What Is Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a diet which provides a very low carbohydrate intake and a high protein and, above all, fat content.

The dramatic elimination in carbs in place of other foods is meant to push the body to use fats as an energy substitute, with the goal of encouraging weight loss. The term “ketogenic” comes from the fact that this diet causes the development of the so-called ketone bodies by dramatically lowering the intake of carbohydrates.

History Of Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet was born as a low carbohydrate meal plan intended to minimize epileptic seizures in patients that, particularly in children, did not react to narcotics. Since the 1920s very low carbohydrate diets have been used to this purpose. It was Johns Hopkins Medical Center researchers and doctors who observed that in patients with epilepsy, these dietary regimens helped to reduce ailments, such as seizures.

These dietary regimens have been widely used in the treatment of obesity since the sixties, but also in the presence of other abnormal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes,  acne: in fact, it has been observed that they have had positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels in addition to acting on seizures.

Consequently, the ketogenic diet has been widely popular as a weight loss diet, which uses the impact of carbohydrate restriction on the body and decreased fat intake not for medicinal reasons but to promote weight loss.

Types of Ketogenic Diet

While the basic principles remain stable (reduction of carbohydrates, strong increase in fats, substantial presence of proteins), there is not a single ketogenic diet but different variations can be foreseen , with different proportions between the various nutrients, a cyclic increase in the carbohydrate intake, calorie restrictions and specific formulas for vegetarians and vegans.

The main variants of the ketogenic diet

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD – Standard Ketogenic Diet):this is the most classic and most severe keto diet, which consists in obtaining about 75% of calories from fats, 5% from carbohydrates and 20% from proteins.
  • Modified Ketogenic Diet (MKD): this program also provides for a reduction in carbohydrate intake, but less drastic, i.e. equal to 30%of the daily caloric quota. Fat and protein cover 40% and 30% of total daily calories respectively.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD – ​​Cyclical Ketogenic Diet):it is a variant of the ketogenic diet that provides for an increase in the contribution of the carbohydrate quota (technically we speak of “recharging”) in a cyclical way, generally 1-2 times per week. It is designed for those who find it difficult to stick to a diet with such a low carbohydrate content, especially every day and for prolonged periods.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD – Targeted Ketogenic Diet):this food plan is designed for those who play sports and allows you to add carbohydrates on training days .
  • Ketogenic diet with high protein content (HPKD – High Protein Keto Diet):this version of the keto diet is often followed by those who want to preserve muscle mass, such as those who practice body building or the elderly. The protein share is 30% , 65% fat, carbohydrates are reduced, as in the classic ketogenic diet, to 5%.
  • Vegan or vegetarian keto diet: these variants of the ketogenic diet replace foods of animal origin with plant-based foods , such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables low in carbohydrates, healthy fats and fermented foods.
  • Dirty Keto Diet:in this variant of the ketogenic diet, the proportions between the nutrients are the same as the classic one, but instead of healthy fats, unhealthy fats are consumed, with concessions also for drinks and fast food.
  • Lazy Keto diet (Lazy Keto):this version is called “lazy” because it only requires a rigorous calculation of the carbohydrates taken every day , which must not exceed 20 g, while it leaves you free to not precisely monitor the intake of fats and protein.