The ketogenic diet: What it is, how it works and why you should start it

What is a ketogenic diet?

The first therapeutic applications of the ketogenic diet or VLCKD (Very Low Calorie Ketogenic Diet) date back almost a hundred years ago and we can certainly affirm that it is one of the most studied dietary protocols to this day, as its benefits and its application times, which vary from 5 days up to several months, are still not fully known or defined yet.

But what exactly is a ketogenic diet? What is it about?
The ketogenic diet, also known as the “keto diet”, is a diet based on the drastic reduction or complete elimination of sugars and carbohydrates while simultaneously increasing the daily intake of proteins. This sudden change in eating habits causes a rapid lowering of insulin levels, which are responsible for the storage of sugars (the excess of which is transformed into fat), and forces the body to break down excess stored fat to use as a primary energy source.

The process leads to the formation of ketones, lipid molecules produced in the liver under conditions of prolonged fasting, which will be used instead of glucose (an energy source favored by the brain under normal conditions) to produce energy, allowing the body to enter in a physiological state called “ketosis“.

Ketones are not only advantageous from an energy point of view, but they can also have various other positive effects, like improving the energy efficiency of cells and by acting as signals capable of modulating and controlling important metabolic pathways, some of which are involved in the aging and cell death process.

A VLCKD developed ad hoc on the patient, must be a very low-calorie (max 800 Kcal / day), normolipidemic and above all normoproteic (1.4 g of protein per kg of body weight) protocol.


Keto diet and your health: is the VLCKD protocol safe for the body?

Surely compared to the first formulations, essentially created to treat epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has evolved and adapted to our times, all the while keeping its basic principles constant.

Today the ketogenic diet represents not only a dietary protocol aimed at losing weight quickly in order to get back in shape in a few weeks, but a real approach used to improve the body’s general state of health.

The most important and determining factor when choosing to embark on any dietary path is your health. The ketogenic diet, in addition to making us regain control of our body weight, allows us to do so in a healthy and sustainable way.
The VLCKD is a controlled regimen that doesn’t pose any dangers to our health. That being said, it must be correctly managed and should generally not be followed long term (usually no more than thirty days). VLCKD is a dietary protocol that should only be prescribed by qualified healthcare professionals (doctors, biologists or dieticians with the consent of a doctor).

In addition, some warnings should be taken into account before deciding whether or not to embark on the keto journey since there are a few side effects to the protocol. It is not a diet that is suitable for everyone, as there are some pathologies and particular cases in which the ketogenic diet is not recommended:

  • enzyme deficiencies of a genetic nature, which prevent the activation of metabolic pathways that lead to ketosis or inborn errors of metabolism;
  • pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • type 1 diabetes;
  • kidney or liver failure;
  • recent myocardial infarction;
  • porphyria;
  • angina;
  • food disorders;
  • alcohol abuse.


What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?

Let’s now highlight the health benefits and advantages brought to the body and mind through a ketogenic diet which have already been proven by research and scientific evidence.

Let’s start from the pluses that the keto diet guarantees in terms of weight management, all linked to the normoproteic nature of this diet:

  • Quick and safe weight loss;
  • Acts selectively on the fat mass;
  • Protects muscle mass;
  • It greatly reduces the feeling of hunger;
  • Restoration of a greater psycho-physical balance;
  • It greatly reduces the various “addictions”, from food, alcohol and even tobacco.

The reduced appetite and rapid weight loss that accompany the ketogenic diet have undoubtedly been the factors that have contributed to making the VLCKD so popular.
To these benefits we can also add a general improvement in biological and blood parameters (lipid and glycemic profile, in particular) and some body functions:

  • Detoxification of the organism and organic and metabolic rebalancing;
  • Reduction of blood glucose levels;
  • Increased concentration and mental clarity;
  • Reduction of inflammation markers and free radicals;
  • Alleviation of migraines and headaches: ketone bodies exert a mitigation of inflammation on neurons and improve mitochondrial functionality;
  • Positive state of mind during the journey;
  • Recourse to fat reserves to increase the cell’s energy reserves, with an improvement in the efficiency of energy processes

Because of all the benefits that it allows us to obtain in terms of mental performance and physical shape, particularly in terms of concentration and athletic capacity, the ketogenic diet is also used by many professional athletes worldwide.

The Dimagra® Method: PromoPharma’s ketogenic diet

At the beginning of the 90s, the PromoPharma® researched an effective and safe weight loss method. This research gave birth to the Dimagra®, the high protein and low-glucose weight loss method which is based on the principles of the VLCKD approach and performs a triple action, helping those who follow the diet to:

  1. Lose weight, reducing fat mass in a simple, quick and safe way;
  2. Obtain a new silhouette, a new shape;
  3. Detoxify the body, eliminating the body of accumulated toxins.

Dimagra® takes advantage of the main principles of the ketogenic diet while making it more effective and safe through the strategic management of the daily amount of protein intake. The main feature of this method, in fact, is the correct protein and amino acid breakdown which is guaranteed thanks to the use of specific supplements, essential for the activation of ketosis.

The Dimagra® Method is based on a diet with the following characteristics:

  • High Protein: the consumption of 1.4g of protein per kg of body weight every day, compared to the 1-1.2 g normally recommended by the DRI (Daily Recommended Intake);
  • Low calorie or VLCKD: 800 kcal / day;
  • Low glucose: involves an immediate elimination of carbohydrates and sugars, which will then be gradually reintroduced in the last days of the course;
  • Hypolipidemic: no introduction of fat, with recourse to the fat reserves of the adipose tissue as an energy source instead of glucose;
  • Ensure proper hydration through the use Dimagra® Dren draining, which helps the body eliminate accumulated toxins;
  • Adequate supplementation of vitamins and mineral salts, essential for alkalizing the body during a ketogenic diet, thanks to Dimagra® Xalifom® Alkalin.

When followed correctly, studies show that the Dimagra® path allows for the reduction in fat mass in just a few weeks all the while maintaining muscle tone. The results of the Dimagra® Method are guaranteed only if the path is followed meticulously as indicated in the food diary to ensure the body’s state of ketosis is not accidentally interrupted, which is essential for weight loss.

The main benefits of the Dimagra® Method are:

  • Rapid weight loss, approximately 8-10% of the initial weight in a few weeks
  • Rapid and significant loss of fat on the waist, hips and buttocks
  • Liver purification
  • Reduction of visceral fat
  • Loss of fat mass
  • Maintenance of lean mass
  • Absence of hunger along the way
  • Effective action against water retention
  • Good tasting supplements
  • Safe and easy to follow controlled path
  • Maximum attention to the nutritional quality of the method’s protein supplements and foods

The Metodo Dimagra® is divided into two alternative paths: Dimagra® Protein and Aminodiet Drink®.

Dimagra® Aminodiet Drink is the new and innovative method studied by PromoPharma® researchers that uses free form plant-based amino acids for faster and more effective weight loss aimed at keeping lean mass toned.

Dimagra® Protein is equally effective but uses isolated whey protein in the form of prepared packets in order to ensure the correct amount of protein intake. They can be diluted in water or low-fat yogurt and to be used one or more times throughout the day.

Lose weight in a couple of weeks: advice for an effective ketogenic diet

Here are some keto friendly tips to help the body enter and maintain its state of ketosis in order to maximize safe weight-loss:

  • Don’t skip mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks
  • Take all supplements slowly
  • Use low-sodium salt
  • Drink at least two liters of water a day
  • Do not consume alcohol, sugary drinks or fruit juices
  • Cook food using steam or on the grill
  • Among the cooking methods, frying and gratinating are to be eliminated
  • Eliminate the consumption of sugar
  • Recommended condiments: 2 stick packs of Dimagra® Pure MCT Oil 100% or 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil per day, lemon (in moderation), spices and herbs (in moderation)
  • In case of sudden hunger between meals, you can consume a Protein Bar® 33% or Protein Bar® 50% or one of the new Dimagra® Protein Food snacks (1 per day)
  • In case of constipation, drink plenty of water and possibly use Vado Syrup (1 teaspoon / stick pack to be taken in the evening, before going to bed). If the symptom persists consult your doctor.

Failure to follow these rules can reduce or stop weight loss, pulling the body out of ketosis, and making stabilization more difficult.

For more information on the Protein and Aminodiet Drink paths of the Dimagra® Method, read this article.

Avatar Di Dott. Valerio Ballardini

Biologo Nutrizionista con Specializzazione in Nutrizione e Dietetica Applicata. Iscritto all’Albo Biologi, Sezione A.

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