One of the latest diets to become popular is the Keto diet, but is it just another flash-in-the-pan craze or is there something more to it?
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins diet.
Your body needs glucose for energy, and it usually gets this from carbohydrates. If you stop eating carbohydrates or drastically cut down on them, then your body burns stored fat instead.
This switch to burning fat results in a build-up of acids called ketones, and this puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Obviously, burning fat means weight loss, so some people want to encourage ketosis by taking up the keto diet.
The diet is popular with those who want to lose a few pounds quickly, but does it actually work?
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are a number of ways in which ketosis metabolism can be induced, so there are a number of different types of ketogenic diet.
Standard ketogenic diet
This is a very low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 70 - 75% fat, 20% protein, and about 5 - 10% carbohydrates.
Cyclical ketogenic diet
This diet involves periods of higher-carb intake mixed with low-carb days, usually five ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet
A targeted keto diet allows you to add carbohydrates 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.
What kind of food can I eat on the Keto diet?
Well, the good news is, unlike most other diets, the keto diet lets you eat a lot of fatty foods.
Carbs are the enemy here, so less than 10% of your food should be carbohydrates in order to maintain ketosis.
Between 60 - 80% of your diet should be fats, with protein making up the rest.
Meat and poultry are the foundation of the diet, containing no carbs but high in protein.
Seafood is perfect for people on the keto diet, with salmon and other fish virtually carb-free, but high in B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Cheese is not only delicious but also very low in carbohydrates, making it great for a keto diet. It’s also high in fat, but the good type, with some studies even suggesting it can help fight heart disease.
Eggs, nuts, seeds and berries are all fine for the diet, along with creams, yoghurts, and even dark chocolate.
And of course, our favourite, avocados.
Half an avocado only contains about 2 grams of carbs, whole at the same time providing 21% of your daily potassium.
Studies have also shown that higher potassium intake may even help make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier.
Is the Keto diet safe?
When people first start the keto diet, they sometimes suffer from what’s known as the “Keto Flu”.
This is your body’s reaction to sugar and carbohydrate withdrawal and can result in symptoms much like the real flu, such as headache, tiredness, nausea and sore muscles.
On top of that, you might find yourself unable to sleep, irritable, or even have bad breath.
These symptoms are all temporary and if you do get any of them, they shouldn’t last more than a week.
Benefits of the Keto diet
When it comes to weight loss, there is no question that the keto diet does work in the short term.
One study in the UK found that people on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the diet recommended by Diabetes UK.
Long-term, however, some studies suggest that people tend to put the weight back on once they come off the diet.
Although weight loss isn’t the only reason to switch to a keto diet.
Discover our low-carb recipes
If you’re thinking of giving the keto diet a go, then we have hundreds of delicious recipes on our website for you to browse through.
With many inspired by world-renowned chefs, they have full written methods and instructional videos, so even if it’s your first time cooking you can still create the perfect dish!
The keto diet is proven to cut fat and help people lose weight, but it may also provide other health benefits, especially when it comes to metabolic, neurological or insulin-related diseases.
If you do try the diet, just remember to base the majority of your meals on foods such as meat, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, healthy oils, avocados and plenty of low-carb veggies.