The Ketogenic (or Keto) diet is a low carb, high fat diet that offers numerous health benefits, including improved weight loss.
By drastically cutting your carbohydrate intake and replacing those carbs with fat, you can put your body in a metabolic state known as “ketosis”.
Some studies have even shown that ketogenic diets may help against cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, so what is this wonder diet all about?
Fasting and other dietary regimens have been used to treat illness since at least 500 BC, but the ketogenic diet as we understand it is a more recent invention. Originally prescribed as a cure for epilepsy, the Ketogenic Diet (or KD for short) has seen widespread popularity in recent years, thanks to its (relative) versatility and potent health benefits.
Although it may sound complicated, you can achieve ketosis without having to find exotic ingredients or research what supplements to take on Keto diet. Based around reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing those calories with fat, the KD is deceptively simple with a wide range of health benefits and an interesting history.
Keto diets are designed to send the body into a state of ‘ketosis’ by using strict low-carb diets with high protein and fat intake. When you achieve ketosis, your body becomes better at burning fat (rather than glucose derived from carbs) for energy, making these diets extremely effective for losing weight.
In addition to burning fat instead of glucose, the keto diet can cause significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, meaning diabetics may not need to worry what supplements to take on Keto diet. In the past 60 or so years, many ketogenic diets have risen in popularity, including the Atkins diet, Banting diet and Dukan diet which all follow the LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) formula.
Whether you follow the Atkins, Dukan or a plain old keto diet, the LCHF formula is still king, and these diets will almost definitely be based on one of the following models:
All ketogenic diets are intended to put your body in a state of ketosis, but how is this achieved, and does it require supplements? And if so, what supplements to take on Keto diet? In layman’s terms, Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat, not carbohydrates, as its main ‘fuel’ source and is primarily achieved by depriving your body of carbs.
Under normal circumstances, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) and uses this to fuel the chemical reactions you need to function normally. However, your body will burn fat to fuel your cells after achieving ketosis, resulting in increased weight loss and beneficial effects like reduced insulin resistance.
During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds called ketones and uses them as its main energy source, promoting weight loss partly thanks to their appetite suppressing effects. However, achieving a state of ketosis can take hard work and planning, leaving some people scratching their heads over what supplements to take on Keto diet.
In order to help you reap the benefits of the keto diet, we’ve compiled 5 effective tips to help you reach a state of ketosis below:
One of the most important parts of any keto diet is reducing your carbohydrate intake so that you can force your body into using fat stores as fuel. Regardless of what supplements to take on Keto diet, low carbohydrate levels (as low as 20-50g of carbs a day) are necessary to induce ketosis.
When you exercise, you deplete your body’s stores of glycogen, which are normally replenished by glucose derived from carbohydrates. However, if your carb levels are low, your liver will produce ketones to use as fuel during exercise, especially if you’re fasting.
The main principle of ketogenic diets is consuming Low Carbs and High amounts of Fat (LCHF), with many keto diets mandating you get 60-80% of your daily calories through fat. Therefore, it’s vital that you eat plenty of healthy fats, such as fatty fish, olive oil and avocados before you wonder what supplements to take on Keto diet.
Fasting (depriving yourself of food) is an effective way to enter a state of ketosis – many people go into mild ketosis between meals – though it cannot be sustained long-term. Fortunately, if the idea of going days without food scares you, studies show that intermittent fasting (i.e., fasting for 2 days a week or 16 hours a day) can also induce ketosis.
In order to achieve ketosis, you need to eat a moderate amount of protein, as excess protein may be converted to glucose, meaning protein shakes don’t make the list of what supplements to take on Keto diet. Make sure you follow the typical Keto ratio of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs, and you should be on your way to ketosis in no time!
Although it was originally prescribed as a cure for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has a wide variety of benefits, including weight loss, muscle growth and reduced risk of disease. By achieving and maintaining ketosis, you can benefit from:
Ketogenic diets are effective in helping you lose weight and lower your risk of diseases related to cardiovascular health, perhaps even more so than low fat diets. Thanks to the versatility and simple nature of Ketogenic diets (remember your ratio and you’re all good), you shouldn’t have to worry over what supplements to take on Keto diet either.
Diabetes is characterised by high levels of blood sugar and changes in metabolism, both of which can be tackled with a consistent keto diet. Ketogenic diets have been shown to be effective at burning fat and improving insulin sensitivity, both of which are significant in managing diabetes, so these diets could help you manage your diabetes without the need for invasive medication.
While achieving ketosis can seem like a daunting task that leaves you wondering what supplements to take on Keto diet, it is worth the struggle. As well as helping to tackle obesity and the causes of diabetes, ketogenic diets may have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions, including:
Unfortunately, ketogenic diets aren’t all sunshine and steak dinners, as they can be difficult to stick to and finicky to monitor, leaving you wondering what supplements to take on Keto diet. Although they are generally safe, keto diets often cause side effects in people new to the diet (casually known as the “keto flu”).
However, you shouldn’t let these side effects deter you from trying a keto diet, as the potential benefits greatly outweigh the side effects…
Although ketogenic diets are usually safe, you may suffer from some initial side effects while your body adapts to using fat and ketones rather than glucose as fuel. These symptoms, often referred to as ‘the keto flu’ should disappear within a few days after you achieve ketosis, so there’s no need to research what supplements to take on Keto diet if you struggle at first.
Reported symptoms of ‘keto flu’ include:
Trialling a low-carb diet before moving onto a full ketogenic diet may help you to avoid the ‘keto flu’ as some people find the change in diet highly disruptive.
Following a ketogenic diet for long periods of time may result in side effects such as mineral deficiencies, so many experts recommend vitamin and mineral pills when asked what supplements to take on Keto diet. Possible risks of eating a keto diet for long periods of time include:
Currently, there is limited research on the long-term effects of ketogenic diets, so it’s always advisable to ask a doctor if you start to notice any side effects from a keto diet.
As the popularity of ketogenic diets continues to rise, so does interest in optimising health whilst following the High Fat, Low Carb plan. Because ketogenic diets restrict your carb intake, you may find yourself with a restricted menu and suffer from vitamin or mineral deficiencies as a result.
In addition to vitamin and mineral supplements, certain substances can help you overcome the dreaded ‘keto flu’ which affects people trying to achieve ketosis. Without further ado, here are our recommendations for what supplements to take on Keto diet:
Magnesium helps to boost your energy, regulate blood sugar and support your immune system, although many magnesium rich foods are carb-heavy and restricted on the keto diet. Supplementing with calcium will help you get your Recommended Daily Allowances as well as reducing muscle cramps, irritability and difficulty sleeping – all common symptoms of ‘keto flu’.
Medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs) are a type of fat that are broken down differently than long-chain triglycerides (the most common type of fat in food) and enter the bloodstream quicker. Coconut oil is one of the most potent natural sources of MCTs and can easily be added to food and drinks for a quick fat boost to help you stay in ketosis.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease your risk of heart attacks, reduce inflammation and prevent mental decline, making them highly desirable as supplements. For these reasons, Omega-3s should be included in any discussion of what supplements to take on Keto diet, or you could just eat more oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and anchovies) as they are high in Omega-3s.
As explained in our blog on restoring Vitamin D levels, this vitamin is vital for maintaining overall health, though many people don’t get enough. While ketogenic diets don’t necessarily put you at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency, the numerous benefits of Vitamin D mean we can heartily recommend vitamin D supplements whilst following a keto diet.
Because keto diets consist of as much as 75% fat, digestive issues are common during the ‘keto flu’ phase, and supplements like digestive enzymes which help break down fats are highly valued. If you experience digestive issues, and are wondering what supplements to take on Keto diet, we recommend digestive enzymes such as proteolytic enzymes to soothe your stomach and reduce post-workout soreness.
Exogenous (meaning “produced outside the system”) ketones are ketones from an external source – in this case supplements designed to support ketosis. Aside from potentially helping you achieve ketosis quicker, exogenous ketone supplements may boost muscle recovery, improve athletic performance and reduce appetite.
Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, though many contain carbohydrates which are restricted on keto diets. Fortunately, greens powders (which contain freeze dried, powdered vegetables) are a convenient way to increase your vegetable intake, making them an excellent suggestion for what supplements to take on Keto diet.
When adapting to a ketogenic diet, you may find your water, sodium, potassium and magnesium levels dropping, which contributes to ‘keto flu’ symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. By increasing your intake of these electrolytes through diet or supplements, you should be able to minimise the symptoms of these mineral shortages and beat the keto flu.
While ketogenic diets are highly effective in weight loss and improving cardiovascular health, they have several drawbacks, including difficulty in getting all the nutrients your body needs. Fortunately, by researching what supplements to take on Keto diet and the best keto-friendly foods, you can get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need to stay healthy without sacrificing ketosis.