Ketogenic Diet: what it is, menu and allowed foods

The ketogenic diet is one among the many diets that from time to time come into fashion. Often, they are food models, with various restrictions, which promise an accelerated weight loss and not always in a very healthy way.

This is the case of ketogenic, which proposes a significant reduction of certain foods, such as carbohydrates .

For those who just want to lose weight, it may not be the type of diet most recommended by experts. However, it can be a form of food indicated for patients in more specific health conditions, providing benefits that other diets do not offer in the same way.

Read more: Egg Diet (3 days, 7 days, USP), how to do, menu, lose weight?

In the following text we explain what can and cannot be ingested in the ketogenic diet and when it is indicated. Check out!


What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very restrictive form of food, with a much more significant reduction in the amount of carbohydrates than the low carb itself. With little carbohydrate and greater consumption of fats, it induces the body to the process of ketogenesis, hence the name.

Ketogenesis is nothing more than the process that the body enters in reacting to the lack of carbohydrates. That’s because it needs to find a new source of energy for the body.

Normally, through carbohydrates, that energy source is glucose.

In the ketogenic diet, poor in this macronutrient and rich in fats and proteins , the body begins to produce ketone bodies that work as fuel instead of glucose.

To generate these ketone bodies (such as acetoacetate, beta hydroxybutyric acid, acetone), the body uses its own fat reserve.

The ketogenic diet has its biblical origin more than 2,000 AD with the function of treating patients with epilepsy in the control of crises, for helping to regulate brain functions.

Currently, many people see this diet model as another form of weight loss, by helping to accelerate the burning of fat.

For those who have only the objective of losing weight, the diet may not be the most suitable food model. Because it is very restricted, not all people are suitable.

In the beginning, it can be quite difficult to get used to the restrictions, in addition to leading to several health losses because it is a specific diet therapy for the treatment of neural pathologies.

It takes the body a while to get used to this ketosis process, and during that time, it suffers. With a lack of glucose, the brain can understand that there is something wrong with the body and symptoms such as tiredness , moodiness and weakness can be manifested during the first few days.

Ketogenic diet and epilepsy

The ketogenic diet has always been widely used as an effective method of controlling epileptic seizures, when there were few options for drug treatments. The main ones, until then, were the drugs phenobarbital and bromides.

This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can help control epilepsy attacks by leaving the brain better nourished by essential fatty acids such as omegas, with greater preservation of neurons and preventing some degenerative diseases.

Over the years, with more studies and pharmacological innovations, more drugs for the control of epilepsy crises have emerged, and the ketogenic diet is still used as diet therapy.

However, this model of feeding is also still often used in cases where the patient does not present a good response to medications (known as intractable epilepsies that are difficult to control with medication and with delay in neuropsychomotor development).

How it works?

It is important to emphasize that the ketogenic diet should not be done without professional monitoring. Therefore, to start doing it, it is necessary to look for a doctor and nutritionist who can better advise on this dietary change.

It is safer this way because experts evaluate several factors that can influence the outcome of the diet, such as age, weight, sex, height, physical inactivity and other clinical conditions, such as chronic diseases, for example.

After these evaluations, it is possible to have an idea about the amount of calories and carbohydrates needed for each person.

Although professionals help with the menu, there is no definition of what must be ingested. Each person can set up meals according to personal tastes. In addition, there is no single model of a ketogenic diet, it can have variations.

Classic diet model

The classic model of the ketogenic diet consists of consuming 1000 to 1600 calories per day, but it varies a lot for each person according to weight, age and sex. Carbohydrate consumption is very low, representing 4% to 10% of the daily calories ingested.

Already the amount of fats is high, being between 60% to 70% of the daily calories ingested. The rest of the necessary calories must be of protein origin.

There are also variations of this classic ketogenic diet in which the calorie consumption is lower (approximately 800 calories) and the menu control is stricter. The person on the classic diet should generally eat 6 meals a day.

Diet time

The duration of the ketogenic diet can vary greatly according to the purpose of each person, but it is not a type of diet recommended to be done uninterruptedly.

It is usually done in a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks, extending in more specific cases up to 6 months.

An average time of the ketogenic diet should be 40 days, with nutritional monitoring.

Adaptation of the organism

Because it is constantly receiving carbohydrates, the body ends up getting used to this type of energy source.

The brain is one of the organs most used to this type of fuel, as it extracts glucose from it to function perfectly.

When deprived of receiving these carbohydrates, the body begins to produce ketone bodies to replace this fuel for the body.

But for the organ to adapt to this new energy source, it takes some time. This adaptation period can vary a lot for each person, varying between 3 to 10 days.

In that time, the person may have some side effects, as the lack of glucose in the brain can cause symptoms tiredness, weakness and moodiness.

Allowed foods: what to eat in the ketogenic diet?

In the ketogenic diet, food consists of the consumption of proteins and fats, in addition to some fruits, vegetables and greens. Check out the main foods that can be included in the menu:

  • Proteins : beef, pork, chicken, fish and eggs;
  • Vegetables and legumes : spinach, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, onion, zucchini, chicory, cauliflower, celery, peppers, cabbage;
  • Seeds : chia, flaxseed, sunflower;
  • Milk and milk products : cheeses, sour cream, yogurt;
  • Vegetable milks : coconut milk, almonds, soy, rice etc;
  • Chestnuts, walnuts and almonds : peanuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts;
  • Oils and fats : olive oil, coconut oil, pig bath, butter etc;
  • Drinks : water, tea and coffee without sugar.

What fruits are allowed in the ketogenic diet?

Not all fruits are released in the ketogenic diet, as these are foods rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, consumption is more limited to fruits that are a source of good fats, such as coconut and avocado.

Other fruits that are not banned in the diet, which have a low content of liquid carbohydrates, are:

  •  Strawberry;
  • Blackberry;
  • Lemon;
  • Cherry;
  • Blueberry;
  • Raspberry.

Foods to Avoid

In addition to carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta, cereals and corn starch, there are also other restrictions, such as:

  • Bean;
  • Soy;
  • Pea;
  • Lentils;
  • Chickpea;
  • Wheat flour (bread, toast, biscuits, cake etc.);
  • Fruits with a high carbohydrate content;
  • English potato;
  • Sweet potato;
  • Cassava;
  • Yam;
  • Mandioquinha;
  • Chocolates, chocolate, candies, ice cream and sweets;
  • Lactose-free milk;
  • Refined sugar;
  • Brown sugar;
  • Alcoholic beverages.

Read more: Yam juice and its benefits

Simple weekly menu

There is no mandatory menu to be followed in the ketogenic diet. To understand what are the best options for each case, the ideal is to talk to a nutritionist.

However, knowing a simple 7-day menu model can help in the daily lives of those who already practice the diet and need tips on what to eat to be healthier.

Below are menu options for a week, considering three main meals. Check out:

First day


  • 1 glass of green tea;
  • 2 eggs fried in butter;
  • 1 slice of rennet cheese or mines;
  • Coffee.


  • Pork chops, green leafy salad and some green beans prepared with coconut oil.


  • Handmade hamburger with cheese, mushrooms, vegetables and bacon (without bread).

Second day


  • Omelet with curd cheese and mushrooms.


  • Boiled eggs with vegetable salad, turkey, avocado and rennet cheese.


  • Chicken fillet with curd sauce, sautéed broccoli and salad.

Third day


  • Omelet with 2 eggs and vegetables
  • Green juice.


  • Tuna salad with tomatoes, celery and vegetables.


  • Grilled salmon with spinach sauce.

Fourth day


  • Avocado whipped with yogurt and chia or 1/2 avocado with cocoa powder.


  • Chicken fillet with cheese and broccoli.


  • Beef steak with cauliflower rice, avocado and parsley.

Fifth day


  • 2 slices of papaya and 1 spoon of peanut butter.


  • Grilled filet mignon with olive oil, braised cabbage and mushrooms.


  • Tuna souffle with broccoli

Sixth day


  • 10 strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sour cream or 10 cashew nuts.


  • Tilapia fillet with lemon sauce, cauliflower rice and salad.


  • Omelet with vegetables and tomato salad.

Seventh day


  • Green banana;
  • 1 glass of green tea, fried eggs, rennet cheese


  • Meatballs with zucchini noodles and grated cheese.


  • Grilled chicken fillet, braised asparagus and broccoli.

Read more: Foods rich in carbohydrates: what to eat and what to avoid?

Does the ketogenic diet lose weight?

-Yeah . The ketogenic diet interferes with weight by drastically reducing the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates and by changing the way the body needs to look for new sources of energy.

Normally, the body uses carbohydrates as an energy source. Without this source, it needs to use the fat reserves to have fuel and to function perfectly.

With the body forced to burn fats, there is a weight loss. However, despite interfering in weight, at the beginning of the diet the person may experience symptoms such as nausea, nausea and weakness.

That’s because ketone bodies can cause this side effect.

Despite providing weight loss, the ketogenic diet is not the best form of healthy weight loss. There are other models that can provide weight loss more slowly and with less restrictions. The ideal is to talk to a nutritionist before starting any diet.

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Is the ketogenic diet safe? Who can not do?

It depends . When done with nutritional indication and monitoring, the ketogenic diet is safe. However, like any very restricted diet, it can cause side effects and even trigger other pathologies. If the person already has any health complications, professional monitoring is even more necessary.

People over 65, who have heart, kidney problems or who are being treated with specific medications, such as cortisone, should not follow the ketogenic diet.

Some side effects that can occur include constipation , nausea, vomiting and diarrhea .

In the long run, if the consumption of high-fat foods is not moderate, the diet can influence the increase in cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and increase the risk of cancer.

Renal complications and accumulation of fat in the liver can occur.

The ketogenic diet basically consists of a higher consumption of foods rich in fat and protein. Even more restricted than the low carb or Dukan diet, this model of food allows a very low amount of carbohydrates on the menu.

This is how it induces weight loss or acts to control epileptic seizures, by forcing the body to use fat reserves as an energy source.

To find out if it is safe and if this diet is really a good option for your health, talk to a nutritionist so that he can evaluate the benefits. To keep up with information on food and well-being, keep checking the articles of the Healthy Minute!