Keto diet - what is it and for whom is it suitable?

foods and a ketogenic diet plan

If, twenty or thirty years ago, someone would have put all the products in two baskets, sorting them according to the principle of maximum and minimum efficiency, then today you should review them thoroughly. The strangest story of that time happened with fat - the latter’s main enemy of humanity is not only fully rehabilitated, but almost declared its savior. Is that so, nutritionist Chris More understands.

Recently, a patient confessed to me that she and her husband ate almost a kilogram of bacon a week - three slices for breakfast and then two more with salad for lunch. I’ve been working as a nutritionist for over twenty years and it would seem like no one would surprise me, but then I still couldn’t resist and asked: why? The patient said her husband was watching a TV show about the keto diet and they decided to give it a try. Six months on the side - and now the man has lost nine pounds and, according to his wife, is almost bursting with energy.

Increasingly, I hear from people about the wonders that the keto diet does for them. They claim that they burn fat in the body, provide energy and conquer disease, and that from now on it is not only possible but also necessary to eat as much fat as you like. But all their enthusiasm needs at least a serious test - is a keto diet that doesn’t limit animal fat intake really that good?

A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that is high in fat and moderate in protein. It was originally used to treat epilepsy in children by increasing the amount of ketones in the blood.

What is ketosis?

Let's start with the name of the diet: where did this "keto" come from? more than necessary ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are products of fat metabolism. They are produced by the liver when insulin levels in the blood fall.

"The liver produces ketone bodies all the time, but their amount depends on the carbohydrates and proteins they eat - the body needs both, " explains Jeff Vololek, a professor at Ohio University.

The breakdown of fat in a healthy human body and the formation of ketone bodies is a normal process called ketogenesis. Unlike ketosis, ketogenesis does not cause significant weight loss. Ketosis is a pathology that, in addition to diabetes and prolonged starvation, can be caused by a keto diet because it barely includes carbohydrate foods from the diet. A person who has developed ketosis loses weight significantly, also due to some other pathologies.

A ketogenic diet forces the body to use fat as its main source of energy. Typically, this role is played by carbohydrates, which are processed into glucose when consumed with food, which is crucial for brain nutrition and function. However, if the diet is low in carbohydrates, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones. Ketone bodies enter the brain and are used as a source of energy instead of glucose. Increased levels of ketone bodies in the blood (ketosis) reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.

According to the keto diet, the main part of the daily diet - from 60 to 80% - is fat, protein - about 15%, and only the remaining 10% are carbohydrates (that is, about half a small bun). At first glance, this may seem like an Atkins diet, but the keto diet involves a stricter restriction of carbohydrates, says Spencer Nadolsky, author of the book "Fat Loss. "metabolism, increased immunity - and in general, various miracles begin to take place in our body.

In normal life, however, we get about half the calories, not a tenth, from carbohydrates. So basically the question arises: can your body be long enough in ketosis to reach the promised nirvana without serious health consequences? Will you literally start exchanging fat?

Is a keto diet right for you?

This may sound strange, but the best diet for you is the one you are used to following. She is good for Twenty-year-old Kolek, but is she right for you? Unfortunately, there is no research into what is going on in the body of a person who has been on a keto diet for a long time. In a weight loss study from A to Z, researchers studied the Atkins diet, zone, LEARN, and some other diets, but in the study, women in the study consumed 25 to 35% of carbohydrates - not even the equivalent of 10% who advise limiting to a keto diet.

The only thing that is really known: by following the keto diet, you will definitely lose weight. 2015In Italy, they studied the performance of people sitting on it and lost an average of about 10 to 12 kilograms in three months. A year earlier in Spain, it became clear that you could lose about 20 kilograms a year this way. True, the following year, subjects often returned to the weight they had before the experiment as soon as they gave up a strict diet.

What will you eat if you decide to try it? First and second that side. Of other products, it will not suit you very well. Starchy vegetables - potatoes, pumpkins, corn - are strictly prohibited, as are most fruits. You will also have to forget about milk, beans, rice and pasta.

Keto diets are difficult to follow and for some it can be dangerous. "Extreme diets, especially keto diets, are strictly forbidden for people with neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, " says Dr. Alan Aragon.

A ketogenic diet is considered optimal for slimming society. However, according to scientific evidence, the effect of weight loss soon after switching to a ketogenic diet is due to a decrease in the amount of water in the body, and the amount of body fat is affected only by energy balance. To lose weight, the energy supplied with food should be less than that spent on physical activity. One of the advantages of a ketogenic diet, like other low-carb diets, is that ketosis, which occurs with low-carb diets, contributes to obesity weight loss. The difference in calories eaten can be up to a thousand kilocalories per day compared to low fat diets. The effects of ketogenic diets are highly dependent on the amount of protein in the diet.

Can I take medications that increase ketones in the body? By no means. Don’t listen to those "consultants" who will assure you that even without any diet, you can cause ketosis with the help of special medications.

So, is a keto diet right for you or not? If you are an extreme athlete, ready to experiment with your body, if you like to take risks and fast results are important to you, give it a try! If you just want to lose a few pounds and have previously experienced the "yo-yo effect" (when a person breaks down and gains more weight than he has managed to lose after a strict diet), then perhaps you should not take any risks. you can learn three lessons that will really come in handy.

  1. Reduce your intake of "empty" carbohydrates. Analyze what foods you consume best from your daily carbohydrate intake: if it's derived from fruits high in fiber and antioxidants, then all is well, but if your carbohydrate sources are candy, soda, and any food, made of white flour What to do: do not hesitate to send them to the trash.
  2. Do not avoid fat. The passion for low-fat food that began in the 1990s can be safely left in the past. Nothing good about that. Often, to compensate for the lack of fat, manufacturers increase the sugar content in such products. Eat fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines at least twice a week. No matter what you make, don’t spare vegetables, especially good - olive - oil.
  3. Eat lots of greens. All leafy vegetables and greens go well with fatty and protein foods - fans of the keto diet eat a lot of them. And you do the same. Eat cabbage, spinach, bok choy, arugula and other types of salads without restrictions.

What happened to my bacon patients? Their nutritional experiments lasted exactly until the moment the child was born. Of course, they immediately forgot about the diet (there is no time to think about it, as the young mother explained). So remember: sooner or later you will wake up regularly to add fat to yourself and return to the usual, familiar food.


fish with vegetables for a ketogenic diet

Salmon and asparagus salad


  • 150 g salmon fillet;
  • 80 g of green asparagus;
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 4 anchovy fillets;
  • 5 cherry tomatoes;
  • 5 large capers (or 6-8 small) - take the capers in salt, not in brine, they must be washed before use;
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion;
  • 6-8 p. l. olive oil;
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard;
  • half a lemon juice.

How to produce:

  1. If you have ever cooked nicoise, you can handle these salads as well. This practically repeats the main dish of Nice, using only fatty salmon instead of tuna and using asparagus instead of green beans (but beans can also be used).
  2. Salmon is best cooked in a steam or slow cooker rather than in a hot pan or hot oven: 20-30 minutes at 80-85 degrees, not higher (otherwise the protein will curl and the fish will look cool). But you can also fry in a pan (just don’t overdo it! ) - the fish should be soft and keep a little transparency inside.
  3. Cook the asparagus. It has to be crispy, so don’t overdo it! Cooking time depends on its size, so we do not recommend leaving the stove - asparagus bakes quickly.
  4. Place the arranged iceberg on a plate (salad should be washed, dried and torn into medium-sized pieces), asparagus, broken salmon into large pieces, halves of cherry tomatoes, anchovies, capers, chopped onions and hard-boiled onions. eggs (ideally the yolk should remain soft instead of liquid). Top of the field with olive oil sauce with Dijon mustard and lemon juice. There is no need to salt the dish - anchovies and capers are already salty enough.

The ketogenic diet is used by athletes who engage in endurance sports such as ultramarathon, triathlon, cycling, etc. for prolonged workouts.

Bacon and lettuce


  • 2 palm-sized salad heads
  • 100 g of bacon;
  • 8 mint twigs;
  • 1 egg yolk;
  • 6 tbsp. l. olive oil and a little more for frying;
  • 1 teaspoon granulated mustard;
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar.

How to produce:

  1. These salads will have to make a slightly more complex sauce: put mint leaves and mustard in a tall glass, add egg yolk, pour sherry vinegar. Whisk with a whisk to shake the mixer.
  2. Cut the salad in half lengthwise and fry quickly on high heat. It should caramelize a bit, that is, acquire a golden brown color, stay fresh and crisp inside. Bake the bacon on a high heat without oil or in the oven until crispy. Put salad, bacon and sauce on a plate. Garnish with mint leaves.