What is the Keto diet and how does it work for weight loss?
This is not the definitive guide to the understanding the Keto diet. I will however attempt to provide a little clarity on what it is and how is works for weight loss (fat loss). First let's go over some key definitions that will help elevate your understanding.
The ketogenic diet or keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits and has some similarities with the Atkins and other low carb diets.
Simply put, you are dramatically replacing and reducing your carbohydrate intake with fat. This reduction places your body in a state of "ketosis".
If done correctly, your body becomes incredibly efficient at utilizing fat for energy. In the process, the liver converts fat into into ketones and those ketones supply energy for the brain.
Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body and used when blood sugar in low. When your carb intake is low, ketones are produced by the liver and converted from fat. Studies have found that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, and aid in appetite-suppression. Getting into ketosis is not as easy as just cutting carbs, it takes planning, sincere discipline and dietary adherence.
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 25% protein and only 5% carbs.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#types
Foods to Avoid
Any food that is high in carbs should be limited.
Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:
Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#foods-to-avoid
Foods to Eat
You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:
Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.Eggs: Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
Butter and cream: Look for grass-fed when possible.
Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#foods-to-eat
The Keto diet is great for some, but not for everyone.
It's great if you are overweight and have a lot of adipose tissue to lose. Good for diabetic people or for individuals looking to improve their metabolic health.
It may not suitable for elite athletes or those wanting to increase their weight or add large amounts of lean muscle.
How do you know if you are producing enough kemotes. Get urine test strips or a blood testing kit are the only real ways of knowing if you are in a state of ketosis.
Once again, I'd like to point out that this article is very superficial and not an in-depth look at the ketosis diet. Rather a beginners introduction to some dietary ideas you may have already heard of or seen out there. It is a great way to jump start your weight loss and help you develop healthy dietary habits.