Diet & Weight loss

All about the keto diet, low in carbohydrates and high in fat

Keto diet

Numerous scientific studies show that keto diet can help you lose weight, and be beneficial against diabetes, some cancers, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, candidiasis … Here in this comprehensive and detailed guide, all information on the ketogenic diet, also called keto (of the English ketogenic diet).

The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate , high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins diet and other low carbohydrate diets.

Normally our body converts carbohydrates into glucose, but with a diet low in carbohydrates (sugars), the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis . When this happens, the body increases its ability to burn fat to convert it into energy. For this, it transforms triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids, which the liver transforms into ketone bodies (a process called ketogenesis).

The massive reduction in blood sugar, and put to rest the pancreas, added to the increase in ketone bodies, provide many health benefits

When does ketosis occur?

The body goes into ketosis when the carbohydrate intake is so low that it can not use it as a fuel source. In general, this occurs when fat accounts for 60 to 70% of overall calories, 20 to 30% protein, and less than 50 grams a day of carbohydrates.

It usually takes less than a day for the body to start producing ketone bodies for energy purposes.

A sure sign that this happens : when your breath starts to smell acetone. By the way, acetone stinks and gives you bad breath.

The 3 different types of ketogenic diets

  1. The classic ketogenic diet : with a very low carbohydrate intake, a lot of protein and fat.
  2. The cyclic ketogenic diet : this variant involves periods of carbohydrate recharge, with for example 5 days ketogenic followed by 2 days of carbohydrate refills.
  3. Targeted Ketogen  : Allows you to add carbohydrates around workouts.

What foods are allowed in the ketogenic diet?

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Here is a non-exhaustive list of foods that can be consumed as part of the ketogenic diet:

  • Meat : red meat, ham, sausages, bacon, chicken and turkey.
  • Oily fish : salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and seafood.
  • Eggs : if possible raised outdoors because they contain more omega-3  .
  • Butter and cream : Look for grass-fed cow products where possible (better nutritional qualities).
  • Cheeses in  moderation: Blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, whole white cheese, feta, mozzarella, whole milk ricotta cheese, Gruyere cheese.
  • Nuts and seeds in  moderation: almonds and walnuts , flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
  • Vegetable oils in moderation: mainly extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, linseed oil, fish oil .
  • Low carbohydrate vegetables: most green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Low sugar fruits : blueberries, lemon, raspberries, strawberries.
  • Condiments : you can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
  • Other : dark chocolate and cocoa powder, coffee and unsweetened tea


  1. Do not eat too much cheese that contains a lot of protein. Excess protein can trigger gluconeogenesis (making glucose from certain amino acids).
  2. Seeds and nuts are rich in omega-6 fatty acids (except macadamia) which our body has too much. This can cause inflammation, which can itself impede the keto-adaptation.
  3. Same note for vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower, etc.) too rich in omega-6.

What are the foods to avoid?

In short, any high carbohydrate food should be removed:

  • Sweet foods : soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, sweets, etc.
  • Cereals or starches : flour-based products, wheat, rice, pasta, etc.
  • Fruits : all fruits, except small portions of fruits such as berries.
  • Legumes : peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas.
  • Root and tuber vegetables : potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips.
  • Alcohol : Due to its carbohydrate content, many alcoholic drinks can make you go out of the state of ketosis.
  • Some diet foods without sugar : often high in alcoholic sugar (polyol, polyalcohol or glycol), for example xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, maltitol which can affect blood sugar and thus ketosis.

Does the ketogenic diet help to lose weight?

The ketogenic diet is indeed an effective way to lose weight and reduce risk factors for diseases related to overweigh .

Indeed, scientific research shows that the ketogenic diet gives better results on weight loss, compared to the low-fat die .

Moreover, this high-fat protein diet reduces hunger, appetite and thus taking daily calories .

An American study published in June 2016 showed that a diet low in carbohydrates makes it possible to maintain a state of satiety longer than with a diet low in lipids.

Another US study published in 2003 shows that obese people lost 2.2 times more weight on a ketogenic diet than on a low-fat diet .

To give you an idea of ​​the speed of weight loss, another English study published in 2007 showed that the ketogenic diet allowed people to lose about 7 pounds in 3 months, just by changing the diet, not to mention sports activity.

The advantage of ketogenic diets is the tendency to slightly increase their protein intake, which brings many benefits.

Increasing ketone bodies, lowering of hyperglycemia and insulin peaks improve insulin sensitivity, which may also play a key role in weight loss.

Dieting adapted and beneficial for diabetes and prediabetes type 2

Diabetes is characterized by changes in metabolism, with an alteration of the mechanisms regulating blood sugar.

The keto diet can help you lose your excess fat, which is closely related to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome.

An American study published in 2005 found that the keto diet improves insulin sensitivity by up to 75%.

Another study published the same year in patients with type 2 diabetes, found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop all drugs against diabetes by following this diet .

This benefit was confirmed in a study published in 2008 in which 95.2% of the ketogenic group was able to stop or reduce the use of diabetes medications .

Treatment against epilepsy

Treatment against epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disease that causes convulsions due to excessive brain activity. Anti-convulsive medications are effective for some people with epilepsy. However, others do not respond to medication or can not tolerate side effects.

Of all the diseases that can be treated by a ketogenic diet for epilepsy is by far the one who received the most scientific evidence . This diet was designed in the 1920s by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Center in the United States for patients with epilepsy.

The numerous studies that followed this discovery show that seizures typically improve for about 50% of patients with epilepsy who follow a classical ketogenic diet.

Beneficial against soda

Non-alcoholic stearate-hepatitis (NASH) is a disease that today affects almost six million French people !

This silent pathology of the human fatty liver is the cause of sedentariness and junk food (also leading to obesity and diabetes among others).

Over the years, the liver fills with fat because it no longer has the capacity to transform it. Like all chronic diseases of the liver, it can lead to cirrhosis or cancer.

To reverse or slow these complications, the ketogenic diet is very effective .

In a small study, 14 obese men with X and NASH syndrome were on a ketogenic diet for 12 weeks. Result: they experienced significant reductions in weight, blood pressure and liver enzymes .

Useful against certain cancers?

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In recent years, scientific research has suggested that a ketogenic diet can help treat certain types of cancer when used with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery .

Studies in mice show that the ketogenic diet can reduce the progression of several types of cancer, including metastases .

Some experts believe that the ketogenic diet can be particularly beneficial for brain cancer .

Case studies and patient data analyzes have found improvements in various types of brain cancer, including glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer

Help against multiple sclerosis?


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the protective sheaths of the nerves. This leads to communication problems between the brain and the body. Symptoms include balance problems, numbness, motor problems, impaired vision, memory, etc.

A study of MS in mice found that a ketogenic diet suppressed inflammatory markers. A reduction of the inflammation allows a decrease of the symptoms, with an improvement of the memory 29 .

More recently, a controlled study of 48 people with MS found a significant improvement in quality of life, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the groups follow a ketogenic diet or fasting for several days .

Attenuation of Alzheimer’s disease?

alzheimers-disease causes

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of progressive dementia characterized by a cluster of beta amyloid-forming plaques at the level of neurons. Interestingly, Alzheimer’s disease appears to have features of both epilepsy and type 2 diabetes: seizures , brain failure to properly use glucose and inflammation related to insulin resistance .

Animal studies show that a ketogenic diet improves balance and coordination .

In addition, supplementation with medium-chain triglycerides (present in coconut oil for example), to increase the amount of ketone body, decreased hyperexcitability and inflammation in patients suffering from the disease. Alzheimer  .

The ketogenic diet for athletes?


The classic ketogenic diet with a high proportion of lipids is not incompatible with endurance sports. On the other hand, the latter seems prejudicial for forced sports.

If you do strength training with 1 to 3 repetitions and 3 to 5 minutes rest between your sets, it can be long enough to regenerate ATP levels, even if you are in ketosis.

On the other hand, if you do CrossFit, following this diet is a very bad choice. Indeed, this sport imposes high volumes of training and a lot of effort around the lactic threshold.

During a high intensity workout for a few minutes, the body mainly uses the energy system of glycolysis which as its name suggests uses glucose. If you have ketosis, your glycolytic system is almost at a standstill and your training may be deplorable.

Even if you have a good amount of muscle glycogen, you will not be able to use these stored carbohydrates because the enzyme mechanics will not be operational.

In this case, we recommend a targeted ketogenic diet with a carbohydrate intake only after training. This allows the benefits of intermittent fasting to be realized by making the body believe that it is fasting, through a strict elimination of glucose the rest of the day.

It is also important to note that even though this diet may facilitate fat loss, ketosis is not optimal for gaining muscle.

Indeed, insulin is reduced to a minimum, and we must not forget that it is a very anabolic hormone. It is for this reason that the ketogenic diet is very popular during the dry phases in bodybuilding, but not during periods of muscle gain.

What are the side effects ?

The common side effects that people usually experience when they start a keto diet are usually related to dehydration or a lack of minerals. These are temporary, and they last the time of keto-adaptations and until you consume enough minerals (especially sodium, potassium, magnesium). Among the symptoms of keto flu (the famous flu keto) are:

  • Cramps
  • Constipation
  • Physical fatigue

It is possible to limit cramps and constipation thanks to a diet rich in vegetables (choose cabbage families) rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). You should also increase salt intake because in the absence of carbohydrates, the body removes a lot of salt. Supplementation with potassium and magnesium will also be beneficial.

In terms of reduced physical performance, your body will regain strength and endurance as soon as the body finishes adapting to the keto diet. “Keto-adaptation” refers to the use of fat as a source of energy.

See  also :

Complete guide on the Dukan diet to lose weight thanks to proteins

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet (Cretan diet)

Complete guide to understand the 5: 2 diet


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