Ketogenic diet for weight loss: what you can eat - sample menu

The ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet, or ketone or ketone, is one of the well-studied nutrition systems that has proven to be beneficial in many experiments and clinical studies.

However, the scheme is complex. It is not suitable for everyone and has many pitfalls.

What is the ketone diet

This is a low-carb meal and a high-fat menu. Similar to a normal carbohydrate-free diet or the Atkins diet.

A diet in which the amount of carbohydrates is significantly reduced and the intake of fat is increased, translates the body into ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which fat is the body's main source of energy. This occurs when the intake of carbohydrates, usually the main source of energy, is minimized.

Ketosis occurs during fasting, pregnancy and childhood. It can be artificially induced in adults by switching to a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

In ketosis, insulin levels fall. Fatty acids in large quantities leave the adipose tissue and enter the liver, where they are oxidized and converted into ketone bodies, or ketones, which are a source of energy.


  • beta-hydroxybutyrate, the main ketone body that circulates in the blood;
  • acetoacetate - the main product of the liver;
  • acetone is a volatile ketone responsible for the formation of a specific breath odor.

Ketone bodies are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and feed brain cells in the absence of glucose.

The steady decline in insulin and sugar levels that occurs with a ketogenic diet has several beneficial effects on human health.

How ketosis differs from ketoacidosis

Ketosis that develops with a carbohydrate-free diet is fundamentally different from diabetic ketoacidosis.

Non-diabetic people have normal blood sugar levels. When carbohydrate reserves are depleted, the liver begins to produce glucose from other sources (pyruvate, glycerol and amino acids).

This makes it possible to maintain normal blood glucose levels and ensure the concentration of ketone bodies within 8 Mmole / L, which is safe for health.

In type 1 diabetics, the level of ketones reaches 20 Mmol / L. And this condition is already fatal.

How ketosis differs from ketoacidosis

What are ketonic meals: options

  1. Standard protocol. That means eating lots of proteins and fats and minimizing carbohydrates - no more than 50 grams a day. The menu includes 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
  2. A high protein ketone diet. Same as the standard regimen, just more protein. 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbohydrates.
  3. Cyclic option. With this diet, 5 days are followed by a standard diet and 2 days are rich in carbohydrates. Reminiscent of the BUCH diet.
  4. Targeted approach. They eat according to a ketogenic regimen and consume carbohydrates before and after training.

All scientific studies carried out evaluated only the standard version.

Cyclical and targeted approaches are used only by athletes, mainly bodybuilders. These eating patterns are not intended to help you lose weight or improve your health.

How the ketone diet affects weight loss

Scientific evidence indicates that this is a highly effective weight loss method that offers more consistent results than traditional low-fat weight loss systems that require strict calorie restriction.

It was shown that those who were losing weight on a ketogenic diet lost 2, 2 times more pounds of excess weight, those volunteers who were on a low-fat diet with strict calorie restriction.

The mechanisms of weight loss in a ketone diet are as follows.

  1. Significant intake of proteins, which are necessary for healthy and stable weight loss.
  2. Gluconeogenesis. Proteins and fats are converted to carbohydrates. This process can burn additional calories throughout the day.
  3. Suppresses appetite. Ketogenic nutrition normalizes the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, responsible for eating behavior.
  4. Increases insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance leads to weight gain. Therefore, an increase in sensitivity to the hormone speeds up metabolism and promotes the rapid breakdown of fat deposits and a decrease in the rate of new formation.

Treatment and prevention of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disorder that significantly increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The signs that indicate that a person has metabolic syndrome are:

  • low blood pressure;
  • abdominal obesity (big belly);
  • high blood sugar (even if diabetes has not yet been diagnosed);
  • Poor lipid profile (rules for self-decoding analysis for cholesterol).

All of these indicators can be improved without medication, changing lifestyle and diet, for example, by switching to a ketone diet.

  1. Increasing the sensitivity of the body's cells to the hormone insulin plays an important role in the treatment and prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. With a ketone diet, insulin sensitivity increases by 75%. Some people with diabetes may even stop taking their medication.
  2. Improved lipid profile indicators. Positive changes affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  3. Additional support for the body is provided by ketone bodies, which in themselves have beneficial properties.

What other therapeutic effects does the ketone diet have?

  1. Helps in the treatment of epilepsy. An updated meta-analysis of 70 clinical studies found that the ketone diet reduced the number of seizures by 50% in 46-62% of cases. The exact mechanism of anticonvulsant action in the diet has not been established. Scientists believe that the positive effect may be associated with an increase in the amount of the antioxidant glutathione in the mitochondria, an increase in the effect of the inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA and adenosine, etc.
  2. Alzheimer's disease therapy. Several small studies have shown that ketone nutrition improves the condition of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. In patients with this disease, the supply of glucose to the brain is impaired. And ketone bodies allow energy to be fed to the brain without the participation of glucose, while reducing the toxic effects of glutamate.
  3. Support for patients with parkinsonism. According to some studies, a carbohydrate-free diet is beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease in preventing the death of dopaminergic neurons and mitochondrial damage.
  4. Helping children with autism. It is speculated that the ketone diet improves the behavior of children with autism. And it does this more effectively than the Atkins diet, gluten-free and casein-free foods. However, the data on this problem is so limited that it cannot be considered completely reliable.
  5. Cancer treatment. Tumor cells work exclusively with glucose. They cannot obtain energy from ketone bodies. Therefore, the transition to ketogenic nutrition promotes cell death in malignant neoplasms. However, experts emphasize that the method can only be used in conjunction with chemotherapy treatment and with the permission of a doctor. And don't put too much hope in this approach.
  6. Improves skin condition. In particular, eliminating acne. Low insulin levels and the elimination of all industrially produced foods from the diet, as required by the diet, eliminate chronic inflammation that affects the skin.
  7. Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome. The disease is associated with impaired glucose and androgen metabolism. The ketogenic diet helps to bring back the insulin sensitivity that plagues women with polycystic syndrome.

What to do and what not to do in the Keto diet: list of foods

What you can't eat on a keto diet
  • Sugar in any form. Obviously, sweet products (sweets, ice cream) and those that do not look like sweets, but contain this ingredient in their composition, are also classified as prohibited. It may even be store-bought ketchup.
  • Cereals: wheat (including spelled), rye, barley, rice, corn.
  • Vegetable oils that make you fat - soy, corn, sunflower, rapeseed. And also trans fats.
  • Fruit. Except for a small amount of wild fruits, like strawberries.
  • Vegetables. Beans, peas, lentils, etc. Can be used in green, for example, beans.
  • Tubers and rhizomes. Potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, etc.
  • Any "dietary" food, for example, low-fat cottage cheese (in these products, fat is replaced by sugar).
  • Products with sweeteners in the form of sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol) - have a negative effect on ketone bodies.
  • Sauces and sauces, in the preparation of which sugar, starch, flour were used.
  • Alcohol.
  • All ready products from the food industry.

The ketogenic diet: what you can and should eat

  • All types of meat: beef, pork, poultry, lamb, etc.
  • Fish and seafood.
  • Eggs.
  • Vegetables. Preferably green. Others are allowed (tomatoes, eggplants, onions, peppers) - the main thing is that there is a lot of fiber and practically no easily digestible carbohydrates.
  • Fatty dairy products - cream, butter, cheese.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Mushrooms.
  • The right vegetable oils: olive, coconut oil, avocado.
  • Fermented foods: natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Spices and herbs.

Example of weekly menu for women and men on a ketogenic diet

Monday Tuesday

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon and tomato.

Lunch: cauliflower and broccoli soup in chicken broth, chicken cooked with eggplant and sautéed pepper.

Dinner: a piece of red fish baked in sour cream with vegetable salad.

Breakfast: natural fatty yogurt without sweeteners or flavors with nuts and / or seeds.

Lunch: bone broth (preferably meat) with hard egg, a piece of meat cooked with sauerkraut (without potatoes).

Dinner: chicken stew with zucchini.

Wednesday Thursday

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with peppers.

Lunch: fish soup (without potatoes), pork chop with green beans stew

Dinner: chicken breast baked in the oven with sour cream, cucumber and tomato.

Breakfast: normal fat cottage cheese, without sugar and flavors.

Lunch: mushroom soup (without potatoes and noodles), minced meat steak with egg and vegetable salad.

Dinner: fish baked under a cheese crust with vegetables.

Friday Saturday

Breakfast: soft eggs with a slice of cheese.

Lunch: sour cabbage soup (without potatoes), chicken liver stewed with sour cream and fried onion, with shirataki noodles.

Dinner: salad with fish and / or seafood (without potatoes and rice), but with green vegetables, tomatoes, etc.

Breakfast: cottage cheese with herbs.

Lunch: bone broth with meatballs (without flour or bread), blue steak with cooked cabbage (fresh or sour).

Dinner: chicken cooked with radish and cucumber salad.

Sunday Move to the next week

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with feta cheese.

Lunch: Light vegetable soup with cauliflower and broccoli (without potatoes), roasted chicken in the entire oven, with cucumber and tomato salad.

Dinner: mushrooms, cooked with sour cream, with vegetable salad.

Repeat the first week, trying to add maximum variety to the menu. There are many recipes in the world to satisfy the ketone diet.

Rules to be followed

  1. You can and should eat until you get fed up without counting calories.
  2. Only the right fats can be eaten. This means that cooking is only allowed with oil that resists heat treatment. Salads should only be lubricated with the correct dietary dressings.
  3. There must be a lot of fat in the diet. You cannot focus on proteins.
  4. Tea, coffee, instant chicory and many other drinks are allowed. The main selection criterion is the absence of sugar and sweeteners in the drink.
  5. You should try to add lots of spices to your food.

Healthy snacks when losing weight with a ketogenic diet

As the ketogenic diet does not require calorie counting, snacks are not only allowed, but even encouraged. But they must be correct.


  • hard-boiled eggs;
  • meat chips;
  • cheeses;
  • nuts, seeds, as well as various pastes and oils prepared from them;
  • berries, for example, strawberries with cream (however, you should not be carried away by berries);
  • natural yogurt and other natural fermented dairy products;
  • all vegetables allowed by their diet and light salads.

All dairy products, whether cheese or yogurt, must have a normal fat content.

What is "flu keto": symptoms

The first few days of switching to a low-carb diet can be difficult. Unpleasant symptoms are often observed, which are called "keto flu".

Can be checked:

  • Constant hunger, especially sugar cravings;
  • tiredness;
  • insomnia;
  • abdominal discomfort, stomach pain;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • constipation or diarrhea;
  • concentration problems;
  • headache and dizziness;
  • muscle pain and cramps;
  • irritability, crying.

How long does the ketoflu last

From several days to several weeks. It is associated with the restructuring of the body to use fats as the main fuel source. While adaptation is taking place, the energy may not be sufficient, which leads to the listed symptoms, which are unpleasant. But they pose no danger.

Ketone bodies are always present in the blood in small amounts. After the first 2-3 days of a strictly carbohydrate-free diet, the liver starts producing ketones and its blood level increases to 2-3 mM.

The adaptation is completed when the cells, placed in conditions of carbohydrate deficiency, reduce the absorption of the blood ketone bodies, increasing their concentration to 8 mM. At this point, effective ketone transport through the blood-brain barrier begins.

Why some people adapt easily to the ketogenic diet, while others are difficult, has not been precisely established. A person's eating habits are assumed to be important. The more easily digestible carbohydrates it consumes, the more difficult the transition is. Genetic predisposition is of some importance.

How to quickly go into ketosis on a ketone diet

Correct water regime
  1. Correct water regime. When carbohydrates are removed from the diet, glycogen stores are reduced in the body. As glycogen accumulates water around it, with a decrease in its amount, dehydration can occur, which leads to fatigue and muscle pain.
  2. Only light physical activity. During the body adaptation period, only light exercises are allowed: walking, yoga, slow cycling. All types of strenuous fitness must be abandoned.
  3. Recommended intake of mineral supplements:
    • sodium - 3-4 grams per day;
    • potassium - 1g;
    • magnesium - 0. 3g.

Supplements with creatine monohydrate and caffeine are also shown.

Keto breath and specific urine smell

The transition to a diet rich in carbohydrates and with plenty of fat is often accompanied by the occurrence of a specific odor in the mouth. The person himself often feels a metallic taste in his mouth. People around you often perceive this as the smell of nail polish remover. Some people think it smells like fruit. The same smell is acquired by the urine.

The phenomenon is caused by the formation of volatile acetone ketone, often found in nail polish remover.

Odor is not a side effect. It simply indicates that the body starts to work with fats and forms ketone bodies. It is harmless to health. But it can be unpleasant for the person himself and for the people around him, especially when it comes to breathing.

To reduce the severity of a symptom, you need to:

  • drink more fluids;
  • eats less protein;
  • use mint chewing gum;
  • slightly increases the amount of carbohydrates (only if you eat less than 50 g per day).

After 1-2 weeks, the smell should disappear on its own.

Delayed side effects of the ketone diet

In addition to ketoflu, which resolves in a few weeks, this diet can cause late side effects. Possible:

  • problems of the digestive system caused by the ingestion of excessive amounts of fat and dysfunction of the intestinal microflora;
  • gradual increase in cholesterol levels;
  • increased load on the kidneys, which can increase the likelihood of developing kidney failure and cause urolithiasis;
  • decreased bone density.

Potential nutritional deficiencies in a long-term ketogenic diet

Possible nutrient deficiencies

As the diet cannot be called balanced, prolonged exposure to this diet can lead to the lack of some important components.

  1. Calcium. Leaves in the urine. Since with excess fat, urine becomes very acidic and the body is forced to alkalinize it with calcium. In addition, the lack of carbohydrates impairs the absorption of this trace element.
  2. Magnesium. According to the assumptions, the gradual development of the deficiency is associated with the withdrawal from the diet of foods rich in this microelement - cereals and fruits.
  3. Iron. An abundance of fat in food impairs iron absorption.
  4. Sodium and potassium. Due to the decrease in insulin levels, the loss by the kidneys increases. However, unlike other micronutrients, such as calcium or magnesium, which are lacking over time, potassium and sodium quickly disappear. And in many ways, its scarcity is due to the symptoms of keto flu, which gradually pass.
  5. Selenium. The deficiency may be due to the lack of this trace element in foods rich in fat. The exception is Brazil nuts, whose piece gives the body 100% of the daily value of selenium.
  6. Carnitine. The disadvantage is that the compound is consumed very quickly on a fatty diet.

If you have been on a ketone diet for a long time, you should regularly check the level of all substances that may become deficient over time. It is advisable to take supplements with risky nutrients.

Who should not switch to ketone food: contraindications

  1. Children, pregnant and lactating women, patients with diabetes mellitus and cancer can switch to a ketogenic diet only if prescribed by their doctor and under their supervision.
  2. The diet is contraindicated in people with ApoE3 and ApoE4 genotypes, as it can lead to increases in life-threatening cholesterol levels.
  3. Do not follow patients with epilepsy with the KCNJ11 and BAD genes.
  4. Serious liver and / or kidney diseases are contraindications to follow this diet.


The ketone diet is a very rigid nutritional system that requires an almost complete rejection of carbohydrates and the introduction of a significant amount of fat in the diet.

Switching to a ketogenic diet is often difficult to tolerate.

The diet has received a large body of scientific research, many of which prove its benefits for weight loss, treatment of type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, normalization of lipid profiles and elimination of the metabolic syndrome.

However, there are not many studies that have evaluated the health effects of prolonged diets (more than a year). And, according to some assumptions, the constant presence of this diet can mean damage to health.