Posted on May 2, 2014
Have you ever eaten two fried eggs with butter, a side of bacon and a glass of whole milk as a recommended breakfast on your diet plan? If not, then you’ve never been on the Ketogenic Diet. The Ketogenic Diet is high fat and low carb (60% fat calories, 35% protein calories, 5% carb calories). When you consume high fats and very low carbs, your body goes into Ketosis, a state in which you break down body fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. The diet was originally created in 1924 as a form of treatment for pediatric epilepsy (many patients were cured or had seizures drop by 50%). It evolved as a treatment for obesity and is often lumped in with its “low carb diet” cousins. It’s important to note however, that it restricts carbs much more than typical low carb diets.
Proven effective in treatment of pediatric epilepsy, it is being explored as a treatment for other medical conditions, such as alternative cancer therapy. The Ketogenic works so well for weight loss because it burns stored fat. If paired with an exercise regimen, fat loss can be increased even more on the Ketogenic diet. And that’s why bodybuilders love this diet!
However, the Ketogenic Diet is highly restrictive with barely any grains, fruits, or legumes allowed, so you miss out on all the vitamins and nutrients these foods provide. The many restrictions can make the Ketogenic diet difficult to follow, especially outside of the home. Chronic constipation is a typical complaint. And if you use the Ketogenic diet long term, you need be careful about kidney stones and altered hormone levels. Restricting carbs to such a low level over an extended period can also harm your metabolism. High cholesterol and heart disease can be a concern if you consume excessive bad fats. If you lead an active lifestyle, you may also feel hindered by constant low energy levels caused by low carbs.
So, what’s on the menu with the Ketogenic diet? A majority of your calories come from fats. These should be the good fats, saturated and monounsaturated. Foods containing these fats are butter, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, olive oil, chicken fat, and egg yolks. Avoid hydrogenated fats like margarine. Also avoid sugar. Even spices should be checked for carbohydrates. For protein, you can eat lots of fish, shellfish, whole eggs, beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, bacon, and sausage. All meat should be grass fed/hormone free. Vegetables should be low carbohydrate, i.e. green and leafy. Dairy should be organic and full fat. Peanuts should be avoided on the Ketogenic diet since they are technically a legume, but all other nuts and seeds are included. Because this diet has a diuretic effect, drinking more than the recommended eight glasses of water a day is prescribed.