What Is A Ketogenic Diet? A Quick Guide For The Curious

Throughout the years, people have turned to diet gurus to find the ultimate holy grail for weight loss. If you’ve ever struggled with weight issues, you know just how hard it can be to find the diet that makes sense to your body’s needs. 

A diet that has been around for a surprisingly long time, but that has been taking the fitness world by storm in the last few years is the Ketogenic diet. To help you determine if this is the answer to your weight loss needs, we’ve compiled some important information that can help you in making a decision.

What Is A Keto Diet? 

You want fat in your diet. Healthy fat, that is. And, that is what the Keto Diet is all about—avoid unhealthy carbs and eating a high amount of fat. It sounds contradictory, right? But, the right kind of fat can actually give your body a whole lot of good things. 

How exactly does this work? Essentially, healthy fat is used to power your body. Because you’re not giving yourself large amounts of carbs, your body starts burning healthy fat for energy.

The result is that your body is fuelled by ketones rather than glucose, which may lead to an increased loss of body fat.

How Carbs Are A Factor In Weight Loss

If healthy fat is good for you, then why are carbs bad? If you’ve struggled with weight problems throughout the years, carbs could very well be a factor to take into consideration. If you’re hoping to see the pounds drop off and to lose weight quickly, realize that carbs play a big role in causing glycogen.

Glycogen is full of water [1], around 3 to 4 grams of it, so just imagine how much water weight you may have packed on if you eat a lot of carbs. If your body can store up to 15 grams of glycogen per kilogram, you can only imagine how that could impact your weight, especially what you see on the scale. 

When you eat fewer carbs, you will be producing less glycogen, and you will see a difference on the scale. 

The Benefits

Of course, there would have to be benefits from the Keto diet, or why would people highly recommend it? While this could be said for a lot of diets, when it comes to the Ketogenic one, it’s actually true. Here are some of the top benefits of incorporating a Keto diet in your life: 

  • Eating fewer carbs means that your body will produce more ketones in your liver. What do ketones do? They essentially act as fuel for your body—which means that they burn your fat for energy [2]. Along with the ketones burning fat in your body, fewer carbs mean less glycogen, which also means that you’ll be losing weight—add on a good exercise routine, and a Keto diet will truly make a difference in your weight loss. Because you don’t want your body to go overboard in using your tissue for energy, adding protein to your keto diet certainly helps you to maintain a good balance.
  • It’s good for your overall health. Everyone knows that an excess of carbs isn’t good for you, but it’s easier to hear that said than to actually do something about it. When you eat too many carbs, you need to realize that they eventually turn to sugar. Sugar and glycogen can be a cause of diabetes and even lead to serious issues like stroke or heart problems.
  • It brings down high blood pressure. Do you have high blood pressure issues? A very big factor in your high blood pressure could very well be your carb intake. Lower the carbs, and you could be doing a lot to lower your blood pressure.
  • You will be doing less binge eating. Many reasons why people end up overeating is because the food they are eating that is high in carbs is actually not satisfying their hunger. Something else that may be happening is that the diets that you are trying to lose weight on are leaving you hungry. From not doing portion control right to eating too little of good things, there may be reasons why the diet you are on leads you to binge-eat.
  • You’ll have more energy. With the increase of ketones in your body, you’re going to be feeding your brain more energy than ever before. A boosted mental state is always a great way to not only make things happen in your work or studies but also help you to stay active, whether that’s simply taking a walk or getting in some time at the gym. For your ketones to increase, remember that low carbs are key.

Intermittent Fasting And Keto

If you’re someone who wants to lose weight and also get all the benefits from a keto diet, there is something called intermittent fasting with a keto diet [3]. In fact, intermittent fasting is best done with a keto diet as when you eat keto after fasting, you’re giving your body exactly what it needs.

Doing something like fasting for 16 hours and then eating within an 8-hour time-frame can help you to lose weight, have more energy, have less chronic inflammation, and even cleanse your body of toxins. It’s even been said to be good for keeping you safe from chronic diseases like diabetes. Whether you are doing intermittent fasting and the keto diet for weight loss or simply to stay healthy, it’s always a good idea.

Plus, it’s not that hard when you actually think about it. For example, say that you eat your last meal at 8 p.m. You fast for around 16 hours until 12 p.m. Not everyone eats breakfast, so if you’re one of these kinds of people, then you may already be used to skipping it anyways. If not, it will still be pretty easy to get used to eating this way. 

Then during your 8 hours when you can eat, make sure to eat Keto diet friendly-food so that you can get the nutrients and energy you need. If you’re eating right, you’ll see that you probably won’t even feel that hungry when it comes time to fast again. 

Different Types Of Keto

There are always new diets popping up. Here are a few to consider:

  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet: While most keto diets are low-carb, this one allows you to eat certain carbs based on the type of workouts that you do. You’ll want to talk to your nutritionist and trainer about the right kind of carbs for you and your goals.
  • Standard Ketogenic Diet: This is your typical one where the majority of food that you want to eat is fat. 75% should be the percentage for your fat intake. 20% of protein should be next, while you only want to eat around 5% of carbs in the SKD.
  • High-protein Ketogenic Diet: Those who like to work out a lot and are hoping to build muscle at the gym, high-protein ketogenic diets are a good idea. They can help to provide the athlete or bodybuilder with the high level of energy needed for muscle gains at the gym.

Foods to Avoid

As you’re determining your new diet and what foods to buy, you want to make sure that you’re not including foods that are not going to be good for your goals. Here are some of the foods to avoid while on a keto diet: 

  • Alcohol: Yep, it’s not a good idea to drink alcohol if you want to lose weight and follow the Keto diet as you should. If you like your daily glass of wine or cocktail, you may want to pick up a new habit as alcohol is full of sugar and carbohydrates.
  • Gluten: Stay away from bread, pasta, and tortillas, as much as you love them. They don’t belong in your keto diet [4].
  • Salty snacks: Those chips, pretzels, and popcorn? Not a good idea if you’re hoping to lose some weight and follow the keto diet.
  • Too many condiments: While you can eat some condiments from time to time, avoid using the following ones as much as possible: ketchup, soy sauce, and barbeque. They are high in salts and sugars, which are not good for your keto diet.
  • Candy and sweets: You probably already kissed goodbye to these things when considering the idea of a keto diet, but now that you are almost convinced it’s for you, you can be sure that sweet treats have no place in a keto diet.
  • White potatoes: Sweet potatoes can be a part of your diet but keep the white potatoes at bay if you are serious about gains at the gym.
  • If you take protein supplements after training, then you should take a look at some suitable products we have tested out.

Foods That You Can Eat

All is not lost. You can eat some of your favorite foods and should eat some of the following foods for a well-balanced keto diet:

  • Meat: A big yes to meat when it comes to your keto diet, yet when we say meat, we’re not talking about sliced ham from the supermarket. This is where you want to pay attention. Poultry, fish, beef, lamb, and chicken are a big yes to your keto diet while other pork-based options are not.
  • Veggies: Eat them — especially asparagus, kale, and spinach.
  • Avocados: A healthy kind of fatty food, avocados are great for energy and your health, so go ahead and indulge in your favorite guacamole.
  • Condiments like hummus and salsa are okay for your diet.
  • Olive oil and coconut oil are much better choices for your Keto diet than your regular vegetable oil.
  • Avoid sugars, but don’t say goodbye to sweetening your favorite tea. Try stevia extract or erythritol.
  • If you want to really make sure that you’re getting the good out of your keto diet, avoid normal milk, and choose almond or hemp milk, as well as rice or coconut.
  • Berries are yummy, and they’re good for you and certainly allowed in a keto diet. Raspberries to blackberries, go ahead and make your favorite shake with berries.

Any Bad Things to Be Aware Of? 

As you go into trying new diets, it’s important to pay attention to whether or not they will end up making you sick. While a keto diet is healthy, there are some issues that could come up [5]. For example: 

  • A lack of carbs may actually lead to bad breath, surprisingly. You can either eat a few more carbs or simply brush your teeth more often.
  • You may start to feel a bit tired and cranky when first starting out on this diet. Try to power through it and eat more fat—healthy fat, that is.
  • Headaches may show up when your first getting used to this diet. Don’t stop. Drink a lot of water and add some salt to it.
  • You may start getting constipated when you first try this type of diet. If this is the case, simply add more non-starchy vegetables and eat fiber-rich foods to balance things out.

Things to Avoid

As healthy as this diet is, you want to do it right. Stay away from doing the following things:

  • Eat too much protein. Too much protein can turn into fat, so don’t overdo your protein intake.
  • Any old low-carb diet is not a keto diet. You want to make sure that you’re following the right kind of plan for healthy results.
  • You need to adapt. Take it slowly. Don’t just rush into eating perfectly keto at the beginning. As much as you may want to be losing weight in a hurry, it’s important that you take your time so that your body gets used to it, and so do you.

Is Keto For You?

So, what do you think? Is the ketogenic diet for you? If you’ve been looking for a way to have more energy and lose weight, then the keto diet may be just what you need. If you have any health issues, make sure to speak with your medical provider, but for the most part, most people should be good to go with a keto diet. 

Kate Young

Hi there, I’m Kate Young and I’m a fitness coach from California, but I now live in Austin. I have been involved in so many different sports over the years, including swimming, running, athletics, gymnastics, rugby (yeas, you read that right), baseball, tennis, and so many more that I have lost count.

I just love competing in sports, but struggled to find the one that I would stick with. So, instead I decided to become a fitness coach as it allows me to work with so many different types of athletes.

I’ve also become heavily involved it diet. The reason for this is that I’ve seen too many athletes fail in their fitness goals because their diet didn’t support it. And I’ve seen just as many people fail in their diets, because their fitness activities weren’t effective.

A lot of my work has involved working up with college tennis teams where I have tailored some endurance type fitness programs. Tennis coaches are great at teaching techniques, but a lot of them struggle with general fitness levels.

And that’s where I come in. On this site I contribute to anything tennis, fitness and diet related, which will help you get to your goals quicker and with more ease. And if you have some very specific questions then why not reach out on one of the social media channels where all of us are very active.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply