The Ketogenic Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

The ketogenic diet was initially created as part of the treatment program of people with epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s. As a form of therapy, patients with epilepsy followed a low-calorie, vegetarian diet program which was combined with fasting.

Patients who adhered to this program showed significant improvements. Results also showed that the patient's’ mental abilities remained and even improved when compared to those who took potassium bromide.

Ketogenic Diet

The Modern Ketogenic Diet

Today, the ketogenic diet is known by various names. These include the keto diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF) diet, and more. This type of diet is high in fat, adequate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. This combination changes the way your body converts food into energy.

When you eat a lot of healthy fats such as those that come from coconut oil and cacao butter and very few carbs, your body goes into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs to give you energy.

When your body cannot get glucose from carbohydrates, your liver will start converting fatty acids from your diet into ketones. Ketones are chemicals made in your liver which are great alternative sources of energy.

When your body burns ketones instead of glucose and insulin to give you the fuel you need, the process reduces inflammation and initiates weight loss.

Types of Ketogenic Diet There are three main types of ketogenic diet. These are:

• Standard – You eat less than 50 grams net carbs a day.

• Targeted – You eat less than 50 grams net carbs a day but can have some extra carbs 30 to 60 minutes before doing a high-intensity workout.

• Cyclical - You follow the standard keto diet for five to six days. On the sixth and/or seventh day, you increase your intake to around 150 grams. This is called the “carb refeed day”.

What You Can and Can’t Eat Under the Ketogenic Diet Below are the foods you should be eating when you are on a keto diet: 

1. Healthy oil and fats 

The ketogenic diet is made up of 75 percent fats. You, therefore, need to increase your intake of saturated and monounsaturated fats such as:

• Butter from grass-fed cows
• Ghee
• Organic coconut oil
• Cacao butter
• Fish oil
• Unheated oils such as olive oil
• Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil

You can also eat egg yolks, fatty meats, and seafood since they are high in natural fats.

2. Dairy products

Organic and grass-fed dairy is rich in healthy, anti-inflammatory fats such as omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid. Some of the dairy products you should include in your daily diet are:

• Full-fat butter
• Yogurt
• Cheese
• Heavy cream
• Sour cream

3.Protein

Since a keto diet is a low protein, you don’t need too much meat. This is because high amounts of protein turn into glucose thus making it harder for your body to stay in ketosis mode.

To get the 20 percent of protein you need every day, eat:

• Grass-fed wild meat
• Wild-caught fish
• Shellfish
• Red meats
• Offal or organ meats
• Eggs
• Whey protein concentrate

4. Vegetables

Veggies, especially green leafy ones, are excellent sources of important vitamins and nutrients. They are keto-friendly, too. As such, eat these vegetables every day:

• Asparagus
• Broccoli
• Spinach
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Cucumber
• Kale
• Zucchini

5. Fruits

Many fruits have high fructose content which can take your body out of ketosis. The fruits you can only eat under a ketogenic diet are:

• Avocado
• Coconut
• Fresh berries

You can also use lemon and lime to add flavor to water.

6. Water, coffee, and tea

When you are on a keto diet, you will feel thirsty all the time. To avoid getting dehydrated, drink plenty of plain water every day.

You should also include coffee and tea in your daily diet since these beverages can help boost your energy.

Below are some of the foods you have to avoid under the ketogenic diet:

• Nightshades such as eggplants and peppers since they can cause inflammation in sensitive people
• Foods high in gluten such as bread, cereal, and pasta
• Grain-derived oils and vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola
• Unstable polyunsaturated oils including walnut, flax, and peanut oil
• Sugar
• Nut Butters
• Legumes
• Soy
• Nut milk
• Artificial flavorings and additives including MSG, aspartame and food coloring

Before going on a ketogenic diet, it is best to consult your doctor first. Although this diet offers a lot of advantages, make sure your body is up to the changes in your eating habits so you can reap the benefits and stay healthy as you lose weight.

AUTHOR BIO

Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Bulletproof Diet." Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you'd expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.

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