Top Ketogenic Diet FAQ's
General Facts FAQ
1 - What is the Ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diet, or in short Keto, is a form of diet that primarily focuses on shifting the body's metabolism from glucose (carbs) to ketones (fats), in essence, to put it on ketosis. In Ketosis, the cells in the body use ketones (formed by breaking down fat cells) instead of glucose (formed from carbs or sugars) to derive energy.
In this diet, the dieter is expected to obtain their daily calorific requirements i.e., energy to live, primarily from fats (65-75%) and proteins (15-25%) instead of carbohydrates (5-15%) depending on requirement.
To learn more about the Ketogenic diet and how it works read this.
2 - What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead. This results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.
In Ketogenic diet, this process is encouraged and triggered by consuming a carb-restricted diet that reduces glucose availability for the body, expediting the process of burning fats in the body. This allows dieters to lose significant weight in a short period of time.
3 - What are the benefits of Ketogenic diet?
Though Ketogenic diet is known to provide various health benefits, it is most popular for its effect on weight loss and regulating blood sugar levels. Due to low sugar intake, it improves the functioning of the hormone insulin and regulates the body's blood sugar level. Additionally, since the body shifts from glucose to fats for energy, the body rapidly loses any excess fat and helps in considerable weight loss.
Additionally, it has been found through studies that most of the body's cells are more equipped to run on ketones than on glucose. So, it has been found to improve the overall body's metabolism, especially the functioning of vital organs including the brain and liver.
Below are some of the common proven benefits of Keto:
- Ketogenic Diet (KD) helps in significant weight loss in a healthy way
- Ketogenic Diet stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents type 2 diabetes
- Ketogenic Diet burns the harmful visceral fat around abdomen and reduces belly fat
- Ketogenic Diet regulates healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Ketogenic Diet improves brain function
- Ketogenic Diet slows down cancer and cures tumors
- Ketogenic Diet helps treat epilepsy in children
- Ketogenic Diet reverses and prevents serious neural diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
- Ketogenic Diet helps treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Ketogenic Diet prevents and reduces the intensity of Migraines
- Ketogenic Diet decreases inflammation and proved relief for Chronic Pain
To know more about the health benefits of Ketogenic diet read this.
4 - Is Ketogenic diet healthy? Is it natural?
Yes. There has been no scientific study or research to prove otherwise. Ketogenic diet is based on a natural metabolic process called ketosis, and multiple studies and recent research in food and nutrition science have all tested and validated the benefits of the diet.
Some cynics often relate Ketogenic diet with "starvation" but it is rarely so. The diet only triggers the mode that allows the body to burn its excess fat storage.
5 - How is Ketogenic diet different from traditional diets?
Traditional diets focus more on reducing fat-intake whereas Keto encourages fat-intake and focuses on restricting carb-intake instead.
- Why eating FAT doesn't lead to obesity but eating carbs does.
- Also read the impact of cutting carbs from your appetite.
Traditional low-fat diets with their extreme restrictions on calorie consumption and exercise requirements have proven to be highly ineffective. In traditional diets, the dieter has to put tremendous effort in burning excess calories to get the body to burn excess fats. In Ketogenic diet, by directly mobilizing fat cells in the body, weight loss is made much easier without excessive restrictions on diet or exercise requirements.
6 - Will I need to count calories similar to traditional diets?
Yes. The formula for any form of dieting is simple:
- If you want to lose weight: Eat less calories than you expend
- If you want to gain weight: Eat more calories than you expend
- If you want to maintain weight: Eat the amount of calories you expend
Calculate your Target calorie requirements and Macros using our inhouse intuitive tool.
Of course, this doesn't involve the impact of activity levels. But, it provides a general idea. So, depending on your end objective, you'll need to eat the required amount of calories.
Although in Keto, with time, you'll get a general sense of the amount of food you will need to eat to meet your calorific targets.
7 - Why do many dietitians, physicians, and doctors speak against low-carb diets?
In the recent past, many doctors and dietitians have expressed their doubts and concerns with low carb diets, like Keto. These concerns and doubts are however driven from ignorance, insufficient knowledge and vested interests.
The benefits and effectiveness of Ketogenic diet have been proven through various studies and research. Every day a new study and research is being conducted to solidify the same position. Keto is now a well-accepted diet among leading practitioners and doctors. In fact, many new studies have been initiated to further delve into the benefits of Keto on cancer, diabetes, and neurological diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease. Further, the benefits of Keto, especially on weight loss, has been reiterated by thousands of dieters and patients.
The doubts and concerns raised over Keto is because the diet challenges the traditional norm for weight loss, which is reducing fat consumption. However, such diets barely reduce the fat content of the dieters body because the body continues to run on glucose and does not burn any fat. As such. the dieter has to work extremely hard to get rid of excess fat because they have to burn the calories from carbs first. (As such, the fitness industry has flourished)
This is the primary fallacy of traditional diets and thus it witnesses the dismal success rates of such diets. Losing weight need not be this difficult. Additionally, the excess glucose content in the body wrecks havoc to hormone levels, including insulin and leptin, which eventually becomes the root cause of deadly diseases such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension.
On the other hand, Keto's simplicity and direct impact on body fat percentage provides an incredibly easy and quick method to lose weight. Further, ketosis is a completely natural process and studies have shown that it actually improves the functioning of most organs in the body, especially the brain. Moreover, though recommended, exercise (at least at the scale required in traditional diets) is not an essential requirement in Keto.
Keto, due to its simplicity and effectiveness, proves to be a major threat to the traditional health, nutrition, packaged food, and fitness industry and thus is resented by many dietitians and nutritionists.
Read more to know the myths sold in traditional diets - FAT doesn't make you FAT!
8 - Does Ketogenic diet have any side-effects?
No. Since, Keto is based on a completely natural process there is no side-effects on the body. Not even in the long run.
However, some dieters do complain of headaches and nausea during the initial phase (first week) of starting the diet. This is commonly known as Keto flu, because of its flu-like symptoms. Dieters suggest that they feel light-headed often accompanied with fever and gastro-issues. The symptoms can be explained by a sudden change in the diet and/or dehydration, and usually subside after the first week. To avoid these symptoms drink plenty of water and electrolytes containing essential minerals such as Magnesium, Manganese, Sodium, and Phosphorus.
Some dieters also experience a fruity-breath during the first few days of ketosis, which is hardly undesirable and often acts as sign that ketosis has been triggered in the body.
Learn more about Keto flu and other side-effects that you might experience while starting Ketogenic diet.
9 - Do I need to be in Ketosis to benefit from Ketogenic diet?
Note that the essential aim of being on Ketogenic diet is to trigger ketosis. However, many dieters have experienced the benefits of the diet even without triggering full-fledged ketosis.
Another important point to note is that, Keto is not just a diet program but more of a lifestyle. The benefits of the diet are best experienced when continued for a long time. In fact, if strictness in following the diet's guidelines are not followed, people can easily fall out of Ketosis and reverse the benefits obtained thus far.
10 - How do I start Ketogenic diet?
There's no special requirements to start Ketogenic diet. The basic guidelines and checklist to start the diet is available here.
The diet basically requires you to restrict the intake of carbs to about 50 grams a day, which is substantially low than in traditional diets. To fill in the energy gap or remaining calorific requirements of the body, the diet requires you to consume mostly healthy fats (65-75%) and adequate protein (15-25%). Here's a detailed list of foods you can eat and not eat on Ketogenic diet.
It typically takes a few weeks before ketosis is triggered and the benefits of Ketogenic diet are evident. Although many dieters claim to reap significant benefits from the first week itself.
Calculate your Macro requirements here and get your FREE personalized reports by mail.
11 - Is there a way to expedite Ketosis?
Yes. There are several methods you can use to expedite the triggering of ketosis.
Read this for tips and tricks to reach ketosis within 3 days.
12 - Do I need to measure Ketones? How do I measure Ketones?
There's no specific requirement to measure ketone concentration in your body. Typically, you can understand by observing subtle changes in the body.
But many dieters, especially those maintaining strict routines, prefer to measure ketones to know if they have triggered ketosis and/or how far are they into ketosis.
To measure ketone concentration, various methods are available including the use of blood sample, urine sample, or breathalyzer. For more details read our detailed guide on how to measure ketones and what different concentrations represent.
13 - What are the phases experienced typically by dieters on Keto?
This is best explained in detail through this infographic below:
14 - What is Keto-adaptation?
Keto-adaptation is sign that the body, especially vital organs including brain, liver, kidneys, and muscles, have shifted from glucose to fat metabolism.
It might take the dieter several weeks or even months to get Keto-adapted. It requires a strict adherence to Keto guidelines for a considerable period often a sign that the dieter has adopted a Keto lifestyle.
The benefits of Keto are best experienced during this phase.
15 - What is Ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis refers to diabetic ketoacidosis and is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. It's a life-threatening condition resulting from dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar.
Typically, during ketoacidosis the blood ketone levels increase to more than 20 mmol/dl. However, in dietary ketosis the blood ketone levels are in the 4-10 mmol/dl range, which is absolutely healthy. Further, dietary ketosis can never lead to such high levels of blood ketones unless for a pre-existing condition or other complication.
Bottom line: Ketogenic diet can not lead to Ketoacidosis by itself.
16 - Can children do Ketogenic diet?
Yes. In fact, Ketogenic diet finds its origins for the treatment of children with epilepsy. In early twentieth century, doctors discovered that a carb-restricted diet like Keto provided considerable relief to ailing children without any major side effects.
Read all about the origins of Ketogenic diet here.
No, special changes need to be made for children. However, due to their hyper-active tendency, carb-restrictions are lesser for children and milk (high-fat) is encouraged.
17 - Can diabetic patients do Ketogenic Diet?
Patients with type-1 and type-2 diabetes not only can but encouraged to try Ketogenic diet. Many studies (1 , 2) have proven its effectiveness in regulating the body's blood glucose levels and improving insulin functioning.
However, it is essential that you consult your practitioner before undertaking the diet and making any adjustment to your medicine routine if necessary.
18 - Can vegetarians or vegans do Ketogenic diet?
Absolutely. The relatively high protein intake (in the form of lean meats) required in Keto definitely makes it more suitable for non-vegetarian dieters.
However, other good protein sources, such as cheese, soy, vegetables, etc. are available for both vegetarians and vegans as well.
Find out the best sources of proteins here.
19 - Can I workout while doing Ketogenic diet?
Yes. In fact, exercise is encouraged on Ketogenic diet. Exercise not only helps in expediting ketosis but also improve the overall metabolism of the body.
In case, you're involved in high-intensity activity or weight training, you might try modified versions of Ketogenic diet such as the Cyclical KD used by athletes and weight-trainers. Read more about the various modified versions of Ketogenic diet here.
20 - What is the role of sleep on Ketogenic diet?
There's no special sleep requirement for Ketogenic diet, however, it is recommended that adequate sleep is provided to the body. Lack of sleep may counter the benefits provided by the diet. Typically, for an adult, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended.
Weight Loss FAQ
21 - How does Ketogenic Diet help in weight loss?
Ketogenic diet shifts the body's metabolism from glucose to fats (ketones). This allows the body to target fat stores more effectively and expedite weight loss.
Since, the body has no glucose to burn for energy, it relies on burning fat cells instead. As such, the dieter experiences twin benefits - a) there's no excess carbs that can be stored as fat, and b) the body burns the fat consumed directly so it doesn't get stored.
22 - Do I need to be in Ketosis to lose weight?
Not necessarily. Many dieters have claimed to lose weight even without triggering ketosis by just following the diet.
However, the benefits are best experienced when the body is in ketosis.
23 - How much weight can I lose on Ketogenic diet?
Dieters have claimed to have lost 50-60 lbs within a year. While some have lost only up to 5-10 lbs. It really depends on your starting weight and your target weight.
Typically, men need to maintain 3-5% body fat while women need to maintain 8-12% for a healthy body. So, depending on what body fat % you begin with and your healthy body fat threshold, is what you can expect to lose with Keto.
Calculate your body fat percentage and macro requirements here.
So, a person weighing above 220 lbs can expect to lose more weight (body fat) than a person weighing 150 lbs of similar age, gender and built.
24 - How quickly can I lose weight? Is it safe?
There's no fixed duration in which weight loss benefits can be experienced, especially if calorie restrictions are not maintained.
Weight loss can be expected from the first week itself, if accompanied with calorie restriction, exercise and intermittent fasting. If you do everything correct, you can expect to lose more than 10 lbs within a week or two. However, such drastic weight loss is hardly recommended.
Typically for a person weighing above 200 lbs, 5 lbs of weight loss every month is considered a healthy weight loss.
25 - Will I lose weight consistently on Ketogenic diet?
You will lose weight consistently till you reach your target weight given you strictly adhere to the diet's guidelines.
When you approach your target weight, weight loss can become more difficult. You might even hit weight loss plateaus from time to time for myriad reasons. Read more on how to overcome these weight loss plateaus here.
26 - Do having more Ketone concentration mean more weight loss?
Not necessarily. When you have reached the desired concentration of 5-6 mmol/dl of blood ketone levels, your body is on ketosis. Anything beyond the level of 10 mmol/dl is unhealthy and should be avoided. Here's a chart of blood ketone levels and their meaning:
Diet Plan FAQ
27 - How much should I eat on Ketogenic Diet?
The amount of food you need to eat rather the amount of calories you need to consume depends completely on your macros i.e., on parameters such as age, current weight, BMI, body fat content, and activity levels. Take this quiz to find your macro requirements.
Based on your macros, you need to ascertain your calorific requirements. The basic premise of Keto is that you meet the calorific requirement primarily from fats (65-75%) and proteins (20-25%), and only carb (5-10%).
28 - What foods should I eat?
The foods you need to eat can be classified into three buckets:
- Foods to eat more: Healthy fats, lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, fatty fruits, zero-carb beverages, herbs & spices, and high-fat dairy products.
- Foods to be eaten in moderation: Moderate-carb vegetables, nuts, citrus and nutritious fruits, and zero-carb alcohols.
- Foods to be avoided: All grains, sugar and sugary foods, starchy vegetables, starchy fruits, processed and junk foods.
29 - Isn't a high-fat diet unhealthy?
No. Fat in itself is not unhealthy. Fats accompanied with carbs is unhealthy.
When fats are accompanied with carbs, the body chooses to ignore the fat and use the carbs for energy instead. As such, the fat remains unused and gets stored around vital organs in the body.
However, in Keto, since there's rarely any carb intake, the body goes straight for the fat and eliminates any risk of fat storage.
30 - What is the minimum amount of carbohydrates I need to eat on Keto?
This again depends completely on your macros. As a rule of thumb, for ketosis your carb intake needs to be restricted to 50 grams per day.
But, depending on your macros you can consum100-200 grams per day without affecting ketosis/weight loss.
31 - What is net carbs? Should I count total carbs or net carbs?
Net carbs is the amount of total carbs in a food minus the amount of fiber in the food. Or,
Net carbs = Total carbs - Total fiber
Fiber is healthy and good for the body. It helps in bowel movement and a smooth functioning of the digestive system. Thus, fiber is welcome in the diet. So, effectively most dieters count net carbs in the food to determine carb intake instead of total carbs. The net carb requirement is much lesser than the total carb requirements.
32 - Is carb and sugar craving on Keto normal?
Yes. Our traditional eating patterns are heavily designed around the consumption of grains and sugars. Thus, we have been brought up eating grains and sugar, and have developed a liking for such foods.
Additionally, the cells in our body have grown used to using glucose for energy, and thus resent any changes. Both, factors combined can often lead to periodic craving for carbs or sugars. Read how to overcome these carb and sugar cravings effectively.
Living without carbs and especially sugar can be difficult at first, but with time the body adjusts to the new lifestyle and the cravings rarely reappear.
33 - Can I have Nuts in Keto?
Nuts are extremely nutritious as they contain essential fatty acids and healthy saturated fats. However, they are also high on carbs.
Thus, it is recommended that you consume nuts but only in moderation. Additionally, it is recommended that you soak the nuts overnight before consumption. It considerably eases the body's ability to break down the nuts and absorb its nutrients.
34 - Can I have Dairy in Keto?
Dairy is composed of four primary component: Water, Fats, Protein, and Lactase. Lactase, made of milk sugars, is the only undesired component of dairy. Thus, any dairy product that doesn't contain Lactase, such as cheese and yogurt, is suitable for consumption, and the ones rich in Lactase, such as whole milk, condensed milk and buttermilk, are avoided.
At the same time, dairy products with high % of fats are also desired for Keto. Thus, butter, ghee and cream (heavy) are also highly recommended in Keto.
35 - Can I have Fruits in Keto?
Fruits are extremely nutritious. They contain essential vitamins and nutrients. However, they are also rich in sugar (fructose) and thus are not recommended in Keto.
Only fatty foods, such as Avocado, are recommended because it is high on MUFs and low on net carb.
There are several nutritious fruits, including berries, watermelon, muskmelon, apple, grapefruits, etc. with relatively low net carbs, also recommended but only in moderate quantities.
36 - Can I have artificial sweeteners on Keto?
No. Artificial sweeteners do the same damage as regular sweeteners. Additionally, they increase your appetite and increase food (sugar) cravings.
Natural sweeteners, such as Stevia and cinnamon, are recommended instead.
37 - Can I drink Coffee and Tea?
Only when taken without milk and/or sugar.
For coffee, a spoon full of coconut oil is recommended to improve its fat content. It is also known as bulletproof coffee.
For tea, green tea is recommended owing to its high anti-oxidant properties. Explore these exciting teatox recipes here for weight loss.
38 - Can I have Alcohol in Keto?
Zero-carb alcohols like Cognac, Tequila, Whiskey and Rum, are allowed on Keto but only in moderate quantities. High-carb alcohols including beer and wine are completely discouraged.
If consumed in excess quantities, the body can store the alcohol as fat and counter the benefits of Keto. Thus, it is better to avoid alcohols altogether, especially in the first few months. But, in case you need to drink alcohol, follow the detailed guide on alcohols in Keto here.
39 - Can I eat out on Ketogenic Diet?
Yes. But keep a close eye on what you're eating. As long as you follow the basic principles of low-carb and high-fat, there's nothing wrong with eating out.
40 - Can I have Fermented Foods in Keto?
Fermented foods like yogurt, cod liver oil, kimchi and kefir, are extremely high on nutrients and low on carbs. Thus, they are perfectly suitable for Keto.
41 - Can I eat Bacon in Keto?
Yes. Bacon is high on both fats and protein, and thus, completely safe for consumption. Read more about the benefits of bacons here.
42 - Can I have "cheat-days" on Keto?
As mentioned above, Keto is not only a diet but a lifestyle. Thus, question of cheat days doesn't arise.
43 - Can I eat more protein than fats?
No, excess protein consumption can have the same effect as excess carb consumption. It can deter the breakdown of fats. However, lack of protein can lead to muscle loss which is highly undesired. Thus, adequate amounts of protein should be included in the diet but most calories should come from fats.
44 - Do I need to fast on Keto?
Not necessarily. But, many dieters have claimed that intermittent fast definitely speeds up ketosis and helps in weight loss and detoxification.
Intermittent fasting, in general, provides breaks to the body's metabolism allowing it to eliminate toxins and rest vital organs. So, it is anyways recommended.
Many dieters go on complete fasts during the first few days of starting Keto to quickly induce ketosis.
45 - Is fasting healthy?
Yes, if done correctly and intermittently. Unnatural fasts for prolonged period can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided. But, small breaks every now and then can revitalize the body.
46 - What is Intermittent Fasting?
In intermittent fasting, dieters typically fast for a limited period of time and then go on their normal diet (or excess at times). There are many ways of intermittent fasting such as 16:8 (16 hours fast then eat for 8 hours) and 5:2 (fast 2 days a week and go on regular diet for the next 5 days).
47 - Will I need to take supplements on Keto?
Not necessarily, but supplements for Vitamin D, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium can be taken during Keto to enhance nutrition.
48 - What food should I avoid to stay on Ketosis?
Here is a complete list of foods you should avoid to stay on Ketosis.
49 - What meal plan should I follow?
Typically, there's no specific meal plan that you need to follow and it depends on your macros. However, it is recommended that you follow a set meal plan to avoid mistakes at least in the first few weeks or months.
Try our 7-day meal plan for free. If you are really serious about it, you can try our 30-day meal plan here.
Health Concerns FAQ
50 - Will Ketogenic diet lead to muscle loss?
No, if accompanied with adequate protein intake there's no question of muscle loss. In fact, studies have indicated that Keto actually augments muscle building.
51 - Will Ketogenic diet lead to hormonal imbalance?
No. In fact, it has been shown that Keto works to balance and regulate the levels of hormones such as insulin, leptin and ghrelin.
52 - Will Ketogenic diet lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels?
Due to the high healthy fat intake in Ketogenic diet, the levels of HDL does increase in the body. However, HDL is the good cholesterol and extremely desirable. Keto does not increase the levels of LDL (or the bad cholesterol). In fact, it helps in reducing the LDL levels in the body. Thus, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and stroke.
53 - Will Keto lead to minerals and vitamin deficiency?
Due to it's high dependency on fats and proteins, dieters often tend to ignore non-starchy vegetables, which are rich in minerals and vitamins, in their diet. This could lead to some deficiency.
However, adequate portions of green leafy vegetables will provide all the required essential nutrients required to the body. Supplements, as mentioned above, may be taken during the diet.
54 - Will Keto lead to constipation?
No, if accompanied with sufficient quantities of fiber (in the form of non-starchy vegetables and fatty fruits like Avocado) and water (around 2-3 liters). Read more about the role of fiber in Ketogenic diet here.
55 - Will Keto lead to liver and kidney failure?
No. In fact, studies have proven that Keto improves the functioning of liver and kidneys.
56 - Will Keto lead to gall-bladder stones?
No. If the dieter stays hydrated and takes sufficient electrolytes there's no risk of getting gall-bladder stones.
57 - Will Keto lead to thyroid issues?
No. In fact, Keto works to regulate thyroid levels.
58 - Will Keto lead to hair loss?
No. On the contrary, Keto is relatively rich in protein and essential fatty acids, hair quality actually improves on Keto.
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