Guidelines for Proper Implementation of the Ketogenic Diet

Guidelines for Proper Implementation of the Ketogenic Diet

After learning about the features and flaws of the ketogenic lifestyle, it is now up to you to decide whether it is the ideal diet plan for you. If you decide in the affirmative, then you need a well-structured and detailed plan for your meals and snacks. We will layout the basic framework that you should keep in mind as you set out on this new path.

Introduce fat-rich edibles into your diet

Since the purpose of a KD is to supply the body with a surplus amount of fats, it is sensible to consume a great deal of them. Nutritionists recommend anywhere between 80-85% of fats. While on the keto diet, fats act as the constant fuel both for the body and the brain. They are broken down into fatty acids that are oxidized into ketones in the liver. The process is called Beta Oxidation. If you still feel hungry it means you need to augment your lipid intake.

Restriction of Carbohydrates

As we already know, half of the typical human diet is made up of carbohydrates. But in the KD, we manipulate the usage of macronutrients in such a manner that fats become the chief energy source. Fats constitute over 75% of the dietary intake in the keto diet. Therefore, a high-fat, low-carb regime restricts the daily use of carbs to 20-50 g.

Adequate intake of dietary fiber

It is notable, however, that dietary fiber must be taken in adequate amounts and is excluded from the digestible carbs. Dietary fiber is an essential part of the diet as it has a host of benefits. In addition to lowering blood pressure and inflammation, it maintains body weight and improves gut mobility.

Moderate consumption of proteins

A well-planned low-carb diet must have an average amount of protein. Mostly, it happens that people who eat a low-carb diet end up consuming a lot of lean meats. Consequently, their body starts converting this excess protein into amino acids and subsequently glucose. This process is termed as gluconeogenesis. Its drawback is that it prevents the body from going into full-fledged ketosis. This is a very common mistake and can be prevented by following the following ratios of macronutrients.

Macronutrient Percentage (rough estimate)
Carbohydrates <5% of total calories
Fats 85% of the total calories
Protein 0.8-1.2g/kg body weight or 10%of total calories

Micronutrients on a keto diet

The micronutrients that are most important for the bodily systems are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Lowering the intake of carbohydrates can also diminish the consumption of micronutrient-rich nutriments (i.e. fruits and green vegetables). These ions act as electrolytes. Sodium is particularly involved in nerve impulse conduction and muscular contraction. It also regulates acid-base balance, water balance, extracellular fluid composition, and cell membrane potential. Potassium is the chief cation in the intracellular fluid. It maintains cell membrane potential across all cells of the body specifically the cardiomyocytes. Similarly, magnesium helps to conserve normal muscle and nerve function. It boosts the immune system and helps the bones stay strong. Calcium is involved in bone health and it controls dental health. The levels of these electrolytes can fall at the beginning of a keto routine due to their excretion in the urine. But as the body adapts and sets its pace within the keto diet, these deficiencies subside. The functions and food sources of these ions are provided below:

ElectrolyteFunctionFood source
Sodiumnerve-muscle conduction and muscular contraction Shrimp, cottage cheese, table salt, vegetable juice
Potassiumpresent in ICF maintains cell membrane potential Nuts, avocados, dark green vegetables
Magnesium Improved bone health, heart health, calcium absorption, and muscle contractions Spinach, whole grain, cashew, almonds, dark chocolate, avocado, black beans, cultured yogurt
Calciumactivates oocytes, provides strength to teeth and bones, involved in blood clotting and nerve impulse transmission Milk, cheese, tofu, soybeans, spinach, bread, cabbage, okra, sardines

Micronutrients also include vitamins in addition to minerals. These vitamins that are vital to life and must be incorporated into the KD are Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin K.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a significant role in blood clotting and bone metabolism. It produces prothrombin which is a protein needed for blood clotting. It also sustains normal levels of blood clotting. Vitamin K can be added in the diet by eating leafy vegetables such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, and spinach.

Vitamin D

This vitamin absorbs calcium and promotes the health of your bones. If Vitamin D becomes deficient, kids can get a disease called rickets that is characterized by fragile, malformed bones. In the case of adults, the condition is called Osteomalacia (softening of the bones and weakness of the joints).

Food sources of this micronutrient include Cod liver oil, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, margarine, orange juice, egg yolk, cereal, and milk. You should also catch some sunlight during the daytime as its rays are enriched with this vitamin.

Vitamin B Complex

This complex comprises all the B vitamins that perform a multitude of functions from antioxidation on one extreme to cellular signaling on the other. The complex is critical for DNA production, amino acid metabolism, and cell growth. It has many other functions as well that are reflective of its significance. Its sources are sunflower seeds, tuna, mushrooms, fish, chickpeas, yogurt, cheese, and leafy greens. You can also buy a supplement that combines all eight vitamins into one solid pill.