The whole truth about the keto diet

The ketogenic diet has maintained its popularity over the years. Many consider it to be an effective method of losing weight, or even healing. Nevertheless, it has many contradictions.the truth about the keto dietLearn everything about the keto diet: scientific research, contraindications, menus and more.

What is the ketogenic diet

The Keto Dietis ​​a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet. It assumes the use of less than 50 g of carbohydrates per day, with a standard rate of 200-300 g.

The diet was developed in the 1920s to treat childhood epilepsy. Fasting has been found to reduce the incidence of epileptic seizures in children and adolescents. Since fasting is only possible for a short time, it was decided to simulate hunger by eliminating the main source of energy - glucose. With proper adherence to the ketogenic diet, in 60% of children, seizures stop completely, in 35% - they are halved.

Since the keto diet is almost exclusively fat-based, it has certain health risks. Therefore, these days it is prescribed only in case of failure of treatment with antiepileptic drugs.

Dieting for medical purposes is taught in a hospital setting. Thereafter, at least three specialists guide and observe the patient. In case of effectiveness, ketogenic nutrition is observed for another 1–2 years, no more. Even such patients don't live on keto for years. Doesn't all this indicate the seriousness of the process?

Since 1960, dieting has been considered an effective way to lose weight. Today, it is still very popular despite all the risks it carries.

What is ketosis? Signs of ketosis

Usually, the human body gets energy from glucose, which is formed when carbohydrates are broken down. Carbohydrates are constantly supplied with food (vegetables, fruits, grains, sugar, etc. ).

With a lack of glucose, as with fasting, the body is forced to seek other sources of energy. The liver begins to break down the fatty deposits accumulated by a person. The resulting ketone bodies are used as alternative energy. This is the whole diet. You can eat while losing weight.

Ketosis is a state in which the body receives most of its energy not from glucose, but from ketone bodies formed as a result of the breakdown of fats. Thus, the body adapts to the conditions of lack of its usual energy source - carbohydrates.

The state of ketosis usually occurs after a few days of severe carbohydrate restriction, once the level of ketones in the blood rises.

Signs of ketosis:

  1. Decreased appetite.
  2. Increased thirst, dry mouth.
  3. Frequent urination.
  4. Ketone breath (smell of acetone from the mouth).
  5. Increased urinary ketone levels. Can be measured by yourself with test strips.

Side Effects of the Keto Diet

Side effects that occur in the first weeks of a diet are often referred to as "ketoflu".

The human body is undergoing serious changes, which are accompanied by unpleasant symptoms.


  • headaches;
  • nausea;
  • dizziness and weakness;
  • muscle pain;
  • digestive disorders;
  • insomnia;
  • irritability;
  • rash;
  • convulsions.

Different people will experience these symptoms to varying degrees and lasting from a few days to weeks. It all depends on the initial data: health status, previous type of diet, etc. If you have consumed large amounts of carbohydrates, you have chronic diseases, then the transition is most likely to be quite difficult. Gradually, as you adapt, these symptoms should go away.

Health benefits and harms

Benefitsare mostly related to the possibility of using for weight loss:

  • effective in weight loss;
  • helps control blood glucose levels, which is important in diabetes mellitus;
  • eliminates the need to count calories while losing weight;
  • gives a feeling of long-term satiety, reduces appetite, protecting from overeating;
  • helps you avoid empty calories by avoiding sweets and starchy foods.

From a medical point of view, the ketone diet has many disadvantages and the health consequences can be extremely serious:

  • a painful condition associated with the transition to a keto diet and body restructuring;
  • odor of acetone from the mouth, from sweat and urine;
  • deficiency of vitamins, microelements;
  • formation of kidney stones;
  • osteoporosis;
  • violation of cardiac activity;
  • increase in the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood;
  • pancreatitis, liver disease and other gastrointestinal disorders;
  • constipation due to a lack of fiber due to a lack of vegetables and fruits;
  • frequent urination;
  • the risk of developing ketoacidosis - a condition in which the acid-base balance of the body shifts towards acidity, which can lead to death;
  • should not be adhered to for a long time;
  • does not guarantee weight retention after leaving the ketogenic diet.


The ketone diet has a number of contraindications. In these conditions, it is better to give up the idea of ​​starting a ketogenic meal plan (especially for pregnant and lactating women). Or be sure to consult with your doctor.

  1. Pregnancy, breastfeeding period.
  2. High cholesterol.
  3. Diabetes mellitus.
  4. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, heart, blood vessels, kidneys.
  5. Gout.


Supporters of the ketogenic diet promise quick and easy loss of the first kilograms. Is it so?

Indeed, even at the very beginning of the keto diet, it is able to reduce weight by 2 or more kg faster than other diets. Just not due to fat. And due to the depletion of glycogen stores and associated water.

When it comes to weight loss in general, qualitative studies have shown no significant difference in weight loss between low-carb and low-fat diets. However, on a ketogenic diet, blood cholesterol increased.

A meta-analysis published in 2019 showed how carbohydrate intake and mortality are related. It turned out that participants with low consumption had the highest risks of death from cardiovascular, cancer.

Another 25-year-old study and meta-analysis that brought together nearly 500, 000 participants came to the same conclusions. They showed that low (less than 40%) as well as high (more than 70%) carbohydrate intake is associated with an increased risk of death. And we are talking about a significantly higher intake than the keto diet recommends.

Scientists and doctors recommend sticking to a healthy midpoint of 45–55% carbohydrates in the diet. It is this quantity that carries all the benefits. The World Health Organization recommends consuming at least 400 grams of vegetables, herbs and fruits daily, as well as whole grains.

So the potential risks outweigh the slightly faster weight loss benefits of the keto diet.

Research on the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis continues. There is still insufficient data to state their effectiveness.

The study has yet to confirm any metabolic benefits.

In addition, the role of the ketogenic diet in the management of insulin-dependent diabetes is being investigated. The global diabetic community already has tips on using a low-carb diet to lower blood glucose levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

However, the long-term efficacy, safety, and benefits of the keto diet have not been fully understood. Therefore, it is too early to draw conclusions, and even more so to recommend ketogenic nutrition to someone for a long time.

Nutritional Principles

The main question that worries many beginners is what can you eat on a keto diet? After all, the list of products seems to be quite limited. To quickly and correctly enter ketosis, it is enough to follow the principles of ketosis.

  1. Correct ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

    There is no one standard keto diet that will determine the exact amount of BJU. Typically, those who want to lose weight reduce their total carbohydrate intake to 50g per day, sometimes even 20g.

    As a result, the BJU ratio looks like this:

    • fats - 70-80%;
    • proteins - 10–20%;
    • carbohydrates - 5-10%.
  2. Moderate amount of proteins.

    Not more than 1-1. 5 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. The fact is that the human body is able to convert protein into glucose. This, in turn, can slow down the transition to ketosis.
  3. Focus on healthy unsaturated fats

    (fatty fish, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocados). Consuming saturated fat carries certain health risks. Read more about fats here.
  4. Eat as much fiber as possible.

    It is not digested, not absorbed, practically does not raise blood glucose levels. At the same time, it is of great benefit to human health. More details in a separate article. It is recommended to give preference to non-starchy vegetables. They are low in carbohydrates, but also high in fiber. Therefore, it is advisable to include vegetables in every meal.
  5. Low carb fruits in moderation.

    They are usually high in carbohydrates and 1 serving can cover your entire daily requirement. Therefore, it is recommended to use only some permitted types of fruits and berries (more details in the table below). For you, they will become an infrequent dessert.
  6. Drinking regime.

    Adequate amount of fluid can remove ketones from the body and improve well-being. Be guided by thirst. Prefer clean water. And you can also drink tea and coffee without sugar.

List of Approved Products

Poultry Chicken, turkey, chicken and duck fat
Red meat Pork, beef, lamb, offal, lard, etc.
Fatty fish Salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, cod, sardines, etc.
Fatty dairy products Butter, cream, yogurt, cheese
Eggs Any
Nuts and seeds Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, chia
Vegetable oils Olive, coconut, avocado, flaxseed, etc.
Low-carb berries and fruits Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon, lime, watermelon, nectarine, peach
Fruits and vegetables rich in fat Avocados, olives
Non-starchy vegetables Greens, all types of cabbage, zucchini, eggplants, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, celery

The main thing to pay attention to when drawing up your diet and choosing products is the content of carbohydrates in them.

List of Prohibited Products

Bread, pastries All types of bread, rolls, biscuits, etc.
Cereals and cereals Rice, wheat, oatmeal, buckwheat, etc.
Pasta Pasta, spaghetti, noodles
Starchy vegetables Potatoes, corn, beets, carrots
Legumes Beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas
Fruit Citrus, banana, grape, pineapple, mango, dried fruit
Sweets Sugar, candy, all desserts
Hidden sugar foods Dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream), ready-made sauces, fruit juices, soda

It is also advisable to avoid:

  1. Processed meat (sausages, small sausages), fast food.
  2. Trans fats (margarine).

The main problem for many can be the need to completely give up sweets. In this situation, sugar substitutes can come to the rescue. Stevia is a natural, completely safe sugar substitute. What's more, stevia has 0 calories, 0 carbohydrates, and has no glycemic response.

Weekly Menu

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Baked avocado with egg.
  • Lunch: Beef steak and cauliflower for garnish.
  • Baked fish
  • Dinner: Baked fish and vegetable marrow stew.
  • Snacks: A handful of nuts.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Chicken, cheese and lettuce salad.
  • Lunch: Cheese balls with bacon.
  • Dinner: Fish in a creamy sauce, herbs.
  • Snacks: Raspberries with heavy cream.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Eggs stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.
  • Lunch: Pork stew with broccoli.
  • Dinner: Eggplant baked with minced meat and cheese.
  • Snacks: Curd balls with coconut flour.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Cheesecakes or spinach scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch: Fish in nut breading.
  • Dinner: Salad with bacon, avocado and lettuce.
  • Snacks: Strawberries with heavy cream.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Eggs stuffed with avocado and cheese.
  • Lunch: Almond-breaded chicken chops and lettuce.
  • Dinner: Fish cakes and vegetable salad.
  • Snacks: Almond flour pancakes with berries.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Chocolate smoothie with avocado and coconut milk.
  • Lunch: Meat casserole with tomato and zucchini.
  • Dinner: Meat cutlets and vegetable salad.
  • Snacks: Curd balls with coconut flour.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: Curd casserole.
  • Lunch: Roast chicken with broccoli.
  • Dinner: Tuna salad with cheese and olives.
  • Snacks: Smoothie with avocado, yogurt and plant milk.

The ketogenic diet, despite the seemingly discussed results, is not balanced. Like other carbohydrate-free diets, it is fundamentally different from general recommendations for a healthy diet. Therefore, for some people, it can be extremely dangerous. Especially when used on its own against the background of chronic diseases.