Keto Basics

May 17, 2019 - Kerri

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What is the Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet. When your body starts to break down the fats it stimulates the body to produce ketones. Ketones are used as a source of energy, the excess fat in your body is released and burned for fuel to energize your body. So the whole idea of the Keto diet is to use the stored excess fat as energy to fuel your body. If this doesn’t sound great already guess what they want you to eat, more things like bacon and fats. Of course there is a limit, you still want to watch your calorie intake. The great thing about this diet is that these hearty foods will keep you feeling full much longer due to fats containing more calories than carbohydrates. You have to eat much less to feel full during the day.

Glycolysis & Ketosis

When eating a high-carbohydrate diet your body gets most of it’s energy from blood glucose. This metabolic state is called glycolysis. This high carbohydrate diet makes your body produce higher levels of insulin, due to the spike in blood glucose after a meal. This high spike in insulin over time can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

With a low-carbohydrate high-fat diet your body will receive most of it’s energy from fat that is broken down and turned into ketones that are burned for energy. This metabolic state is called ketosis. One of the benefits of this is glucose that you have stored in your liver and muscle lowers overtime, so your body will retain less water weight. Fully getting to ketosis can take a few weeks.

Pros to Keto Diet

According to Marcelo Campos, MD at Harvard Health Publishing:

“We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term.”

Marcelo Campos, MD at Harvard Health

Other pros to the Keto diet are you get to add more fats and proteins into your diet. Who doesn’t love that? This low-carbohydrates high-fats diet has also been credited to lower blood sugar, reduce insulin resistance, and improve levels of good cholesterol.

Cons to Keto Diet

According to Marcelo Campos, MD at Harvard Health Publishing:

“A few studies show some patients have increase in cholesterol levels in the beginning, only to see cholesterol fall a few months later. However, there is no long-term research analyzing its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol. Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition. Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems. ”

Marcelo Campos, MD at Harvard Medical

Something else I found while researching the Keto diet was something called the Keto Flu. Yes it is as bad as it sounds, not everybody experiences this but it is your body’s reaction to the lower carbohydrate intake. It’s like a carbohydrate withdraw for your body and the Keto Flu is the result. Some of the symptoms are; nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, and more. There are ways to help avoid or reduce the symptoms of Keto Flu. Things like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating right amount of fats and carbohydrates, and making sure to replace electrolytes. It could take your body up to a few weeks to adapt to the new way of converting energy using fats instead of carbohydrates. As your body becomes accustomed to this new system, symptoms should decrease.


When talking about ratio’s we need to first discuss macro nutrients. The three main macro nutrients that we consume are: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. These macro nutrients are the three most important for providing us with most of our energy. Now we can talk about the ratio’s. Remember that amount of calories you consume daily should be based off of you and will be affected by some factors like activity level and your current lean body weight, and your goal out of the diet. There are many Keto calculators available to accurately calculate your Keto ratio’s.

Generally on the Keto diet you will want to consume

  • 60-75% of your daily calories from fat

  • 15-30% of your daily calories from proteins

  • 5-10% of your daily calories from carbohydrates


    If you would like to see a list of some of the foods and drinks that are OK and the ones to avoid, you can check out this link:

    Things that can make the switch to Keto easier for you. Clean out your kitchen pantry of non-keto foods that might tempt you. Write or print out a list of foods that are Keto friendly and sit down make a week long meal plan and follow through with it. Only one way to get started and that’s just to jump in feet first and try your best to eat your Keto friendly foods and track your macros so you are getting the most out of your diet. There are many free food tracking apps available, some actually have bar code scanners so you can just scan in the items. For me when it comes to food tracking, the easier the more likely I am to continue to track it. I use My Fitness Pal, it works with Android and IOS. I really enjoy this app, it really offers a lot for the price of FREE. Of course you can upgrade and get more out of it but I find the free version suits me just fine. Some of the features available on the dashboard to use are; calorie, macro nutrient, heart healthy(fat, sodium, calories, and cholesterol), and carbohydrate tracking. You can also create a custom tracking dashboard to fit your needs. My Fitness Pal makes tracking your food, exercises, and water intake super easy and convenient. One perk that I really enjoy is you can connect your smart watch to the app. When it comes to imputing meals you can save them so no need to fill out all the ingredients every time. So when you find that super yummy keto snack or dinner just save it to the app. There are many other free tracking apps, but for me My Fitness Pal has been the easiest to use and offers the most. If you have any questions of comments feel free to leave them below.

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