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

what is the keto diet

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

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

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

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

Ketogenic diet menu

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

Considering that in a normal diet, almost half are usually carbohydrates, such a 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 fatty acids, omega-3);
  • Limit your intake of fruit, which is high in carbohydrates. Switch to a low-carb intake of low-carb fruits and berries;
  • Always eat only when you are hungry. Even if it's only one meal a day. Don't let others dictate what to eat or when. You should not deliberately cut back on food, but you should stop eating when you are not hungry, even if the plate is not yet empty, set it aside for later;
  • Don't count calories. Listen to your body. Ketogenic or low-carbohydrate diets alone restore healthy hunger and satiety;
  • Increase your water intake to 2-3 liters per day;
  • Learn to eat natural foods such as eggs, meat and non-starchy vegetables (anything that grows from the soil);
  • 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 on a ketogenic diet or a keto diet will be mainly fat and protein. The list will be as follows:

  • Low-carb vegetables: spinach and other green leafy vegetables, avocados, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, tomatoes, onions;
  • Avocado and berries: raspberries, blackberries and other berries;
  • Fish rich in polyunsaturated fats: salmon, sardine, 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, mozzarella or unsweetened yogurt;
  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds;
  • Olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil;
  • Salt, pepper, spices, mustard.

Use unsaturated fatty acids to dress your salad, such as olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, or avocado oil.

Some of these can also be used for cooking. Avoid processed vegetable oils such as margarine, soybean oil, corn germ oil, and grape seed oil.

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

keto fish

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

On a keto diet, it's not so much the total calories consumed as the type of food consumed. These are mainly fats and some proteins. You can follow the examples of 30 or 50 day ketogenic diets, however, they are quite harsh and difficult to follow. You can combine these foods to your liking, preparing meals other than the list of allowed foods. A sample menu will be a suggestion for a varied diet for several days or weeks.

Prohibited products

The following carbohydrate-rich foods should be limited in the ketogenic diet:

  • Fruits: they contain sugar, in the form of fructose, which is a carbohydrate;
  • Foods that should be avoided the most: dates, figs, grapes, mangoes, cherries, banana, mandarin and apple;
  • Fruits that should be less avoided and that can be eaten from time to time (from less to more carbohydrates): 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;
  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, asparagus;
  • Sweets and cakes, pastries;
  • Carbonated and sugary drinks and juices;
  • Processed foods and cooked meals (often high in unhealthy fats and carbohydrates).

The ketogenic diet and alcohol?

Can I drink alcohol while on a ketogenic diet?

And if so, which alcohol has the least carbohydrates?

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

One thing is clear: If you really want to lose weight fast, you need to stop alcohol completely, because alcohol stops burning fat.

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

High carbohydrate alcohol:

  • Beer;
  • Liquor;
  • Cocktail;
  • Wine (sweet, semi-sweet).

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

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

Low carbohydrate alcohol:

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

The ketogenic diet: which vitamins and minerals do I need in addition?

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

Potassium, sodium and magnesiumare important micronutrients that should be the center of attention during a ketogenic diet. If you do not consume 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 condiment. However, salt holds water in the body, which can contribute to swelling. So everything needs a measure.


Extreme low carb diets often suffer from inadequate amounts of magnesium. Eat extra almonds and other nuts or take magnesium on its own as a supplement.


Potassium is abundant in oily fish such as salmon, mushrooms and avocado. 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 software plans is usually the logistics and food preparation. We know that each of us has a stressful daily life. Whether it's a busy mom or business woman who travels frequently for business trips or business dinners.

Often our daily life sabotages our food schedules and we are not always able to carry out all our plans.

It is for these problems that there are useful solutions and tips on how to stay on a diet despite the busy daily life.

What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?

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


  • It is not necessary to count calories and it is much more effective for losing weight on a low-carb diet than on a low-fat diet;
  • Many people who follow this type of weight loss diet lose more than twice as many pounds as those who follow a calorie restricted diet alone. And this allows them to eat without starvation and maintain a healthy weight;
  • is faster for weight loss than those other diets based on consuming high-protein, low-fat foods.

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 discomfort, are often the cause.

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


Several studies have tried to assess whether lowering dietary sugar can have a positive impact on cancer control.


  • cancer cells multiply at a faster rate;
  • your energy metabolism is accelerating;
  • The intake of
  • glucose (carbohydrates) is also higher;
  • cells use fat or protein for the energy they need to grow.

Appropriate ketogenic diet:

  • is a support measure;
  • can never replace 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 keto diet is able to reduce the incidence of seizures and be convenient for adjunct therapy.

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

The exact mechanism by which the keto diet reduces seizures in epilepsy is unknown. However, this appears to be a consequence of the metabolic and energetic changes taking place in the brain by the ketone bodies stabilizing their electrical activity.

For Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease, some heart disease, acne and other ailments can be helped with low-carb diets such as ketogenic diets.

Disadvantages of the keto diet

  • No specific side effects have been reported with these types of diets. Some bothersome 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 cutting down on 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 the consumption of high-fat foods. However, blood sugar levels drop and HDL cholesterol levels improve, and the diet itself implies weight loss, and this will certainly have a positive effect on blood pressure.
  • Also, people who have high blood uric acid levels should remember that such diets can increase the risk of gout.
  • A common disadvantage of all weight loss diets is the "fixative" effect at the end of the diet. Eating habits can take over and the lost pounds can come back again.
  • It is best for proper nutrition to plan dietary changes from the very beginning in the medium and long term. You need to supplement your eating habits with regular exercise for the health benefits to be felt.

Therefore, it 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

Starting with a ketogenic diet in everyday life

  • If possible, remove everything from your home that does not fit this form of feeding. It's easy to get off the rails when you know you have what you want to eat at your house.
  • Always make a list of the foods you want to cook next week. Especially immediately for the next 2 weeks.
  • Always keep hard-boiled eggs and chicken fillets at home, this 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 on the go.
  • If you travel, you can bring your own dish of dried chicken and a bag of mini tomatoes, peppers or hard boiled eggs without having to resort to dry sandwiches or other junk food.
  • When you meet friends or go shopping, for sure, somewhere you can find food with healthy and necessary food for you.
  • In case you are craving sweets, drinking a glass of water with a drop of lemon juice or green tea or coffee with added 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.

Stages of the ketogenic diet

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

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

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

How can I measure ketosis?

Ketosis can be found in the 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 over the course of the day. Your body uses them best as an energy source.

This is 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 remain close to 35% and that you exercise. Therefore, you will maintain your lean body mass and may even increase it, unlike other diets.

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

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

Recipes for the KETO diet:

Omelette with green asparagus

keto asparagus omelette


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


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

In a preheated oven at 180 ° C, bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown;
Serve in slices.

Tomato and avocado salad


  • Small red onion 1
  • Tomatoes 2
  • Avocado 2
  • Lime 1
  • ground cumin
  • ground coriander
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Peel and finely chop the onion;
  • Finely cut the tomatoes into cubes;
  • Core, peel and cut the avocado;
  • Rinse the hot lime, dry and finely grate a little peel;
  • Squeeze the lime juice.

Lime juice, grated zest, onion cubes, 1 pinch of cumin, 1 pinch of coriander, salt and pepper, stir in the peel. Mix the avocado and tomatoes 5 minutes later and leave the lettuce to infuse for about 10 minutes.

Turkey in lettuce

keto turkey


  • Large lettuce leaves (e. g. romaine salad) 8 pcs.
  • Radish 1 bunch
  • Arco (1 package)
  • Ricotta (6 tablespoons) 120 gr.
  • Thin slices of turkey ham (8 thin slices of turkey ham or smoked turkey)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Wash and dry the lettuce leaves;
  • Peel, wash and dice the radish;
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the onion;
  • 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;
Apply a thin layer of curd on the lettuce leaves, leaving some distance from the edges.

Wrap the lettuce leaves inward and wrap them relatively tightly with a tape measure in a parchment paper wrap 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, it is also possible to add additional muscle. This can be a little more difficult than on a normal high-carb diet, but it can be done.

Do I have to give up carbohydrates permanently?

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

Are my body's proteins sufficient?

In a ketogenic diet, there is a sufficient percentage of protein present to counteract muscle loss. It is necessary to ingest adequate proteins, about 35% of the energy requirement. Strength training also helps build muscle. Carbohydrates should be eaten from time to time to boost metabolism. If you consume even more protein, this can lead to increased insulin levels and shutting down the formation of the ketone body.