level of triglyceride in the blood.

Triglyceride often leads to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, resulting in an increased chance of heart disease and heart attack.

So, if you have a high cholesterol level, you may need to follow a strict keto diet with low carb food habits to see the results.

But, those who can follow the diet perfectly can decrease the amount of “statin” medicines or even may get off the medication with a healthy cholesterol level.

But, you need to measure your food and calorie intake. In this diet, you should not eat high fat foods laden with saturated fats, especially animal products and meat.

Additionally, those who suffer from high blood pressure and artery-related heart disease may also get positive results with the keto diet.

2) You are suffering from obesity

Are you suffering from excessive weight?

The keto diet is the best way for sustainable weight loss.

Those who are severely obese or have a BMI of more than 30 are often encouraged to follow ketogenic diets.

It also works wonders for those who have tried other high fat diets but did not lose weight; it is time to try a ketogenic diet.

In this diet, your body is forced to adjust to the high fat diet by decreasing the carb intake.

Hence, the body goes through ketosis or ketosis.

Hence, your body turns to burn fat to gain energy, resulting in rapid weight loss by burning down excess body fat.

The keto diet often offers quicker and more suitable results for these people. It controls blood sugar levels, making you feel fuller for longer.

On top of that, the keto diet is also able to cure obesity-related heart diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, etc.

But, if you are looking for a good way of losing weight,  it is better to consult a doctor or nutritionist for a customized keto diet plan.

Otherwise, the plan may backfire.

3) You have diabetes

Studies have already proven that keto diets can help curb high blood sugar or abnormal insulin levels.

In a keto diet, you are recommended a low carbohydrate eating habit with loads of healthy fats.

This keeps the insulin levels down and also controls your diabetes.

As you intake less amount of carbs, the blood sugar level also remains lower, resulting in better diabetes management. It also helps in improving insulin sensitivity as well.

On top of that, since your body is naturally handling the insulin level better, you can also decrease the amount of medication.

Those who have type 2 diabetes and related weight gain can also maintain a slimmer and healthier figure with a keto diet.

4) You have dietary restrictions

Those who suffer from dietary restrictions can also benefit from a proper keto diet.

For example, people suffering from gluten intolerance or a special type of allergy may feel better by switching to a keto diet.

Especially people with gluten intolerance cannot stand a lot of whole-grain foods.

For them, the keto diet offers a sustainable eating habit with a healthy lifestyle.

What You Can Eat in The Keto Diet

The keto diet is a high-fat diet with limited carbs. But that does not mean you can hog into everything oily.

Here are the top food items that are allowed in the ketogenic diet-

1) Seafood

seafood

Seafood, especially fish and shellfish, is ideal for a keto diet.

These contain low amounts of carbs and loads of vitamin B, selenium, and potassium to maintain your health.

Fishes like salmon, sardine, and mackerel are enriched with omega-three fatty acids, decreasing high blood sugar and curing insulin sensitivity in people.

You can also add shellfish or shrimp to your diet.

2) Eggs

Eggs

A large egg contains six grams of protein and only one gram of carb.

Eggs keep you fuller for a long time.

On top of that, it is enriched with lutein and zeaxanthin, two important antioxidants. The egg yolks are a source of good cholesterol and offer you the needed fat.

3) Cheese

Cheese

Cheeses like cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, etc., are also great for the keto diet due to their high-fat content.

Even though some cheese may contain high amounts of saturated fat, it does not increase the chance of heart disease.

On top of that, cheese contains CLS, which boosts weight loss and fat loss.  

Some other cheeses you can include are feta, goat cheese, cottage cheese, halloumi, Limburger, manchego, mascarpone, Muenster, parmesan, Colby jack, crème cheese, etc.

4) Vegetables

Keto friendly vegetables

Vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, are excellent for keto diets as they contain much fewer carbs and loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enough water.

Leafy greens like kale, collard, or spinach are enriched with Vitamin K, iron, and enough water content.

So you can munch on lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, escarole, cabbage, mustard greens, thyme, mint, oregano, dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, and lemongrass without any issues.

Celery is also a great snacking option if you are fowling the keto diet.

5) Veggie/fruits with high-fat content

Yes, some vegetables and fruits are high in fat and antioxidants and are ideal for a keto diet.

For example, avocado, which contains a high amount of healthy fat and low carb, can be your ideal fruit.

It also improves your heart health and decreases your LDL cholesterol level. Similarly, adding olives to your keto diet will also help a lot.

6) Nuts and seeds

Nuts

Nuts and seeds are also great for the keto diet- their low carb and high fiber content.

Nuts are delicious and healthy and keep you full for a long time.

So, do not forget to add almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or chia seeds to your keto meal plan.

7) Berries

Like nuts and seeds, Berries are also great.

Strawberries and raspberries are low in carbs with high dietary fiber content.

These two decrease inflammation and also increase your immunity power while satisfying your taste buds.

8) Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

A little sweet chocolate does not harm anyone.

You can satisfy your chocolate cravings with dark chocolates without worrying about anything.

Dark chocolates with more than 70% of cocoa solids are great for your heart, with loads of antioxidants.

But, here, moderation is the key!

9) Olive oil

olive oil

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils in the world.

It contains a high amount of Oleic acid and polyphenol- antioxidants that keep your heart healthy.

Use it in cooking or making healthy mayo. Then, you are covered for a great keto diet.

10) Ghee and butter

cocoa butter

Ghee (clarified butter) and butter are good options for a keto diet. While ghee is zero carbs, butter contains trace carbs in very low amounts.

On top of that, these fats are also healthy and keep your heart healthy.

11) Unsweetened coffee and tea

Unsweetened coffee

In the keto diet, unsweetened tea or coffee, especially green tea, is often encouraged.

These two beverages can decrease the risk of diabetes and maintain your mood balance.

But, avoiding any kind of sweetened latte or sweetened beverage is better.

A Few Keto-friendly Recipes

So, you have decided to get rid of the body fat by going on a high-fat diet.

But, for proper results, you need to have a good eating plan with permitted high-fat foods.

Here are some keto-friendly meals that you can get yourself, minus the guilt-

  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Celery soup with beef croutons
  • Egg muffins with spinach, tomatoes, kale, avocado, meat, ham, cabbage, etc. You can also freeze these for a long time and eat them on the go.
  • Keto chia pudding with chia seeds, almonds, almond milk or regular full fat milk, avocado, and dark chocolate
  • Tofu or chicken or fish salad with feta, goat cheese, kale, baby spinach, arugula, tomatoes with bacon bits
  • Sausage balls with tomato sauce
  • Chocolate mousse with strawberry
  • Chicken in alfredo sauce
  • Grilled salmon filet with mashed celery roots
  • Shrimp in alfredo sauce, etc.

What to Know Before Starting a Keto Diet

Even though the keto diet is known for its benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone.

Here is what you need to think before you start the keto diet-

1) It may increase kidney or liver disease

Do you suffer from fatty liver disease or kidney disease?

Then probably going on a keto diet is not a good idea.

The distinct eating habits of the keto diet may increase the chance of developing kidney stones.

But this can be solved by introducing vegetable protein into your diet.

Interestingly, the diet will work fine if you have existing kidney problems. But, in some cases, it may backfire.

Now, for liver disease, the results are divided.

The ketogenic diet will improve your condition if you suffer from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

But, it may not work for everyone. Those who have Gilbert syndrome should also stay away from keto-style eating habits.

2) The long-term safety issues

One of the main concerns with a high-fat diet is its safety issues.

In addition, studying dietary plans is often tricky and complicated as it is impossible to monitor every minute detail.

Unlike regular eating habits, the keto diet is not natural, so its effectiveness is still to be proven.

On top of that, it is also unknown whether the keto diet plan is safe for long-term issues.

It is known to offer short-term results. But, more research is needed to be done.

3) Dangerous side effects

One of the most negative aspects of ketogenic diets is their side effects. It can result in keto flu, which can be dangerous for your health.

In keto flu, symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue are observed.

It happens because the body is forced to go for low-carb diets. It may lead to water loss and electrolyte loss in people.

A low-fiber diet may also lead to constipation and poor gut health.

If you have experienced one of these symptoms within one or two weeks of starting a keto diet, consult your physician.

After that, you may need to stop it altogether.

4) High chances of LDL cholesterol

The Keto diet decreases the cholesterol level, especially the LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

But, bad cholesterol often increases in some people who follow a keto diet.

It is because you probably are not having foods with healthy fats.

But, it is always better to get a physician’s advice in this matter.

5) It restricts your eating habits

One of the main concerns with the keto diet is its limited source of allowed foods.

If you continue the keto diet for a long time, your weight will be under control.

But, as soon as you switch to high carb from low carb, your weight returns within a few months.

This happens because your mind goes into a habit with a prolonged keto diet. Hence, you may also lose control over your body’s metabolism.

6) It is expensive

Keto Diet is indeed expensive.

However, it also increases your carbon footprint as you buy more processed foods. Hence, try to include natural items from local sources.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does the keto diet work in the body?

The keto diet forces the body to perform ketosis as you consume fewer carbs. This means your body uses the fat to produce Ketones and burns the ketones in cells to produce energy instead of carbohydrates. This, in turn, results in extra fat burn, leading to weight loss and less appetite.

How much weight can you lose in a month with keto?

The amount of weight loss differs from person to person depending on which style of a ketogenic diet they are following. In the first few months, you may not see the results easily. But, as your body slowly adapts to the constant ketosis procedure, you start to lose more weight. But, on average, one can lose 10-12 pounds of weight in the first month. Those who are obese may lose more weight than slightly overweight people.

How long does it take for a keto diet to work?

Your body needs a few days to adjust to the new diet method. The body generally understands that you are taking fewer carbs and more fat in two to four days after you start the keto diet. Hence, the diet will start to work within two to four days after you start it. You will get visible results after twenty days to one month of starting the keto diet.

What are the negatives of the keto diet?

The negative effects of the keto diet can be many, the most important is "Keto flu," a condition with symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, etc. There is also a chance of developing kidney stones as well.

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