These are very common questions that I have been wondered myself before starting on Ketogenic diet. I thought they should be useful for everyone. Especially who just recently decided to start on Keto Diet.
Is it safe?
There are tons of research and studies during the past 20 years to use Ketogenic diet as a treatment for Obese, Hyperlipidemia, Epilepsy. Studies also indicated that Ketogenic diet decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL. Below are bit of the research papers and articles related.
Isn’t eating lots of fats cause health issue?
- A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia
- Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects
- Is ketosis dangerous?
- Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients
- Better Brain Fuel Source: Carbs or Fats? Glucose or Ketones?
Yes and No. Eating fats will definitely be a problem if your diet still contain high carb. Since the body mainly use the carb as energy source, fats will not be used and stored into your belly…sorry, body. This is surely adding many risk factor for your good health and heart. And, of course, your weight…
Ketogenic diet, however is a different scenario. Since the body has been forced to burn up fats from foods due to very low carb by a Ketosis metabolic process. This has been scientifically and clinically proved to be beneficial and safe to do so.
To sum up, Fats with Carb = Bad. Fats without Carb = Good.
How much fats I need a day?
No matter how your diets are, the body still need the same amount of calories a day. it’s 2500 kcal a day for average man and 2000 kcal for woman. Keep in mind that this is statistic average amount. There are lots of factors involved, some people may have differences in metabolic efficiency or hormones and require more/less calories a day. So if you already have your optimal daily calories intake, you may stick to that numbers. The key is simple, keep the carb low, eat proper food and track your calories.
Noted that if you’re aiming for weight loss, you might have to go a bit deficit in calories.
What about Protein intake?
Ideally, Ketogenic diet should contain 25% in protein. Even the body main fuel are now fats, you still need protein to prevent muscle loss. However, too high in protein can inhibit the Ketosis state and slow your progress as protein can appear in the bloodstream as glucose, raising insulin and inhibiting “Ketogenesis.”
Note that for bodybuilders you still need more protein than regular people (around 1.0g per lean pound)
Anything I need to be careful other than Carb?
While most people know how to avoid carb, you’ll need to watch out for foods that contain hidden carb:
- Tomato sauce, salad dressing and BBQ sauce may contained sugar
- Sugar-free is not a low carb. ex. Sugar-free Cookies still contained carb from flour
- Some “Processed Cheeses” are loaded with carb – check out their nutrition fact first
- Coffee, yes both regular and decaf still contain some carb in it
- Beers, of course you should already knew this!!
- Sausage or any Processed Meat, may contained some ingredients such as beers, sugar or seasoning.
Can I still eat vegetables?
Of course you can, vegetables are very important for us Keto-ers since they provide vital vitamins and nutrients. And more importantly, prevent constipation. However, some are high in carb and you’ll need to be careful such as Carrot, Potato, Corn, Peas, Plantains, Water Chestnuts, Beets or any starchier and sweeter vegetables.
How long to be in Ketosis state?
It depends on many factors such as how strict you are, how much carb/protein intake, activities during the day and one’s metabolism so I’m not able to get the exact date. Usually couple of days to 1-2 weeks.
I’m not sure if I’m already in Ketosis or not?
Many people have experienced the changes in their body (In a good way) and knew it by themselves. There are also some natural indicator that can help you such as faint smell of ammonia in your breath or more often and potent smell change on your urine as ketone in your body are being produced and turned into “Acetone.”
For scientific indicator, there is a “Ketostix” urine tester. Simply pee into the test stick and it will tell you how concentrate of ketone in your urine are. Or more accurate tool like “Blood Ketometer” which will measure blood ketone level.