What is the Keto Diet
Ketogenic diets are one of the most effective ways to lose weight fast.
You may have heard of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins diet.
The keto diet keeps carbohydrate levels low, but instead of ramping up the amount of protein in your diet, the keto diet increases the amount of fat.
A typical keto diet aims for meals with 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.
Eating a high-fat diet can still mean eating healthy. Keto diet menu items often include seafood, meat, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and nuts.
With the increased popularity of the keto diet, keto recipes are widely available.
The keto diet provides many health benefits.
This diet can not only help you quickly lose weight, but can also improve your overall health and help prevent disease.
How Does the Keto Diet Work
It might seem counterintuitive that adding more fat to your diet can lead to weight loss.
Normally, your diet is high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose, or blood sugar, for use as energy.
As glucose enters your bloodstream, your body releases insulin to store excess glucose as fat.
The more carbohydrates, the more glucose. The more glucose, the more insulin, and the more insulin, the more fat.
The keto diet takes advantage of the fact that when your meals are high-fat and low-carbohydrate, there is no insulin spike, and you don’t add to your fat reserves.
Instead, fat from diet and stored fat are broken down to ketones (“keto” is short for “ketogenic” producing ketones).
Like glucose, ketones can be used for energy, keeping your body running without increasing blood sugar or putting on excess fat.
Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal.
In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein.
However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.
Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet — like nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil.
But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork and bacon.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
The benefits of the keto diet can be huge.
What Can You Eat On The Keto Diet
While on the keto diet, most of your diet will consist of foods high in fats coupled with a measured intake of proteins and low carbohydrate intake.
Some of the food categories allowed in this diet include:
There is what we call the 80/20 rule when it comes to choosing your carbs for your meals.
For the 80% you should select the leafy greens such as kale, asparagus, lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.
Those vegies that have the lowest carb sources, while the remaining 20%, must be from other moderate carb vegetables such as, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow onions, etc.
Proteins should come from fatty sources, for most of the time (80%), such as eggs, bacon, pork, steak, ground beef and lamb.
The remaining 20% should be coming from cheese, chicken, nuts and fish.
Free-range Cornish hen, quail, goose, pheasant, chicken, duck, and turkey.
Fish and Seafood:
Cod, tuna, hoki scrod, anchovies, mackerel, flounder, catfish, trout, mahi-mahi, halibut, sole, sardines, salmon, halibut, snapper, and calamari.
Always try to opt for wild caught fish to avoid toxins present in commercially reared fish.
Choose the chunks of meat with more fat since they contain less protein and more fat.
Boston butt, Pork chops, ham pork, and loin.
When choosing ham, be on the lookout for added sugar.
Bacon and Sausages:
Preferably, you should buy these at specialty health food stores.
If this is not possible, always read the labels to avoid those which contain fillers such as soy or sugars.
Canned Tuna and Salmon:
Canned tuna and salmon are okay to consume while you are on the keto diet.
However,avoid seafood rich in fillers, crumbed/breaded seafood, and fried seafood.
Vegetable Protein Powders:
Protein supplements such as whey protein, hemp protein, pea, and rice are acceptable.
This includes chicken eggs, and quail eggs which you can prepare through any mean desired; fried, soft or hard boiled, deviled, scrambled, or omelette style.
Oyster, mussels, lobster, shrimp, crab (not imitation crab that contains additives), clams, scallops, and squid.
Fats and Oils
80% of the time, fats should come from healthy fat sources like avocado, MCT oil, butter, eggs, fatty meats, macadamia oil.
While the remaining 20%, it should come from other fat sources like chia seeds, milk, flax seeds, nut butters, nuts, etc.
But remember, these options from the 20% must be consumed in moderation as the carbs can add up easily.
Because these are your main sources of energy while you are on this diet, go for the types of fats and oils you enjoy.
These may include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids from fish such as tuna, shellfish, and salmon
- Fish supplements or krill
- Monounsaturated fats such as egg yolks, avocado, and butter
- Vegetable oils such as olive oil, coconut oil
- Non-hydrogenated beef tallow, ghee, and lard.
- Duck and chicken fat
In order to make it easier to stick to this diet, be aware of which types of fat your body can tolerate.
Many people seem to have zero or very low tolerance of vegetable oils and mayo.
This may be a good thing because most of these oils are rich in omega 6 fatty acids – the kind that is bad for your body’s cholesterol levels.
In this case, work with the listed monounsaturated fats to reduce the inflammatory effect brought about by polyunsaturated fats.
Nevertheless, work to balance both fats because you cannot survive on monounsaturated fats alone (You need a lot of fats and oils).
Even then, avoid hydrogenated fats such as margarine to reduce the amount of trans-fats you eat.
For these foods, try to opt for organic ones or better yet, grow your own to avoid all pesticide toxins.
Avoid starchy vegetables (corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, and winter squash) that are high in carbs.
Instead, opt for moderate intake of sweet vegetables (squashes, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots).
Vegetables that make it to the list are:
- CeleryVCollard Greens
- Onions (high in sugar; moderate intake)
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Beet Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Bamboo Shoots
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok Choy
- ChivesCelery Root
- Swiss chard
- Snow Peas
- Bean Sprouts
- Salad greens and lettuces:
Romaine, Arugula, Fennel, Bok Choy, Boston lettuce, Endive, Mache, Escarole, Sorrel, Radicchio, Chicory Water Chestnuts
- Dill Pickles
- Mascarpone cheese
- Unsweetened whole milk yogurt (limit intake of this type of yogurt because it is a little high in carbs)
- All soft and hard cheeses
- Cream cheese
- Full fat sour cream (do not forget to check for additives)
- Full fat cottage cheese
- Heavy whipping cream
In any case, always go for raw milk products and if you do not have easy access to them, go for the organic ones.
Here are some of the best low carb drinks that you can definitely consume together with your keto meals.
- Bulletproof coffee
- Decaf Tea
- Flavoured seltzer water
- Decaf coffee
- Herbal tea
- Lemon and lime juice (limit intake)
- Clear broth or bouillon
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, macadamias, pecans, and walnuts are the nuts with the lowest level of carbs meaning you can consume them in small amounts.
Other nuts such as chestnuts, pistachios, and cashews contain a higher amount of carbs; thus, you should carefully monitor their intake.
Nuts are best soaked for some time before roasted.
These are necessary because while you areon this diet, it does not mean baking no longer fits into your life.
Nut flours such as almond flour will suffice.
Some options of suitable sweeteners for a low-carb diet include:
- Inulin and Chicory root
- Lo Han Guo
- Liquid Stevia
Here are spices allowed on the keto diet:
- Sea salt
- Chili pepper
- Cilantro or coriander seeds
- Black pepper
- Cumin seeds
- Cayenne pepper
- Mustard seeds
As you can see from the above very detailed list, keto diet is NOT a highly-restrictive dieting lifestyle, it also offers you a
variety of foods to choose from; thus, you should not feel overwhelmed.
However, there are foods you should avoid to achieve optimal ketosis as your body makes the switch from using glucose to synthesizing fats for ketones.
In the next section, we shall outline the foods you should avoid.
Food To Avoid On A Keto Diet
If you stick to the food listed in the previous section, you do not have to worry about not achieving optimal ketosis.
On the same note, as you increase intake of those foods, you should also be on the lookout for the following foods to avoid on a keto diet that may hinder ketosis:
- Avoid all grains, whole meal included (rye, wheat, oats, barley, corn, millet, rice sorghum and buckwheat).
Also, avoid all products made from grains; these include foods such as crackers, pasta, pizza, and biscuits/cookies.
- Avoid refined fats and oils like sunflower, canola, grape seed, corn oil, soybean, and Trans-fats such as margarine.
- Avoid milk (only full-fat raw milk is acceptable).
For coffee, replace milk with reasonable amounts of cream.
- Avoid tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, mango papaya, etc., and some high carb fruit.
- Avoid fruit juice
- Avoid factory-farmed pork and fish
- Avoid all artificial sweeteners containing Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine, etc.
- Avoid alcoholic sweet drinks such as beer, and sweet wine
- Avoid Soy products
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, is there a way to guarantee faster adoption of ketosis?
The answer is yes.
The following section shows you such tips.
Tips For Ketogenic Diet
Follow these tips for the keto diet and get Into Ketosis fast.
It takes 48 hours to get into ketosis. To get there, you must correctly adapt to the keto diet.
Below are tips that should help you do just that and get your body into ketosis faster:
- To get into ketosis faster, eat less than 20g of carbs a day.
- Drink water, about 100 ounces per day.
- Validate yourself;
Getting some validation that the diet is actually working will be a great motivation to keep you on a diet considering the intimidating nature of the first few days of the diet.
- Do not panic;
Be aware of the keto flu coming your way.
The dizziness, the irritability, and fatigue you will be feeling on the first three days may have you experiencing mood swings but don’t give in just yet.
Reward yourself with bacon and delicious keto friendly foods as you crave for carbs and sugars.
The craving will disappear as long as you’re full.
- Consume more salt;
This is really important.
While on a keto diet, your body does not retain water as it normally would; hence, electrolytes like sodium quickly flush out of your body.
Therefore, you need constant replenishing; otherwise, you will feel awful. As indicated earlier, opt for sea salt.
- Never open the door to hunger;
When you feel the tiniest bit of a hunger pang, immediately eat high-fat low-carb foods.
The moment you get too hungry, it forms the temptation pathway.
Remember: go simple;
Do not over plan things because when you do, you may end up making everything strict and less fun.
The keto diet is fun; keep it so.
- Remember: this is not a high protein diet;
The keto diet is high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet.
Moderate is the key word here.
- Embrace the fat;
Eat fat to lose fat that is your new motto.
Do not shy away from the fat because it is your ticket to a healthier you.;i>
Keto Diet Mistakes
Here are the common keto diet mistakes you should avoid.
Nobody is perfect, and no diet is perfect.
As you adopt this diet for good health and weight loss, you are bound to make several mistakes, this is normal.
The best way to avoid, or minimize the effects of mistakes is by learning and preparing for common mistakes.
Below is a list of common ketogenic diet mistakes that dieters make:
- Eating Too Many Carbs;
There is no exact definition of what ‘low carb’ means.
Some would say it is simply anything under 100 to 150 grams a day simply because they get amazing results with this range.
However, this may be excessive if your aim is to have plenty of ketones in your bloodstream.
Most keto dieters go for under 50-grams of carbs per day to get into optimal ketosis.
Anything beyond that is termed as excessive.
- Eating Too Much Protein;
Remember: the keto diet is all about protein moderation.
As you adopt a keto diet, you need patience: patience to get into ketosis and patience to adapt to ketosis.
Understand that previously, your body’s main source of energy was carbs; now, it has to adapt to a new source of energy, fats.
The body requires time to do this; therefore, be patient.
- Obsessing Over The Scales;
The number on your weigh scales should not determine your keto diet success.
Let this be the least of your worries.
Just live life and enjoy your diet.
Weight loss will happen; do yourself a favor and keep away from those scales.
- Not Eating Enough Fats;
The unrestricted consumption of fats may seem excessive.
However, the keto diet is a high-fat diet. Just trust keto and enjoy the fat.
Remember, you should eat the right kind of fats, preferably monounsaturated and saturated fats.
- Eating Processed Keto’ Foods;
When you are on a keto diet, always think about it this way:
the intention is to eat natural ingredients and not foods that come in wrappers such as Atkins bars and Quest bars.
Although you can occasionally eat these, the idea is for a large portion of your diet (we are talking about 70-80% of your entire diet) to consist of natural ingredients.
- Being After A Quick Fix;
If this is your aim, do not start the diet. The Keto diet is more of a lifestyle change than a short-term diet plan.
Dropping a few kilos or pounds and then going back to your normal bad eating habits will be a waste of time.
Half-heartedly adopting the keto diet could be the worst thing you could do to yourself because you are just wasting time.
If you are not all in, you will not survive through the temporary effects that come with adopting the diet.
Decide on what you want and think of everything you will gain by going keto to keep you motivated.
Benefits Of A Keto Diet
Recently, the keto diet has become extremely popular for its health benefits such as weight loss and preventing disease.
The keto diet can be hugely beneficial, but how does it work to provide these benefits?
Overall, the keto diet is an excellent way to burn fat and lose weight.
Eating fewer carbohydrates suppresses appetite, and studies have shown that keto diet participants eat fewer calories overall because of this.
Burning fat for energy can lead to rapid weight loss.
Several studies have shown that people on a high fat, low carb diet burn fat at a faster rate than those with a high carb, low fat diet.
This is primarily because lower insulin levels caused by the low carb diet (keto), help to remove excess water from the body.
During ketosis, you experience reduced levels of hunger, which can be extremely beneficial in controlling caloric intake, promoting overall weight loss.
It has been noted that low carb diets are also effective in reducing visceral fat, primarily stored in the abdominal cavity.
Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin
Since carbohydrate intake is limited, blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered.
This is particularly important for people with type 2 diabetes, which causes a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream.
The keto diet can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for diabetic insulin injections.
Fat subunit molecules called triglycerides normally circulate in your bloodstream.
High levels of triglycerides are a significant risk factor in the development of heart disease.
In the keto diet, because fat is being burned for energy, the number of triglyceride molecules in the bloodstream decreases, reducing the risk of heart disease.
“Bad” (LDL) cholesterol is another risk factor for heart disease.
Too much bad cholesterol in your bloodstream builds up in your arteries, narrowing them and causing atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease.
The keto diet reduces bad cholesterol levels while increasing the level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol in your body.
The ketones produced from a low carb diet are a much more efficient source of energy than glucose.
Studies have indicated that they can improve cognitive impairment and even help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The high-fat diet helps to support the balance of essential omega 3s and omega 6s which are vital for optimal brain function.
Additionally, ketosis is able to boost mitochondria production and adenosine triphosphate within the brain’s memory cells, thereby improving mental performance and clarity.
Reduced risk of Chronic Disease
A ketogenic diet can boost the body’s defense against a variety of conditions.
By reducing inflammation, and improving mitochondrial function, it can help to mitigate the risk of developing several chronic diseases.
Cancer cells typically possess abnormal mitochondria, which need an increased supply of glycogen.
Ketosis allows for normal cells to be fed while starving the cancer cells, as they are unable to utilize the ketones for energy because of their dysfunctional mitochondria.
Improved Blood Pressure
High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of several diseases and is a leading cause of deaths worldwide.
A low-carb diet has been proven to be more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing blood pressure.
In fact, some claim that it is just as effective as taking pills.
This combined with the weight loss derived from a ketogenic diet, is sure to vastly improve cardiovascular health and function.
It has been proven by numerous studies in the realm of nutrition science, that this form of dieting can have a very positive impact on your overall health and bodily function.
As long as you can find a way to maintain the discipline, the rewards are abundant.
For those that have not been able to gain many results from traditional methods, the keto approach is definitely something worth considering.
How To Start On A Keto Diet
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