What is the keto diet

The ketogenic diet was developed for the treatment and prevention of certain diseases, but it proved to be so effective in the fight against excess weight that it quickly became widespread as one of the effective methods of losing weight. Now it is used by athletes, entrepreneurs and Hollywood stars. It belongs to the group of low-carbohydrate diets, that is, it contains a minimum amount of saccharides, but a lot of fats and proteins. The daily diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in percentage looks like this: 20/55/5, respectively.


The keto diet excludes fast and most complex carbohydrates, but it contains a considerable amount of fat. It is known that saccharides are the main source of energy for the brain, but when their intake is sharply reduced (less than 20 g per day), the body starts the process of ketosis, that is, begins to use the stored fat. This is a natural mechanism of adaptation to the conditions of deficiency of plant foods rich in carbohydrates. As a result, ketone bodies are formed in the liver from fatty acids, which act as an alternative fuel. Normally, they are synthesized exactly as much as the body needs to provide it with energy, that is, they are all utilized. Ketosis can also be triggered by a complete fast for several days, but this approach is hardly useful. The ketogenic diet is less stressful in this regard, because you don’t have to starve at all.

The following signs indicate that the body is entering a state of ketosis:

  • increased fatigue and weakness at the beginning of the dietary period (this is a reaction to a carbohydrate deficiency, after a few days the condition returns to normal);
  • an increase in blood β-hydroxybutyrate (beta-hydroxybutyric acid belongs to ketone bodies) and a decrease in glucose (these indicators are determined by laboratory methods, normally the level of ketones in the blood should not exceed 0.5-3 mmol / l, glucose – 4.5– 5 mmol / L);
  • the smell of acetone from the mouth, from urine and sweat;
  • a sharp decrease in body weight in the first week (at first, water with glycogen leaves), then the weight will not decrease so intensively;
  • decreased appetite.


Like all low-carb diets, the keto diet involves a complete rejection of sugar, sweets, baked goods, desserts, and sugary fruits. Carbohydrates in the daily diet are minimized. Instead, the consumption of fats, including those of animal origin, increases, and an abundant drinking of ordinary water is also assumed. As a rule, about 150 g of fat, 90 g of protein and no more than 50 g of carbohydrates are consumed per day.


With a normal diet, the body stores fats for a rainy day, and uses carbohydrates as fuel. But when the saccharides are not supplied, ketosis is triggered. Since the calorie content of food with a keto diet is quite high, there is no feeling of hunger, the risk of breakdowns is minimal, and sharp jumps in blood glucose levels are also not observed. Due to the fact that there are a lot of fats and proteins in the diet, excess weight does not go away quickly, but even after giving up the diet, the lost kilograms will not return within a short time, since there is no sharp change in the calorie intake.


The keto diet has several options, differing in the amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates (in percentage):

  • target 65–70 / 20 / 10–15;
  • cyclical 75 / 15–20 / 5–10 on weekdays; 25/25/50 on weekends);
  • high protein 60–65 / 30 / 5–10.
    • Target is used most often by athletes, since they need more carbohydrates (about 70-80 g). They eat them before and after training.
    • Cyclic offers a more balanced diet on weekends, but strict restrictions on the remaining 5 days.
    • It is difficult to call a high-protein keto diet ketogenic because it does not trigger the process of ketosis, but the desired effect is noted in terms of weight loss. In this case, almost 120 g of protein and 130 g of fat are consumed.


Practice has proven that the ketogenic diet is really effective as a weight loss aid. It allows you to lose weight without losing muscle tissue and the need to starve. This is its main advantage. It permits snacks and does not require a complete rejection of fried foods and salt. At the same time, meat can be eaten with any other permitted products. However, it is not balanced and therefore cannot be recommended for long-term use. Recommendations on the calorie content of foods are not given, however, experts say that it is better not to exceed 5000 kcal per day, otherwise the effectiveness will be negligible.

In addition, the following positive phenomena were noted:

  • improving the condition of the skin in those who previously suffered from acne;
  • no surges in blood pressure, minimal risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • slowing down the growth of various types of tumors, including oncological;
  • a noticeable decrease in the manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, epilepsy.


With all the positive aspects, the keto diet has its drawbacks:

  • the smell of acetone, and the more intense weight loss occurs, the stronger it is, but this is not considered a pathology;
  • increased irritability, insomnia, headaches, and nausea when starting ketosis;
  • constipation due to fiber deficiency;
  • the risk of developing ketoacidosis (too many ketone bodies are formed, due to which the acid-base balance of the body shifts towards oxidation).


The ketogenic diet is prohibited under the following conditions:

  • pregnancy and lactation;
  • high cholesterol;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • gastrointestinal diseases, kidney problems;
  • malfunctions of the thyroid gland;
  • porphyria.


  • Meat, poultry, fish and seafood with no fat content restrictions.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Unrefined vegetable oils, butter, animal fat, mayonnaise and other sauces, but without sugar and starch in the composition.
  • Nuts, seeds.
  • Green vegetables, herbs, unsweetened fruits, citrus fruits.
  • High fat dairy products.
  • Cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Mineral water, tea, decaf coffee.
  • Protein shakes for sports nutrition.


  • Vegetables high in starch (potatoes, carrots, or other root vegetables).
  • Sweet fruits (bananas, figs, dates, persimmons, grapes, apricots).
  • Sugar, desserts, baked goods, flour products, cereals.
  • Legumes.
  • Store packaged juices.
  • Caffeine, alcohol.


1 day

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, beef chop.
  • Second breakfast: protein shake.
  • Lunch: fish baked with vegetables, brown rice or buckwheat.
  • Afternoon snack: cottage cheese with nuts or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
  • Dinner: chicken fillet (boiled), vegetable salad, seasoned with olive oil.

2 day

  • Breakfast: brown rice, whole grain bread, avocado.
  • Second breakfast: soup with meat, meatballs, vegetable salad.
  • Lunch: fat cottage cheese, apple.
  • Afternoon snack: seafood, cheese.
  • Dinner: fermented baked milk, yogurt (without fillers) or high fat kefir.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs and ham, whole grain crisps, butter.
  • Second breakfast: 2 eggs, cheese.
  • Lunch: chicken soup, steak, vegetable salad.
  • Afternoon snack: yogurt (no fillers).
  • Dinner: mushrooms baked with cheese, vegetable salad seasoned with sour cream.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: fish cutlets, vegetable salad, yogurt (no fillers).
  • Second breakfast: cottage cheese with nuts.
  • Lunch: borscht, salad with meat or eggs, seasoned with mayonnaise without sugar and starch.
  • Afternoon snack: protein shake.
  • Dinner: fish baked with asparagus, cheese.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: boiled eggs (steep or soft-boiled), boiled chicken fillet, vegetable salad with butter.
  • Second breakfast: whole grain bread, cheese.
  • Lunch: puree soup with boiled sausage, meat salad.
  • Afternoon snack: apples or pears (unsweetened).
  • Dinner: baked fish, green vegetable salad.

6 day

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, cheese.
  • Second breakfast: 2 oranges.
  • Lunch: fish soup, grilled vegetables, chicken cutlets.
  • Afternoon snack: protein shake.
  • Dinner: boiled chicken fillet, seafood (salad).

Day 7

  • Breakfast: bread with peanut butter, omelet with herbs and cheese.
  • Second breakfast: fatty cottage cheese with nuts.
  • Lunch: chicken broth soup, beef cutlets, vegetable salad.
  • Afternoon snack: full-fat yogurt without fillers.
  • Dinner: boiled fish, grilled vegetables.


1 day

  • Breakfast: omelet, vegetable salad with meat or boiled sausage.
  • Second breakfast: cheese, apple.
  • Lunch: fatty meat broth, brown rice with vegetables.
  • Afternoon snack: yogurt without fillers.
  • Dinner: red fish baked with vegetables.

2 day

  • Breakfast: fish zrazy, bread with ham.
  • Second breakfast: avocado with sesame seeds or flax seeds.
  • Lunch: borsch, fish cutlet, vegetables.
  • Afternoon snack: fermented baked milk.
  • Dinner: entrecote, herbs.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: omelet with ham, fresh vegetable salad.
  • Second breakfast: cottage cheese with nuts.
  • Lunch: chicken broth, rabbit meat, salad.
  • Afternoon snack: yogurt or kefir.
  • Dinner: zucchini pancakes, baked chicken fillet.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: meat salad (meat, boiled eggs, vegetables).
  • Second breakfast: cheese.
  • Lunch: fish soup, meat cutlets, vegetable salad.
  • Afternoon snack: fermented baked milk.
  • Dinner: liver pate, salad of green vegetables, seasoned with olive oil.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: turkey, peanut butter loaf.
  • Second breakfast: nuts.
  • Lunch: cream soup, fish cakes.
  • Afternoon snack: fermented baked milk.
  • Dinner: champignons baked with cheese, vegetables.

6 day

  • Breakfast: cheese cakes, apple.
  • Second breakfast: avocado.
  • Lunch: chicken broth, green vegetable salad, seasoned with sour cream or fatty yogurt.
  • Afternoon snack: fermented baked milk.
  • Dinner: chicken sausages, cucumbers.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bread, avocado and ham.
  • Second breakfast: cheese.
  • Lunch: mushroom puree soup, chicken fillet, grilled vegetables.
  • Afternoon snack: yogurt.
  • Dinner: cabbage rolls.

If the main meals are not enough, a handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, 90% dark chocolate, and a sugar-free milkshake can be used as a snack.



Some people may initially experience fatigue, insomnia, irritability, decreased attention, and intestinal discomfort. These symptoms are called ketofluenza and are associated with the onset of ketosis. They usually go away after a few days. To alleviate the condition, it is recommended to switch to the keto diet not immediately, but to gradually reduce the level of carbohydrate intake.


This is possible because it changes the water and mineral balance. To prevent the occurrence of this unpleasant phenomenon, mineral supplements should be taken: sodium, potassium and magnesium.


The proportion of protein in the diet should not exceed 35%, otherwise insulin may increase and ketones decrease.


It is very important to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake at the beginning of the course, but after 2-3 months you can afford some dessert, and then return to the diet again.

A ketogenic diet can be followed for a long time, with the right approach and the absence of chronic diseases of the digestive system, it will only benefit, but if the side effects persist for a long period, it is better to refuse it and consult a doctor.


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