Have you heard about the Keto Diet but do not know where to start? Wondered about the benefits and what you can eat or just want to know more information surrounding this popular diet? In this article, I am going to go over what ketogensis is, the benefits and give you a sample day of eating on Keto.
What is the Keto Diet?
Ketogenic is a meal plan designed to be high in fat, minimum to no carbohydrates and moderate protein. It has been proven to include benefits for weight loss, performance and overall health. Ketogenic makes the body produce fuel molecules called ketones in the liver when traditionally, our body uses glucose from carbohydrates as its fuel for energy. An example of how the body processes energy is when you eat something that has carbohydrates the body uses the glucose as fuel and stores the excess fat. So when going ‘keto' means that you are transitioning your body's fuel supply from glucose to ketones.
Health Benefits and Symptoms
Some of the benefits of going into ketosis that have been reported are; weight loss, improved blood sugar control, mental focus, increased energy and appetite control, improved cholesterol levels and insulin optimization.
Weight Loss - since going into ketosis uses your body fat as energy, it turns your body into a fat burning machine.
Blood Sugar - naturally, due to the foods that you are eating, keto has been proven to aid in the control of blood sugar levels especially in those who are pre-diabetic or have Type II diabetes.
Mental Focus - removing sugary carbohydrates eliminates spikes in blood sugar resulting in ketones being utilized as ‘brain food'.
Increased Energy and Appetite Control - when you are consuming fats you are able to ‘satiate' your appetite, meaning your stomach feels full faster and for longer periods of time.
Improved Cholesterol Counts - increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol).
Insulin Optimization - you tend to eat more foods high in Omega-3's which results in the assistance of lowered insulin levels to a normal range. Along with the many health benefits there are also some side effects while going through the transition phase of switching your body's fuel source. Reported side effects include but are not limited to headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, overall tiredness due to lack of energy, cramps, constipation and reduced physical performance. These ‘symptoms' are why it is also very important to make sure you are drinking plenty of water in order for your body to stay properly hydrated. Consuming enough sodium and potassium is also an important factor in maintaining water balance in the body.
How much should I eat on the Keto Diet?
While following a keto diet the beginning guideline that is recommended for calories is 75% of your intake from fat, 20% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates. What most people do not realize when going keto is that foods such as vegetables contain carbohydrates, so these must be accounted for when creating a meal plan for success.
What can you eat on a Keto Diet?
Below is foods that are typically associated with a Keto diet, but keep in mind not all foods that fall within a category are considered low carb. For example: cashews, apples and bananas fall under nuts and fruits however these foods are higher in carbohydrates than the rest of their family, so you want to keep these to a minimum.
Proteins: meats including red, chicken and pork, fish, eggs, high fat dairy like yogurt, cheese.
Above Ground Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce.
Nuts and Seeds: macadamia, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seed.
Fruits: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries.
Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter.
Sample day of eating on the Keto Diet
Breakfast: Eggs, bacon turkey or pork), coffee with MCT oil, water
Lunch: Grilled chicken with broccoli mixed in coconut oil, water
Dinner: Salmon, cauliflower rice with lemon, water
Snacks: ½ avocado, almonds and string cheese