A ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carbohydrate diet with a usual consumption of 50 to 150 grams of carb, with the objective to reach a state of ketosis or the conversion of body fats into energy instead of glucose. Attaining ketosis is not easy, however. You have to discipline yourself to ensure you’re eating keto-friendly food to sustain ketosis.
In this article, you can learn the important things you need to keep in mind when you’re in a keto diet.
1. Facts About Keto Diets
Keto diets come in different types, but they all boil down to one goal, and that’s to trigger your body to undergo a process called ketosis. The idea is to deplete your body of as many carbohydrates as possible, so the level is low enough to avoid gluconeogenesis or the conversion of sugar or glucose in the blood as energy.
With ketosis, blood glucose is a trace, and the insulin becomes sensitive. Increased insulin sensitivity improves insulin function so that sugar is converted into energy, thereby preventing it from being deposited as fats in the tissues. When carbohydrates are diminished, the body has no choice but to use protein and fats as energy.
2. What You Need to Eat
In every keto recipe, you have to ensure that the ingredients used are keto-friendly. Check the following foods you can eat on a ketogenic diet:
- Meat: Use unprocessed meats because they’re low in carbohydrates. It’s best to choose grass-fed or organic meat because they’re healthier. Because keto is also high in fat, you don’t necessarily need high amounts of protein or more than two grams per kilogram of reference body weight. Avoid processed meats, such as cold cuts, meatballs, and sausages, because they usually contain added carbohydrates.
- Eggs: This food is keto-friendly, and you can cook omelets, scrambled, or buttered eggs. The healthiest options are pastured or organic eggs. If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels getting high, don’t overdo eating eggs, keeping fewer to a dozen eggs a day.
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon and other fatty fish are suitable in a keto diet. Eat smaller fish such as herring, mackerel, and sardines if you have concerns about mercury and other toxins. Avoid breading when cooking fish as this contains carbohydrates.
- Berries: Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries are highly recommended in a moderate amount, which you can snack on with real whipping cream.
- Vegetables: Frozen or fresh above-the-ground, harvested vegetables, such as green and leafy vegetables, are keto-friendly. These vegetables include cauliflower, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, and cabbage. For substitutes, vegetables can replace rice, pasta, and other starches. Avoid potatoes and other starchy veggies.
- Dairy: When it comes to higher-fat dairy products, butter and heavy cream are fine. Milk contains 15 grams of carbohydrates in one glass, so use it sparingly (a tablespoon maximum).
- Nuts: Eat nuts in moderation. You can consume nuts as snacks. Pecan and macadamia nuts are fine at less than 1/2 cup or 50 grams per day.
- Fats and Sauces: Because calories come from fat on a ketogenic diet, consuming natural fat sauces is highly recommended. Coconut, olive oil, or butter oil are highly recommended for cooking and used in salad dressings. The same is true with garlic butter and delicious high-fat sauces.
3. What You Can Drink
Besides being meticulous with the food you eat, it’s also important to watch what you drink. Drink water by sipping it like hot tea. You can add natural flavoring, such as sliced lemons, limes, or cucumber.
Make sure your coffee has no sugar and only a small amount of cream or milk. You can drink any tea, including green, herbal, mint, or black tea, but don’t add sugar. Avoid drinking soda, juice, or beer.
4. Exercise Recommendations On a Keto Diet
The effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on athletic performance remains a topic of controversy. Because carbohydrates are a great energy source, being on a keto diet could result in drained energy levels, making muscle growth and development more challenging.
However, studies show that the keto or low-carb diet may even improve several aspects of training or athletic performance, most especially among endurance athletes. While a keto diet may not be applicable for short, high-intensity bursts of activities or sports, a low-carb diet can enhance the performance of endurance athletes. Increased keto bodies in the body taken from keto supplements reduce protein breakdown and hasten muscle recovery following endurance exercises.
Instead of high-intensity exercises, like boxing, sprinting, jumping rope, or swimming, low-intensity exercises are better when you’re on a keto diet to avoid depleting yourself with energy.
Check out the following best exercises you can try when on the keto diet:
Keto Diet FAQs
1. Do I need to starve myself to attain ketosis?
No. Hunger can do worse and trigger sugar cravings that can kick you out of your keto diet. Instead of getting hungry and moody, substitute starchy foods with keto-friendly foods and eat whenever you are hungry.
2. Is a ketogenic diet suitable for anyone?
No. People suffering from ketoacidosis should not be placed in a keto diet, which usually occurs in liver and kidney problems.
3. Is popcorn a keto-friendly food?
Yes. The all-time favorite movie snack, popcorn, is considered keto-friendly food that’s high in fiber and is good for digestion.
4. Does it mean I won’t eat anything sweet in a keto diet?
No. Keto is not necessarily sugar-free. Feel free to eat sweet foods. But be sure that you use honey or a few natural sweeteners (from fruits) instead of refined sugar.
5. How soon will I lose significant weight with keto?
Since gradual keto is highly advised instead of fast keto to avoid liver and kidney problems brought about by ketone bodies and other byproducts of ketosis, it’s safe to say that you’ll lose a significant amount of weight within a year provided you stick to your diet.
When you’re on a keto diet, remember that there are foods that are allowed, restricted, and not allowed. The main objective of why you want a keto diet is to trigger your cells to use your protein and fats as the main energy source. Because your carbohydrates are very low, exercise recommendations are limited to low-intensity exercises to avoid draining energy. Ensure that you’re not starving yourself and eat whenever you’re hungry to avoid cravings and binge-eating.