The keto diet: what you need to know before you try it

what you need to know about the keto diet

The keto diet was created to treat diabetics, but some doctors decided to try it for weight loss. We figure out who fits and how dangerous such a diet can be, how to choose products and make a menu.

What is the keto diet

A ketogenic or keto diet is a low carb and high fat diet. Such a diet can help lower blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity, improve well-being and lose weight by altering metabolism.

A change in diet causes a state of ketosis, a metabolic system in which the body gets fuel from food of animal origin. Ketone bodies become the main source of energy: acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. These are substances that are formed from the adipose tissue of the liver and the fats consumed. Ketone bodies feed the internal organs, muscle tissue, and brain instead of glucose.

The process of ketosis can be triggered by fasting, but the keto diet allows you to enter this state and constantly stick to it without any health risks.

Signs of Ketosis:

  • acetone or fruit odor from the mouth;
  • increased levels of ketone bodies in the blood, urine and breathing;
  • decreased appetite and hunger;
  • loss of strength, which after a few days can be replaced by normal health and increased brain activity;
  • gastrointestinal disorders, thirst and frequent urination;
  • weight loss;
  • irritability;
  • insomnia.

Ketosis is the body's natural metabolic state in which the body's fats and adipose tissues become the main source of energy instead of glucose.

Types of diet:

  • standard: 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate from total caloric intake;
  • Cyclic: five days on keto alternately two days on high carb foods
  • goal: suitable for those who play sports;
  • High in protein: It differs from the standard version in the proportion of elements (60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrate).

Most research and expert articles focus on standard and high-protein treatments. Cycling and targeting are less studied and recommended for athletes and bodybuilders.

The keto diet is a high fat and low carb diet. Instead of glucose, the body gets its energy from food of animal origin. Such a diet can help lower blood sugar and insulin levels and help you lose weight.

Foods to avoid

Keto diets cannot be called carbohydrate-free: they are 5% of the diet or 20-50 grams of product per day.

But to start and maintain a state of ketosis, you need to remove it from the menu or reduce the amount of high-carbohydrate foods:

  • Cereals and starchy foods: rice, pasta, flakes, potatoes;
  • sugar-sweetened foods and beverages: soda, juices, baked goods, and so on;
  • any fruit except berries;
  • beans and beans;
  • dietary and low fat foods;
  • sauces and flavors containing sugar and unhealthy fats;
  • alcohol.

Foods to include in your diet

useful and harmful products

The main foods that are included in the keto diet are:

  • meat: steaks, sausages, bacon, chicken and turkey;
  • fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel;
  • seafood;
  • eggs;
  • butter and sour cream;
  • cheeses: cheddar, goat, cream, mozzarella or blue cheese;
  • nuts and seeds;
  • olive, coconut and avocado oils;
  • fresh avocado and guacamole;
  • low carb vegetables: most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers;
  • spices: salt, pepper, spices and herbs.

Low carb foods suitable for the Keto diet:

  • 0% carbohydrates: beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, pork (including bacon), scrambled eggs, salmon, sardines, trout, butter, olive, coconut and avocado oil, water, coffee, tea.
  • 0-5%: liver, mussels, shrimp, tuna, lobster, cod, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumber, asparagus, mushrooms, cheese, sour cream, yogurt (including Greek yogurt).
  • 5-10%: Broccoli, onion, brussels sprouts, kale, eggplant, bell pepper, green beans, avocado, olives, strawberries.
  • 10-15%: grapefruit, apricots, walnuts.
  • 15-25%: almonds, peanuts.

For snacks, experts consume advice from seafood, cheese, olives, meat, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, berries, dark chocolate, and small portions left over after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Weekly menu day by day

keto diet menu


  • Breakfast: bacon, eggs, tomatoes.
  • Lunch: chicken salad with feta cheese and olive oil.
  • Dinner: salmon and asparagus in oil.


  • Breakfast: omelette with goat cheese, tomatoes and basil.
  • Lunch: almond milk, peanut butter and cocoa cocktail with sugar substitute.
  • Dinner: meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Keto smoothie - with peanut butter or strawberries, for example.
  • Lunch: Shrimp salad with avocado and olive oil.
  • Dinner: Pork ribs with broccoli, salad and parmesan.


  • Breakfast: omelette with avocado, salsa, bell pepper, onion and spices.
  • Lunch: walnuts, celery sticks with salsa and fresh guacamole.
  • Dinner: Chicken pesto with cream cheese and fresh vegetables.


  • Breakfast: yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa and sweetener.
  • Lunch: beef in coconut oil with vegetables.
  • Dinner: Burger without buns with bacon, cheese and eggs.


  • Breakfast: mushroom omelette with ham and cheese.
  • Lunch: ham, cheese, walnuts.
  • Dinner: white fish, eggs and spinach in coconut oil.


  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
  • Lunch: Burger with salsa, cheese and guacamol.
  • Dinner: steak, salad, eggs.

All-natural foods work well for a keto diet: meat, fish, butter, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, low-carb vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Weight loss effectiveness on the keto diet

weight loss effectiveness on keto diet

No diet has a long-term weight-loss effect and can be harmful to health. After a temporary weight loss, people return to their previous state and sometimes recover more strongly than before changing their diet. A safe and effective way to achieve the desired weight and maintain health and fitness with the help of experts is to choose the right lifestyle and diet that you can follow on a daily basis.

Experts confirm that the keto diet is 2 to 2 times more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. Reason for weight loss:

  • increase the amount of protein in the diet;
  • decreased appetite;
  • changes in eating habits;
  • gains energy from fat instead of glucose;
  • fast fat burning;
  • improves metabolism due to increased insulin sensitivity.

The keto system does not require constant calorie counting, creates a feeling of fullness, speeds up the fat burning process and prevents their formation.

Harm of the keto diet

In 2018, Polish Professor Maciej Banach gave a presentation on the dangers of low-carb diets at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology. Studies showed that in a control group of 24, 000 participants, the risk of death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer was 50%, 51%, and 35% higher, respectively, among those who consumed a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet.

damage caused by the keto diet

In January 2020, the International Medical Committee responsible for medicine recommended the elimination of low-carb diets, including the keto diet, from the American Dietary Guidelines (2020-2025). Doctors have indicated that such a diet increases the risk of heart disease.

Suffering from ketosis also has side effects that you should be aware of.

Keto Influenza

A general worsening of a condition that occurs when you change your diet and lasts for several days. Symptoms:

  • physical fatigue,
  • headache and dizziness,
  • decreased attention and performance,
  • hungry,
  • sleep disorder,
  • irritability,
  • indigestion,
  • increased thirst
  • frequent urination,
  • muscle cramps,
  • palpitations.

In the first weeks, a strict diet must be followed in order for the body to get used to the new system. In case of symptoms of keto influenza, it is important to consume the refill and drink at least 2 liters of fluid daily, preferably containing electrolytes. Experts recommend adding MCT oils (fatty acids derived from coconut and palm oil), minerals (salt, soda, magnesium), caffeine, creatine, whey protein and fiber-rich foods to your diet. In addition, you need to reduce physical activity.

Risk Group: Anyone on a keto diet.


Ketosis is a natural physiological system in which the body produces the amount of ketone needed. Ketoacidosis is a pathological condition in which the levels of glucose and ketone bodies are excessive, which can lead to coma and death. Ketoacidosis can be caused by diabetes, prolonged fasting, or a reaction to an increase in the amount of fat in the diet.

Risk group: I. and II. types of diabetics, children 1-13 years, nursing mothers.

Kidney Stones

Studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can cause kidney stones in 6. 7% of patients.

Risk group: children with epilepsy.

Diabetes Keto Diet

Scientists have confirmed the benefits of keto treatment in II. for type 1 diabetics. In one case, 95% of patients reduced or discontinued medication, while 62% of participants followed a high-carbohydrate diet. In another case, insulin sensitivity was increased in 75% of study participants.

In addition, research is underway into the possible use of ketosis in the fight against cancer cells, in the treatment of acne, childhood epilepsy, heart and brain disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's syndrome. But the scientific material gathered is still not sufficient to reach a reasonable conclusion.

The keto diet has been used effectively in the treatment of type II diabetes. Otherwise, the medical benefits of a low-carb diet require further research.

Doctor's Opinion

We asked Evgeniya Maevskaya, a candidate of medicine, a gastroenterologist, a nutritionist.

Is the keto diet good or bad?

“It’s all about the dose. ” Today, this nutrition strategy is not recognized by any global nutrition community, and accordingly is not recommended by official medicine.

With this diet, the energy intensity of the diet is provided by more than 80% of the fats, while carbohydrate intake is limited to 20 g or 50 g per day, which is more gentle and slightly better tolerated. In fact, most often, the keto diet is low in carbohydrates (and associated with the transition to ketosis) and often high in protein. In addition to this type of diet, the body is dominated by saturated fats, including trans fats, as well as protein.

It is common for most keto-dieters to initially have no clear understanding of what foods are acceptable in a ketogenic diet, but it is more or less clear what to avoid. Therefore, meat products are used, this has its consequences.

This can trigger a lack of dietary fiber, which is found only in carbohydrate-rich foods, making it possible for water-soluble vitamins such as C to lack minerals. Such food is hardly considered safe. And it’s extremely difficult to stick to this throughout your life, and after all, only this option allows you to ensure a stable weight when talking about weight loss.

What are the consequences and dangers of a keto diet?

Initial weight loss can be truly impressive before the body gets into ketosis and doesn’t actually start burning water with fat. 1 g of carbs retains four times more fluid in the body than protein, and the first thing you notice is a decrease in body volume. If there is really a lot of overweight, then the result is initially encouraging.

But it’s worth noting that everything comes back when the diet is the same. And not everything is so rosy. Here are some negative consequences:

  • general weakness, fatigue during adaptation;
  • hypoglycaemia;
  • bad breath and the smell of sweat (due to the multitude of meat dishes);
  • stool problems (constipation or tendency to diarrhea);
  • nausea;
  • disorders of the pancreas and gallbladder, especially if there is any stage of gallstone disease;
  • gastric dyspepsia;
  • kidney stones (for long-term adhesion) and impaired function;
  • possible deterioration of the lipid profile towards the atherogen;
  • Weight gain when switching to a regular mixed meal.

I also associate this eating strategy with an increased risk of osteoporosis, a deterioration in brain activity.

There are a number of credible foreign studies in which cardiologists are more familiar and indicate that when carbohydrates in the diet are replaced with fats and proteins to reduce weight, the risk of cardiovascular disease is significantly increased by about 3. 5 to 5%. kal woman. . . . That is, the risk of stroke and heart attack can increase if you just change the type of diet.

Accordingly, if a person does not have the above violations, they may, if they wish, try the keto diet and evaluate the effect.

A similar strategy, but only without introducing ketosis and significantly limiting carbohydrate intake (specifically by reducing simple carbohydrates), is recommended to start in patients with harmful carbohydrate metabolism when, for example, glucose or insulin levels rise. Inspired by the first results of volume reduction, it is always easier to continue.

Maybe you just don’t eat sweets and simple carbs? Does it help lower sugar and lose weight even without ketosis?

Considering the data on long-term and most effective nutrition strategies, as well as my own experience, I can say that if you give up sweets, you can really lose weight: sweet foods are not only high in calories, but also stimulate appetite.

But the majority probably won’t sustain the impact and the pounds lost will return. Man always wants what is forbidden to him, and in his momentary weakness he can afford it, and they overeat.

But such a diet, which is by no means low in carbohydrates but limits simple sugars, can also lead to weight loss and accordingly normalization of blood sugar levels.