Ketogenic Diet Guide: How It Works, Benefits And List Of Foods

The ketogenic diet is a , focused on of natural fats, with adequate protein intake in order to reach optimal ketosis (ketone bodies).

Most typical western diets get 45-65% of their calories from , the limits your from 2 to 5% of your total calories.

Many are thought to be a “high protein” diet, this is false, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet with a moderate intake of protein and a restriction of carbohydrates.

A typical meal of the ketogenic diet includes a little protein with foods with natural fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, pork fat, cream) and some green leafy vegetables.

In this site, we will give you information on how to make the ketogenic diet correctly, what foods you should eat, what foods you can not eat, how to calculate your macronutrients and how to get ketosis.

How the Ketogenic Diet Works

Glucose is the simplest molecule to convert and use as energy for your body. This molecule will be chosen by your body before all other options.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced to metabolize the glucose present in your blood. As glucose is used as the main source of energy, fats do not take up, your body stores them as a reserve.

When you digest foods high in carbohydrates, your body uses its energy to convert them into sugar in the blood (glucose). The more carbohydrates you eat, the more your glucose rises in your blood. As many diabetics know the excess of glucose in the blood is toxic to our body.

If you feed more on natural fats and proteins, your body changes the way you get energy, instead of using glucose, use your body fat as a source of energy. This causes rapid weight loss of the ketogenic diet.

If you drastically reduce the intake of carbohydrates you force your body to use fats as a source of energy, the liver converts fats into ketones, these function as a source of energy, reaches a state of ketosis. Reaching optimal ketosis is the main goal of the ketogenic diet.

Ketones are an excellent source of energy for the brain and heart.

When your body has high levels of ketones you are said to be in ketosis.

Do not confuse the ketogenic diet with diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a totally different pathology from ketogenic diet ketosis, in diabetic ketoacidosis you have high blood glucose levels with high levels of ketone body. In the ketogenic diet, you have low glucose levels with high levels of ketones.

Different types of ketogenic diet:

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet:

  1. The regular ketogenic diet: This type of ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, high in fat and moderate in protein. Contains 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fat.
  2. The cyclic ketogenic diet: This diet has 2 peridots, a 5-day low-carbohydrate, and high-fat diet, followed by a 2-day high-carbohydrate diet. It is used more by bodybuilder and this has been little studied.
  3. Ketogenic diet for athletes who exercise aneroids: This diet allows you to add carbohydrates before training, over all it is for people who do weight training or an anabolic exercise.
  4. High protein ketogenic diet: This diet is similar to the regular ketogenic diet but includes much more protein. It is used more by athletes. Here are 5% carbohydrates, 60% fat and 35% protein.

In this article we will talk only about the regular ketogenic diet, the cyclic ketogenic diet is more for athletes and bodybuilders.

The Ketogenic Diet Can Help You

The ketogenic diet is a very effective way to lose weight and decrease your risk of metabolic diseases. ( 234)

Research in recent years has found that this type of diet is much better than the low-fat diet. ( 5 )

It is easier to lose weight with a ketogenic diet without counting calories or to keep a strict control of what you eat.

In a study in the UK, it was found that patients on the ketogenic diet lost twice as fast weight as patients following the recommended by UK authorities. ( 6 )

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Increased ketones, decreased blood sugar help improve insulin sensitivity. ( 7 )

Foods you can eat and what you should avoid in the ketogenic diet

To make a ketogenic diet you should plan your menu since most fast food places are full of high-carbohydrate processed food.

The more limits your intake of net carbohydrates the faster you get to optimal ketosis status.

What are net carbs?

It is the carbohydrates that have a food minus the fiber breasts that have the food

Example, if you want to eat a cup of broccoli, a cup of broccoli has:

  • It has 6 grams of carbohydrates
  • It has 2 grams of fiber
  • We subtract the 6 grams of carbohydrates – 2 grams of fiber = gives us 4 grams of net carbohydrates

Your intake should be 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.

The carbohydrates you can eat (you must count the calories not to exceed 5% daily) are nuts, vegetables, and dairy.

Foods to Avoid in the Ketogenic Diet

In short, you should avoid or eliminate any foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Here is a list of foods that you should reduce or eliminate within your ketogenic diet.

  • Foods with sugar: Soda, fruit juice, milkshakes, cakes, snow, etc.
  • Grains or Starches: Products based on wheat, rice, pasta, cereals, etc.
  • Fruit: All fruits, except berries like strawberries.
  • Beans or legumes: peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils, etc.
  • Vegetables and Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc.
  • Dietary or low-fat products: These are highly processed and often high in carbohydrates.
  • Some condiments or sauce: These often contain unhealthy sugar and fat (Barbecue sauce, ketchup, dressings, etc.).
  • Unhealthy Fats: Limit your consumption of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: Due to the high content of carbohydrates, many alcoholic beverages harm your state of ketosis.
  • Sugar-Free Diet Foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect your ketone levels. These foods are highly processed.

Foods That You Must Eat In The Ketogenic Diet

Your meals should be based on these foods:

  • Meat: Red meat, meat, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey.
  • Fish: like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.
  • Eggs: Consume whole eggs containing omega-3.
  • Butter and Cream: Preferably they come from animals fed on grass.
  • Cheese: Raw cheese (cheddar, goat’s, cream, blue cheese or mozzarella).
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Healthy Oils: Mainly try to consume extra virgin olive oils, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
  • Avocado: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
  • Low Carbohydrate Vegetables: Most greens, tomatoes, onions, peppers.
  • Condiments: You can use salt, pepper, herbs and spices.

It is best to base your diet on these foods.

Appetizers You Can Eat On The Ketogenic Diet

In case you get hungry between meals, here is a list of snacks that you can eat in the ketogenic diet.

  • Fish or Meat
  • Cheese
  • A fist of nuts or seeds
  • Cheese with olives
  • 1-2 cooked eggs
  • Dark chocolate (90% or more pure cocoa).
  • A low-carb milk such as almond milk, cocoa powder, and almond butter.
  • Yogurt mixed with almond butter and cocoa powder.
  • Strawberries and cream
  • Celery with guacamole and sauce

List of low-carbohydrate vegetables you can eat:

  • Spinach
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage

Most of your dishes should be a protein with vegetables and added fat. Example: chicken with olive oil plus broccoli with cheese. If you get hungry during the day you can eat almonds or some cheeses.

Attention: Remember that not all fats are the same, it is not the same to eat trans fats (such as fried food, heavily processed hamburger meat, margarine) than natural fat such as coconut oil, avocado, olive oil. These last fats have many benefits for your health, trans fats are bad for your health. Avoid trans fat, trans fats are in some types of processed food.

You take fewer grams of foods high in fat than foods high in protein or carbohydrates since a gram of fat has 9 calories, a gram of protein or carbohydrates has 4 calories.

Benefits of ketogenic diet

A diet that produces ketones, low in carbohydrates, high in natural fats is incredible to lose weight, delay the aging, treat gastritis, lower triglycerides, treat fatty liver.

This diet can have much more benefits than what is popularly believed. Antioxidant and anti- the inflammatory power of ketosis is very potent. In fact, the use of ketosis to treat multiple metabolic diseases is currently under study.

It has excellent results in people with metabolic diseases (such as diabetes) it has seen excellent results in controlling such diseases. ( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 )

It is being used experimentally for the possible treatment of some types of cancer and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. ( 4 ) ( 5 ) ( 6 )

This diet is not new, in 1921 it was used as a treatment for refractory epilepsy in children with almost 60% effectiveness. ( 7 )

1. Ketogenic diet helps you lose weight, lower triglycerides, and cholesterol while you conserve your muscle mass.

It is the best diet to lose weight. When your body feeds on glucose it is in the metabolism of glycolysis, and it keeps the fat as a reserve of energy (that’s why you do not lose weight). It is excellent for your health, it is the best diet to improve your health (each body is different). In a “normal” metabolic state if your body takes up energy:

  • First, use glucose inside your bloodstream as a source of energy
  • If you do not find glucose, it converts liver glycogen to glucose
  • If it does not find glycogen it will use as energy source your muscle and fat (the fat being the last resort)
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In fact, ketosis is the first choice !!. It will no longer compete with muscle and fat to be a source of energy, in the first ketosis fat is used as an energy source. That is why it is the best diet to lose fat and conserve your muscle as much as possible (bodybuilders use this diet to define muscle).

Eating 70% Fat and 5% Carbohydrates Lowers Triglycerides and Cholesterol

It goes against normal beliefs. There are hundreds of studies over the past 30 years that demonstrate that a low-carbohydrate diet is better than a low-fat diet, the problem is that our food industry is designed to follow the low-fat diet (for a wrong decision taken in the 50s), unfortunately the food corporations command when they make the feeding guides, trite but true. It was thought before ketogenic diets if you lost weight but your cholesterol increased. So, a study was carried out in 2006, where a population of 66 obese people with a BMI greater than 30 and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) who took a ketogenic diet was taken, the cholesterol was measured for 56 weeks.

Other facts:

  • The brain uses 20% of the total energy of your body, in a state of ketosis the brain will feed 80% of fats.
  • In a state of ketosis, the body sweats exhales and excretes 100 calories of ketones a day

2. The ketogenic diet could treat certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy

3. Being in ketosis reduces hunger

The reason is that protein and fats so a longer meal-filled feeling than carbohydrates.

How do you get ketosis?

The first thing to do is to limit your carbohydrate intake drastically since ketosis will only occur because you do not have more carbohydrates to use as an energy source and you end up with your glycogen reserve.

Ideally, you have 65% of your calories come from fats, 30% from proteins and only 5% from carbohydrates.

It is important to eat enough protein to prevent muscle loss. You must increase your lipid intake to maintain your normal energy levels.

How long does it take to adapt to a state of ketosis?

It will take you 10 to 30 days to adaptable to the ketogenic diet if it is the first time that you do it. During the adaptation phase you will experience: dizziness, headache, tiredness, and need for carbohydrates, only withstand in a few weeks you will feel great.

What are the side effects of the ketogenic diet in the adaptation phase?

Your body suddenly takes up dealing with the lack of carbohydrates and an excess of lipids so it takes to make new enzymes to metabolize this new main source of energy, while it makes you experience for 1 or 2 weeks the following effects:

  • Tiredness, eat adequate amounts of protein and fats to avoid this.
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Reactive hypoglycemia – If you ate a lot of carbohydrates your body is used to releasing a lot of insulin, so your glucose will go down. Read more about the topic here.
  • Polyuria (increased urination). Ketosis has a diuretic effect, so your water intake increases.
  • Constipation: This is improved with a magnesium supplement.
  • Carbohydrate Anxiety: You can take L-Glutamine supplements to fix this.

If you go to the gym you will notice that your strength and stamina decrease, this is normal for 2 weeks, while your body becomes accustomed to lipid metabolism.

There is no danger of using the ketogenic diet unless you have problems with the kidney or you are type 1 diabetic or type 2 diabetic and you use insulin as a treatment, which will require medical supervision to follow this diet. Just remember that the first few weeks will give you a headache and tiredness, but if you put up with that, you’ll be in the best state of health in a few weeks.

How to start a ketogenic diet

  1. Decide on a way to count carbohydrates. I recommend using, is a free software on the Internet, the popular wristband to count steps, which works as a personal diary of your daily food, tells you how many carbohydrates each food has and makes macronutrient sums And calories.
  2. Purify your carbohydrate refrigerated. Look for all the carbohydrates you have in your refrigerator or store and give them to your neighbor or someone you know that can occupy them. Make sure you do not have bad carbs in your house.
  3. List your kitchen. Buy foods that are within the list of foods for the ketogenic diet, this is very important. Just having foods that are within the ketogenic diet forces you to stay in the diet.
  4. Prepare to last a little more time in the kitchen. This is very important. A involves cooking and eating real foods. If you do not know how to cook, you should try a little, there are recipes very easy to prepare.
  5. Plan your meal menu. This will help you buy the groceries you need when you go to the grocery store and help you know what to cook and eat at meals. If you know you are going to eat tilapia and broccoli at night, it is easier to avoid falling into the bad habits of eating refined carbohydrates.
  6. Change your habits. If before work you went to coffee for a donut and a mocha frappe, change it by going to the café and have a green tea and 10 almonds.
  7. Stay hydrated. Take 6 to 8 glasses a day.
  8. Look for a way to keep track of the foods and carbohydrates you consume daily. This is very easy on since it has app for your cell phone too (there is for iPhone and android). On the USDA page  lives nutritional information for each food. If you register your food diary, you can know what kind of foods worked for you to lose weight.
  9. You anticipate certain social situations that you will have. Anticipate if you are going to a meeting with friends that may be full of high sugar food or other harmful elements for the body, do so that you do not deviate from your diet.
  10. Do not focus on your weight. Do not obsess about weighing yourself every day if you are going to lose weight but it will take you at least a week. Focus better on the of this type of diet.
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7-day menu of the Ketogenic Diet

To start the ketogenic diet here is a 7-day menu:


  • Breakfast: Eggs, tomato, and bacon.
  • Food: Chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese.
  • Dinner: Salmon with butter and asparagus


  • Breakfast:Omelette with tomato, basil and goat cheese
  • Food: Almond milk, peanut butter, and chocolate protein
  • Dinner: Vegetables with ground beef, cheese, and tomato


  • Breakfast:Almond Milk, Protein, and Peanut Butter
  • Food: Roast beef salad with avocado and olive oil
  • Dinner: Ribs with broccoli and tomato salad.


  • Breakfast:Avocado Omelette with peppers and onion
  • Food: Chicken with cream cheese and pesto.
  • Dinner: Salmon Salad with Avocado and Tomato


  • Breakfast:Yogurt without sugar, mixed with strawberries and peanut butter and sweetened with Splenda.
  • Food: Chicken with broccoli cream accompanied with mushrooms
  • Dinner: Meat with egg, bacon, and cheese (as if it were a hamburger)


  • Breakfast:Ham omelet with cheese and spinach
  • Food: Almonds with ham and cheese as an appetizer
  • Dinner: Fish with butter


  • Breakfast:Fried egg with bacon and mushrooms
  • Food: Hamburger meat with cheese, sauce, and guacamole.
  • Dinner: Meat with broccoli

Try to eat vegetables between each meal, and vary to the vegetables you consume, as each vegetable gives different nutrients to your body. (Broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, squash, cabbage, cucumber, etc.)

Tips for Eating Out and Not Breaking Your Diet

It is not difficult to find a restaurant that is friendly with the ketogenic diet.

All restaurants offer dishes based on meat or fish. You can always order these dishes and replace any high carbohydrate foods with vegetables.

You can also eat foods that have eggs, such as an omelet, or eggs with bacon.

One of my favorites is eating hamburgers without bread. You can change the chips for vegetables, add avocado, bacon or cheese.

All Mexican restaurants, you can substitute any high carbohydrate food for meat, extra cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

When you want to eat a dessert, you can order strawberries with cream.

What are the side effects of the ketogenic diet and how to minimize them

Although the ketogenic diet is safe, at first it has some side effects as the body adapts.

Usually, the effects last a few days.

The most common side effects are being cranky, having little energy, increased appetite, insomnia, nausea, stomach discomfort and decreased sports performance.

In order to minimize these effects, you can start by eating a low carb diet during the first few weeks. This can help your body burn more fat, before completely eliminating carbohydrates.

The ketogenic diet can also vary the water and minerals in your body, so you will need to add more salt to your meals or take mineral supplements.

Try to consume at least 3,000 – 4,000 grams of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium and 300 mg of magnesium per day to minimize side effects.

At first, I recommend that you eat until you feel satisfied and avoid counting calories. Usually, the ketogenic diet, at the beginning causes weight loss without carrying a strict caloric count.

Supplements for a Ketogenic Diet

Supplements are not necessary, but they can help.

Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil (MCT Oil): You can add it to your drinks, it increases your energy and helps raise your ketone levels.

Minerals: The salts and minerals are important to keep your water and mineral levels well in your body.

Caffeine: Caffeine gives you more energy, helps you burn fat and boost your performance.

Creatine : Creatine has many benefits to your health and performance, while you exercise.

Protein Powder : You can add half a teaspoon of protein in your yogurt to increase your protein intake.