You’ve come to the right place if you’re ready to start a ketogenic diet in order to lose weight and improve your health. Starting any major lifestyle or dietary changes can be difficult, especially at first, as there are many new routines to learn and ingrained habits to break, but as the community has repeatedly witnessed, over time, keto becomes the new normal and the dramatic results are well worth it. Continue reading to find out everything there is to know about the ketogenic diet. We’ll go over the science underlying how it functions, describe the incredible advantages of the ketogenic diet, and suggest adjustments that can help you control mild ketogenic side effects and maintain ketosis.
Ketogenic Diet: What Is It?
“Fat makes you fat,” is an old low-fat weight-loss adage that you may have heard. In truth, it’s not that easy. In fact, no matter what type of diet you follow, healthy fats are beneficial for your body and brain. Less carbs and more fats are consumed when on the ketogenic diet, which alters the type of fuel your body uses for energy (fat instead of carbohydrates).
Consider your body to be a hybrid vehicle. You often rely on carbohydrates, such as bread and spaghetti, with the typical American diet for energy. Your metabolism converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is then stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. However, your body may also use fat as a source of energy, just like a hybrid car can run on gas or electricity.
The ketogenic diet emphasizes limiting carbohydrate intake, refueling with healthy fats like butter and ghee made from grass-fed cows, and ingesting moderate amounts of high-quality protein sources. And by adhering to this dietary strategy, you can benefit from ketosis.
Ketogenic Diet: How Does It Work?
Your body enters a metabolic condition known as ketosis by consuming extremely few carbohydrates, in which fat is used as fuel rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis can be achieved in the body in a number of ways. It can be achieved by a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, the use of keto supplements, and increased exercise.
When you use ketones as fuel, you won’t have the same energy crashes or brain fog that you get when you eat a lot of carbohydrates. Let’s build a picture: You know how you feel after a huge bowl of pasta for lunch? After all those carbs, your blood sugar levels plummet, and the remaining time of the day becomes naptime.
On the ketogenic diet, however, this is not the case. Your body can use fat storage for energy when in metabolic fat-burning mode. Ketosis also encourages the brain to produce more mitochondria, which are the power generators in your cells. More energy in your cells equals more energy to get things done.
Foods To Avoid
Don’t be too disappointed. No items are truly off-limits on the ketogenic diet. It comes down to total carbohydrate consumption and how you choose to “spend” your carbs. In general, you should limit your carbohydrate intake to 20 to 40 grams per day. “The precise amount required to establish ketosis varies by individual, with carb prescriptions ranging from 10 to 60 grams per day.
On the ketogenic diet, the following foods should be avoided or limited.
- Chips and crackers
- Starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits
- Gluten-free baked goods
- Sweetened yogurt
- Honey, syrup or sugar in any form
High-carb foods include crackers, bread, rice, pasta, breadsticks, cereal, and beer. Even the new bean-based pastas and whole-wheat pasta are heavy in carbohydrates. Take into account healthier low-carb substitutes like spiralized vegetables or shirataki noodles. Both sugary morning cereals and nutritious whole-grain cereals contain a lot of carbohydrates and are to be avoided.
Low-carb diets can include moderate beer consumption. Although spirits and dry wine are preferable options, all alcohol use should be kept to a minimum.
Chips and Crackers
Avoid processed, grain-based snacks like chips and crackers, which are high in carbs and poor in fiber.
Starchy Vegetables and High-sugar Fruits
The ketogenic diet should minimize the consumption of starchy vegetables since they have a higher concentration of digestible carbohydrates than fiber. These include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets. Limit high-sugar fruits as well, as they have more carbohydrates and cause your blood sugar to rise more quickly than berries do.
Gluten-free Baked Goods
No gluten does not imply no carbohydrates. In actuality, many gluten-free muffins and breads have equal levels of carbohydrate content to regular baked items.
To reduce extra sugars, stick to plain yogurt. Greek yogurt contains more protein and less carbs than ordinary yogurt.
Honey, Syrup or Sugar in any Form
Avoid sugar, honey, maple syrup, and other sugars as they are low in nutrients and heavy in carbohydrates.
Fruit juice, whether natural or not, contains a lot of quickly absorbed carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar. Stay with water.
Foods to Eat
Here is a list of all the low-carb, keto-friendly items you can eat while sticking to the ketogenic diet.
- Nuts, seeds and healthful oils
- Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
- Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
- Fish and seafood
- Low-carb vegetables
- Meat and poultry
- Unsweetened coffee and tea
Cheese is a perfect fit for the ketogenic diet because it contains no carbohydrates and is high in fat. Calcium and protein are also abundant in it. However, a 1-ounce slice of cheese has roughly 30% of the Daily Value for saturated fat, so if heart disease is a concern for you, think about portion size when enjoying cheese.
Protein, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are all abundant in eggs. 12 grams of protein and 0 carbs may be found in two eggs. Eggs contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that support eye health and have been shown to stimulate hormones that heighten feelings of satiety and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Nuts, Seeds and Healthful Oils
Nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber, protein. They also have relatively little amount of carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet suggests using coconut oil and olive oil as your two main sources of fat. Oleic acid, which is abundant in olive oil, is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), found in coconut oil, can boost ketone generation despite the oil’s high saturated fat content. MCTs may boost metabolism, which would aid in shedding pounds and belly fat. Any time you eat a healthy fat, watch your portion sizes.
Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Both yogurt and cottage cheese are calcium and protein rich. There are only 5 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein in five ounces of plain Greek yogurt. The same amount of cottage cheese contains 18 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs. Both calcium and protein have been demonstrated in studies to decrease hunger and increase feelings of fullness.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
In order to determine how many carbohydrates are in this, read the label carefully. Due to its high antioxidant content, cocoa has been dubbed a “superfruit,” and dark chocolate includes flavanols, which may lessen the risk of heart disease by decreasing blood pressure and maintaining the health of the arteries.
Fish and seafood
Fish is a protein-rich, carb-free food that is high in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. Omega-3 fats, which are abundant in salmon, sardines, mackerel, albacore tuna, and other fatty fish, have been reported to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Regular fish consumption has been associated with a lower chance of developing chronic diseases as well as better mental health. Weekly, try to eat two 3-ounce portions of fatty fish.
The suitable vegetables are spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers, and zucchini. Non-starchy vegetables are high in nutrients, such as vitamin C and numerous minerals, but low in calories and carbohydrates. Antioxidants in them also aid in defending against free radicals, which can harm cells. Choose non-starchy vegetables that have less than 8 grams of net carbohydrates per cup.
Pick monounsaturated fats like those found in avocados, which are good for your heart and contain potassium. Changes in cholesterol and triglyceride levels can be made by replacing animal fats with plant-based fats like avocados.
Antioxidants found in berries lower inflammation and guard against disease. They are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates.
Meat and Poultry
The ketogenic diet considers meat to be a staple food since it provides a good source of lean protein. Fresh meat and poultry are low in carbs and high in potassium, selenium, zinc, and other minerals as well as B vitamins. While processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, are permitted on the ketogenic diet, eating too much of them can increase your chance of developing some forms of cancer and isn’t good for your heart. Limit processed meats and choose more poultry, fish, and beef.
Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Plain coffee and tea have no grams of fat, protein, or carbs, thus they are acceptable on the ketogenic diet. According to studies, coffee reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Tea offers more antioxidants than coffee and less caffeine, which may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, aid in weight loss, and strengthen your immune system.
Ketosis Beneficial Effects
There are several health benefits associated with a ketogenic diet, including claims that it can treat diabetes, prevent Alzheimer’s, and cure cancer. However, not all of these claims are verified by study, and the majority of the science around keto for weight reduction and a variety of health issues remains in its early stages.
The main motivation for switching to a ketogenic diet is to lose weight or to get through a weight loss barrier. It has been demonstrated that a ketogenic or low-carb diet can help you lose weight quickly and successfully. With a ketogenic diet, your hunger and desire for food reduce, causing you to eat less even when you consume a lot of fat. This may be one of the primary reasons why you lose weight.
Having More Energy
Blood sugar levels can be managed and stabilized by cutting off carbohydrates. This might help the brain work better and focus more. Many long-term ketogenic dieters claim enhanced cognitive function and more consistent energy levels, which are probably brought on by the increase in ketones and improved glucose control.
The relationship between the ketogenic diet and cancer is currently the subject of numerous promising studies. Although a ketogenic diet doesn’t treat cancer, it does help make conventional cancer treatments more successful. Simply said, cancer cells cannot tolerate ketones and require large amounts of glucose to thrive. Without glucose to sustain them, they deteriorate and are more susceptible to conventional therapies like chemotherapy.
Type 2 Diabetes
A ketogenic diet has helped many people put their type 2 diabetes into remission. According to a popular ketogenic diet theory, insulin function improves when the body is in a state of ketosis. This may also be accomplished with a relatively low-carb diet, depending on how far the illness has advanced.
28 Day Keto Challenge
For those who want to lose weight or stay away from gaining any, the 28 Day Keto Challenge is the ideal option (with this link you get an additional discount). The 28-day meal plan is both easy to use and successful. Building lifelong, healthy eating habits can be accomplished in as little as 4 weeks. Although this program is more expensive than some others, we think it is the friendliest and easiest to use, even for the pickiest eaters.
It’s important to work with a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need while staying in ketosis. The ketogenic diet has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of diseases, but some people find it difficult to stick with it over the long term, and the long-term implications are not well understood. Work with a dietician to develop a strategy if you choose to go keto. Contact us if you have any questions about this article.