What is the Keto Diet For Weight Loss?

Kavin Tjhan , On December 18, 2022


What is the keto diet plan used for?

A ketogenic diet – or keto diet – is a low carb, high fat diet. It can be effective for weight loss and certain health conditions. A keto diet is especially useful for losing excess body fat without hunger, and for improving type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. On a keto diet for weight loss, you cut back on carbohydrates, also known as carbs, in order to encourage your body to burn fat stores to unlock energy.

What is a keto diet plan for weight loss?

In a ketogenic diet plan you limit carbs. When you eat far fewer carbs, your body begins to burn fat for fuel. This can put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your liver turns fat into small energy molecules called ketones, which your brain and other organs can use for energy. Eating a keto diet lowers insulin levels, often dramatically, which can help you access your body fat stores for energy. Many studies show significant weight loss on keto, without having to count calories. Keto diets may have other positive health effects, such as reducing blood sugar levels.

In ketosis, your liver uses fat (from your body and diet) to create ketones that your brain can use for energy. Fat also fuels your muscles.

Precautions before starting a keto diet plan for weight loss:

There are controversies and myths about a keto diet plan for weight loss. However, if you have diabetes or if you take medication for to reverse the bad effects of high blood pressure this often require medical supervision.

  • The keto diet while on high blood pressure medication: If you’re on blood-pressure medication and start a low-carb diet, there’s a risk of the diet working too well! That could mean you experience low blood pressure. Yes, it’s true. You may become too healthy for your current dosage of medication. If you feel symptoms of low blood pressure, such as feeling weak, tired or dizzy, you should immediately check your blood pressure. If it’s low, e.g. below 120/80, you should contact your doctor to discuss if lowering or stopping your medication is appropriate for you.

  • The keto diet while on medication for diabetes: If your blood glucose level is elevated and you take medication for diabetes, such as insulin? So you have diabetes and want to try eating low carb or keto? Good for you! Making these dietary changes has the potential to reverse type 2 diabetes. Or, if you have type 1 diabetes, doing so could dramatically improve your blood sugar control. However, you need to know what you are doing, and you need to communicate frequently with your healthcare team. Once you start eating low carb you will likely have to lower your insulin doses as well as the doses of other diabetes medications, frequently by quite a lot. Avoiding the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar decreases your need for medication to lower it. Taking the same dose of insulin or insulin-stimulating oral medication as you did prior to adopting a low-carb diet might result in low blood sugar, something that can be dangerous. You need to test your blood sugar frequently when starting this diet and adjust your medication accordingly. This should always be done with the assistance of a physician or other health professional with expertise in diabetes

What to eat on a keto diet plan?

Here are typical foods to enjoy on a ketogenic diet. The numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of food. To remain in ketosis, foods with lower counts are generally better:

Keto diet meal ingredients

Keto Food Pyramid

What’s the most important thing to do to reach ketosis? Avoid eating too many carbs. You’ll likely need to stay under 50 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per day, ideally below 20 grams. The fewer carbs you eat, the more effective the diet appears to be for reaching ketosis, losing weight, or improving type 2 diabetes. Counting carbs can be helpful at first. But if you stick to our recommended foods and recipes you can stay keto even without counting.

Examples of foods to eat on a keto diet include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.)

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.)

  • Avocados

  • Cheese and other full-fat dairy product

  • Eggs

  • Keto bread with leafy greens and ham

  • Low-carb vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), cauliflower rice

  • Healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)

  • Unprocessed meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) – good alternatives is to grind your own beef with leaner cuts of meat

Examples of foods to avoid on a keto diet include:

  • Regular bread and other baked goods

  • Rice, pasta, and other grains

  • Most fruits

  • Sugary snacks and drinks

  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.)

  • Processed meats (sausages, hot dogs, etc.)

  • High-sugar condiments (ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.)

  • Unhealthy fats (trans fats, hydrogenated oils, etc.)

Examples of keto snacks include:

  • A handful of nuts

  • Cheese and deli meat roll-ups

  • Celery and peanut butter

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Avocado slices with olive oil

  • Olives

  • Low-carb crackers with cheese

  • Cucumber slices with cream cheese

  • Kale chips

  • Coconut or almond butter with celery sticks

  • Low carb cauliflower-crust pizza

What can you drink on a keto diet plan?

What can you drink on a ketogenic diet? Water is the perfect drink, and coffee or tea are fine too. Ideally, use no sweeteners, especially sugar. A splash of milk or cream in your coffee or tea is OK, but beware that the carbs can add up if you drink multiple cups in a day (and definitely avoid caffe lattes!). The occasional glass of wine is fine, too — but steer clear of sweet alcoholic drinks.

Kavin Tjhan

Kavin is a health and nutrition researcher and a blog contributor at MealPro. He loves meeting like-minded people, hearing new ideas, and spreading the good word of nutrition.