What is The Keto Diet?

What is The Keto Diet?

The Keto Diet, also known as the Ketogenic Diet, is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very-low-carbohydrate eating plan. The primary goal of this diet is to shift your body’s metabolism from burning carbohydrates to burning fats, a state known as ketosis.

Keto friendly foods laid out on table to make up the word: KETO.

Origins of The Keto Diet

The concept of the Keto Diet is not new. It was originally designed 100 years ago as a method to reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. However, it has gained significant popularity over the past decade as an effective strategy for weight loss.
Find out more about the Keto Diet’s history


Basic Principles of The Keto Diet

The Keto Diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your liver turns fat into small energy molecules called ketones, which your brain and other organs can use for energy.

The diet is characterized by a high consumption of foods rich in good fats, such as butter, cheese, eggs, meat, nuts, oils, seafood, and seeds, and a low to moderate intake of protein. It limits the intake of carbohydrate-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, and sweets.

There are several versions of the Keto Diet, including:

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD):

This is a very low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD):
This diet involves periods of higher carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by high carb days.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD):
This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet:
This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
By following the Keto Diet, you can experience significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. Many studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health.

The Science Behind The Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been associated with several health benefits. This section delves into the science behind the keto diet, explaining how the body enters a state of ketosis, the metabolic changes that occur, and the role of insulin and glucose in this process.

Keto friendly foods on table next to an illustration showing the percentage of fats, carbs and proteins that should be consumed daily as part of the ketogenic diet, with fats being the most, proteins being second, and carbs being the least.

Entering Ketosis

When you significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. This typically occurs when your body starts using fat as its main fuel source due to limited access to glucose, which is usually supplied by carbohydrates. It generally takes 2-4 days to enter ketosis if you consume 20-50 grams of carbs per day. However, the exact duration can vary from person to person.


Metabolic Changes in Ketosis

In the context of the keto diet, your body undergoes several metabolic changes. When you eat, your body usually breaks down carbohydrates into glucose to be used as energy for all functions of the body. However, when you’re in ketosis, either from eating a ketogenic diet or from fasting, your body starts breaking down fats into ketone bodies for energy. These ketone bodies are then used to provide the body with a constant source of energy instead of carbs. This shift in metabolism allows you to literally change your body’s primary fuel source.


Role of Insulin and Glucose

Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, plays a crucial role in regulating the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which raises your blood sugar levels. In response, your pancreas produces insulin to take that glucose out of the bloodstream and store it somewhere safe (like your fat cells) for later use.

However, in the keto diet, since the intake of carbohydrates is significantly reduced, the production of insulin is minimized. This leads to a reduction in blood glucose and insulin levels, thereby improving insulin sensitivity and allowing the body to manage blood glucose levels more effectively.


In conclusion, the science behind the keto diet involves a complex interplay of metabolic changes and hormonal responses. By understanding these processes, you can better appreciate how the keto diet works and why it has become a popular choice for many people seeking to improve their health.

Benefits and Risks of The Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, often referred to as the keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has gained popularity for its potential to aid in weight loss and improve certain health markers. This section will delve into the potential benefits and risks associated with the keto diet.

4 hanging metal balls. The very left ball is labelled Keto Diet and it is about to smack onto the other 3 metal balls with the very right ball being labelled Weight Loss.

Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet

Weight Loss

One of the primary reasons people turn to the keto diet is for weight loss. The diet works by reducing carbohydrate intake, causing your body to enter a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose. This shift in metabolism can lead to significant weight loss.


Improved Blood Sugar Control

The keto diet may also have benefits for blood sugar control. By limiting the intake of carbohydrates, the diet can help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially benefiting those with type 2 diabetes.


Potential Benefits for Neurological Disorders

There is emerging evidence suggesting that the keto diet may have potential benefits for certain neurological disorders. Some studies have suggested that the diet may be beneficial for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even some forms of epilepsy.


Potential Risks and Side Effects of the Keto Diet

While the keto diet has potential benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects.


Keto Flu

When starting the keto diet, some people may experience symptoms similar to the flu, often referred to as the “keto flu”. These symptoms can include nausea, fatigue, and headaches, and are typically temporary.
Learn more


Nutrient Deficiencies

Due to the restrictive nature of the keto diet, some people may experience nutrient deficiencies. These can include deficiencies in nutrients like magnesium, fiber, iron, zinc, and certain vitamins.


Controversy Surrounding Cholesterol and Heart Health

There is ongoing debate about the impact of the keto diet on cholesterol levels and overall heart health. While some research suggests that the diet can improve cholesterol profiles by increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, it may also increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which have been believed to increase the risk of heart disease.
Learn more about Cholesterol


In conclusion, while the keto diet may offer some benefits, it’s important to consider the potential risks and side effects. As with any diet, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting.

How to Get Started with The Keto Diet

Embarking on the ketogenic, or keto diet journey is not just about losing weight, but adopting a new lifestyle. This section provides practical tips on how to start the keto diet, including advice on meal planning, foods to eat and avoid, handling potential side effects, and a few simple keto-friendly recipes.

Man cooking a steak as part of his keto diet.

Meal Planning

Meal planning is a crucial part of the keto diet. It involves creating a menu for the week or month that includes keto-friendly meals and snacks. This helps ensure you stay within your daily carb limit and maintain a state of ketosis. There are online tools and calculators that can help you plan your meals.


Foods to Eat and Avoid

The keto diet involves eating foods high in fat and low in carbs. Here are some foods you can eat:

Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Dairy: Cheese, butter, and unsweetened yogurt.

Fats: Avocados, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.

Vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Foods to avoid include:

Carbs: Bread, pasta, rice, and other grains.

Sugary Foods: Cakes, cookies, candy, and most fruits.

Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes, corn, peas, and squash.

Processed Foods: Fast food and packaged snacks.


Handling Potential Side Effects

Transitioning to a keto diet can lead to side effects, often referred to as the “keto flu”. Symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, nausea, and constipation. Drinking plenty of fluids, increasing your salt intake, and ensuring you’re eating enough fat can help manage these symptoms. If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional.
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What is The Keto Diet?


The Science Behind The Keto Diet:


Benefits and Risks of The Keto Diet:


How to Get Started With The Keto Diet: