A ketogenic diet is a diet that naturally necessitates the body to burn stored fats instead of carbohydrates to be converted into energy. It was introduced in the 1920s as a form of fasting in order to control and eventually treat epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. It was believed that fasting could reduce the occurrence of seizures. However, with the development of anti-epileptic medications, the medical use of the ketogenic diet gradually declined. It has become an alternative treatment only when medications are deemed not effective to patients. Today, the ketogenic diet has also been used by many people in order to lose weight.
Carbohydrates in food undergo conversion into glucose, which fuels the brain to function properly and provides energy to the body. When the body does not absorb enough carbohydrates, it causes the liver to convert fats into fatty acids and compounds called ketones, which then become the main energy source instead of glucose. An increase in the level of ketones in the body is called ketosis.
Foods to Include
There are certain foods that can be included in a ketogenic diet. To maintain ketosis, the diet should be high in fats, but low in carbohydrates. To provide the body with all the nutrients that it needs, however, the diet should also include a sufficient amount of proteins. It is safe to include beef, eggs and butter in a ketogenic diet. Low-carb vegetables, such as asparagus, celery, mushrooms and broccoli, are also recommended to be included in the diet.
On the other hand, it would also be a good thing to know which foods to avoid when you are on a ketogenic diet. Since a ketogenic diet includes foods that are high in fats and low in carbohydrates, the opposite should generally be avoided, that is, foods that are low in fats and high in carbohydrates.
Foods to Avoid
1. Carbohydrate-rich vegetables, such as carrots, peas, potatoes and cereal grains, should be eaten in moderation.
2. High-carb fruits such as grapes, apricots, bananas, olives and peaches, as well as extracts and juices from these fruits, should be replaced with low-carb fruits such as watermelons, strawberries, melons and avocados.
3. Fluids with high carbohydrate contents, such as beers and non-diet soft drinks and beverages, are not recommended for your diet. The high-sugar contents in these drinks will replace fats as the primary energy-producing nutrients, increasing the risk of having more fats in the body.
4. Processed foods, such as most canned foods, have carbohydrate contents that are high enough to disrupt the function of a ketogenic diet. Pastas and milk products should also be avoided because they have high carbohydrate contents.
5. Seafoods, such as clams, blue crabs, lobsters, scallops and squids, are low in fats. However, they are rich sources of proteins and fatty acids.