The ketogenic diet largely avoids carbohydrates and provides energy primarily via the other two macronutrients, fat and protein. But what is behind this hype? The keto diet is believed to aid weight loss, reduce inflammation, improve energy levels and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The reduced insulin secretion also has a positive influence on stable blood sugar and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

What is meant by the ketogenic diet?

This diet consumes very few carbohydrates. With a few exceptions, food should be in the Keto diet Have no more than 10g of carbohydrates per 100g. Sugar is completely taboo. Which foods exactly belong to this diet and which do not are described in more detail below. Mainly grains, sweets and starchy foods such as potatoes are left out.

No more than 30-40g net should be consumed per day carbohydrates be consumed. These come primarily from vegetables or berries. To do this, you should consume enough protein and fat serves as the main source of energy. 75-85% of daily calories come from fatty acids 1 .

What happens in metabolism when we eat carbohydrates?

If we carbohydrates Eating food, these are broken down into simple sugars in the intestines because they can ultimately only be absorbed into the bloodstream in this form. Of course, our intestinal mucosa also absorbs direct sugar, which is found in sweets or lemonade, for example. Absorption occurs fastest in this liquid form; more complex carbohydrates, for example from whole grain rice and vegetables, are absorbed most slowly. When the sugar then enters the blood, it supplies the cells with energy. The excess sugar is stored in our muscle and liver cells. The signal for this storage process is provided by the hormone insulin. Here you can find more detailed explanations Blood sugar .

The Carbohydrate or sugar storage However, there are limited amounts in our body and when they are already full, the excess sugar is converted into fat by our liver and stored in the cells. In contrast to sugar stores, fat stores can be expanded almost indefinitely.

How does ketosis occur?

If now none or almost none carbohydrates are absorbed through food, the body begins to die after a while Carbohydrate storage from the liver and used as an energy source for nerve cells and the brain, for example. Also the Glycogen stores in the muscles are then slowly emptied. This ensures that there is always a certain level of sugar in the bloodstream to ensure energy supply 3 .

This one Sugar storage However, without the new intake from food being used up, the liver first begins to convert amino acids (the broken down form of proteins) into carbohydrates 3 . However, only a third of the amino acids in the body are actually available for this purpose. The rest is needed for other operations. However, stored fat contains eleven times the amount of calories. These stores are significantly higher in people with a higher body fat percentage. So it only makes sense that the body now uses these fatty acids as carbohydrate replacements:

With the one now entering Ketosis the liver converts the fats into so-called ketone bodies around. Although they cannot be transformed into the sugar actually required, they fulfill the same functions in energy metabolism. So they are essentially a substitute product for carbohydrates. So our energy system works like a hybrid vehicle, so to speak: When the electric storage is empty, it switches to gasoline, which would be our electricity carbohydrates and then the gasoline Ketone bodies 4 .

This is dangerous or unhealthy ketogenic state not. The process is completely natural and was a survival mechanism in prehistoric times, because back then there were no stocked shelves in the supermarket. People often had little at times carbohydrates available and simply had to get along without them. However, there may be short-term problems in the first few days of the changeover Side effects occur: Headaches, fatigue and the urge for sugar are typical signs that the body is in the adjustment phase. However, these signs disappear after a few days and are usually due to sugar withdrawal.

Ketogenic foods

  • Animal protein : fish, meat, eggs, e.g. salmon, mackerel, tuna, seafood, sea bream, ground beef, boiled meat, chicken, turkey, bresaola, bacon, game, collagen, whey protein, bone broth, gelatin, etc.
  • Natural fat : butter, ghee, coconut oil, MCT oil, virgin olive oil, virgin sunflower oil, linseed oil, 100% nut and seed butter, avocado etc.
  • grains and nuts (also belong to fats): sesame, linseed, chia seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds, coconut etc.
  • Dairy products : cheese, yogurt, kefir, butter, milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, quark, granular cream cheese, etc.
  • Low-sugar drinks : coffee, bulletproof coffee (with butter, MCT oil and collagen), infused water, unsweetened tea, sugar-free amino acids and protein shakes etc.
  • Low-carb vegetables : lettuce, cucumber, spinach, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, artichoke, eggplant, onion, spring onion, leek, mushrooms, peppers, Brussels sprouts, olives, chili, etc.
  • Fruit with a low sugar content : berries, e.g. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, cassis, lemon, lime, etc.
  • Flour alternatives for cooking and baking : almond flour, locust bean gum, linseed flour, coconut flour, walnut flour etc.
  • Sugar alternatives/natural sweeteners : Stevia, erythritol, xylitol etc.

Donts: These products and foods are not on the keto diet plan

Since the main thing is to avoid carbohydrates, it is important to leave out grains, sugar, potatoes, sweet drinks, juice, most fruits and vegetables that are too high in carbohydrates in the keto diet. The following examples are in no way on the Keto meal plan :

  • Grain products : pasta, rice, bread, wheat, rye, spelt, barley, corn, potato, sweet potato, chips, rice cakes, crackers, muesli, cornflakes, oatmeal, pizza etc.
  • Legumes : chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, beans, soy etc.
  • Foods containing sugar : chocolate, desserts, sweetened dairy products such as fruit yoghurt, jam, maple syrup, honey, household sugar, fructose (agave), coconut blossom nectar, finished products that contain sugar, pancakes, cakes, etc.
  • Vegetables high in carbohydrates : pumpkin, carrot and other tuber vegetables
  • Drinks with a high sugar content : fruit juices, fruit smoothies, sweet drinks e.g. Cola, Fanta, Sprite, energy drinks etc.
  • Fruits with high sugar content : banana, apple, melon, cherries, peach, nectarine, pear, date, mango, apricot, pineapple, orange, tangerine, papaya etc.

Differentiation from the Paleo diet

The last article was about the Paleo diet , which has some parallels with the Paleo diet Keto diet has: Even with the Paleo diet become little carbohydrates consumed, grains are taboo and protein and fat are the focus. However, no dairy products are allowed in the Paleo diet, but various sugary fruits, little honey and some starchy foods such as sweet potatoes are in a gray area. At the ketogenic diet Some tuber vegetables such as carrots are avoided because they are more carbohydrates included, this is not the case with the Stone Age or prehistoric diet.

What are the benefits of the ketogenic diet?

The primary becomes blood sugar kept deep and stable, which has many health and aesthetic benefits:
Less insulin is released, which allows the pancreas to recover and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. The constant blood sugar results in fewer cravings, which means less excess energy is stored in the fat cells. This makes the keto diet a way to lose weight without starving yourself or counting calories. Through the more stable blood sugar Energy levels and concentration are also improved 5 .

Because many potential allergens such as gluten and soy are automatically avoided, the intestinal mucosa can recover. This results in less inflammation taking place in the digestive tract and throughout the body. By avoiding sugar, the oral flora and the ratio of microorganisms in the mouth and throat, which prevents tooth decay and other diseases in the oral cavity. There are also numerous studies on the subject of cancer and the ketogenic diet that support this form of nutrition. Cancer cells feed on sugar, which is why it is not very beneficial if the body has enough or excessive amounts of it.

Be careful with the ketogenic diet – who is it not recommended for?

Not all of them are suitable for people who cannot tolerate dairy products Keto products . However, this shouldn't be completely drastic as there are plenty of other foods that can be consumed. For vegans, things could still be a little more complicated. You should be careful on the keto diet and speak to a doctor about possible micronutrient and essential amino acid supplementation.

Athletes with a high proportion of muscle and little body fat are usually of the ketogenic diet Not recommended: Your carbohydrate stores are larger than those of the average person and are regularly emptied during intensive training sessions. The energy supply via a Ketosis then taking a detour makes less sense. In order to get enough of the right nutrients to build or maintain muscle, they would have to consume extremely high amounts of animal protein, which can potentially put a strain on the kidneys and is also ecologically and ethically questionable.

Conclusion on the keto diet:

The ketogenic diet can have many benefits for health and a slim body. However, like any diet, it is not optimal for everyone and may need some adjustment.

1 DRKS (2017): Influence of an energy-balanced ketogenic diet (KD) - a highly carbohydrate-reduced and high-fat diet - on the physical endurance performance of healthy adults
[; July 25, 2020].

2 Simply Keto: What is the ketogenic diet? [ ; July 25, 2020].

3 Martin, Hans Helmut (2014): Full energy while fasting. UGB forum special. S 10-14.

4 Brought, Dr. Med. Petra (2018): Intermittent fasting - For a long life - slim and healthy.

5 Medizindoc (2020): Study: How a ketogenic diet works best - advantages and disadvantages of a ketogenic diet. [; July 26, 2020].

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in Biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for the understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors like Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as the constant exchange within the team, she can provide her customers with optimal advice about training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with a variety of successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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