Your Complete Guide To The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is the latest eating trend that seems to be taking over the internet. It takes low-carbohydrate dieting to a whole new level. Although it might seem a little extreme at first, the ketogenic diet is one of the best proven eating plans for weight loss, increased energy, and better overall health.
By limiting your carbohydrate intake to less than 5% of your total calories, your body will go into a state of ketosis and use fat as fuel. You’ll also help stabilize your blood sugar and hormone levels to ward off prediabetes and brain fog, just to name a few symptoms. Here’s everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is similar to the Paleo or Atkins diet, but with stricter rules about where you get your calories from. It suggests that you severely limit your carbohydrate intake and eat a high-fat diet by dividing your daily calories into the following categories: 75% from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates. The idea behind the ketogenic diet is that by limiting your carb and glucose intake, your body will rely on fat as fuel.
Eating carbohydrates cause your body to secrete insulin. When you eat too many carbs, it creates a buildup of insulin in your bloodstream, which leads to high blood sugar. Your body also stores the carbohydrates that it does not immediately use for fuel as fat. On the other hand, eating a high-fat and low carbohydrate diet reduces the amount of insulin secreted. You stop storing excess carbohydrates as fat, and your body enters a state of ketosis.
How To Implement The Ketogenic Diet
Although the ketogenic is high in fat, it has strict regulations about what foods you are allowed to eat. The goal is to eat “good” fats sourced from whole foods and limit your intake of carbohydrates to berries and non-starchy vegetables. You’ll also want to keep in mind that high amounts of protein can kick you out of ketosis, so choosing full-fat meats, cheese, and other animal products are key. Here is a list of foods you can eat on the ketogenic diet.
1. Fatty Meats
High-fatty meats are one of the staples of the ketogenic diet. Be sure to pick meats that are organic, antibiotic-free, and wild or pasture-raised, such as turkey, beef, game and organ meats, pork, and chicken. Chicken thighs are preferred over chicken breasts because they tend to be higher in fat. Deli meats and other processed meats are off limits due to their high salt and sugar content.
2. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs are are an excellent source of vitamin D and healthy fats. When picking them out, always go for pasture-raised over cage-free as this will ensure the chickens have had access to sunshine and lots of room to roam.
3. Fatty Fish
Look for fish that is high in omega three fatty acids, which is one of the most beneficial types of fat. Always pick wild-caught fish as farm raised is often treated with antibiotics, food colorings, and other artificial ingredients.
4. Full-Fat Dairy
You can eat full-fat and unprocessed cheese and butter on the ketogenic diet but stay away from milk because it’s high in sugar. Hard cheeses tend to be lower in carbohydrates. Again, look for an organic source that has not been treated with antibiotics or other additives. Be careful when picking out yogurt as most brands contain hidden sugar. Full-fat coconut yogurt or Greek yogurt is a good alternative if you’re lactose intolerant. Ghee or clarified butter is excellent for cooking your vegetables or meats in.
Focus on healthy, anti-inflammatory oils such as coconut, extra-virgin olive, avocado and macadamia oils. Look for cold pressed oils as these have not been heated to high temperatures, which kills off many nutrients.
Seasoning your food is a great way to get more enjoyment out of your meals, but be careful as most condiments contain hidden sugar. You can make your own dressings and other condiments at home using olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and dried herbs.
7. Nuts and Seeds
Avocados are the perfect keto food because they are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. You can eat it raw or as guacamole. Nuts and seeds are best eaten in moderation because they tend to be high in carbohydrates. Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans tend to have the lowest carb count.
8. Non-Starchy Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables help promote regularity, which is essential on a diet that includes mostly fat. They also provide you with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep you healthy. Focus on green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce, kale), cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, onions, and tomatoes.
Fruits are usually not allowed on the ketogenic diet, but berries are the exception because they are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Go for strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
It’s important to drink lots of lemon water on the ketogenic diet to flush toxins and prevent bad breath. Aim for eight to ten glasses a day. Unsweetened tea and coffee are also allowed on the ketogenic diet.
What To Watch Out For
Lots of foods contain hidden sources of sugar and carbohydrates. For this reason, you may want to become a label reader to ensure that you’re not accidentally eating foods that could kick you out of ketosis. You’ll also want to stay away from all types of grains and gluten as these foods are very high in carbohydrates. Processed foods, beans, legumes, soy, and sugary beverages are not allowed on the ketogenic diet.
A good rule of thumb is to fill your shopping cart with foods that don’t come prepackaged, with maybe the exception of meats. Spend most of your time shopping along the outer edge of the grocery store as the inner aisles tend to be full of processed foods. Here is a list of ingredients that contain hidden sugar, grains or gluten:
- Confectioners powdered sugar
Agave nectar and other fruit nectars
Dextrin and maltodextrin
Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
Dextrose or crystal dextrose
Evaporated cane juice
Pasta, crackers, and bread
Evaporated corn sweetener
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