What are ketogenic diets?

A ketogenic diet has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits. One should always consume a healthy balanced diet that contains three most essential macronutrients - carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Of these three macronutrients, proteins and fats make the essential part of your diet required for being healthy and fit. This is because proteins are our building blocks, making our whole body, while fats provide energy.

Ketogenic diets involve a low-carb diet  (usually <50 g/day) and consuming relatively higher amounts of protein and fat. The ratio of fats to protein is generally kept high because it is challenging to increase proteins' intake beyond a point.

It is crucial to note that all three components of keto-diet should remain balanced. The body's protein requirement and energy from fats or carbohydrates balance the gain or loss of essential tissues and their functions. 

When you are doing a keto diet, it is necessary to change the number of macronutrients that you consume to ensure your body's healthy functioning. Protein intake needs to be increased from that in a healthy diet, but not excessively. The balance is a requirement for nutritional ketosis.

See: Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS

Ketogenic diet types

Types of ketogenic diets

Types of ketogenic diets help you decide and let you know how much protein on keto should be consumed, along with fat and carbohydrates.

- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This type of ketogenic diet involves high amounts of fat intake, followed by a moderate amount of protein and low carbohydrate intake. The fat percentage in the SKD diet is 70%, whereas 20 percent of protein and only 10 percent carbohydrates.1.

- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): as the name suggests, this type of ketogenic diet involves cycles of keto diets, which include consuming high fat and moderate protein intake for three days followed by high carbohydrates diet for two days as a cycle.1.

- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet involves adding carbohydrates to your diet to add up energy levels if you are following an intensive workout and ketogenic diet.1. 

- High-protein ketogenic diet (HPKD): This diet includes fat, which accounts for 60% of the diet, whereas proteins make 35 percent and five percent of carbohydrates. The amount of protein is slightly higher than the standard ketogenic diet, but it's still a very high-fat diet.1.

People often go for ketogenic diets like SKD and HPKD. Also, it is recommended for people to follow the SKD diet for weight loss.  Whereas, the cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are mostly used by bodybuilders or athletes.1. 

See: Break Keto Plateau & Keto Weight Loss Stall

What is protein?

Protein is a fascinating and critical macronutrient. Of the three dietary macronutrients, protein must supply at least nine essential components (amino acids), whereas dietary fats supply only two, and carbs none. One can think of proteins within the body as relatively steady (e.g., the development of muscles, liver, heart, kidneys, brain) in comparison to the body's utilization of 'fuel' (carbohydrate and fat). However, the body's protein metabolism is extremely lively, and limitations in dietary energy or protein intakes from fat or carbohydrate could tip the balance between profit or loss of significant tissues or functions.

There are necessary changes in how the body uses its incoming macronutrients to maintain (if not improve) function and health. To accomplish this requires enough protein but not too much--balance is vital. Your dietary protein requirement through a well-formulated ketogenic diet isn't much different from what the average person in the developed world now eats - i.e., moderate protein as opposed to high protein (Fulgoni 2008).

Protein consists of several smaller units called amino acids. Though your body can make the majority of the 20 amino acids it needs, there are nine which it can not make. These are called the essential amino acids, and they need to be consumed daily in food. As animal foods contain all nine essential amino acids in about the same amounts, they are considered "complete" protein. By contrast, just about all plants lack essential amino acids and are known as "incomplete" protein.

See: Fat Adapted Or Keto Adapted Basics

Protein health benefits in keto diet

How will adequate protein consumption in a keto diet benefit your body?

A ketogenic diet can have many health benefits for your body, outlined below:

- Keeps hair, nail, and skin healthy

- Balances hormones and their functions

- Builds and repairs tissues

- Reduce serum triglycerides dramatically.

- Benefits in blood sugar control.

- Helps to recover from workouts

- Losing body fat

- Production of enzymes and hormones

Many hormones necessary for life (e.g., insulin and growth hormone) are proteins. Most enzymes in the human body are also proteins. Your body depends upon a constant supply of amino acids to create these very important compounds. Clinical experience and scientific studies suggest that getting enough protein can make weight control easier. This result could be because protein can decrease appetite and protect against overeating by activating hormones that generate fullness feelings.

Protein requirement varies from person to person based on their daily activities. You would not require the same amount of proteins as one who works out extensively. Then, how should you calculate the exact amount of nutrients you need on a keto diet?

First, calculate your protein requirement. If you are just starting out, it is best to get 25% of your protein calories. If you have an active lifestyle, training, and exercising more than three times a week, you should eat up to 1 gram of protein per pound.

See: Low Carb and Keto Chinese Food

Protein sources

What are the various sources of protein? 

·         Dairy products that are full in fat content

·         Eggs

·       Grass-fed beef cuts containing fat

·        Fish like salmon, halibut, mackerel, and sardines

·         Chicken thighs

·         Organ meats like liver and heart

·         Pork

Keto-friendly animal protein sources include poultry, seafood, beef, cheese, and eggs. Keto-friendly plant protein foods include tofu and soy-based goods and most seeds and nuts, even though some are higher in carbohydrates than others.

If the daily amount of protein intake is not met by your diet, you can consume whey protein supplements.

Your body requires only 10% of total carbs from your diet. The ideal amount is just 5%. You can get this amount of glucose or energy from the process of gluconeogenesis during ketosis. Too little protein without carbs will make gluconeogenesis eat away your lean mass, i.e., your muscles. Too much protein will create excess sugars, increasing blood sugar levels by releasing large amounts of insulin. This will negate the effect of omitting carbs from your diet altogether. A proper keto diet can help avoid gluconeogenesis.

After calculating your proteins and carbs intake, the rest of the calories you take will be contributed to healthy fats.

See: How to lose belly fat naturally

Summary

Remember, your keto diet should contain low-carb, high-fat, and not low-carb, high-protein foods.  It is vital to maintain a well-formulated ketogenic diet with a moderate protein amount. This balance would help circulating ketones to reach at least a 0.5 mM level. Too little or too much protein can harm the benefits of nutritional ketosis. Too little protein in the diet could increase ketone circulation above 4.0 mM, making the body lose nitrogen and compromising lean tissue preservation and function. A too high amount of protein drives down ketone production in the liver, upsets gastro-intestinal functions, and stresses the kidneys by removing additional nitrogen. 

See: How to lose visceral fat vs subcutaneous fat

References

1. Shilpa J, Mohan V. Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane?. Indian J Med Res. 2018;148(3):251-253. DOI:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1666_18

2. Kosinski C, Jornayvaz FR. Diètes cétogènes : la solution miracle ? [Ketogenic diets : the miraculous solution ?]. Rev Med Suisse. 2017;13(565):1145-1147.

3. https://www.myketokitchen.com/keto-resources/protein-ketosis-keto-diet/

4. https://www.carbmanager.com/article/articleBody

5. Hoffer, L. J., Bistrian, B. R., Young, V. R., Blackburn, G. L., & Matthews, D. E. (1984). Metabolic effects of very-low-calorie weight-reduction diets. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 73(3), 750–758. http://doi.org/10.1172/JCI111268

6. Owen OE, Felig P, Morgan AP, Wahren J, Cahill GF, Jr. Liver & Kidney Metabolism during Prolonged Starvation. J Clin Invest. 1969; 48:574-583.


See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

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