The Ketogenic Diet (KETO) - A Complete Review. Disadvantages and advantages

what is the keto diet

This is a popular diet that requires foods to be low in carbohydrates and very high in fat, which causes a change in the main source of energy and in the metabolic state.

The goal is to create a ketosis situation similar to fasting that can be achieved by reducing food intake or cutting carbohydrates. The last situation is that which is a ketogenic diet (KETO diet).

The body, in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates as fuel (glucose), depletes glycogen stores and the burning of fat in the liver will become the main source of energy.

As a result, you will receive so-called ketone bodies (ketones), which will be distributed as nutrients to the brain, muscles and other organs.

Ketogenic diet menu

When composing a ketogenic menu, your foods must contain: carbohydrates (5-10%), fats (60%) and proteins (30-35%).

Considering that in a normal diet, almost half are usually carbohydrates, this change in diet is important.

You should avoid bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and fruit as much as possible.

What should you know about the ketogenic diet?

  • Increase the percentage of calories from healthy fats (monounsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids);
  • Limit your intake of fruits, which are rich in carbohydrates. Change to low consumption of fruits and berries with low carbohydrates;
  • Always eat only when you are hungry. Even if it’s just one meal a day. Don't let others dictate what to eat or when. You should not deliberately cut your food, but you should stop eating when you are not hungry, even if the plate is not yet empty, put it aside for later;
  • Don't count calories. Listen to your body. Ketogenic or low-carbohydrate diets, by themselves, restore healthy hunger and satiety;
  • Increase your water intake to 2-3 liters per day;
  • Learn to eat natural foods like eggs, meat and starchless vegetables (anything that grows above the ground);
  • If you need a snack, use healthy snacks. Snacks like nuts, avocados or berries are very good for this.
keto diet for weight loss

Approved products

The foods allowed in a ketogenic diet or ketone diet are mainly fat and protein. The list will be as follows:

  • Low-carbohydrate vegetables: spinach and other green leaves, avocado, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, tomato, onion;
  • Avocados and red fruits: raspberries, blackberries and other wild fruits;
  • Fish rich in polyunsaturated fats: salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna, swordfish;
  • Meat and sausage: chicken and turkey, but you can also eat meat with fat;
  • Eggs;
  • Fatty dairy products, such as cream, butter, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella or unsweetened yogurt;
  • Nuts and seeds: nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds;
  • Olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil;
  • Salt, pepper, spices, mustard.

Use unsaturated fatty acids for salad dressings, such as olive oil, nut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil or avocado oil.

Some of them you can also use for cooking. Avoid any processed vegetable oils, such as margarine, soy oil, corn germ oil and grape seed oil.

If you eat nuts, it is best to soak them and dry them.
Eat only whole, natural dairy products (or skip dairy products if you are allergic to them).

keto fish

If you eat dairy, opt for the high-fat options. However, avoid milk (it is rich in carbohydrates). If you want milk, opt for a small amount of pasteurized whole milk (minimum 3. 5% fat).

In a ketone diet, it is not so much the total calories consumed, but the type of food consumed. They are mainly fats and some proteins. You can follow the examples of 30 or 50 day ketogenic diets, however, they are quite severe and difficult to follow. You can combine these foods as you like, preparing different meals from the list of allowed foods. An example menu will be a tip for a varied diet for several days or weeks.

Prohibited products

The following foods high in carbohydrates should be limited in the ketogenic diet:

  • Fruits: they contain sugar, in the form of fructose, which is a carbohydrate;
  • Foods to avoid as much as possible: dates, figs, grapes, mango, cherries, bananas, tangerines and apples;
  • Fruits that should be avoided less and can be eaten from time to time (from less carbohydrates to more): lemon, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit and melon;
  • Bread, pasta, flour, rice;
  • Cereals: which contain more carbohydrates are: wheat, muesli, wheat bran, rice flakes, wheat and barley flakes, corn flakes and oat flakes;
  • Potatoes;
  • Vegetables: lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, asparagus;
  • Sweets and cakes, pastries;
  • Carbonated and sugary drinks and juices;
  • Processed foods and cooked meals (usually high in fats and carbohydrates that are harmful to your health).

The ketogenic diet and alcohol?

Can I drink alcohol during a ketogenic diet?

And if so, which alcohol has the least carbohydrates?

These are typical questions that people who want to lose weight ask themselves, but don't want to skip family events and parties.

One thing is clear: If you really want to lose weight quickly, you must stop alcohol completely, because it prevents fat burning.

However, if during a ketogenic diet you find yourself in a situation where you must choose the type of alcohol with the minimum amount of carbohydrates, follow these rules.

Alcohol rich in carbohydrates:

  • Beer;
  • Liquor;
  • Cocktails;
  • Wine (sweet, half sweet).

Although the fermentation process produces sugar from grains, potatoes, natural sugar and fruit, sugar is largely converted to ethyl alcohol.

Thus, the carbohydrate content of spirits is low compared to beer, cocktails, wine, liquors.

Low carbohydrate alcohol:

  • Vodka;
  • Jin;
  • Rum;
  • Whiskey;
  • Tequila.

The ketogenic diet - what vitamins and minerals do I need in addition?

During a ketogenic diet, it is important not only to keep in mind the intake of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Residual minerals play an important role in well-being during the ketogenic diet.

Potassium, sodium and magnesiumare important micronutrients that should be the focus of attention during a ketogenic diet. If you are not consuming enough during your diet, supplementation is recommended.


Sodium is found in salt. So don't be afraid to salt it, preferably with Himalayan salt or use bone broth as a seasoning. However, salt retains water in the body, which can contribute to swelling. Therefore, everything needs a measure.


Very low carbohydrate diets often suffer from inadequate amounts of magnesium. Eat more almonds and other nuts, or take magnesium alone as a supplement.


Potassium is abundant in oily fish like salmon, mushrooms and avocados. If you are adding foods that contain potassium, remember that your intake should not exceed 4, 700 mg.

How to incorporate a ketogenic diet into your daily life?

The biggest problem in implementing your software plans is usually logistics and food preparation. We know that each of us has a stressful everyday life. Be it a busy mom or business woman who usually travels on business trips or business dinners.

Often, our daily life sabotages our meal plans and we are not always in a position to carry out all of our plans.

It is for these problems that there are solutions and useful tips on how you can maintain your diet, despite your busy day-to-day.

What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?

Regarding the results of the ketogenic diet, it should be noted:


  • You don't need to count calories and it is much more effective to lose weight on a low-carb diet than a low-fat diet;
  • Many people who follow this type of diet to lose weight lose more than twice as much pounds as those who follow only a low-calorie diet. This allows them to eat without starving and maintain a healthy weight;
  • is faster for weight loss than other diets based on consuming foods high in protein and low in fat.

Diabetes mellitus

The ketogenic diet benefits diabetics because:

  • lowers blood sugar;
  • reduces weight and body fat;
  • improves insulin sensitivity.

Overweight and obesity in type 2 diabetes, in addition to inconvenience, are often the cause.

And blood glucose is high because it cannot be used by cells, because they have insulin resistance, endurance.


Several studies have sought to assess whether reducing sugar in the diet can positively impact cancer control.


  • tumor cells multiply at a faster rate;
  • your energy metabolism is accelerating;
  • The intake of
  • glucose (carbohydrate) is also higher;
  • cells use fats or proteins for the energy they need to grow.

Suitable ketogenic diet:

  • is a support measure;
  • will never be a substitute for treatment, because cancer cells can adapt to unfavorable metabolic conditions better than normal cells.

No research suggests that this diet can prevent cancer.

For epilepsy

Only in some cases of childhood epilepsy, where antiepileptic drugs have not been effective, the ketone diet is able to reduce the incidence of seizures and be convenient for adjuvant therapy.

It was observed that when a child diagnosed with epilepsy was fed a diet, the seizures diminished or disappeared.

The exact mechanism by which the ketone diet reduces seizures in epilepsy is unknown. However, this appears to be a consequence of the metabolic and energetic changes that occur in the brain by ketone bodies that stabilize its electrical activity.

For Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease, some heart disease, acne and other disorders can be cured with low-carbohydrate diets, such as ketogenic diets.

Disadvantages of the Keto Diet

  • No specific side effects have been reported with these types of diets. Some uncomfortable symptoms may appear in the first few days, although they usually disappear quickly.
  • To reduce them, start your diet slowly, gradually incorporating more fat into your ketogenic recipes while reducing carbohydrates.
  • This diet should not be strictly followed indefinitely.
  • In some cases, people with high cholesterol levels may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, as the KETO diet involves consuming foods high in fat. However, blood sugar levels lower and improve HDL cholesterol levels, and the diet itself implies weight loss, and this will certainly have a positive effect on blood pressure.
  • Also, people with a high level of uric acid in their blood should remember that these diets can increase the risk of gout.
  • A common disadvantage of all weight loss diets is the "fixation" effect when you finish the diet. Eating habits can take over and the lost pounds can come back again.
  • It is better for proper nutrition, to plan dietary changes from the beginning, in the medium and long term. You need to supplement your eating habits with regular exercise so that the health benefits are felt.

So this is not about the dangers of a ketogenic diet, but about the disadvantages, usually with moderation or precautions.

Cons of protein meals on a keto diet

First steps with a ketogenic diet in your daily life

  • If possible, remove everything that does not fit this form of food from your home. It's easy to lose your way when you know you have what you want to eat at home.
  • Always create a list of the foods you want to cook for the next week. Best of all immediately in the next 2 weeks.
  • Always have boiled eggs and chicken fillets at home, they can be used as a snack.
  • Cheese is also a great snack, and you can always have a bag of almonds in your bag for a quick snack.
  • If you are traveling, you can bring your own plate of dried chicken and a bag of minitotes, peppers or boiled eggs, without having to resort to dry rolls or other junk food.
  • When you meet friends or go shopping, for sure, somewhere you will find foods with healthy and necessary foods for you.
  • If you feel like eating sweets, drinking a glass of water with a drop of lemon juice or green tea or coffee with sour cream helps a lot.
  • Get into the habit of drinking 2 liters of water a day. This habit will be useful to you in the future, when the diet is over.

Phases of the ketogenic diet

Initially, when the body goes into ketosis, some mild symptoms may occur, although they quickly disappear:

  • indigestion;
  • constipation;
  • fatigue;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • headache;
  • insomnia.

The mouth smells like acetone. This smell is common in ketosis and ketogenic diets.

How can I measure ketosis?

Ketosis can be found in blood, urine and even in the air.
The cheapest and easiest way is with urine and several special test strips, which are sold in pharmacies.

However, the concentration of ketone bodies tends to decrease throughout the day. Your body uses them best as a source of energy.

That's why a blood test is the most accurate method. Test strips are also sold to detect ketone bodies in the blood, similar to those used by diabetics.

To avoid the loss of muscle mass that can result from weight loss, following a weight loss diet requires that your protein intake remains close to 35% and that you exercise. Thus, you will maintain your lean mass, and may even increase it, unlike other diets.

From time to time, at intervals, preferably in combination with a specialist (doctor or nutritionist), the amount of carbohydrate foods should be increased, but given that in the first two to three months, the diet should be more restricted.

In addition, it should be remembered that severe dietary restrictions can reduce quality of life and such diets should not be long-term, for a very long period of time, since the side effects of a ketogenic diet applied byvery long are unknown.

Recipes for the KETO diet:

Omelet with green asparagus

asparagus keto omelet


  • Green asparagus 0, 5 kg.
  • Eggs 4
  • Whipped cream 100 gr.
  • Parmesan 50 gr.
  • Nutmeg
  • Pepper
  • Sal


  • Cut the asparagus stalks in half;
  • Blanch in salted water for about 5 minutes;
  • Remove from water and dry;
  • Spread the asparagus on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper;
  • Beat the eggs with cream, salt, pepper and season with nutmeg;
  • Pour over the asparagus and rub the parmesan on top;

In an oven preheated to 180 ° C, cook for 25-30 minutes until golden brown;
Serve in slices.

Tomato and avocado salad


  • Small red onion 1
  • Tomatoes 2
  • Avocado 2
  • Lima 1
  • ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • Sal
  • Pepper


  • Peel and chop the onion well;
  • Cut the tomatoes into thin cubes;
  • Remove the core, peel and cut the avocado;
  • Rinse the lemon very hot, dry and grate a small peel well;
  • Squeeze the lemon juice.

Lemon juice, grated zest, onion cubes, 1 pinch of cumin, 1 pinch of coriander, salt and pepper, mix in the peel. Mix the avocado and tomato 5 minutes later and let the lettuce infuse for about 10 minutes.

Turkey with lettuce

keto turkey


  • Large lettuce leaves (eg Roman salad) 8 pcs.
  • Radish 1 bunch
  • Bow (1 pack)
  • Cottage cheese (6 tablespoons) 120 gr.
  • Thin slices of turkey ham (8 thin slices of turkey ham or smoked turkey)
  • Sal
  • Pepper


  • Wash and dry the lettuce leaves;
  • Peel, wash and cut the radish;
  • Wash, dry and chop the onion well;
  • Mix the radish with the curd and onion and season with salt and pepper.

Place 2 lettuce leaves, slightly overlapping, and 2 slices of ham on top;
Pass the curd very thinly through the lettuce leaves, leaving a little distance at the edges.

Wrap the lettuce leaves inside and wrap relatively firmly with a measuring tape in a parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 hours in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Enjoy your meal!

Frequently asked questions

How does the KETO diet affect my muscles?

Muscle loss can occur with any diet. Due to the relatively low protein content of the ketogenic diet, muscle loss is certainly possible, but this is minimized and, with the help of sports, additional muscles can be added. This can be a little more difficult than with a regular high carbohydrate diet, but it can be done.

Should I give up carbohydrates permanently?

No. However, for the first two to three months, you should abstain, after which it may even be beneficial to consume more calories and more carbohydrates from time to time. This keeps your metabolism in good shape.

Is my body protein enough?

In a ketogenic diet, there is a sufficient percentage of protein present to counteract muscle loss. Adequate protein - about 35% of the energy requirement - needs to be ingested. Strength training also helps to build muscle. Carbohydrates should be consumed from time to time to increase metabolism. If you consume even more protein, it can lead to an increase in insulin levels and the closure of ketone body formation.