Keto Diet, How to Do It? Benefits and Risks

The premise of the keto diet or ketogenic diet to eliminate or reduce carbohydrates as much as possible and go to fats and proteins is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular.

This low-carbohydrate, high-fat meal plan shares many similarities with low-carbohydrate diets. Recently, its boom has been observed in certain sports fields and it is currently a widely used alternative to lose weight.

Although it is true that numerous studies have shown that a ketogenic diet has its utility in helping you lose weight, the truth is that it is not recommended for everyone. Therefore, before venturing to start it, it is convenient to know what it consists of, how to do it, its benefits and risks.

What is The Keto Diet?

The term keto diet is the adaptation of the ketogenic diet, that is, ketogenic diet. It refers to an eating model whose main mission is the creation of ketone bodies, metabolic compounds generated in the liver in response to the lack of energy reserves.

This diet is related to the drastic reduction of carbohydrates and their replacement by fats, which exposes the body to a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body, when running out of energy reserves, has to turn to fats to use them as fuel righ now.

The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and produces a transition in the body's metabolism in which carbohydrates are replaced by fats and ketones.

The body obtains glucose from simple carbohydrates, such as milk, sugar, or fruit, or from complex carbohydrates, such as cereals, flours, pasta, or legumes.

Glucose that circulates in the blood, is stored in the liver or in the muscles in the form of glycogen, constitutes the main source of energy for the entire organism, especially for the brain and heart. So, as long as there is glucose, or in its absence glycogen, the human body does not use its fat stores.

In this regard, the keto diet consists of reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the content of proteins and healthy fats, in proportions of between 50 and 60% fat, 20 to 30% protein and 10%, or less, carbohydrates.

The keto diet causes the body to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. This makes insulin levels very low, which in turn allows fat burning to increase dramatically.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

Several types of Ketogenic diets, including:

Standard Ketogenic Diet

It is meant to consume a very low-carbohydrate eating plan, with a moderate protein intake and high in fat. With this variant, 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbohydrates are consumed.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

This plan includes periods of more frequent carbohydrate consumption, for example, 5 days of ketogenic foods followed by 2 days of carbohydrates.

Adapted Ketogenic Diet

With this modality it is allowed to add carbohydrates on sports training days.

High Protein Ketogenic Diet

It is similar to a standard ketogenic diet; the difference is that it includes more protein. With this type of keto diet you consume 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

It is noteworthy that only the standard, high-protein ketogenic diets have been the subject of painstaking studies. On the other hand, cyclical or adapted diets are more advanced methods and are used mainly by athletes.

What are The Benefits of The Keto Diet?

The keto diet can have many benefits, including:

Increases Satiety and Decreases Appetite: Numerous studies have established that a diet based on the parameters of the ketogenic diet - the consumption of fats and proteins - contributes to controlling hunger, because it generates a feeling of satiety for longer.

Avoid Heart Disease: It can improve risk factors such as body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose level.

Reduces Epileptic Seizures: Scientific research supports that the keto diet can greatly reduce epileptic episodes in children.

It helps patients with type 2 diabetes. Its benefit for diabetic patients is that it controls blood sugar levels, and on the other hand, it lowers and reduces the negative impact of high insulin levels.

Keto diet is used in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer. Reducing carbohydrate intake lowers glucose levels, which is the fuel that fuels cancer cells. This diet is also used to treat many types of cancer and reduce the growth of tumors.

Scientific Evidence of How The Keto Diet Works

There are at least 31 randomized controlled trials showing faster weight loss on low-carb diets, according to the latest reports from the UK Public Health Collaboration. Three of these studies published by renowned scientific media are:

Annals of Internal Medicine year 2004- This medical journal of the American College of Physicians, published a study that showed that compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program reported greater weight loss.

New England Journal of Medicine year 2008- This journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society (USA) spoke of a two-year study in which 322 people were randomly assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet, a low-fat diet and a low carbohydrate diet Upon completion, the low-carb group had lost more weight than the rest.

The Journal of Nutrition 2015- This journal of the American Nutrition Society dealt with research that revealed that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of diabetes type 2.

How Do You Do The Keto Diet?

Ketogenic diets are characterized by five-meal menus, where eggs, meat, dairy, vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds are the protagonists. There is also a lot of presence of foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado or fish such as tuna, cod or salmon.

In order to achieve the state of ketosis on the keto diet, simple and complex carbohydrates are reduced to the maximum. Depending on the circumstances of each person and their physical condition, the maximum daily carbohydrate limit is usually set between 20 and 50 grams.

The approximate proportion of daily calorie intake on the keto diet is:

        60 to 75% fat

        25 to 30% protein

        5 to 10% carbohydrates

Foods to Eat on The Keto Diet

A ketogenic diet consists mainly of good fat foods and calories from certain proteins. To achieve this, meals must be made around the following foods:

Meats. Red meat, ham, sausages, cutlets, chicken and turkey

Cheeses. Unprocessed cheeses, such as cheddar, goat, creamy, blue, or mozzarella.

Fatty Fish. Such as salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.

Eggs. Preferably rich in omega-3 and pasteurized.

Nuts and seeds. These include flax, pumpkin, chia, almond and walnut seeds.

Healthy oils. The best are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

Avocado. They are eaten whole or in guacamole made naturally.

Low Carb Vegetables. Among these most of the green vegetables, tomatoes, onions and peppers.

Seasonings. Food can be seasoned with salt, pepper, some healthy herbs and spices.

KETO Products. There are specific preparations for this type of diet, shakes, bars, snacks ...

Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

On the keto diet, any high carbohydrate food should be avoided. Foods that are reduced or eliminated on the ketogenic diet include:

Sugary Foods: The consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, ice cream and sweets is avoided.

Fruit: All fruits are allowed, with the exception of small portions of berries, such as strawberries.

Cereals or Starches: Products derived from wheat, rice, pasta and cereals are eliminated.

Dietary Product: They are not consumed as they are highly processed and rich in carbohydrates.

Some Condiments or Sauces: Those that contain sugar and saturated fat are avoided.

Saturated Fats: Intake of refined oils and mayonnaise is limited.

Alcohol: In view of their high carbohydrate content, many alcoholic beverages are eliminated on this diet.

Beans or Legumes: Peas, red beans, lentils and chickpeas are not consumed.

Root and Tuber Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots are eliminated.

Example of A Gourmet or Ketogenic Keto Diet

Charles Orrico, nutritionist at the Fit Club Madrid gym, proposes a gourmet menu for one day that meets the demands of a Ketogenic Diet:

ü Breakfast: Natural cheese and dried fruit tortillas.

ü Meal: Salmon with vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, and olive oil.

ü Afternoon Snack: Tuna and avocado tart.

ü Dinner: Grilled fish with vegetables and an ounce of dark chocolate for dessert. 

Weekly Ketogenic Eating Plan

In a weekly keto diet projection, your options for eating would be as follows:


Made with bacon, eggs, tomatoes, basil, goat cheese omelet, ketogenic milk shakes, omelets with avocado, salsa, peppers, onion and spices, unsweetened yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia and omelette cheese and ham with vegetables.


They can be made with chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese, seafood salad with olive oil and avocado, slices of ham and cheese with walnuts, hamburger with salsa, cheese and guacamole.


You can use salmon with asparagus cooked in butter, meatballs, cheddar cheese and vegetables, pork chops with Parmesan cheese, broccoli and salad, chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese accompanied by vegetables, burgers with bacon, egg and cheese, white fish, eggs and spinach cooked in olive oil.

Ketogenic Snacks

A handful of nuts or seeds, cheese with olives, 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs, 90% dark chocolate, a low carb milk shake with almond milk, cocoa powder and nut butter, whole milk yogurt with nut butter , cocoa powder and strawberries with cream.

Advantages & Disadvantages of The Keto Diet

When your body enters a state of ketosis, fatty acids are converted into a metabolic process in the liver that quickly energizes the body. This is when ketones are released, molecules that the body now uses as an energy source.

In the presence of ketosis, the body becomes incredibly efficient and manages to convert all fat into energy; it can also supply more energy to the brain. Now, in addition to these advantages, its disadvantages must be weighed.

Advantages of The Keto Diet

    a) The keto diet continues to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's and may hinder or slow its progression 

    b) The ketogenic diet can help lower insulin levels, which could play a role in PCOS.

    c) The Keto Diet will help you reduce your insulin levels and improve acne by reducing your intake of sugar or processed foods.

    d) By burning fat, it contributes to faster weight loss.

    e) It helps to have a more constant energy and a greater mental performance.

    f) Improves cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels and blood pressure.

Disadvantages of The Keto Diet

    a) It is not recommended for people who has metabolic diseases.

    b) It is still the subject of medical and nutritional research

Keto Diet Risks

A strict ketogenic diet must be used with specific objectives in certain circumstances and always supervised by a professional.

The keto diet is not recommended in certain conditions, such as in the case of people with thyroid, kidney, liver or pancreatic problems.

Along the same lines, it is strongly not recommended to follow this diet in the long term, since it is very unbalanced, so it would not be an adequate diet to maintain weight, and it can cause a reverse effect on your health.

Although the ketogenic diet is safe for healthy people, some side effects may appear early as part of the body's adaptation process, such as a decrease in energy and mental capacity, an increase in the feeling of hunger, insomnia, nausea, digestive upset, and decreased exercise performance.

Finally, since the ketogenic diet regenerates the body by altering the balance of water and minerals, so, it is recommended to add extra salt to the diet or take mineral supplements, but excess salt intake is not recommended.

The Cato Diet is great for people who are overweight or want to improve their metabolic health. It is not good or necessary for everyone and should never be done without the advice of a doctor.

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