The ketogenic diet is a diet based on a process called ketosis. It is a specific state of the body, which is characterized by an elevated level of ketones in the blood, which occurs due to the conversion of fats into fatty acids and ketones. This occurs when the body gets only very small amounts of carbohydrates over a certain period of time. When you start with this type of diet, your body goes through several changes. After 24-48 hours since the beginning of this diet, the body starts to use ketones in order to use the energy stored in fat cells more efficiently. In other words, the primary source of energy becomes fat (fatty acids), instead of carbohydrates (glucose). Because of that, during ketosis it is not a problem to eat food with higher amounts of fat, than would otherwise seem reasonable. This way the body is rapidly losing weight (specifically fat). In addition, the loss of muscle tissue (proteins) is minimal, since the vast majority of food consumed during ketosis, also contains relatively large amounts of proteins that are good for your muscles.
Although ketosis is the basis of the ketogenic type of diet, in its strictest form it doesn’t need to be kept for long. The state of ketosis can be held up until the body weight is just a few pounds higher than the one that is desired. Then foods with higher amounts of carbohydrates are gradually introduced (rice, beans,…). In this period, it would be very useful to keep a food intake diary in which daily amounts of taken carbs would be noted. That way you can find the maximum amount of daily carbs that still allows you not to gain weight. Once you discover this parameter, you will no longer have overweight related problems, because until that moment you will certainly learn to take account of calories and amounts of carbs, proteins and fats that you consume daily. That way you will get to know your body better, in terms of the maximum “allowable” daily intake. Because of that, we could say that the ketogenic diet is, in a way, a procedure for learning habits that will ensure that you never return to the old potentially problematic overweight levels.
There are many types of ketogenic diets that can be found on the internet or in other sources, but they all have in common one basic principle – intake of high amounts of proteins and fats, and minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Which exact diet you will choose, isn’t as important, as long as it will allow you to enter ketosis, which is the basis of the biological mechanism that will help you lose weight efficiently.