Find Out Everything You Need To Know About The Keto Diet!
The keto diet works by replacing glucose with fatty acids as your body’s primary fuel source. We achieve this by consuming only low-carb and no-carb foods. The goal is to enter Ketosis so that all of the amazing fat-burning can begin!
The Keto Diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet
A ketogenic diet, also known as a keto diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. You eat far fewer carbohydrates on a keto diet while maintaining a moderate protein intake and possibly increasing your fat intake. The reduction in carb intake puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis after two to seven days on the keto diet, where fat from your diet and your body is burned for energy.
The ketogenic diet also has a number of advantages, including weight loss and improved physical and mental health. The goal is to increase the amount of ketones in your bloodstream. You’re eliminating all carbohydrates from your diet and subsisting solely on protein and fat. This forces you to burn your own fat while also releasing ketones into your bloodstream.
When you eat carbohydrate-rich foods on a regular basis, your body produces glucose for energy, which is then used to power your body’s processes. When you consume a high-carbohydrate meal, your body produces glucose and insulin.
Because glucose is the simplest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy, it will be chosen over any other source of energy.
Insulin is produced to transport glucose from your bloodstream around your body for processing.
Fats aren’t needed because glucose is the primary energy source, so they’re stored. On a normal, high-carbohydrate diet, the body will typically use glucose as its primary source of energy. The body is put into a state of ketosis by reducing carbohydrate intake.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the medical term for the metabolic state in which your body starts to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
A high-carbohydrate diet provides your body with plenty of glucose to convert into energy. However, if you deprive your body of carbohydrates, it will begin to break down existing fat stores in order to obtain fatty acids.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which fat is used as the primary source of energy rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is a natural process that the body goes through to help us survive when we don’t eat enough. Your body will then send these fatty acids to the liver to be converted into fuel. The liver converts them to ketones, which are a good source of energy for both the body and the brain. If your body produces a sufficient amount of ketones, you are said to be in ketosis.
A properly maintained keto diet has the goal of forcing your body into this metabolic state. We do this by starving ourselves of carbohydrates rather than calories.
Different Types of Keto Diets
Ketogenic diets come in a variety of forms. They are as follows:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the most well-known and practiced keto diet. This is the most popular and well-recommended keto diet. Staying within 20-50 grams of net carbs per day while focusing on adequate protein and high-fat intake is the goal here. The SKD method of keto is the most popular and well-studied.
This is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein diet. If you only do low to moderate intensity activities (e.g., walking, cycling, yoga, and light weightlifting) and want to lose weight quickly, the SKD may be the diet for you.
Carbohydrates must be severely limited with this dietary approach. To get into and stay in ketosis, you’ll need to eat less than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day (which is one of the primary purposes for restricting carb consumption so much). Although keto carb limits vary from person to person, the general rule is to avoid fruits, starches, added sugars, and other high-net-carb foods.
Low carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, and high-fat dairy products will be your primary sources of carbohydrates on the Standard Keto Diet.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
This is a variation in which you eat SKD but add a small amount of fast-digesting carbs to your diet before working out.
You follow all of the rules of the standard keto diet, with one exception: you eat carbohydrates before intense workouts. Targeted keto dieters will typically consume between 25 and 50 grams of carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour before working out. Dieters often report feeling stronger and more capable during workouts as a result of this.
While this will temporarily knock you out of ketosis, it will return within a few hours, depending on how many carbs you ate.
The theory behind this diet is that because the extra carbs are burned off right away, they won’t be stored as body fat.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
This is a keto variation designed for bodybuilders and contestants, with one day per week set aside to carb up and replenish glycogen stores.
With the exception of one to two days per week, the cyclic keto diet is similar to the standard keto diet. A cyclic keto dieter will follow standard keto guidelines five to six days per week. They will then have a ‘carb cycle,’ also known as a ‘carb refeed,’ for one or two days. They will consume approximately 140 to 160 grams of carbohydrates on this day.
Athletes frequently follow this type of keto diet because they require a carb refeed day to replenish glycogen stores in their muscles.
High-intensity athletic training depletes nearly all of the glycogen stored in their muscles, necessitating replenishment.
It’s important to note, however, that just because you choose to follow this diet doesn’t mean you have to eat a lot of processed foods and desserts on your days off. Instead, get your carbs from whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits.
Unless you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, sticking to the standard ketogenic diet is recommended for the best results.
While it’s easy to believe that the keto diet is one-size-fits-all, there are several different types of keto diets, each with its own set of advantages, depending on your nutritional goals.
They’re all based on the same premise: a low-carb, high-fat diet. They all have their own set of rules to follow.
What To Eat On A Keto Diet
You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to start a keto diet. That means having a workable diet plan on hand. What you eat is determined by how quickly you want to enter a ketogenic state.
The lower your carbohydrate intake (less than 15 grams per day), the faster you will enter ketosis.
Carbohydrates should be limited and come primarily from vegetables, nuts, and dairy.
So, while there are a variety of keto diets, let’s say you want to stick to the standard keto diet for simplicity’s sake.You won’t go hungry just because you’re not eating all of your favorite carb-heavy foods. You’ll be eating plenty of healthy fats (like olive oil and avocado), as well as lean protein like grass-fed beef and chicken, and non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens.
When it comes to adapting to a keto diet, the most difficult part is figuring out what to eat. You already know what you can’t eat while teaching your body to rely on ketones: high-glycemic, sugary foods; bread products; starchy vegetables; and other high-carb, glucose-laden foods—basically everything most of us eat on a regular basis in the American diet. What can you eat, though?
The ketogenic diet isn’t all bacon and bulletproof coffee, despite popular belief. Yes, it’s a higher fat, moderately low protein, and very low-carb diet, but it can also include a wide variety of foods, such as plenty of low-carb vegetables, full-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and moderate fruit (berries), and it can be followed whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free.
Once you know what snacks to buy, what ingredients to cook with, and which recipes to use, you’ll see that keto cuisine is actually quite simple to follow, and it even includes variations of many of your favorite foods.
Your blood sugar will thank you as you begin to limit your carb intake by carefully counting your grams of carbs.
As a result, any thoughts of deprivation or hunger should be banished. You’ll feel full and satisfied on the keto diet, as well as more energized than ever!
Don’t think you have to master all of the nuances of keto cooking, or even eating, right away. Start by stocking up on and experimenting with your favorite keto diet foods from the lists below, then expand your horizons as you gain experience with the diet. Soon, you’ll realize that you can have your cake and eat it, too, without crashing out of ketosis or exceeding your daily macronutrient limit.
What Can You Eat on the Keto Diet?
- Fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, and other meats
- Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens
- Broccoli, cauliflower, and other above-ground vegetables
- Hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, and other dairy products with a high fat content.
- Macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and other nuts and seeds
- Avocado and berries (raspberries, blackberries, and other berries with a low glycemic index)
- Stevia and erythritol are examples of sweeteners.
- Xanthan gum is a type of gum that is used to thicken (acts as a binder for baked goods and a thickener for sauces and soups)
- Coconut oil, olive oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, and other fats
- flour made from almonds (great for baking and breading)
- peppers (bell) (especially green bell peppers; they have lower total carbs than yellow or red bell peppers)
- Berries are a type of berry that is (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries; good sources of antioxidants)
- Brussels Sprouts with Broccoli
- flour made from coconut (good for baking)
- Dairy (heavy cream, cheese, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, some cheeses like brie, mozzarella, and feta; full-fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese aren’t recommended because they have 4 and 5 grams of carbs, respectively, and low-fat isn’t allowed)
- Leafy greens with a dark color (wonderful low-carb veggies)
- Beans (green)
- Hearts of hemp (rich in good fat, protein, and minerals; good for breading and baking)
- mutton (grass-fed beef, pork, poultry)
- Pistachios (macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts; be mindful of pistachios and cashews, which are higher-carb)
- Seafood (fish, particularly fatty fish like mackerel or salmon, which are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as shellfish like mussels and clams)
- Zucchini (in moderation)
Snacks on the Keto Diet
Make sure you always have a few of these on hand. When you’re hungry and don’t have immediate access to a keto-friendly meal, keto-friendly snacks come in handy.
- Beef jerky (watch for added sugar)
- Bone broth
- Cacao nibs
- Egg salad
- High-fat yogurt
- Mascarpone cheese mixed with a little erythritol
- Nuts (macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts)
- Nut butter
- Soft cheese with celery
- Veggies with blue-cheese dressing dip
Sweets are completely acceptable! There are a plethora of pre-packaged keto options available. Don’t think that just because you’re on a Keto diet means you can’t have dessert! Check out the recipes below for some sweet treats made specifically for Keto Dieters!
Beverages Allowed on The Keto Diet
Because the ketogenic diet is a natural diuretic, replacing the water and electrolytes you lose is critical. Staying hydrated can help you avoid the “keto flu” and early keto symptoms like muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue, which are all signs of electrolyte imbalances. Zero-calorie soda isn’t on the list because many artificial sweeteners aren’t good for you, and some diet drinks contain sugar substitutes that can throw you out of ketosis. Plus, they all feed your sugar cravings, which you’d otherwise lose happily on a keto diet.
- Bone broth
- Bulletproof coffee
- Almond milk (unsweetened only)
- Sparkling water
When you’re on the Keto Diet, it’s critical to drink plenty of water. Carbohydrates are responsible for storing water in the body, so you’ll need to replenish that water more frequently if you drastically reduce them. The amount of ketones produced by your body remains constant regardless of how much water you drink.
What Not To Eat
Carbs to Avoid on The Keto Diet
On the keto diet, there are five types of carbs to avoid:
- Legumes and beans
- The majority of fruits
- Vegetables high in starch (including sweet potatoes, potatoes, and most winter squash)
- Sucrose (natural, calorie-free sweeteners like stevia and erythritol are OK)
You must limit your carb intake if you want to enter ketosis quickly. Because grains are primarily composed of carbohydrates, avoiding grains is the simplest and most effective way to maintain a low-carb diet.
Some carbs, such as rice and corn, have enough carbs in a single serving to meet your daily carb requirement.
There are no grains, including whole grains (wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, millet, bulgur, sorghum, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains) and anything made with grains, such as pasta, pizza, cookies, crackers, and cake.
Beans and Legumes
Beans provide some fiber and other nutrients, but their high starch (carb) content makes them unsuitable for the keto diet. Green beans are an exception because they are younger and less starchy than dried beans. Beans, lentils, soy, and other legumes are not allowed. There are also other compelling reasons to do so. Lectins should not be consumed in large quantities.
Isn’t fruit good for you?
Sure, but that doesn’t make them keto-friendly. Fruit is high in sugar and carbohydrates, so it’s usually off-limits on the keto diet. Tropical fruits, fruit juices, dried fruits, and fruit smoothies are all examples (for the most part).
Fructose is a sugar, so no fruit. Apples, bananas, pears, oranges, pineapples, grapes, and mangos should be avoided. Fruit juices, as well as dried fruit such as dates and raisins, should be avoided. Lemons, limes, and berries are permitted due to their high fiber content.
If you must have fruit, choose low-sugar varieties such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and consume them in moderation.
Veggies, healthy fats, protein like collagen powder or nut butter, and sugar-free liquids like almond milk or hemp milk should make up the majority of your smoothies. Add flaxseed or chia seed to your smoothies for an extra omega-3 boost.
Avoid root vegetables like carrots, turnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in favor of non-starchy vegetables. Brassicas such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and collards fall into this category. Leafy greens like chard, spinach, and lettuce, as well as non-starchy vegetables like bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini, are other veggie options.
Some vegetables (such as those listed below) have a high starch content, which is problematic because, like beans, high-starch equals high-carb.
White potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes are all high-carb vegetables to avoid. The yellow zone includes turnips, carrots, and beetroot. You can eat a small amount of them, but you should avoid them entirely during the adaptation period.
Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
On nutritional labels, sugar is referred to by 56 different names. Sugars are hidden in plain sight.
While there are healthier alternatives, such as raw honey, sugar is sugar, and it will still knock you out of ketosis. Sugars to stay away from*:
Sweets, ice cream, pudding, chocolate, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, syrup, and other sugar-free products are prohibited. Sugar can be found in a variety of forms, so read the labels.
Splenda, Equal, sweeteners containing Aspartame, Acesulfame, Sucralose, Saccharin, and other artificial sweeteners are not allowed. Despite their low caloric content, they can cause a placebo effect by raising blood sugar and insulin levels.
Is it possible to drink alcohol while on a ketogenic diet? Yes, as long as you do so in moderation and stick to keto-friendly beverages that you factor into your macros. Hard alcohol is fine (clear alcohols like vodka and gin are best), low-carb beer is fine (just keep an eye on the carbs; they add up quickly), and you can even raise a glass of dry red, white, or sparkling wine. Sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or lemon is your best bet for mixed drinks. Just be careful not to overdo it. Here, moderation is crucial.
Alcohol with a high carb content is prohibited, including beer, sweet wine, mojitos, Pia carbonados, ciders, long drinks, and other types of cocktails. They’re all loaded with sugar.
Proteins to Avoid on a Keto Diet
The following high-protein foods should be avoided for optimal keto results:
- Meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood from factory farms. While many of these foods are keto-friendly in terms of fat, protein, and carb content, they may not be the best choice for overall health because they lack the nutritional value of pasture-raised animal products and wild-caught seafood.
- All low- and reduced-fat dairy products, including milk. Low-fat yogurts, fat-free butter substitutes, reduced-fat cheese, evaporated skim milk, low-fat cream cheese, and other dairy products fall into this category.
Fats To Avoid On The Keto Diet
Fat is a great food source because it aids in the production of important hormones and neurotransmitters in your body. Plus, without all those carbs, your body and brain will rely more on fatty acids for energy.
The source and quality of your fats, on the other hand, are critical. The most keto-friendly food you can think of is healthy fats.
All fats are not created equal, and processed vegetable oils are by far the most harmful to your health
Macros on Keto
Keep in mind that keto is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Your nutrient intake should be roughly 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
For everyday dieting, 20-30g of net carbs is usually recommended, but the lower your carbohydrate intake and glucose levels are, the better the overall results will be. It’s a good idea to keep track of both your total and net carbs if you’re doing keto for weight loss.
Ketogenic Diet Conclusion
Dieters can benefit from keto in a variety of ways. There are many meal and food options, so you won’t feel restricted and are more likely to stick with it. If you want to lose weight, I strongly advise you to try this diet!