The ketogenic diet or known as the keto diet, is based on the foundation of eliminating carbohydrate intake and this method is often present in meal plans for diabetics. When you are on a keto diet, it is required of you to eat very small portions of carbs, eating moderate amounts of protein, however, it is important to increase your intake of fatty foods, however, it doesn’t mean you can eat anything that is high in fat content but the food types that are allowed as part of the keto diet. Your body uses the consumed fats as the main energy source and creating the ketosis process where the fats are borken down into ‘ketone bodies’ (or ‘ketones’). So for people that are looking to start the keto diet be prepared to significantly reduce your intake of rice, pasta, fruit, grains, bread, beans and starchy vegetables such as peas and potatoes.
How does it work?
So how does the keto diet help with fat loss? well, the “keto” in a ketogenic diet is the result of our body producing small fuel molecules called ‘ketones’, and thus the ketosis process. This is an alternative fuel source for the body and can only happen when our body lacks glucose supply, and this is why carbohydrate intake is limited as ketones are only produced if you eat very few carbs. In order for this to happen the right food types must be eaten and others must be avoided.
Generally speaking, ketosis the state our body is in when we fast, the fastest way to get there is by not consuming any calories at all, but nobody can fast forever. Here is where the keto diet comes in, as it can have the same affect of fasting, resulting in ketosis. However fasting can only last for a couple of days maximum, but the keto diet can last indefinitely as long as you choose to keep the diet. The keto diet reaps the same benefits of fasting or intermittent fasting but without having to starve yourself, which is detrimental to both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Basically, the keto diet is to help you achieve the results of fasting without having to do so, our body needs nutrients to fuel our energy for survival.
What can you eat during the keto diet
The keto diet advocated a low-carb meal plan but high in fats, and foods such as meat, fish, eggs, low starch and carb vegetables and natural fats like butter, olive oil, coconut oil and nut oil are great food sources. As a beginner’s rule, it is important to stick to foods that contain less than 5% of carbs and the meals should be based on these foods:
- Meat: red meat, steak, bacon, chicken and turkey, however avoid foods that contain processed meat since the contents cannot be clearly identified.
- Fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs: look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Butter and cream: look for organic and grass-fed when possible.
- Cheese: unprocessed cheese such as cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils: ideally extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocados: fresh avocados and not processed avocado spreads, dips or guacamole (unless homemade).
- Low-carb veggies: most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, capsicums.
- Condiments: salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices, however, it is important to avoid using sauces that are high in sugar and carbs.
Food and drinks that you need to avoid
Avoiding high carb intake is crucial to reaching ketosis and it is advised that you should probably needs to restrict carb intake to around 50 grams per day of net carbs, ideally having around 20 grams. Within the keto diet plan it is said that the fewer carbs you consume it will be more more effective in reaching ketosis. Keeping this in mind, soft drinks, juices and and confectionary food should be restricted and here is a list of food that you should eat and food that needs to be avoided during the keto diet.
A keto meal plan guide
Knowing the right amount of food to consume can be hard when first starting your keto diet journey, so in order to eat the right amount of each food group and knowing what food types needs to be avoided it is safer to follow a diet plan and these diet plans can last from 7 days, 14 days to 30 days. Depending on your dietary needs and fitness goals, you can choose from different meal plans that are easy to follow and quick to prep.
Who should NOT do the keto diet?
While the Ketogenic diet has many clinically proven benefits, however it’s still quite controversial as to whether it is suitable for everyone. So before attempting to try the diet it is important to weigh your health condition and consider to consult your doctor or nutritionist on this matter could be beneficial before commencing the keto diet plan. It is important to keep in mind that there is no size fit all dietary plan and it should be adjusted to individual needs.