The Keto diet

I done the ketogenic diet before starting this blog. I had no trouble losing weight on the keto diet. 

I lost weight by eating plenty of fat. I know, sounds ridiculous right?

Who would have thought that eating fat can force your body to burn fat? I would never have imagined it until I watched “The Magic Pill.”

The Magic Pill is a tv episode shown on Netflix. They show doctors, patients, scientists, chefs, farmers, and journalists around the globe combating the current food pyramid.

What is the keto diet?

keto diet
the keto diet

The keto diet got its name from the word ketosis. Ketosis is a process that your body enters when you deprive it of carbohydrates. 

The keto diet carb limit to achieve and stay in ketosis is 50 grams per day. However, this could be lower depending on how your body process glucose.

[source: Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane?]

When your body enters the state of ketosis, you switch your energy source from glucose (carbs) to fat. 

As you can imagine, when your body uses fat for energy, you would be burning your body fat.

Types of Keto diet

There are four types of Ketogenic diet. 

  • Standard ketogenic diet
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet
  • Targeted ketogenic diet
  • High protein ketogenic diet

Standard ketogenic diet

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carbohydrate with average protein and high-fat diet. Typically contain 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.

Cyclical ketogenic diet

The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carbohydrates in between the ketogenic diet cycles, for example, five ketogenic days followed by two high-carbohydrate days as a cycle.

Targeted ketogenic diet

The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet permits adding additional carbohydrates around intensive physical workout periods.

High protein ketogenic diet

The high-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD): This diet includes more protein and a ratio of around 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates, but as can be seen, it is still a very high-fat diet.

The SKD and HPKD have been used extensively. The cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are recent additions and mostly used by bodybuilders or athletes. SKD is the most researched and recommended.

[source: Type of ketogenic diets]

How does keto work?

As I mentioned, when you deprive your body of carbs, your body switches its energy source from carbs to fat. But that is the simple explanation.

Here’s how ketosis work, according to the smart people. Well, after three to four days without carbs, your glucose supply is reduced significantly. Your central nervous system becomes inefficient at doing its job. 

The central nervous system can’t use fatty acids as a source of nutrition. Therefore, it has to look for other alternative sources of energy. 

That is when ketones come in. Ketones are produced by the liver when the body is deprived of carbohydrates. And there are two types, acetoacetate and hydroxybutyrate.

When you have a significant amount of ketones running rampant in your body, it’s called ketonemia. And when it’s high, you’re in big trouble. 

When your body is using ketones for energy, you are in a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis, which happens in type 1 diabetes patients. In ketoacidosis, ketonemia reaches 20 mmol/l. While in ketosis, ketonemia never goes above 7 – 8 mmol/l. 

[source: Ketogenic diet versus ketoacidosis: what determines the influence of ketone bodies on neurons?]

History of the keto diet

You may have heard of the keto diet recently, but the keto diet has been around for decades. 

The keto diet was introduced by physicians to treat epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s. However, with the introduction of antiepilepsy drugs, which are more convenient, the use of the keto diet declined.

The keto diet’s revival started with its exposure to traditional media in October 1994. Charlie Abrahams, the son of a Hollywood producer, Jim Abrahams, tried the keto diet to control his seizures after anti-convulsant drugs didn’t work and saw great results.

Jim Abrahams started an institute to promote and create awareness about the keto diet. In 1994, there were plenty of studies done about the keto diet, and in 1996, the first scientific journal was published.

Then in 1998, various Scientific bodies have shown interest in the keto diet. More awareness was created after Jim Abrahams’ movie about a boy who has trouble controlling his epileptic seizures but had positive results after using the ketogenic diet.

The keto diet’s popularity reached its peak in 2007. Epilepsy centers have begun using the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy. The keto diet is also being studied to treat a variety of disorders other than epilepsy.

[source: The Ketogenic diet]

How effective is the keto diet?

Many people express their enthusiasm when talking about the effectiveness of the keto diet, including me. I tried the keto diet, and I can advocate for fast weight loss in the short term. 

There are reports of people dropping 10 pounds in only two weeks. Although, the weight loss experienced in the first two weeks of ketosis is more likely water loss due to the keto diet’s diuretic effect. 

Talking from experience, you can lose weight on the keto diet without the boring cardio. You don’t have to participate in strenuous resistance training, and you don’t need to count calories. Which I think is tedious. 

I lost 33 pounds in 4 months on the keto diet, just eating all the fatty foods. I did have a very active job on the keto diet, but I never exercised. I believe if you only eat when hungry on the keto diet, you don’t need to exercise. And, you never get hungry on the keto diet.

Although, you should still be active to keep your ticker in tip-top condition. 

Is the keto diet safe?

I don’t advocate doing the keto diet for more than a year. I did the keto diet for only four months. 

When you try the keto diet, it’s crucial to monitor your kidney function. Yes, you have to do tests such as a urinalysis, creatine test, blood nitrogen test, and waste filtering test.

The tests are to ensure that no irreversible damage is done to your kidneys. 

Even if experts and I recommend to do the keto diet for only a year, others are faring well on the ketogenic diet for more than a year. But, no one knows the long term implication of the keto diet. 

Therefore, there should be more research on the keto about its safety, effectiveness, and sustainability over the long term.

Keto diet and diabetes

Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate dieting plan. You consume foods rich in fat. And, you are strictly limited to consuming carbohydrates –even those regarded as relatively healthy –including whole grains, beans, milk products, and various types of fruits & veggies.

Since you don’t eat many carbs on the keto diet, is it effective against diabetes? Well, let’s look at several studies.

Research has it that people with type-2 diabetes can slim down while lowering their blood sugar levels with the keto diet’s help. In another study, it was observed that people having type-2 diabetes lost weight, required minimal medication, and were capable of lowering A1C by following a keto diet for almost a year. 

Suppose you happen to be insulin-resistant –implying that you have higher levels of blood sugar as your body is not responding well to the hormone insulin. In that case, you can look forward to leveraging the benefits of nutritional ketosis. This is because your body will require & produce less insulin.

Is Keto Diet Safe During Diabetes?

Depends on the type of diabetes. Generally, people having type-2 diabetes and being overweight can get good results. However, if you have type-1 diabetes and wish to follow the keto diet, it is recommended to consult your doctor first. You will be required to monitor your overall health while watching signs for ketoacidosis carefully. 

For both types of diabetes, it is always recommended that you should consult your doctor first. This is because you might be required to change the medications under the effect of a keto diet. 

Should You Try the Keto Diet on Diabetes?

It is recommended to consult your doctor before signing up for the keto diet. For some people with diabetes, especially those who wish to lose weight, the eating plan can improve overall symptoms while reducing the need for medication. However, for others, the consumption of the keto diet could make diabetes worse.

Take note though, be careful when you are transitioning off the diet. The addition of carbs in your diet could lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and weight gain. Gradually add small amounts of carbs to your diet.

Keto diet and epilepsy

The role of the keto diet in managing seizure activity in patients of epilepsy is not new. Use of dietary modifications to control epilepsy date back to 500 B.C. In fact, fasting was studied by the Greeks as a therapeutic module to epilepsy management. It was not until the 1920s that the fasting principle was used in the form of a keto diet to address epileptic patients who were non-compliant with the anti-epileptic drugs.

Research shows that about 30% of the patients with epilepsy are refractory cases. That means that standard anti-epileptic drugs failed to bring any relief in the seizure activity in such patients. It is here that the keto diet comes to the rescue. The problem with the standard fasting protocol for epilepsy was that it could not be adapted as a long-term control measure for most patients. The seizure activity would return back as soon as the patients went off fasting.

The principle of using the keto diet to treat epilepsy

With the observation that fasting could only bring temporary relief, researchers begin to focus on fasting dietary principles. In their quest, they came up with a keto diet concept in which the shift of nutrient intake would put the body into the same biological model as fasting.

That was; restricting the carbohydrate intake and increasing the dietary fats. The metabolic state of the body shifts into starvation or fasting phase despite adequate calorie intake. The body uses fats as the primary source of energy. Patient compliance improved, especially in the case of children.  

Researchers believe that the keto diet’s high-fat ratio alters genes involved in energy metabolism in the brain. This function helps in stabilizing the function of neurons, thereby preventing a seizure activity.

Prescribing keto diet

I say ‘prescribed’ because the keto diet is not for every epileptic patient. The dietary regime works best for treating seizure activity in infants and children.

However, the diet is not recommended for adults because of compliance failure. Health experts suggest adopting a modified Atkins diet for managing epilepsy in adults.

The design of the keto diet for epilepsy

Keto diet for epilepsy is a specialized diet. That is why it is always designed under the guidelines of a dietitian and supervised by medical specialists. For managing epilepsy in children, the number of calories from a regular diet must match the keto caloric intake. For younger children, the caloric count is calculated according to weight. 

A 1500 calorie regular diet would be converted to a 1500 calorie ketogenic diet. For young patients, 75 to 100 calories for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight is usually prescribed. 

The ratio of fat to carbohydrate and protein combined usually follows;

  • A 4:1 ratio; typically used for most children.
  • A 3:1 ratio; typically used for infants and adolescents. Children who require higher amounts of protein or carbohydrate for any reason may also be prescribed this ratio.

The dietitian carefully designs the keto diet for epilepsy, restricting carbohydrates and proteins. The following ketogenic protocols with different ratios of fats may be followed depending on individual cases;

  • The classical keto diet
  • Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) diet
  • Modified Atkins (MAD) or modified keto diet
  • Low glycemic index treatment (LGIT)

What to expect with the keto diet for epilepsy

The keto diet for epilepsy is usually started in a hospital setting to keep in the loop all the parties involved; the patient, the caregivers, the dietitian, and the doctor. The main aim is to monitor, evaluate, and devise a plan of action that works best for the patient. Here is what you can expect by adopting a keto diet for epilepsy management. A reminder! Keto diet is backed by science to benefit an epileptic patient by;

  • Reduction in seizure activity
  • Prevention of seizure attack
  • Reduction in the dose and medication for epilepsy

It is observed that over half of children prescribed a keto diet experienced a 50% reduction in the frequency of their seizures. At the same time, 10-15% of children become seizure-free. 

Keto VS Whole 30

Ok, so you already know about the keto diet, but what is the whole 30 diet? 

The whole 30 diets are focused on whole foods, less processed foods, such as animal protein, eggs, and vegetables.

However, the whole 30 diet restricts healthy grains such as the superfood quinoa, protein-packed tofu, and the full fiber oats.

I understand restricting junk food, but excluding superfoods such as quinoa or tofu is too much. 

How do they define whole foods? Legumes are whole foods that are full of super nutrients that can have a positive effect on your health. 

“Legumes are an integral part of many healthy eating patterns, including the Mediterranean style of eating, the DASH eating plan, vegetarian and vegan diets, and lower-glycemic-index (GI) diets. Along with being a highly nutritious food, evidence shows that legumes can play an important role in the prevention and management of a number of health conditions.”

[source: Health benefits of legumes]

The founders suspect that legumes cause stress. I don’t think so. 

I’ve been eating lentils as my substitute for meat on the flexitarian diet. My stress level hasn’t gone up or changed at all. 

Whole 30 seems to be like the Paleo diet. Which you only eat nature made, not human-made.

I haven’t tried the whole 30 diets, but I agree to cut out the junk off your diet and focus on whole foods.

The whole 30 diets are supposedly done for 30 days only. I don’t know the exact details of how long you should wait until you resume another Whole30 diet.

Keto VS Whole 30 – winner?

The whole 30 is only done for 30 days, and it’s not meant for weight loss. At the same time, keto has proven to be useful for a fast weight loss. 

Although, many people report that they have lost weight on the whole 30 diets. Which I believe is true because if you previously have been eating calorie-rich meals but replaced it with low-calorie but highly nutritious foods, you will lose weight and be healthy.

Diets are restrictive. That’s why I don’t like “diets.” I don’t want to deprive myself of other vitamins and nutrients. 

I can’t choose between the two because each has its pros and cons. It’s up to you to weigh which pros appeal more. Or, cons that you hate the worst. 

Keto Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Proven fast weight loss
  • If you love fatty foods
  • May prevent cancer by starving cancer cells
  • Can help with seizures
  • May help sugar cravings
  • Restricting carbs in your diet can have a positive effect on Diabetes type 2

Cons

  • Difficult to sustain
  • Renal failure
  • May increase cholesterol level

Whole 30 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Vegetables
  • Processed food restriction
  • May improve medical conditions
  • Promotes weight loss

Cons

  • Challenging to follow when you’re out and about
  • Requires careful planning
  • Vitamin deficiency

More on keto


“I have the metabolism of a sloth and a body that hates putting on muscles. This curse motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. I want to share my experiences and knowledge to help you achieve your ideal body.”

— Christian Tanobey