Curious about Keto? This article will fill you in on the most important details, so you can decide if the keto diet plan is right for your lifestyle and goals.
Let’s start with the basics… What is keto, and how might it benefit you?
Ketogenic (Keto Diet):A high-fat, low-carb diet that is centered around getting your body into ketosis, so you burn fat instead of sugar for fuel.
Ketosis:The state in which your body is using fat for fuel, which studies show may lead to increased energy, faster weight loss, and all-around health (mind and body) rewards.
Ketones:Your liver produces these from fat once you’re in ketosis, and it becomes your primary source of fuel.
8 Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet
Reduced Inflammation – It’s simple: carbs equal inflammation. On a normal diet where you’re eating a regular amounts of carbs, your body burns glucose for energy. This process results in the creation of free radicals – unstable molecules that are bad news for your body in large doses. Having too many free radicals in your body can cause constant inflammation and may lead to illness and aging. (1, 2)
When you get rid of the sugar and carbs from your diet while increasing the healthy fats, the ketones that your body then uses for fuel produces much less free radicals, thereby decreasing inflammation and the problems that can come along with it.
Faster Weight Loss– Many people turn to a keto diet to drop pounds, since it’s proven to be very effect, especially in the beginning. This is because low-carb diets rid excess water from the body, leading to rapid weight loss in the first few weeks.
Following a keto diet is also a great long-term weight management strategy since it gets your body into ketosis, where you’re literally burning fat for fuel. (3)
Lesser Appetite– Say goodbye to the days of crash diets that left you hungry or starving for most of the day. The keto diet is actually the opposite in that it’s extremely satiating.
Eating less carbs means you won’t have the feeling of constant hunger, uncomfortable sugar crashes, or over-taking carb cravings you normally would, once your body adjusts. Plus, since you’ll be eating more healthy fats, you’ll be full and satisfied for longer. This enables you to get better control over your diet and eat fewer total calories.
Improved Mental Clarity– All those free radicals that plague your system when you’re eating high-carb diets… they can actually cause “brain fog”. But when you eat more healthy fats and less carbs on a keto diet, you’re using a cleaner source of fuel and reducing free radicals. In this way, a ketogenic diet helps repair your mitochondria, improving mental clarity.
Lower Blood Pressure – Naturally, when you cut the amount of carbs you eat, this leads to a reduction in blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure (or hypertension) is a significant risk factor for diseases such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Increased Energy – Being in ketosis is like giving your body an unlimited energy source. When you’re running on carbs, you need to constantly refuel to maintain energy levels; But when you switch to fat for fuel, your body already has plenty to work with, AKA an energy source that doesn’t run out!
Improved Cholesterol Levels – When you increase the amount of healthy fats you eat, you also increase the good HDL cholesterol levels in your body. The higher your levels of HDL in comparison to the bad cholesterol in your body, LDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. (4)
Now that you know what keto can potentially do for you, let’s move on to how you follow this dietary regimen…
So, What Do I Eat on Keto?
Use the following guidelines to rearrange your diet. It’s helpful if you just completely toss out the idea of the traditional food guide pyramid, because keto is completely the opposite! You still want to focus on healthy food sources, just different ones.
Keto Diet Food List
Healthy Fats– Oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, etc.; Nuts and nut butters.
Lean Meats– Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, etc.
Fish and seafood– All types…Fatty fish such as salmon and herring provide additional healthy fat benefits.
Eggs– Get grass-fed, organic when possible.
Many veggies– Leafy greens and other low-carb veggies.
Some fruits– Berries (strawberries, blackberries) and other low-carb fruits.
Full-fat dairy– Butter, cream, sour cream and cheeses.
Dark chocolate– Get 70% cocoa or higher.
Water– Drink continuously to stay hydrated (still or sparkling).
Coffee and tea– You can drink these plain, or add some full-fat cream, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
Alcohol (in moderation) – Choose a regular red or dry white wine, or a small amount of champagne, whisky, brandy or vodka. Say no to sugary cocktails.
Foods to Avoid
Sugary Foods– Stay away from processed and sugary foods including sodas, candy, cakes, cookies, fruit juices, ice cream, etc.
Starchy Foods– Also stay away from starchy foods (processed and whole foods), including bread, pasta, rice, potato chips, etc.
Starchy Veggies– Underground root veggies including potatoes, yams, etc. (can have some in moderation).
Margarine– This is a butter imitation and not real food – steer clear!
Beer– Straight up carbs… causes blood super spikes.
Starchy Fruits– It’s best to avoid some fruits on keto including high-carb ones like bananas and grapes, along with dried fruits which contain a lot of sugar.
Using Meal Replacement Shakes on Keto
A meal replacement shake can be an invaluable part of your keto dietary plan, giving you a quick, healthy meal option while on-the-go.
Here are some things you should look for on shake labels to make sure it fits into a ketogenic diet:
- Low carbs (less than 10g per serving)
- No sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Good protein (15-20g) and fiber (5-10g)
- Lots of vitamins, minerals and superfoods
- Healthy, clean ingredients (no chemical-based, processed fillers)
Next, here are some ways to ramp up the fat content of your shake so it helps you reach ketosis and satisfies you longer. Simply add in…
- A tablespoon of MCT Oil
- ¼ to ½ an avocado
- A tablespoon of nut butter like peanut, almond, etc.
- ½ cup of full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup full-fat cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon ground chia or flax seeds
In addition, these are also some great keto-friendly ingredients for your shakes…
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Berries (Raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
- Cucumber (refreshing and low in carbs)
- Herbs such as ginger, turmeric, parsley and basil
Keto Diet Summary
Though it may seem like a lofty, even unattainable goal at first to greatly cut down the amount of carbs you eat and say goodbye to sugar, many people who follow keto for the duration say that once your body adjusts to the keto diet foods, you’ll feel great!
And research shows that keto can be a highly-effective diet to help boost your overall wellness and rev up your weight loss goals – plus, it’s a satiating and delicious dietary plan.