What is keto?

In a keto or ketogenic diet, you switch your body from burning carbohydrates to burning fats. You do this simply by pushing aside carbohydrates!

Why keto?

Everyone has their own reasons for starting a keto diet. However, there are numerous benefits that most people experience! One of them is easy weight loss. You can also think of little to no hunger, better concentration, and more energy.

Don’t you need carbohydrates?

No! Or at least, not necessarily from food! Within the diet, you still consume about 20-30 grams of carbohydrates a day, but your body is capable of producing more carbohydrates from, for example, the proteins you eat. Your body is even designed to live on fats! Think of the millions of years our ancestors lived off hunting. In recent decades, there have been more and more cookies, candies, chips, and other treats filled with carbohydrates and sugars. During this period, things like obesity and other diseases have also increased enormously. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

What does a keto diet look like?

A keto diet or ketogenic diet is characterized by a high presence of fats. While a standard diet often consists of about 45-65% carbohydrates, 10-35% proteins, and 20-30% fats, a ketogenic diet consists of about 70-75% fats, 20-25% proteins, and 5% carbohydrates. Due to the absence of carbohydrates, your insulin levels drop, and the glucose reserves are depleted. This makes your body search for another energy source. In this search, your body encounters fats and slowly switches to fat burning. During the burning of these fats in the liver, ketones are released.

What are ketones?

There are three types of ketones that the human body can use as an energy source:

These ketones are released during the burning of fats and serve different purposes. They can also be measured in different ways. For example, you can measure BHB with a finger-prick blood meter, AcAc with a urine strip, and Acetone with a breath analyzer. The most reliable method is the blood meter.

What is ketosis?

A ketogenic state or simply ketosis is a metabolic state of the body. This means your body has switched from burning glucose to burning fats. You are in ketosis if you measure your ketones between 0.5 mmol/l and 7 mmol/l. For optimal fat burning, you are best between 1.5 mmol/l and 3 mmol/l.

Chances are, your body has produced ketones before or has been in a small state of ketosis. Suppose you eat at 6:00 PM and eventually eat again the next day around noon, you are fasting for about 16 hours. During this period, your glucose supply runs out, and your body also starts producing ketones.

What variations of keto are there?

The most common variations on a standard ketogenic diet are a cyclic ketogenic diet and a targeted ketogenic diet. These variations are mainly used to improve sports performance and both involve consuming slightly more carbohydrates.

Cyclic ketogenic diet

In a cyclic ketogenic diet, you eat according to a standard keto diet for about 5-6 days a week, but have 1 or 2 days where you use ‘carb-loading’. On such a day, you eat more carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores. Opinions are very divided on this technique. Research has been conducted where one group was put on strict keto and the other on a cyclic ketogenic diet. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but the majority of the lost weight in the CKD group consisted of muscle mass. The group on a standard ketogenic diet lost only fat. Read more about a cyclic ketogenic diet.

Targeted ketogenic diet

A targeted ketogenic diet is very similar to a standard ketogenic diet. However, in this variant, you consume about 5-50 grams of carbohydrates around your workout. The goal is to use these quickly during your training, but that they leave your body shortly after. This way, it doesn’t affect your ketosis, but it can have a positive influence on your sports performance. Read more about a targeted ketogenic diet.