Keto Diet Rules: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Keto 
Low-carb and No-carb are the words on everyone’s lips right now, as the ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly popular. But what exactly is this extreme diet and how can it help improve our lives?
The keto diet is a low-carb diet that is based on a high-fat and extremely low-carbohydrate intake. One of the best-known representatives of this diet is the Atkins diet. Due to the lack of carbohydrates, the body burns more fat as a source of energy as it enters into a physical state called “ketosis”.
The Keto Diet explained: The body gains energy from the carbohydrates it receives from food; it is heavily dependent on the supply of carbohydrates.
If these carbs are missing from our diet, then the body is forced to get the energy it needs another way.
To do that, the liver starts converting fats into ketones, which are used instead of carbohydrates to generate energy and maintain optimal brain performance brain.
According to researchers, ketones could protect nerve cells and have anti-inflammatory effects.
This condition of energy production is called “ketosis” and is the concept on which the keto diet is based. Keep in mind, that this diet will take the body a while to get used to it.
How does the Keto Diet work?
The keto diet uses the body’s mechanisms: if the body gets more carbohydrates than it needs to generate energy, it stores them as fat.
Insulin, which acts as a storage hormone for carbohydrate storage, also inhibits fat burning. Due to the lack of carbohydrates during the keto diet, the body changes its metabolism as the fat deposits are broken down for energy.
To achieve this ketogenic state, you should only consume 30 grams of carbohydrates per day, which equates to approximately 40 grams of pasta.
The recommendation of the National Lipid Association (NLA) for the daily carbohydrate intake as part of a balanced diet is well over 200 grams for an adult (with a daily calorie amount of approx. 2,000 calories).
To do this, the ketogenic diet requires a lot of protein in the form of meat and eggs to prevent muscle atrophy. The fat intake is also drastically increased in order to signal the body that it is constantly being replenished, so it does not need to store fat.
A ratio of energy sources of 70 to 80% fat, 20 to 25% protein and 5% or fewer carbohydrates are recommended. There is also a moderate variant, in which 70$ of the energy is generated from fat, 10% from protein, and 20% from carbohydrates.
Here, 60% of fat comes from medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs, e.g. in palm and coconut fat), which are said to produce more ketone bodies per unit.
So what exactly are ketones?
The so-called ketones are made from the fat stored in the liver. They supply your brain and body with energy.
This contrasts with glucose metabolism, in which the energy primarily obtained via carbohydrates. Most people eat this way because carbohydrates are in a lot of food.
If you have hyperglycemia, what’s actually happening in the body is that you don’t have enough insulin and too much sugar in your bloodstream.
Without insulin, the cells can’t open the door to let the sugar from the bloodstream into the cell where it’s needed in order to keep the body going.
In general, insulin is the key that unlocks the cell to let the energy in.
One of the main factors leading up to that condition is when ketones start to form.
Now if the body can’t access the sugar in the bloodstream, its emergency response is to break down fat.
In fact, the body does start to break down fat it is one of the Keto Diet complications. The extreme buildup of ketones can lead to brain and muscle damage.
Just because you have high blood sugar doesn’t necessarily mean you have ketones.
Just like getting a blood test, you can test for ketones.
You’re probably only going to need to use ketone testing if you are ill or if you’ve got sustained high blood sugar.
Probably the biggest advantage of ketones is that they supply you with energy more efficiently and more quickly. They are converted into energy by your body in just a few steps before then being transported to your muscles and brain.
If you look at the carbohydrates in comparison, the benefits of ketones are more than obvious. Carbohydrates need 26 conversion steps!
And this is where the second important advantage comes into play, which is shown by a study conducted by the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics in Washington.
This study measured the impact of ketones on insulin levels, and since eating carbohydrates increases and decreases insulin levels, you can feel it in your performance.
However, the study showed that the ketones kept the insulin level stable. As a result, your athletic and mental performance remain stable!
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state of your body where it gets energy from fat.
In this case, the body changes from sugar metabolism to that of fat and begins using fat for energy.
This metabolic state, in which ketones are used to generate energy, is known as ketosis. If the blood sugar level in your body drops, i.e. there is not enough sugar for energy, then the body looks for another source of energy.
Most people do this by using sugar or glucose for energy. Glucose is generated from carbohydrates, which are increasingly contained in foods such as pasta, rice, etc., and are either used directly for energy as glycogen or converted into fat and stored in the body when it is not used for energy.
Ketones play an important role in the first weeks of our lives and they are of great importance to the brain of the newborn.
What’s the Difference between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis?
Ketosis is a controlled increase in the level of ketones in the blood. It happens either through fasting or through special diets, such as the keto diet.
This condition is safe for the body as things are kept under control with the help of insulin, kidneys, gluconeogenesis, and other biochemical processes.
While ketosis is natural and harmless, ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition.
Ketoacidosis is a dangerous complication of the keto diet caused by the lack of insulin in the blood. It is an acute complication of type 1 diabetes, but it rarely occurs in those with type 2 diabetes.
In the absence of insulin, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells and cannot serve as an energy source.
When that happens, the body begins to feel an acute lack of energy and works to start breaking down fats, producing ketone bodies in huge quantities in an uncontrolled manner.
The high proportion of ketones makes the blood acidic. High glucose levels together with the high amount of ketones also change the osmolality of the blood and can lead to cell dehydration.
If left untreated, it would cause dizziness, a fruity smell from the mouth, coma, and multiple organ failure. You should seek medical attention immediately to treat ketoacidosis.
The important thing is that NO ONE who produces insulin can develop ketoacidosis! Ketogenesis is regulated by a feedback loop.
If the ketone levels rise to a certain threshold, the body releases insulin and ketone production is inhibited.
Although ketosis and ketoacidosis both lead to an increase in ketone levels in the body, they are not the same and must be treated differently.
Nutritional ketosis is the goal of the ketogenic diet and is generally safe, where ketoacidosis is a potentially dangerous complication in type 1 diabetes.
Atkins vs. Keto: What’s No One is Talking About
So, let’s get right into the science of the Keto diet:
The main difference between the Keto and Atkins diet is that the Keto diet is a type of very low-carb diet with very low carbohydrate intake, while the Atkins diet is a type of low-carbohydrate diet with moderate carbohydrate intake.
Keto is more of a lifestyle than a diet, as a ketogenic diet radically changes the fuel of your metabolism as it puts the body into ketosis.
The benefits of keto aren’t just reduced to weight loss though, and you’ll see results quickly, too, whereas the Atkins is basically just a quick weight loss plan that not lead to a significant change in the regular metabolism.
The two diets are only the same in the initial phase since the Atkins diet also has the same nutritional guidelines as keto in the first phase.
In the early stages of the Atkins diet, carbohydrate intake is set at 20 to 25 grams per day, which boosts fat burning as the body won’t have any glucose stores after a few days.
The keto diet dictates that a person who consumes 2,500 calories a day should eat about 30 grams of carbohydrates.
The initial phase of the Atkins diet can, therefore, be compared to a keto diet. It is not surprising that dieters experience the greatest weight loss effects at this stage.
After that, however, is when the two diets start to differ.
While the macronutrient distribution in keto always remains the same, the Atkins diet allows more and more carbohydrates after the initial phase has ended.
In phases 2, 3, and 4, the carbohydrate intake increases from 25 grams to up to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, causing the body to switch back to the glucose metabolism.
Another difference is that the Atkins diet places less emphasis on eating fats than the keto diet. In ketonic nutrition, 80% of all calories should come from fats in order to promote ketone production.
With the Atkins diet, it doesn’t matter whether you eat protein or fat.
The initial weight loss from the Atkins diet actually occurs but it is unlikely to continue because there is no metabolic change.
However, if you follow the keto diet, you will continue to lose weight and benefit from the new metabolism.
As already mentioned, at first glance, these two diets appear very similar, since both focus on the reduction of carbohydrates.
This is also the reason why many people do not see the differences, even though they predominate in the long term.
A ketogenic diet is a certain form of diet that will change your metabolism in the long term, while the Atkins diet is easy to implement and will reduce your weight in the short term, but it will have fewer health benefits in the long term.
Therefore, according to this article, it should be clear that keto is superior to the Atkins diet, also because this form of nutrition brings long-term health benefits.
However, if the ketogenic diet is too radical for you and you only want to lose a few pounds, the Atkins diet is certainly an efficient way to achieve this goal.
Here’s a quick Keto food list to get started
Choosing your first Keto Meal Plan may seem difficult at first, but it’s not as complicated as you might think.
Your focus should be on reducing carbohydrates while increasing fat and protein levels.
In order to achieve and maintain a state of ketosis, while benefitting from the numerous health benefits of the ketogenic diet, your intake of carbohydrates must be drastically restricted.
While certain people can only achieve ketosis by eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, others can be successful with much higher carbohydrate intake.
In general, the lower the carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to achieve and maintain ketosis.
Therefore, the best way to successfully lose weight on a ketogenic diet is to stick to non-carbohydrate keto foods and avoid high-carbohydrate foods.
What Can You Eat on a Keto Diet?
If you follow a keto meal plan, your meals and snacks should mainly consist of the following keto-friendly food list:
- Eggs: Organic free-range eggs are the best choice
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey
- Oily Fish & Seafood: wild salmon, herring, mackerel, clams, octopus, squid
- Meat: organic beef, game, krona
- Dairy products (full fat): yogurt, butter, and cream
- Cheese: cheddar, Tofu, mozzarella, brie, goat cheese, cream cheese
- Nuts and seeds: macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and flaxseeds
- Nut butter: Natural peanut, almond, and cashew butter varieties
- Healthy Fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter, and sesame oil
- Avocados: Whole avocados can be added to almost any meal or snack
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: salads, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers Spices: salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and spices.
- Drinks: water, almond milk, coconut milk, unsweetened coffee and tea, lemon.
What can you not eat on a keto diet?
Avoid all carbohydrate-rich foods during your keto meal plan.
The following Keto food list should be restricted as they contain too many carbohydrates:
- Bread and Baked Goods: white bread, whole-meal bread, rolls, rolls, biscuits, pastries, and cakes
- Sweets and Sugary Foods: sugar,honey, ice cream, sweets, maple syrup, agave syrup, and coconut sugar
- Sweetened Drinks: lemonade, fruit juices, sweetened teas, energy drinks, and sports drinks
- Pasta: Any kind of pasta, such as noodle, spaghetti, ravioli, etc.
- Cereals: wheat, rice, oats, pizza, breakfast cereals, flatbread, and tortillas
- Starchy Vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas and pumpkin
- Beans and Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans
- Fruit: citrus fruits, grapes, bananas and pineapples
- Carbohydrate-rich sauces: barbecue sauce, ketchup, ready-made salad dressings and dip sauces
- Alcoholic Beverages: beer and mixed sugary drinks
- Unhealthy Fats: margarine, artificial trans fats, and vegetable oils, such as rapeseed and sunflower oil
- Processed Foods: fast food, packaged foods and processed meats such as sausage, salami, and breaded meat
- Additives: Foods containing artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners such as sugar, alcohol, and aspartame
Although this ketogenic diet should limit carbohydrates, fruits with a low glycemic index, such as blueberries, and raspberries, can be eaten in small amounts (especially if you exercise a lot).
How to Cure the Keto Flu
Once you change your eating habits and eat little to no carbohydrates as part of your keto diet, your body will need some time to adapt to this lifestyle change.
Before jumping into what you can do about the keto flu, you should first understand why your body reacts in such a way in the first place.
If you drastically change your diet and start consuming significantly fewer carbohydrates, you will reduce the glycogen stores and therefore a lot of water and salt in the first few days.
This can lead to the following symptoms: headaches and limb pain, fatigue, irritability, a general feeling of weakness. These are all the symptoms that we experience when we have the flu.
Hence the names, such as keto flu, low-carb flu, carb hangover, or even the Atkins flu.
For some people, this change can be worse than it is for others. You will soon notice which group you belong to.
The initial keto flu symptoms usually might appear three to five days after the diet change. The intensity of symptoms varies from person to person.
It is often said in the media that a low-carb or keto diet is dangerous, which may really feel that way in the first few days of the diet.
But the body simply needs some time to switch from one energy source to another, i.e. from carbohydrates to fat.
When changing diets, the carbohydrate workers are suddenly prescribed short-time work and the fat workers are not yet prepared for the heavy lifting.
It simply takes a certain amount of time for your body to run smoothly again, which is the phase called “Ketoadaptation”.
However, the state of keto flu is only temporary! At most, you will feel the symptoms for an entire week.
But what can be done to alleviate the keto flu fast? A popular remedy is to drink bone broth, which provides everything the body lacks in the conversion phase.
If you need help very quickly, we recommend drinking a glass of lukewarm water with half a teaspoon of salt.
If you are about to change your diet, it is advisable to use more salt at this stage and drink a cup of bone broth every day.
If you are affected by the keto flu, below are ten 10 practical tips that you should follow. These can be integrated immediately and easily into your everyday life and will help your body with the conversion.
How long it takes for the body to be perfectly adapted to ketosis is different to each individual.
In younger and more athletic people, it usually takes a week. In rare cases, it can take up to a month. The more support you give your body, the faster the changeover.
In general, it is advisable to exercise only moderately during the changeover phase. Only when the body has switched to fat metabolism is there again plenty of energy for sports.
The energy tank of fat is much larger than that of carbohydrates.
TIPS ON FIGHTING THE KETO FLU:
- Drink more water! Your carbohydrate reserves are now completely empty, and with them, the body has also lost water. In addition, the adrenal gland must change hormone production. Drinking more water also helps the circulatory system.
- Avoid stress: Stress in everyday life, at work, at home, or due to poor sleep sabotages ketogenesis immensely. Therefore, try to avoid stress wherever possible.
- Exercise: Fat burning runs smoother the more you move. This means traveling more on foot or by bicycle instead of driving and climbing the stairs instead of taking a lift.
- More salt: Since the hormonal system and metabolism must change, more salt also helps to make this change. It also helps to suppress cravings and keep circulation stable.
- Cold shower: Try to start with a cold shower every day. This not only makes you awake and fresh but also supports fat burning.
- Light endurance sport: In the changeover phase, the athletic performance does not have to correspond to the usual intensity level. Light endurance sports are also enough and help the body gradually improve fat burning. A bit of endurance exercise every day is purposeful and stimulates fat burning.
- Fewer sweeteners: With the ketogenic diet comes also the renunciation of the popular drug number #1, the sugar. However, replacing sugar 1:1 with sweeteners is not effective, as these too can have an impact on metabolism and blood sugar levels.
- Sleep well: Without a good night’s rest, it will do nothing good for ketosis. The body regenerates in sleep, processes what is learned, and without the metabolic hormones formed during sleep, your liver will have a hard time forming ketone bodies. Make sure to have at least seven hours of high-quality sleep per night.
- Ginger: Ginger is underestimated, but very effective for the keto flu. Ginger during cooking, chewing, or as ginger supports both concentration and metabolism.
- Fiber: Fiber keeps you full and satisfied and nourishes your gut bacteria. The little helpers in the intestine have a big effect on cravings and metabolism and should be just as full and satisfied as you. Therefore, make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and nuts as well as a few berries.
With these 10 tips, you are already well prepared and can make the keto flu disappear in no time.
Discipline is required
Basically, the patient must assume a two-year duration of treatment, which must be carried out consistently and demands a high degree of discipline from the individual sufferer.
In close collaboration with dietitians , special diets are designed that also allow children to enjoy access to ketogenic food.
One of the principles of successful therapy is not only strict adherence to the nutritional plan, but also a permanent control over the course, which must be carefully monitored and documented.
Exemplary is the children’s hospital in Zurich, where in about 50 percent of the treated children, the diet did not bring the desired result, achieved in the other but serious achievements.
In one third of the young patients, the seizure frequency was reduced by 75 to 90 percent. Completely seizure-free, at the end of therapy even proved to be around 10
Is the Keto Diet safe?
The ketogenic diet is very strict and can help you lose weight. But it’s not for everyone!
There is no food plan with prescribed meals, but the high percentage of fat and protein can lead to indigestion, fatigue, and even vomiting in the initial phase.
The switch from carbohydrates to fats is enormous for the body. For this reason, the so-called “keto flu” can occur, especially in the first few days.
Many people who follow a ketogenic diet have an unpleasant odor, like acetone. It is precisely this propagated effectiveness that is difficult to prove scientifically. Reliable statements on effectiveness are made very cautiously.
Many experts are particularly critical of the extremely low vitamin and extremely high fat and protein intake over a long period of time.
Also, if you have a kidney condition or type 1 diabetes, you should stay away from the extreme amounts of fat and protein.
With skin diseases, such as psoriasis (psoriasis), fats – depending on the type of fat – have a very different effect.
Amazingly, those fats that are generally considered to be healthy, like the medium-chain fatty acids from coconut oil, exacerbated the condition, especially when combined with omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or from vegetable sources, such as nuts and seeds.
Ketogenic diets with large amounts of medium-chain fatty acids combined with omega-3 fatty acids should therefore not be practiced for inflammatory skin diseases, as they could aggravate the inflammatory processes
We also now know how important it is to pay attention to choosing the right fats.
In addition, there is a risk of ketoacidosis, i.e. the acidification of the blood by ketone bodies. This can be life-threatening!
The risk of cardiovascular diseases also increases because cholesterol levels are usually increased. The high-fat and high-protein diet can also strain on the liver and kidneys.
The insufficient supply of vitamins and minerals threatens deficiency symptoms.
The switch from carbohydrates to fats is an enormous one for the body to undertake. For this reason, the “keto flu” can occur, the side effects including dizziness, headache, constipation, and fatigue.
In addition, ketones can acidify the body and cause bad breath and heartburn. The uric acid level rises, and with it the risk of gout and kidney stones.
The triumphal procession of the ketogenic diet was not limited to the US, but also attracted worldwide attention. In about 45 countries, it has taken on renowned clinics of this diet and predominantly successfully treated especially children.
More successful work is currently being done in the USA in this field. The resounding successes, it is believed, are due to the fact that children are put on the ketogenic diet much earlier.
Successes at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore proved to be exemplary.
After just one year of diet, nearly half of the children treated in this way reduced the
frequency of seizures by more than 90 percent. A summary conference showed that drug studies in the sector did not reflect the positive results over the comparable period as in the ketogenic diet.
The bottom Line
Even if the keto diet promises rapid success while on the scale, this diet should not be regarded as a permanent form of nutrition. Because it is a huge metabolism shift and can lead to a mineral and vitamin deficiency.
If you want to try the ketogenic diet (possibly for medical reasons), you should only do this under the advice of your doctor.