The Keto Diet: A Beginner's Detailed Guide to the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a diet low in carbohydrates but high in fat.

Scientific studies confirm that it has many health benefits.  It can help you lose weight and even fight diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer’s.

Like other restrictive diets, the ketogenic diet is difficult to maintain for more than a few months and can lead to overeating in response to withdrawal.

Here is an in-depth guide to the keto diet for beginners.

The basics of the ketogenic diet are:

Different types of ketogenic diet

There are different variations of the ketogenic diet.

As of this writing, only standard ketogenic and high-protein diets have been studied in depth.

The standard  ketogenic diet  is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat.  It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein and only 10% carbohydrates.

The high-  protein ketogenic diet  is similar to the standard ketogenic diet, but contains more protein.  The ratio is usually 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

There are also variations specific to athletes that we have mentioned here for informational purposes.  This includes the cyclical ketogenic diet that includes periods of high carb, for example 6 ketogenic days followed by a high carb day.

What is ketosis?

To fully understand the ketogenic diet, you need to understand the principle of ketosis.

Ketosis  is a metabolic state in which the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates . 

In fact, the body needs energy from the food we eat to function normally.  Carbohydrates are usually the main source of energy.  On a ketogenic diet, fat replaces glucose for fuel.

It occurs when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, which limits your body’s supply of glucose, the main energy source for cells.

The process is as follows:

  1. At the beginning of the ketogenic diet, the body gets its energy from glucose stores in the liver and muscles.  Using these reserves, a large amount of water excreted in the urine is released, resulting in rapid and temporary weight loss.
  2.  When glucose stores are depleted ,  the liver uses fats and proteins to fuel the body.  The breakdown of lipids by the liver produces ketone bodies, some of which are excreted through respiration, which explains the heavy breathing of people on a ketogenic diet.

In general, ketosis is when we reduce our carb consumption to less than 50 grams per day and eat too much meat, fish, eggs, nuts, etc. It occurs when we eat. For comparison: The diet recommended for diabetics provides 130 to 225 g of carbohydrates per day.

Keep in mind that consuming too much protein is not beneficial in this case.  In fact, proteins can also  be converted to glucose when consumed in large quantities  .

There are blood, urine, and breath tests in the form of strips that can help.  know if you are entering ketosis.  These tests measure the amount of ketones produced by the body.

During ketosis, you may also experience increased thirst, frequent urination, and decreased hunger (3).

Keto Diet May Aid Weight Loss

Studies show that the ketogenic diet can be as effective as a low-fat diet for weight loss.  (4).

The keto diet is also very filling and relatively easy to follow.  Thus, it allows you to lose weight without counting calories (5).

A study of 34 seniors showed that those who followed a ketogenic diet for eight weeks lost about five times more body fat than seniors who followed a low-fat diet ( 6Trusted Source ).

Studies show that the ketogenic diet can be as effective as a low-fat diet for weight loss.  (4).

The keto diet is also very filling and relatively easy to follow.  Thus, it allows you to lose weight without counting calories (5).

A study of 34 seniors showed that those who followed a ketogenic diet for eight weeks lost about five times more body fat than seniors who followed a low-fat diet ( 6Trusted Source ).

Benefits of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Weight loss for overweight people: The keto diet can aid weight loss as it allows the body to use fats to produce energy. In addition, the ketogenic diet can be effective in weight loss by providing a feeling of satiety and reducing appetite.

  2. Better blood sugar control: Restricting carbohydrates can help lower blood sugar and stabilize insulin levels. This can improve the blood sugar control of people with diabetes.

  3. Positive effects on brain health: The ketogenic diet may be effective in the treatment of certain neurological disorders, particularly epilepsy. It can also improve brain function and increase mental clarity.

  4. Reduction of inflammation: The ketogenic diet can reduce inflammation in the body. This can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases and improve overall health.

Effects of the ketogenic diet on diabetes

The ketogenic diet can help lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  (7).

Specifically, one study showed that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by 75% (8).  Insulin sensitivity refers to the way a cell responds to insulin, that is, the number of contact points it has on its surface to absorb nutrients from digestion.

A study of 349 people with type 2 diabetes found that people who followed the ketogenic diet lost an average of 25 pounds over a two-year period ( 9Trusted Source ).

However, it is premature to recommend switching to a ketogenic diet for a diabetic due to the lack of information about the long-term effects.

Foods to avoid on the ketogenic diet

As a general rule, high-carb foods should be limited.

Here is a list of foods to reduce or eliminate on a ketogenic diet:

  • Industrial sugary foods: Carbonated drinks, juices, cakes, ice creams, desserts, etc.
  • Starch: wheat, rice, pasta, cereals, etc.
  • Fruits: all fruits except less sweet fruits
  • Legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
  • Alcohol: beer, wine, spirits, mixed drinks.
  • Industrial sauces: mayonnaise, ketchup, etc.

Foods to eat on the keto diet

Your meals should be based on most of these foods:

  • Meat: red meat, steak, ham, chicken, and turkey
  • fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
  • Owner
  • butter and cream
  • Cheese
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flax seeds…
  • healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil
  • Lawyer
  • Low-carb vegetables: green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

Implementation of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Cutting carbs at the start: When starting the keto diet, it’s important to cut carbs to a very low level. This accelerates the body to enter ketosis.

  2. Increasing fat intake: On the keto diet, fats are the main source of energy. You should increase your daily fat intake by choosing healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc.).

  3. Consuming proteins in a balanced way: Proteins are important for muscle development and repair. However, excessive protein intake can also affect ketosis. It is important to consume the appropriate amount of protein.

  4. Limiting carbohydrate sources: It is necessary to limit or exclude high carbohydrate foods such as grains, sugars, fruits, starchy vegetables.

  5. Drinking plenty of water: Keto diet can cause water loss in the body as it has a diuretic effect. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of water and pay attention to your hydration.

  6. Vitamin and mineral supplements: The keto diet can cause some nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it may be helpful to take multivitamin and mineral supplements or seek advice from your doctor.

  7. Add carbs carefully: Some people may add carbs lightly to offset their carb needs while playing sports or certain health conditions. However, it is important to maintain a state of ketosis while doing this.

The keto diet can offer many benefits for beginners, but since everyone’s body build and health condition is different, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional first. Also, it is important to pay attention to a balanced and varied diet while following the keto diet.

Try the ketogenic menu for a week


Breakfast: Tomato omelette and some seasonal fruits (raspberry, strawberry…)
Lunch: Chicken salad, feta cheese, olives and lettuce
Dinner: Salmon with asparagus cooked in butter


Breakfast: Omelet with egg, tomato, basil and raw spinach sprouts. Lunch
: buckwheat pancakes with cheese, natural yogurt with strawberry pieces.
Dinner: chicken legs, spinach.


Breakfast: plain Greek yogurt with no sugar added peanut butter,
lunch: avocado and smoked salmon salad, dinner
: pork chop with parmesan, broccoli and salad.


Breakfast: basil omelet, avocado.
Lunch: a handful of nuts, raw cauliflower dipped in homemade guacamole.
Dinner: Chicken with grilled zucchini in the oven with olive oil.


Breakfast: unsweetened Greek yogurt with cocoa powder and strawberries.
Lunch: Ground beef with peppers and zucchini
Dinner: Canned mackerel with salted tomatoes


Breakfast: blueberry cream cheese pancakes,
lunch: salmon steak with mushrooms,
dinner: sea bream fillet cooked in olive oil with cabbage


Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushrooms.
Lunch: Chicken with fresh cream and broccoli.
Dinner: Bolognese-style zucchini spaghetti.

Side Effects of Ketosis

While the ketogenic diet is generally safe for most healthy people, there may be some initial side effects.

We’re talking about the “ketogenic flu”.  The ketogenic flu is caused in part by an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when the body enters a state of ketosis.  Symptoms include diarrhea, constipation and vomiting…

A ketogenic diet can also change your body’s water and mineral balance.  To  compensate for the loss of electrolytes, it is necessary to consume mineral-rich drinks.

To avoid the ailments caused by potassium deficiency, it is recommended to increase the proportion of potassium-rich foods: avocado, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc.

Side effects of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Keto flu: A temporary condition that can occur as the body transitions from carbohydrates to fats. Symptoms can include headache, fatigue, nausea, irritability and digestive problems.

  2. Electrolyte imbalances: The keto diet can result in greater loss of water and electrolytes from the body. Therefore, it is important to consume adequate fluids and balance electrolytes.

  3. Nutrient deficiencies: Due to the restriction of carbohydrates, the keto diet can lead to some nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it is important to eat a balanced diet with a variety of nutrients or it may be necessary to take supplements.

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