Our body works like a hybrid car, capable of using two fuels (carbohydrates or fats), but with a much larger fat reservoir than carbohydrates . This carbohydrate reservoir painfully reaches 600 grams in the form of glycogen stored in the muscles and in the liver. It is also important to know that each gram of fat contains 9 kcal while carbohydrates and proteins contain only 4 kcal per gram. The keto or ketogenic diet consists of strongly decreasing the intake of carbohydrates, and increasing just as strongly the fats in your diet in order to function on the use of ketones. Ketones are a source of fuel that allows muscles and the brain to function more efficiently, and whose combustion generates much less inflammation and oxidative stress than the use of glucose. The ketogenic diet has been shown to be useful in the treatment of epilepsy, overweight and obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes. It is used experimentally in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Its benefits, demonstrated or potential, are related to the properties of ketones, the best known of which is β-hydroxybutyrate.
A diet rich in good fats will lead to a decrease in blood sugar, insulin levels and glycogen stocks (liver and muscle). Lipogenesis, in other words the storage of calories in the form of fat in the adipose tissue will decrease while lipolysis will increase so that the body uses the fat. The respiratory quotient obtained from the analysis of gases collected during an exercise test gives us information on the use of one or the other fuel. The respiratory quotient (RQ) is the ratio of the volume of CO2 exhaled to the volume of O2 inspired will drop. The respiratory quotient reflects the composition of the fuel mixture your body uses to function. The lower it is (close to 0.7), the more fat your body consumes for energy. The closer it is to unity, the more carbohydrates are used.
Foods to avoid
It is important to reduce or even eliminate certain foods from your plate:
- Cereals and their derivatives (flours, pasta, breads, semolina ...), including pseudo-cereals without gluten as quinoa
- legumes (lentils, dried beans, soybeans, etc.)
- most fruits (except red berries and some small fruits with little sugar)
- vegetables that are too sweet, such as beets
- all desserts and sweet products (including drinks) as well as ultra-processed foods.
On the other hand, fats are welcome: those of vegetable origin (flaxseed oil, walnut oil, camelina oil, coconut oil, seeds and oilseeds as well as their purees, as well as animal fats (in particular omega-3 from fatty fish). All green vegetables are allowed: lettuce, lamb's lettuce, endive, cabbage, celery, spinach, broccoli... because they are very rich in protective nutrients. Protein intake remains normal and is provided by good meat (from free-range animals) or fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel or salmon or eggs. Although it is not forbidden, processed meat (cold cuts, certain sausages, etc.) is not recommended. On the one hand, because it often contains hidden sugars and additives, and on the other hand, because it belongs to the category of ultra-processed foods.
Beneficial effects of the ketogenic diet
- Spare glycogen
- Fats become the preferred source of energy
- Increases intramuscular fat utilization
- Provides alternative fuel for all organs, including the brain
- Therapeutic effects (anti-epileptic, anti-parkinson, anti-Alzheimer)
- Improvement of cognitive abilities
- Weakens certain cancer cells
Effects on sports
- Increases the number of mitochondria
- Stimulates endurance adaptations
Effects on weight
- Decreases insulin secretion
- Appetite suppressant
- Regulates weight
- Promotes muscle recovery
- Allows a rapid restoration of glycogen reserves
This diet may have contraindications, so it is always best to seek advice from a health professional before adopting it. It is therefore strongly recommended to follow the advice of a micronutritionist or a doctor specialized in this field.
If you are diabetic, this diet can greatly help you reverse your disease, but only under the supervision of a health professional.
Holyfat products are the first 100% ketogenic products.
Fat is life!