Ketogenic diet for beginners How does it work?

The ketogenic diet or keto diet, comes from the word ketogenic in English, is a form of food that in recent years has gained popularity, as well as the paleo diet. But what does this diet consist of? It is a lifestyle low in carbohydrates that turns the body into a fat burning machine. It is a diet with good benefits to lose weight, for health and for good sports performance.

This diet causes the production of small molecules of energy that are called ketones, these molecules are an alternative fuel for the body that uses it when there is a shortage of sugar or glucose in the blood. Ketones are produced when you eat a few carbohydrates, they break down quickly into blood sugar, and you eat protein moderately, the excess protein can also be converted into blood glucose.

Ketones are created in the liver from fat and give energy to the whole body, including the brain, which is an organ that consumes a lot of energy every day and can not feed on fat directly. With the ketogenic diet your body changes its energy supply to function only with fat. In this way insulin levels are reduced and you burn fat drastically. If you want to lose weight this diet is very useful because you are less hungry and have a stable energy supply.

This process of ketones is called being in ketosis and the fastest way to reach it is with fasting, but it is not advisable to fast every day, which is why this diet induces you to ketosis without having to fast. But the ketogenic diet is not recommended for all people, if you have hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease or you are breastfeeding it is better to ask a doctor for help to evaluate you.

List of essential foods for ketogenic diet or keto

Before starting the diet you have to have a solid plan to not fail, so it is best to have a list of essential foods of the keto diet. In that list will not appear some fruits, onions and even carrots because it has a high glycemic index. As well as, bread, pasta and rice.

To achieve ketosis, you should avoid eating the majority of carbohydrates and if you eat anything that is below 50 grams net per day. The key is that less than 10% of the energy comes from carbohydrates, 15-25% from protein and 70% or more from fat.

These are some of the basic foods with which you can elaborate your ketogenic diet:

Nuts and fatty seeds: cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds


Whole eggs

Cheese with a lot of fat

Red meat

Chicken: legs and thighs

Vegetables: spinach and other vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, pepper

Pork rinds

Olive oil

Salted butter

Sour cream

Cream cheese

Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies


Chicken broth or broth cubes with at least 1 gram of sodium




A glass of wine once in a while

Fruits: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, watermelon, orange, plum, cherries, coconut

Why chicken soup? Because for every gram of glycogen that we lose, we lose 3 grams of water. Drinking chicken broth will help prevent dehydration, in addition, with this diet you need enough sodium and the broth provides it.

Why so little protein?

If you are used to eating a lot of protein you may feel skeptical with this diet that requires reducing protein intake by half. But keeping your protein intake too high could end up having the same effect as eating too many carbohydrates. Once you have more experience you can start playing with the amount of protein you consume per day.

On eating more fat than protein, it can be difficult to get enough fat in the first few days. Butter, nuts, coconut and olive oils, and red meat are all on the menu. However, do not overdo polyunsaturated fats such as soy, corn or sunflower oil. Those who keto diet and increase their intake of those fats often end up with gastrointestinal problems that cause them to leave the diet too soon.

Gutting the side effects of the keto diet

After eliminating carbohydrates and increasing fats, the concentrations of ketones in the blood increase and the brain will begin to use them for energy. This initial process takes about four weeks to complete, at which point you will reach the maximum adaptation to burn fat.

Almost all the side effects of this diet happen in those first four weeks, or even in the first 4-5 days, and people who make a ketogenic diet assure that most of them can be attributed to a single cause: the lack of electrolytes. , such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. This causes a kind of keto flu,You may feel tired, lethargic and experience headaches.

How to get enough electrolytes? For sodium you can salt the food and drink chicken broth. As for the other two electrolytes, you can eat one or two avocados a day, green leafy vegetables and walnuts or almonds.

Supplements for the ketogenic diet

If you want you can use supplements to supplement the diet but they are not necessary. From the most recommended supplements you can take Creatine that help improve strength, energy and performance in the gym. You can find this energy in red meat or salmon.

Another supplement is Beta Alanine that can help you produce carnosine, a molecule that avoids the pain of training, you can also get it with red meat or chicken meat.

Whatever you do try not to deviate from your initial plan. During the first weeks the ketogenic diet demands a strict commitment. Give it a chance and you will get very good results.

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