No carb instead of low carb?
That’s how effective the keto diet is!
With the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are entirely banned from the plate. How quickly you can lose weight and how healthy the diet is, we clarify here.
The ketogenic diet is a popular, no longer entirely secret, insider tip for losing weight.
But what is a keto diet anyway?
Why is suddenly nobody eating carbohydrates anymore?
And what is the point of all the effort?
Together with Marina Lommel, nutritionist, we answer the most critical questions about the ketogenic diet.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The keto diet is ultimately the new version of a well-known (and proven) method: reduce carbohydrates intake and thereby lose weight.
After fats were demonized for a long time, Robert Atkins revolutionized the world of those who wanted to lose weight with the first low-carb diet in the 1970s.
It was followed by Logi, Dukan – and now Keto.
The name “keto” is derived from the principle that ultimately all of these diets are about. The body is fed as few carbohydrates as possible to bring it into a state of ketosis, sometimes also called ketosis.
This means that he gets his energy from fat and is not usually preferred from carbohydrates. This happens when fat is converted into so-called ketone bodies in the liver, which can be used by the body to generate energy.
Is the Keto Diet the Same as Low Carb?
Yes and no. Carbohydrates away, fat in – this makes the ketogenic nutritional principle one of the low-carb diets, but it goes one step further.
While 50 to 120 grams of carbohydrates per day are allowed to be eaten in the low-carb diet, almost no carbohydrates (less than 50 grams per day) are allowed in the ketogenic diet, also known as the no-carb diet. As a result, the body switches to ketosis mode even faster (and more consistently).
Since ketosis is not a natural state for the organism, and the metabolism has to get used to it, there are a few things to consider. Otherwise, the fat melt becomes a problem.
This is how your metabolism switches to ketosis.
Your metabolism loves sugar because glucose is the quickest source of energy from the simple sugar. In particular, the brain depends on glucose, as proteins and fats cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. The problem: an excess of sugar is stored in the body.
So if you regularly eat more carbohydrates than you need, your body converts them into fat and stores them for bad times.
The ketogenic diet counteracts this. The no-carb principle goes back to an ancient protective mechanism of the brain. This starts when there are not enough carbohydrates available, which is quite common in primeval times due to a lack of food.
Then the body is forced to fall back on fat reserves. Ketosis occurs as soon as the insulin value falls below a certain level because then fat cells produce free fatty acids and the ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are vital because the brain can also generate energy from them.
If you do not provide your body with glucose, it will inevitably have to adjust its metabolism to obtain energy from fat. Excess body fat is supposed to be reduced while maintaining muscle mass.
What kind of ailments can I get from the keto diet?
The body must first adjust to these changes and the new “fat metabolism.” In the transition period, symptoms of the so-called “low-carb flu,” such as headache, tiredness, and weakness, often occur.
How long the body needs to get used to the new metabolic situation depends on your age and the general state of health.
What is the nutrient distribution like on the ketogenic diet?
The keto diet’s most extreme form was performed under clinical conditions and provided a 9 : 1 ratio of fat and protein – and really zero carbs. But don’t worry: there is a slightly weaker form for realistic implementation:
Left: the moderate form with 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day is permanently feasible, but you have to be the type. It’s difficult as a pasta and bread junkie.
Right: A permanent, extreme reduction to 0 to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day can quickly lead to medical complications.
Do I have to go hungry on the keto diet?
No, don’t panic. The ketogenic diet shouldn’t be starved, but rather should be avoided. “The exact macronutrient distribution depends not only on your weight but also on your goal, activity level, and previous diet,” says Keto coach Lommel.
A distribution of 65 to 70 percent fat, ideally from meat and high-fat fish, 20 to 30 percent protein from eggs and lean poultry meat, and 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates is optimal.
You know roughly how many carbohydrates are in your food. Only meticulous weighing and studying the nutritional composition will help. It’s relatively easy for packaged groceries from the supermarket. On the back, you will always find an overview of the nutrients. (You Will Get Full Of These: Everyday Keto Recipes .)
What can I even eat on a keto diet?
Every beginning is problematic – including entry into the ketogenic diet. Because to achieve good weight loss with the ketogenic diet, you need to know how many carbohydrates, proteins, and fat the individual foods contain.
What exactly you are allowed to eat and whatnot, we have put together for you here:
1 – High-fat foods
Fat plays a significant role in the ketogenic diet and should make up to 70 percent of your daily diet. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, as well as saturated fatty acids, are allowed. Fish (tuna, salmon, anchovies, sea bream, trout), vegetable oils (olive oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil, cream, lard), numerous nuts, cheese, and sausage products are therefore ideal.
The only kind of fat you better stay away from is industrially hydrogenated fat, i.e., all so-called trans fatty acids. However, since they are mostly found in deep-fried or ready-made meals, you don’t have to worry about them. French fries, frozen pizzas, and chips are taboo anyway.
2 – Protein-rich foods
Some high-fat foods are also good sources of protein that should also be on the ketogenic menu every day: Meat (beef, chicken, game, sausage, ham, minced meat, bacon), eggs, of course, the types of fish mentioned above. (You Will Get Full Of These: Everyday Keto Recipes .)
3 – Fruits and vegetables
Of course, vegetables and fruits should not be missing in your diet – even during the ketogenic diet. The only stupid thing is that many vegetables and fruits contain plenty of starch (polysaccharides) or fructose. Potatoes and potato products, legumes (such as chickpeas, soy, lentils, etc.), and most fruit types are therefore prohibited.
When it comes to fruit, you should limit yourself to avocados and all kinds of low fructose berries. Pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes should only be on the menu in exceptional cases, as they contain a lot of carbs compared to other vegetables.
When it comes to vegetables, focus on salads, green leafy vegetables, and spinach. Cabbage, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi, are also allowed.
4 – Nuts and kernels
Nuts and kernels like Brazil nuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds are allowed as ketogenic foods. But be careful: nuts provide a lot of fat and protein, and some carbs, so you should always pay attention to the portion size.
Walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts are very high in carbohydrates and should only be eaten in moderation.
Dried fruit is taboo.
5 – Flours (cereals) and sweeteners
Instead of wheat flour, you can bake with almond or coconut flour. Flours high in carbohydrates, including whole grains, are taboo, just like couscous, bulgur, corn, pasta, corn flakes, oat flakes, rice, rye, and Co. Permitted sweeteners are sucralose, erythritol, xylitol, and stevia.
Sugar, agave syrup, artificial sweeteners, syrup, and all kinds of sweets (ice cream, chocolate, cookies) are removed from the meal plan.
6 – Drinks
Water, tea, and coffee without milk are considered good drinks (cream is allowed). However, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, fruit or vegetable juices, and soft drinks are not suitable.
Diet change: the ketogenic diet in practice
For ketosis to start at all, all carbohydrate reserves in the muscle cells and the liver must first be used up. On average, this takes 4 days after the carbohydrates have been reduced to less than 30 grams per day. During these first few days of acclimatization, your mood can suffer slightly; you often feel powerless, tired, and irritable.
It starts on day 5: The body begins to give the metabolism the signal to break up the fat reserves. Free fatty acids and ketone bodies are created for the brain, muscles, and organs as alternative energy sources.
Here, however, there is a difficulty that does not exist with any other diet:
You’ll get punished immediately (!) With the ketogenic diet.
100 grams of carbohydrates alone are enough to get the body out of ketosis for 1 day because it is busy metabolizing that amount.
“Even 1 apple with 20 grams of carbohydrates without fat and protein leads to such a large amount of insulin that you fall out of ketosis,” says the nutritionist.
“The breakdown of the macronutrients is therefore critical and should be the same for all 3 meals.” If, on the other hand, you start to eat again as before over the long term, the fat cells consumed by ketosis will be on also faster than you think.
But if you stick with it, you can achieve good results.
How Fast Can I Lose Weight Using the Ketogenic Diet?
A large-scale study from Sapienza University in Rome found that participants lost an average of 10 percent of their body weight a year after starting the ketogenic diet. Another study found that overweight participants reduced their weight, BMI, and blood sugar levels within 24 weeks.
In the first few weeks of the ketogenic diet, in particular, the success of losing weight is significant.
These different values show that individual metabolism does not make it possible to determine a fixed period in which you can lose weight. “I recommend a healthy woman to live ketogenic for 1 to 3 months at a time,” advises Lommel. “After that, it’s important to listen to body signals.” Insufficient sleep or dry eyes can be signs that a high-carb phase can help.
What are the pros and cons of the keto diet?
There is research linking diet to relief from epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes. Many study participants also report that they feel fitter and better mood with ketone bodies instead of carbohydrates.
But: Despite or precisely because of the tremendous hype, experts also warn of possible risks because the diet is nothing more than an extreme form of low-carb, and this can also have adverse effects. If you consistently avoid all carbohydrates, this should actually only be done under medical supervision.
Above all, the complete avoidance of fruit and vegetables almost inevitably leads to vitamin and mineral deficiency. The lack of fiber also causes digestive problems. If the blood sugar drops too much, this can even lead to collapse.
Besides, blood values can worsen. If there is an excess of ketone bodies in the blood, the pH value can change drastically, which in the worst case, can be life-threatening. Also, bad breath develops over time, as the acetone produced is released into the air we breathe.
In addition to the potential advantage of weight loss, the ketogenic diet has some disadvantages: The selection of permitted foods is limited, and health disadvantages cannot be dismissed out of hand. Losing fat is never worth putting your health at risk. So always listen to your body, not the scales!