Ketogenic Diet

Have you heard about the ketogenic diet? 

           This diet was, and still is very used for people with epilepsy, being an alternative and non-drug treatment for it. It was observed that those people who did the diet, also lost weight. So, since 1960, this diet has been used for obesity and weight loss treatment.

            This style of the diet is characterized by a very low amount of carbohydrates (usually less than 20g/day), medium amount of proteins and high amount of fat, being in average divided as follow: less then 10% of total energy from carbs, 15-20% from proteins and 70% or more from fat.

            The weight loss happens because the body needs to find an alternative source of energy since it doesn’t have the energy from carbs. So, the central nervous system finds the energy that it needs from ketones – substances produced in the liver, from fat. This mechanism starts to happen from 3-4 days following the diet.

               The benefits include, besides weight loss, hunger control, improve energy and concentration, blood sugar control, among others. However, there are some side effects as well, like the ‘keto flu’. It usually lasts 2-3 days after starting the diet, and the symptoms are headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, irritability. Whenever the body adapts, these symptoms go away. The better way to reduce this feeling is to add salt to the food and drink a lot of water, because when we stop eating carbs, the excess of water and sodium goes out through the kidneys, resulting in dehydration and lack of salt.

What can I eat in a ketogenic diet? / Wich food do I have to avoid?

            You can eat good sources of protein and fat, like cheese, butter, olive oil, milk, yogurts, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts; as well as vegetables with less carbs like: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, aubergine, courgette, asparagus, tomato, peppers, cabbage, cucumber, any leaves. And also, fruits with less sugar like avocado, coconut, berries, lemon. Foods rich in sugar and carbs need to be avoided, like potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, cakes, biscuits, sweets, beverages with sugar, alcohol. You can drink water, tea, and coffee without sugar as much as you like.

               Whenever I recommend this diet for my clients, I advise that they eat the real food from nature, and avoid industrialized, even if it promises to be low carb, light or diet. See below a testimony from my client Camila Luz. She is following the ketogenic diet and she is having good results in weight loss:

               “I’m loving the ketogenic diet, I’m not hungry and I don’t have sweet cravings. I went into ketosis after 4 days following the meal plan and I already lost 2kg! It’s very easy to follow and it’s really worth it.”

               Finally, it is very important to always seek help from a registered nutritionist/ dietitian, to give you a personalized orientation for your case. In this way, you will achieve your goals and will not leave your health aside.

 Fernanda Nadaline - Registered Dietitian


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