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Five Types of Ketogenic Diet


Those motivated towards healthy lifestyle choices, by now, must have heard about the ketogenic diet.

It was initially researched, developed and used under medical supervision in children with neurological disorders mainly epilepsy.

The ketogenic diet is hugely popular worldwide. However, the keto diet does have its share of confusion and controversy.

The human body has a hierarchy of favoured sources of energy, carbohydrates being at the top of the pyramid. Fats are next in line, and then finally proteins. These three are called macronutrients.

Your current health and reason for trying a ketogenic diet usually dictate how much carbs, fats and protein should be consumed.

The most critical concept in the keto diet is limiting the daily carb consumption. The daily carbohydrate consumption is under 25 grams. This carb restriction aims to take your body into a state called “ketosis”.

Let’s understand ketosis and its benefits.

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When we limit the body’s leading choice of fuel, which is carbohydrates, our body reacts by utilizing fat as the next available energy source. In this process, fatty acids also get released from the cells and are transported to the liver.

The liver converts the fatty acids into ketones. Ketones are molecules that can cross the blood-brain barrier to provide a power source to the brain in the absence of glucose.

A diet heavy in carbohydrates is a disaster waiting to happen.

Carbohydrates convert into glucose or blood sugar. At normal levels, glucose is an excellent fuel for our cells.

When the level of glucose increases, insulin production also increases to regulate blood sugar levels.

Excess insulin production can lead to health issues like metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hyperglycemia.

A quick recap:

1) Ketosis compels the body to use stored fat for energy,

2) Ketosis helps in regulating glucose.

These are vital components to how each of the ketogenic diets functions and why you may choose one over another.

Ketogenic Diet Types

The word “diet” carries some misconception.

Diet can either mean the kinds of foods you habitually eat or particular foods/food restriction either for weight loss or medical reasons.

In the keto-world, the word means both.

The keto diet can be used as a temporary weight loss program or as a permanent way of healthy eating.

You should keep your individual needs and goals in mind through the entire process.

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

In this diet version, the ratio is typically 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein.

Percentages for fat and protein may shift a little, but for the most part, fat is a big part of the diet and caloric intake.

This prevalent version utilizes a super simple concept; stay at or below carb limit to remain in ketosis.

  • High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

You achieve ketosis the same as in the standard ketogenic diet; however, in this model, there is a bit more protein.

A typical macronutrient ratio might look like 55-60% fat, 35-40% protein and still just 5% carbs.

As with the SKD, one must maintain the carb limit for ketosis to work its magic.

  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

Have you ever heard of carb-loading before a workout?

This increased carb intake on exercise days is the main idea of the targeted ketogenic diet.

About 30-60 minutes before exercise, you should consume anywhere from 25-50g of easily digestible carbs (the actual number depends on your needs and type of workout).

Glucose-based foods are more effective in a keto diet than fructose-based foods. Glucose is usually entirely burned without taking your body out of ketosis.

Post-workout meals should have less fat and more protein.

Usually, fat is preferred; however, protein is better suited for the recovery of muscles and nutrient absorption.

  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

This one sounds a bit strange considering what we’ve just learned.

CKD is for bodybuilders and high-intensity trainers who wish to build lean muscle mass while maximizing fat loss.

In this regimen, one must follow the cycle of SKD for five days before going into the carb-loading phase for two days.

On the first day, one could have a limit of 50g of carbs.

On day two, the intake of carbs could be between 400-600g.

The logic is to load up on carbs, so the body is sufficiently fueled for the next five days of gruelling workouts.

Those using the standard ketogenic diet protocol should not use
the CKD as a “cheat day”. This program is suitable only for extremely active individuals.

  • Restricted Ketogenic Diet

On this last version, both calories and carbohydrates are limited, and one should undertake this only in the supervision of medical professionals.

Based on various researches, cancer cells can’t use ketones for energy and can starve to death.

As with any new diet or lifestyle change, one should seek the advice of their doctor before starting the new regimen. You must also consider your individual goals, state of health and medical history.

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