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

The Ketogenic Diet > The ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health  benefits.

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In fact, over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health (1).

Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease (2, 3, 4, 5).

Here is a detailed beginner’s guide to the keto diet.

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkinsand low-carb diets.

It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

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When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain (6, 7).

Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has numerous health benefits (6, 8, 9, 10, 11).

SUMMARYThe keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.

 The Ketogenic Diet  : Different Types

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs (1).
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 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.

Read AlsoA Keto Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Transform Your Body

However, only the standard and high-protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.

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The information in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.

SUMMARYThere are several versions of the keto diet. The standard (SKD) version is the most researched and most recommended.

A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the often recommended low-fat diet (2, 14, 15, 16).

What’s more, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake (16).

One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet. Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved (17).

Another study found that people on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the diet recommended by Diabetes UK (18).

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There are several reasons why a ketogenic diet is superior to a low-fat diet, including the increased protein intake, which provides numerous benefits (14, 19, 20).

The increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity may also play a key role (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

For more details on the weight loss effects of a ketogenic diet, read this article.

SUMMARYA ketogenic diet can help you lose much more weight than a low-fat diet. This often happens without hunger.

 The Ketogenic Diets for Diabetes and Prediabetes

Diabetes is characterized by changes in metabolism, high blood sugar and impaired insulin function (27).

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The ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome (28, 29, 30).

One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% (29).

Another study in people with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all diabetes medications (28).

In yet another study, the ketogenic group lost 24.4 pounds (11.1 kg), compared to 15.2 pounds (6.9 kg) in the higher-carb group. This is an important benefit when considering the link between weight and type 2 diabetes (2, 31).

Additionally, 95.2% of the ketogenic group were also able to stop or reduce diabetes medication, compared to 62% in the higher-carb group (2).

For more information, check out this article on the benefits of low-carb diets for people with diabetes.

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SUMMARYThe ketogenic diet can boost insulin sensitivity and cause fat loss, leading to significant health benefits for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

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