What is the ketogenic diet?
In the ketogenic dietbrief KETO called, is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate form of nutrition. It is named after ketone bodies, three chemical compounds that can form during hunger, a restrictive diet, or a low-carb diet that can lead to ketosis.
In a ketogenic diet, glucose is replaced by ketone bodies (ketosis) as the primary energy source of the human body. Normally, as a result of the breakdown of carbohydrates, glucose is made available to the body to use for the energy it needs. On a ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are avoided or their intake is reduced and fatty acids are broken down in the liver.
The ratio of fat to carbohydrates is 4: 1 in the ketogenic diet. The proteins we absorb through food are also reduced as part of this type of diet.
Difference from the low carb diet
A low-carb diet or diet is like the precursor to the ketogenic diet. The limit for carbohydrate intake is even stricter with KETO. While the low carb content generally allows between 50 and 130 grams of carbs per day, the ketogenic diet further reduces this amount to a maximum of 50g per day.
Effect of the ketogenic diet?
As the body gets its energy from carbohydrates until just before, during and just after birth, it reacts to the ketogenic diet by making a change. The fats are then converted into ketone bodies in the liver and are now available to the body for direct energy production. This means that more fat is burned instead of using carbohydrates. For this reason, this form of nutrition is often also referred to as a diet with which you can lose weight relatively quickly.
What foods are allowed?
Let’s start with the foods you not eat. This includes everyone rich in carbohydrates Foodfor example:
- Sugary sweets, sodas or fruit juices
- cakes and cookies
- All types of fruit, except small portions of berries
- All legumes such as peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Cereals are also eliminated, therefore pasta, rice and muesli
- Tuberous vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, and carrots
- Ready meals and spice mixes, as they often contain a lot of sugar
- Unhealthy fats, such as processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise
- Low-fat diet products
Now let’s move on to the foods you can continue to eat. Fatty and high-protein foods are at the top of the menu:
- Red Meat, Bacon, Turkey, Chicken, Steak
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel or tuna
- Dairy products such as butter and cream
- Cheeses like cheddar, goat cheese, cream cheese, and mozzarella
- Low-carb vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, avocados and especially green vegetables
- Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- The only spices are salt, pepper and aromatic herbs
- Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
TO vegetables you have to follow a certain rule of thumb:
- Above-ground veggies are low in carbohydrates and underground veggies are high in carbohydrates.
- On the surface there are, for example, lettuce, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, kohlrabi
Pros and cons of the ketogenic diet
If the body does not take in carbohydrates and instead takes in more fat, it dehydrates and breaks down body fat quickly. The body becomes more efficient and fat stores are depleted, the insulin level is lowered and severe fluctuations in blood sugar are prevented.
- a strong feeling of hunger
- a metallic or salty taste in the mouth
Also, during a ketogenic diet, there can be an increase in uric acid in the body. This greatly increases the risk of gout. Kidney stone formation has also been recognized as one of the side effects. Another unfortunate factor is the development of bad breath, the so-called “ketosis breath”.
How is my energy requirement calculated?
The daily need for energy and protein varies according to age and energy consumption. Based on these data, the ketogenic ratio (4: 1) is determined. With a ratio of 4: 1, this means that the food consumed must be composed of 80% (by weight) of fat and 20% (by weight) of proteins.
collaboration with the doctor
Since the keto diet is an extreme and strict form of dieting, it is best to plan your diet together with a doctor. It will examine you in advance and determine if this type of diet is suitable for you and your health.
The ketogenic diet and cancer
In some cases, a ketogenic diet is also specifically recommended by doctors. This is a medically indicated ketogenic diet.
The change in the feeling of hunger and the sense of taste is a big problem, especially in cancer patients. Wasting the body is an additional burden during therapy. While people believed that foods containing sugar or maltodextrin were a good source of energy for patients, today we know that muscle cells can absorb fatty acids much better. In this way, energy production is significantly improved and energy storage is also more efficient.
But the positive effects go even further. Ketone bodies reduce the glucose uptake of malignant cancer cells and may even cause their death. Cancer cells love glucose and the ketogenic diet could be a therapeutic approach. Numerous studies are underway on this development and doctors see an opportunity for cancer patients.
Even with epilepsy, a ketogenic diet is often recommended today, as many patients report a positive effect. Healthy fats are mainly on the menu, which help reduce the number of seizures. The intake of disease medications may also be partially reduced.