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Ketogenic Diet Explained: Pros, Cons and Need to Knows

Over the course of the last decade, we had our fair share of popular diets, and almost all of them have become obsolete like 2000’s fashion fads.

One of the most-talked-about diets right now is the ketogenic (keto) diet. It is a very low-carb, high-fat diet which should make your body effective in burning fat for energy.

Keto diet is popular among some celebrities, as well. In fact, Jordan Peterson is particularly keen on it, as it is his daughter who claims it helped her cure her arthritis and depression. Other A-listers who have tried or went full keto are Halle Berry, the Kardashians, Adriana Lima, Megan Fox, etc.

However, there are many critics of the ketogenic diet too. One of the loudest is the famous personal trainer Jillian Michaels who believes that this diet is depriving you of the basic nutrients.

In this article, we’ll try to give you a clear picture of the pros and cons, and everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet.

How does it work?

We could define this type of diet through an equation: 75% fat + 20% protein + 5% carbohydrates. The purpose of this combination is to lead your body into a state of ketosis – instead of burning carbs for fuel, your body should burn fat for fuel.

The ketosis can be achieved by drastically cutting carbs, fasting, cutting carbs drastically and sometimes by taking keto supplements, such MCT-based meal replacement shakes. Also, intermittent fasting (IF) is often incorporated to help boost weight loss. It is usually implemented by going 16 hours without eating, and then consuming all of the necessary calories during an 8-hour eating period.

Different ways people can do a ketogenic diet

While the standard keto diet can fit into the mentioned formula, there are other types that can be implemented:

  • Cyclic Keto: This means eating a standard ketogenic diet for a couple of days a week (three to five) and increasing carbs in the remaining period.
  • Targeted Keto: This also includes eating a standard keto diet, while increasing the intake of carbohydrates around certain activities, such as gym sessions.
  • High-Protein Keto: This type allows more protein during the day, which is in coherence with the carnivore diet.
  • Restricted Keto: This variation of keto lowers the carb and protein intake to manage conditions like epilepsy.

Recommended foods and practices

Some of the universally acceptable foods for the keto diet are protein sources (poultry, pork, beef, eggs, shellfish, and soybeans), nuts and seeds, both animal and plant-based fats, full-fat dairy, non-starchy vegetables, and a moderate amount of fruits.

This type of diet does not mean that you have to give up on anything completely. You can even take your coffee adapted to the principles of the keto diet if you combine your ingredients properly.

The basic principles of the keto diet include eating real food, eating lots of healthy fats, keeping the carbs low, eating when you are hungry, and eating until you are satisfied.

The potential benefits of the keto diet

While being very high on fat, the ketogenic diet is still low on evidence. However, early research suggests that it may help with some health conditions.

  • Years of practice have proven that keto diet may have benefits for treating seizures which is useful for epilepsy patients.
  • This type of diet initiates metabolic changes by increasing fat oxidation, thus helping the weight loss process.
  • The drastic restriction of carbohydrates lowers the glucose concentrations in the long run. This can be an efficient way to get type 2 diabetes under control.
  • A growing number of studies suggests the keto diet can help prevent cancer.
  • Some depression patients have reported improvement after going keto.

The potential dangers of the keto diet

Being that this is a diet that drastically cuts one macro-nutrient, it goes without saying that it could have some negative effects, as well:

  • Eating high amounts of fat and low amounts of carbs can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Keto diet can result in a problematic transitional period called the “keto flu” with symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, and constipation.
  • Removing whole grain and minimizing the consummation of fruits can have a negative impact on gut health since it lowers the fiber intake.
  • Loss of muscle mass is a potential consequence of following the keto diet since you will eat more fat than protein.


Any diet that includes a number of restrictions can be quite controversial. It is obvious that the ketogenic diet has benefits, but it not certain that each person can experience the same advantages of this high-on-fats, low-on-carbs eating plan. You should make the decision to give it a try, depending on your overall health and dietary habits, while consulting a doctor, if there is a need for it.