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What is a Ketogenic Diet?

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet allows your body to produce an alternative fuel source in the form of ketones. On a high-fat keto diet, by consuming very few carbs, the liver will start producing ketones from your fat intake in order to power your body. In other words, after a few weeks on the keto diet, your body will start burning fat for fuel more efficiently, instead of carbs, as it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. When determining what is a ketogenic diet in terms of food, this diet is rich in meat, fish, butter, eggs, cheese, oil, nuts, seeds, and low-carb vegetables. However, one should avoid high-carb foods like grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sugar, milk, fruits, and certain vegetables.

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What a ketogenic diet is great for is managing weight or diabetes, but it might not be suitable for those people looking to build muscle like certain athletes. People who are vegetarian or vegan will find it difficult to adhere to what is a ketogenic diet because of all the recommended meat, eggs, fish and dairy products. You body composition, health situation, exercise habits, and your metabolism are all factors that will determine if what a ketogenic diet is can help you with your health goals. Before you start taking any prescribed medication such as Alli, Xenical, or Saxenda, your doctor will recommend that you make healthy changes to your diet.

What is a ketogenic diet good for besides the inherent weight loss? Those on a keto diet tend to be less hungry, as well as more energetic, alert and focused. What a ketogenic diet is was first conceived as a type 2 diabetes treatment to help patients control their blood sugar and reduce their need for insulin. The ketogenic diet has also been shown to help control seizures for people with epilepsy. By eating less sugar and other processed foods, people on the keto diet have also seen less cases of acne and better cholesterol levels.

Can I Lose Weight Fast on A Ketogenic Diet?

Your ability to burn fat with what a ketogenic diet is will depend on your consistency of adopting the lifestyle changes needed to achieve success. During the first week, people on the keto diet can lose as much as 10 pounds due to a release of water weight caused by the lack of carbs. But once the body is in regular ketosis, you can start losing an average of 1-2 pounds of genuine fat each week. As the weeks and months pass, weight loss will slow down and be determined by your overall health condition. Therefore, the keto diet is great for fast and slow long-term weight loss.

When first starting on the keto diet, lowering your sugar and carbohydrate intake abruptly can lead to withdrawal. These symptoms include headache, fatigue, irritability, constipation, trouble sleeping, nausea, dizziness, sore muscles, or bad breath. To avoid these side effects, you may want to slowly ease into a low-card diet for a few weeks before going full keto. While on a ketogenic diet, slightly increasing your salt intake and taking potassium or magnesium supplements will also help minimize side effects by fixing mineral deficiencies. People with heart issues, and liver or kidney problems should not go on the keto diet due to its high fat nature.

Foods to Eat on Ketogenic Diet

Knowing your food options will give you the best opportunity at a successful ketogenic diet. The following foods should fill you up, give you energy, with little calories and produce those fat burning ketones you need to achieve your weight loss goals.

Beef and chicken:

Beef and chicken are your main sources of protein while on a ketogenic diet. Processed meats like bacon and sausage are acceptable, but watch those calorie counts before consuming, as these items may contain excess calories.

Nuts and seeds:

Nuts and seeds are high in fat, low in calories, and have plenty of fiber to help you feel full throughout the day. The perfect keto snack on their own or add them to any dish for a crunchy texture. Here are the kinds of nuts and seeds ideal for a ketogenic diet:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds


Most fish have a ton of protein, high levels of omega-3 fats, and are full of the B vitamins, potassium, and selenium your body needs during a keto diet. Having a couple 3-ounce servings of the following fish each week will add variety to your protein menu:

  • Albacore tuna
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon

Eggs and some dairy products:

For breakfast, lunch or dinner, eggs are perfect at anytime when on a ketogenic diet. You can also have some plain yogurt and cottage cheese since these items are high in fat, protein and calcium, but low in carbs.

Certain vegetables:

Stick to leafy greens, they are a great source of iron and are also packed with fiber to keep you full without the calories. Throw in an avocado on your salad for some extra tasty fat along with the following keto approved vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach

Foods to Avoid on Ketogenic Diet

Any high-carb foods should be avoided to the best of your abilities while on a ketogenic diet. Therefore, no grains, or bread, chips, crackers, or starchy vegetables like potatoes. Sugar is also not recommended, which limits drinking options to water, black coffee, and unsweetened teas. This also means no fruit except for berries and olives which are very low carb. Legumes like beans, most sweets like chocolate, alcohol, some cooking oils, and other sweeteners should all be avoided when on a keto diet.

To learn more about what is a ketogenic diet or more options for weight loss, visit our blog to discover more treatment suggestions. If you’re concerned about maintaining a healthy weight, you should speak with your doctor to find a healthy solution.   


  • Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.


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