The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto

Many diets have been discovered and tried by health-conscious people. The ketogenic diet is a sort of trend that took over in recent years. A keto diet revolves around the idea of consuming fewer carbs and replacing them with fats so that the human body can digest and burn fat to produce energy rather than carbohydrates. The Keto diet, in short, is basically a low-carb and high-fat diet.

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that aims to induce a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This type of diet has been used for medical purposes, such as for the treatment of epilepsy, but is also popular for weight loss and as a lifestyle choice. The typical macronutrient ratio for a ketogenic diet is 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5- 10% carbohydrates.

The human body is adapted to consuming and digesting a lot of carbs daily. This is a metabolic state where our body becomes used to burning fat for the release of energy instead of carbs is proven to work efficiently.

The ketosis state turns fats in the liver into compounds known as ketones that are for energy utilization by the brain. There are many types of the popular keto diet −

  • High-protein keto diet − This type of diet consists of more amount of protein having a diet ratio of 60% fats, 35% protein intake, and only 5% of carbohydrates.

  • Targeted keto diet − The targeted keto diet involves carb intake only around the period when working out.

  • Standard keto diet − This is the most common keto diet which has a low carb of 20% intake, a moderate protein ratio of 10%, and a high fat intake of 70% in the diet.

  • Cyclical keto diet − The name itself gives the diet a period of high carbohydrate intake at several intervals of the keto diet.

Athletes or sports people follow the targeted keto diet and the cyclical keto diet.


Ketosis refers to the state of low carb intake and high fat intake. The ketosis metabolic state begins when carb intake is significantly reduced and glucose level in the body also lowers. It is very important to note that to follow a keto diet efficiently, one must only consume a moderate level of protein. This is because proteins may get converted into glucose which hinders or slows down the process of ketosis.

Another way to enter into the ketosis state at a faster rate is by following intermittent fasting which includes a limited eating window and fasting for the remaining hours. This helps to restrict eating throughout the entire day and reduces glucose levels.

A person may get to know if he or she has entered a state of ketosis by experiencing certain symptoms such as −

  • Dry mouth

  • An increase in thirst

  • Urinating frequently

  • Reduction in appetite or hunger

Benefits of a Keto Diet

A few major benefits of following a keto diet are listed below −

  • Promote weight loss

  • Reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases

  • Reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s

  • Aids cancer treatment

  • May promote a healthy brain functioning

  • Improve symptoms of Parkinson’s syndrome

  • Preventing polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Controls seizures caused by epilepsy

  • Reduces the symptoms and risks of diabetes

Lowering carb intake will lower the production of glucose in the body. As glucose is produced, the insulin level of the body rises as well. This causes weight gain and risks of insulin resistance. It takes approximately 12 hours to reduce the insulin level in the body.

Replacing carbs with fats helps to lower the production of glucose. Also, the fat is directly digested and broken down, hence it is not stored in the body. This promotes weight loss and reduces the risks or symptoms of diabetes.

Foods to Include in a Keto Diet

Foods that are typically included in a ketogenic diet are −

  • Meat − Red meat, poultry, bacon, sausage

  • Fatty fish − Salmon, mackerel, sardines

  • Eggs − Whole eggs with the yolk

  • Dairy products − Cheese, cream, butter

  • Nuts and seeds − Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds

  • Oils and fats − Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil

  • Low-carbohydrate vegetables − Leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage

  • Berries − Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries

  • Sweeteners − Erythritol, stevia, monk fruit

Foods that are typically excluded from a ketogenic diet are −

  • Grains − Wheat, rice, pasta, bread

  • Sugary foods − Candy, soda, fruit juice

  • Starchy vegetables − Potatoes, corn, peas

  • High-carbohydrate fruits − Bananas, grapes, mangoes

  • Processed foods − Fast food, packaged snacks

Following the diet for a long term can have adverse effects such as

  • Nutrient deficiencies − The restrictive nature of the diet may lead to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.

  • Kidney problems − The high protein and fat intake may put a strain on the kidneys, particularly for people with pre-existing kidney disease.

  • Liver problems − The liver needs to produce more ketones to provide energy, which can put an added strain on the liver, especially for people with liver disease.

The low fiber intake and decreased water content in the body can lead to constipation.