If you’ve looked into diets yourself or picked up a health magazine, chances are that you’ve, in some way, heard of the keto diet. Maybe you heard about it, but have no idea what it’s about, or maybe you want to learn more about it. This article is aimed more towards beginners and not so much towards seasoned veterans who are already a few weeks, months, or years into it. However, even if you are one of those folks who have been on the keto bus from day 1, may I suggest you still consider reading this article as you may find some tips or tricks you didn’t know or maybe see a different take on somethings. As mentioned, Keto is a widely popular diet, but looking more at the details you’ll see that It’s a low-carb, high-fat diet, that moderates proteins and promises to burn the fat away quickly by placing your body into a metabolic state that we call ‘ketosis’. The catching point here is the person on the diet can stack up on unlimited bacon and steak but does it all really work?
Let’s find out, shall we? Does it REALLY work?
The short answer is yes, science says it does. When someone is on keto the weight loss happens by altering the way your body is energized or fuelled. If you cut down on your carbohydrate intake, you are ultimately starving your body of glucose, which is, of course, your primary power source. Your brain picks up on what’s happening and relays a signal for it to use ketones – which are compounds that are created by your liver from your fat stores when your blood insulin levels are too low. This is generally to keep things running. Think of it as turning your body into a furnace that runs on fat for fuel.
Your liver indeed produces ketones all the time, but the rate at which it does so is based on protein and carbohydrate intake. Eating a regular amount of protein and carbs will slow down the rate at which ketone is produced and this is what is known as ketogenesis – inconsequently, there isn’t really any particular use for them but after a few days of slashing these macros, you’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Understanding the Keto Diet
Unlike a lot of diets that are out there on the market, the keto diet requires fat to make up around 60 to 80 percent of your total calories. Protein will make up somewhere around 10 to 15 percent, and the other 5 percent will come from carbohydrates. The exact amount of grams you should take in depends solely on your energy needs, and with a little searching online or even in the Appstore on your smartphone, you’ll fairly easily come to find online calculators that will help you work it out. To most people, you won’t eat more than 25 grams of carbs every day which is equal to a small apple or a slice of wholewheat bread.
What Foods Can I Eat on the Keto Diet?
If you’re considering the keto diet these are the foods that you need to get very familiar with. Mind you there are a TON of recipes out there for keto and there are a lot of variants of foods that aren’t keto-friendly that can be pretty decent.
- Meat: go wild here, steak, turkey, chicken, bacon, pork, burger
- Fish: salmon, tilapia, haddock, tuna, mackerel, shellfish
- Vegetables: low-carb green veggies, tomatoes, onions, romaine, cucumbers, etc.
- Avocados: most fruits are carb-heavy and must be avoided at all costs, but avocados should definitely have a place on your keto shopping list.
- Healthy oils: coconut, extra virgin, and of course, avocado oil.
- Seeds and nuts: cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc
- Cheese: cheddar, feta, cream, mozzarella, and blue
- Butter and cream: the best variety here is the grass-fed variety.
Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet
Why?: When it comes to the keto diet, you’re going to want to avoid foods that are high in carbs, here are some that you’re going to have to cut out or drastically reduce depending on your plan and level of commitment.
- Fruit: avocados are the obvious exception.
- Alcohol: Unneccisary carbs. the carbohydrates found in alcohol is sure to throw your ketosis out of whack.
- Foods that are high in sugar: cakes, pies, doughnuts, and other sweets are off the menu.
- Sugary drinks: sodas, juices, energy drinks, and virtually any coffee that isn’t black. (you can add a dash or two of almond milk if you’d like.)
- Legumes or beans: lentils, peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc
- Starches or grains: you’re going to want to avoid wheat-based products such as pasta, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
If you’re content with the foods you need and the foods you need to cut out, then keto could be perfect for you. The hardcore keto followers love talking up the many benefits of this famed diet. The number one motivator has to be the scales, for instance, carbs attract and retain water, so the first thing that people starting on keto notice is a drop in their water weight as well as a reduction in bloating. Since fat is your main source of energy, you’re burning up a lot more of it, which means that you will continue to drop the pounds at an accelerated rate.
That All Sounds Too Good to be True…is it?
Don’t underestimate the keto diet. If followed properly the results are scientifically proven to work and also work effectively. The main drawback is the level of dedication of the person following the diet, and how well they can stick to it. After all, throwing yourself out of ketosis can have pretty disastrous results that will mean starting over at the very beginning. Have you ever heard about the keto flu’? Well, it’s your body’s natural response to restricting carbs. Much like the regular flu, symptoms include dizzy spells, nausea, fatigue, and restlessness. Keto flu typically only lasts about three to five days, though this is highly dependant on the person.