Keto Diet: Types, Benefits, Side Effects And More

Whenever people discuss weight loss, the ketogenic diet is a must thing to consider. Several people worldwide prefer shifting to a ketogenic diet to start their weight loss.

Moreover, a diet change may allow you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. But, with multiple benefits offered to all, several questions about the ketogenic diet are left unanswered.

Hence, this article will answer the important question a beginner must know before starting the ketogenic diet.

A keto diet refers to low-carbohydrate consumption while increasing the use of body fat. The principle behind the diet plan is to cut off an important source of energy, i.e., carbohydrates, to force the body to use fat as a fuel for different metabolic activities.

The body is forced to undergo ketosis to cut down fat quickly. Generally, ketosis occurs in the body during the scarcity of glucose.

When the glucose level drops, the body starts burning fat for energy and yields ketones. Ketones replace glucose as the fuel for different metabolic activities in the body.

Types Of Keto Diet

Generally, the ketogenic diet has been classified into different types based on the duration and quantity of carbohydrate consumption.

Standard Ketogenic Diet

Standard ketogenic diet or SKD is the usual form of the diet plan practiced by most people. The diet plan contains minimum carbohydrates, low protein, and higher fat consumption, i.e., 70% fat. More details here.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

As the name suggests, the diet plan is practiced cyclically or for a few days a week. For example, if you consume five days of a carb-free diet, you get to eat two days of carb-rich food.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The targeted ketogenic diet is a highly restricted form of the keto diet. In the diet plan, you are allowed to include some carbohydrate-containing food during high-energy expenditure tasks like workouts. The targeted keto diet may benefit athletes and bodybuilders to get an active and strong body.

High Protein Ketogenic Diet

In the high-protein keto diet, you should add an extra amount of protein to your diet. It has a similar nutritional ratio to the standard ketogenic diet with higher protein content.

Benefits Of The Keto Diet

Several dieticians recommend people consider starting a ketogenic diet to improve various health conditions. Hence, these are a few potential benefits of shifting to a ketogenic diet.

May Initiate Weight Loss

Keto diets could be highly effective in reducing the weight of an individual. A low-carb diet is believed to create a calorie deficit in the body. Moreover, the keto diet reduces blood sugar and insulin levels, which may initiate rapid weight loss.

But, the short-term weight loss may last for a few weeks or months until the body adapts to the new diet plan.

May Reduce Triglycerides

Some studies have suggested that triglycerides could potentially cause several heart conditions. People having a usual diet with carbohydrate content may find these fat molecules floating in their bloodstream.

But, people doing a keto diet may significantly reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood.

May Reduce Blood Sugar

Diabetes and insulin resistance are the two common disorders in adults worldwide. But, several studies have shown that people consuming a ketogenic diet have experienced a reduction in their blood sugar level and insulin.

As the keto diet asks to lower the carbohydrate intake, the blood sugar levels gradually drop.

May Lower Appetite

The ketogenic diet could be a great way to lower your appetite automatically. The keto diet significantly reduces the adiponectin hormone levels, which is responsible for increasing the feeling of hunger.

Moreover, people consuming a keto diet may experience the feeling of fullness while eating fewer calories compared to carb-rich food.

May Be Effective Against Cancer

Several researchers have mentioned that a ketogenic diet has been helpful in cancer treatment. It is believed that the ketogenic diet could be safe and suitable during chemotherapy that may reduce or avoid side effects.

Moreover, the ketogenic diet may increase the oxidative stress on cancer cells, forcing them to die.

May Control HDL And LDL Levels

The ketogenic diet may help you balance the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level and lower your body’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The ketogenic diet contains higher fat which highly increases the HDL level.

Moreover, the diet may reduce the LDL particle size and level in the blood to avoid the risk of heart disease like heart attacks.

Side Effects Of Keto Diet

Generally, the side effects of the ketogenic diet may persist for the initial few days or weeks. It may improve with time as the body adjusts to the new diet routine. But, some of the side effects commonly seen during the keto diet are as follows:

May Cause Digestive Issues

Digestive issues could be a common side effect of the keto diet. People may suffer from constitution due to low fiber and fluid intake. Moreover, some people have experienced diarrhea and other digestive problems in the initial days of the ketogenic diet.

Keto Flu

A ketogenic diet could be annoying during the initial day as you may experience multiple side effects. The keto diet may cause a flu-like condition, including symptoms like headache, fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep, nausea, etc., due to low-carb consumption. Hence, the situation is termed “low-carb flu” or “keto flu.”

It May Cause Leg Cramps

As the ketogenic diet reduces the water weight of an individual, they may suffer from dehydration and loss of essential minerals. The scarcity of fluid and minerals may lead to severe leg cramps. The condition could be highly painful; you may be required to increase the fluid intake, especially water.

May Increase The Risk Of Heart And Kidney Problems

A Keto diet may lead to the loss of several electrolytes and fluids like magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc. The loss of these essential electrolytes may cause acute kidney damage.

Moreover, some electrolytes are crucial for the smooth beating of the heart. A decrease in electrolyte levels may increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmia.

May Increase Food Cravings

Carbohydrates are an essential component of food to get sufficient energy for different metabolic activities.

But, due to the keto diet, an individual decreases the carbohydrate intake that signals the brain to release neuropeptide-Y (NPY), which prompts to fulfill the carbohydrate scarcity.

The deposition of NPY increases food cravings leading to several eating disorders.

What Should You Consume In A Keto Diet?

If you are starting your keto journey, you need to start taking things slowly so that it doesn’t signal you to snap out of the routine.

Hence, it would help if you started with the keto foods for beginners and slowly tried to transition from a beginner to an intermediate level.

The ketogenic diet allows carbohydrate consumption of up to 20-50 grams daily. It would be challenging to maintain carbohydrate consumption without the knowledge of the nutritional values of the food.

Hence, you may follow the below-mentioned list of foods and fruits during your ketogenic diet.

  1. Animal Protein

    • Seafood: Fishes and shellfishes are one of the best options for the ketogenic diet. Generally, salmon and other fishes are an excellent protein source along with minimum carbohydrate content.

      On the other hand, shellfish like shrimp are zero-carb foods that you may consider during the keto diet.

    • Eggs: Eggs are an ideal food during the keto diet as each egg contains less than 1gm carb and up to 7 gm protein.
    • Meat: You should never avoid meat if you are a non-vegetarian during your keto diet. It contains high-quality protein that may preserve muscle mass. Moreover, meat contains zero carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B.
  2. Dairy Products

    • Cheese: Keto diet demands a higher fat intake, and cheese could be the best food. Cheese contains a higher amount of saturated fat along with low carbohydrate content.
    • Yogurt: Yogurt is an excellent source of protein with low carbohydrate content. You may consider consuming yogurt in a controlled manner during the ketogenic diet.
    • Butter and Cream: These two dairy products are prepared from the fatty portion of the processed milk; hence, they contain high fat and low carbohydrate.
  3. Vegetables

    • Green Vegetables: Green vegetables are the most significant source of nutritional needs of the body. To lower carbohydrate consumption, you may consider green vegetables like spinach, cabbage, green beans, etc.
    • Fat Containing Veggies: Fat-containing veggies like avocado and olives contain high amounts of saturated fat. Moreover, they may meet the body’s fiber requirements while reducing carbohydrate intake.

Things To Avoid During The Keto Diet

There are some foods to avoid on keto diet. You should entirely or partially avoid the following foods and beverages while on a ketogenic diet.

  • Sugar-containing food items like cake, soda, candy, etc.
  • Carbohydrate or starch-containing food like wheat grain, cereals, pasta, etc.
  • Tubers and root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes contain carbohydrates primarily.
  • Try avoiding unhealthy fats in mayonnaise, processed vegetables, etc.
  • Fruits contain sugar and carbohydrate, which you should avoid during a keto diet.
  • Alcohol, including beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc., should be strictly avoided during the diet.
  • Legumes or beans like peas, kidney beans, etc., aren’t a good pick for the keto diet.

Is It Good To Continue The Keto Diet For Long?

It could be risky to continue the keto diet for the long term. The diet may lead to several health conditions like low protein concentration, deposition of fat in the liver, kidney stones, and several micronutrient deficiencies.

It would be best if you do not continue the keto diet for long without consulting the doctor, as it may show several adverse effects on the body.

Conclusion

The keto diet is a great plan to reduce weight and blood sugar levels. But, it would be not easy to adapt to the conditions of a keto diet.

Moreover, the diet plan may not fit everyone’s lifestyle and preferences. Hence, it would be ideal to consult a doctor before starting the keto diet.