Remember when we were all told to opt for only low-fat products and restrict ourselves from this vital macronutrient? Now, we realize that going fat-free actually made us bigger and more prone to chronic disease.
Research now shows that a high-fat and low-carb meal plan is more effective in weight loss and overall health. What’s this meal plan called? The ketogenic diet!
But what does this diet entail and how can you benefit from it? Read on as I show you an overview of the ketogenic diet to learn all about how it works and where to start.
What is the Keto Diet?
Before we delve into the keto diet, let’s first talk about what it is.
When on the keto diet, you’ll be eating fewer carbs than you’re used to. You will consume 60-80% of your calories from fat, 15-25% from protein, and only 5-10% of calories coming from carbs. This is a huge difference compared to the 55% of carbs we are suggested to take daily!
But why do we restrict ourselves from carbs? Our body uses it as the primary source of fuel, burning that first for energy. And if we eat fewer carbs, our bodies will burn it quicker and then begin breaking down fat to use for energy. Once our bodies use fat for energy, we go into ketosis, where we use different types of ketone bodies to break down fatty acids.
What happens when we burn more fat for energy? Weight loss, muscle preservation, and better body composition!
The Health Benefits of Keto Diets
How can an extremely high-fat diet benefit your mind, body, and weight loss goals? You’ll be surprised with how advantageous it is! These are the top benefits it has to offer:
Weight Loss Aid
Like mentioned, when our bodies begin burning fat instead of carbs for energy, you lose more weight from getting rid of excess water and sodium in the body.
Not only that, but high-fat diets lead to a smaller appetite, consuming fewer empty calories which aid in weight loss.
Better Brain Function
Some studies show that this diet provides neuroprotective benefits, treating or preventing various conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Also, with healthy fats consumed, you can enjoy better memory and concentration, as well as elevated mood as you eat more food high in omega-3. This happens after the “keto flu,” which you may or may not experience for the first two weeks into the diet.
The keto diet is a wonderful protocol for healing your gut. If you’ve tried different gut-healing protocols, then you know the one thing they all have in common is the elimination of certain types of carbs.
Carbohydrate malabsorption is a primary issue in conditions like IBS and SIBO. Therefore, eliminating a large portion of carbs from your diet and help reduce digestive symptoms and support gut health.
NOTE: When using keto for gut health, you will likely need to modify it based on your tolerability of certain foods.
Improved Cholesterol Levels
When following a healthy keto diet, you can reduce the bad cholesterol levels while increasing the good ones. Also, it lowers your blood pressure, which is advantageous for those with hypertension. Because of this, it lessens the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, strokes, and a lot of other fatal diseases.
Reduced Blood Sugar Levels
When you lessen your carb consumption, your insulin levels are balanced and without any spike which can lead to diabetes. Diabetics (type 2 diabetes) have found the keto diet beneficial for their lifestyle, with many patients reducing or eliminating the need for their medicine because of the reduced blood sugar levels.
What Foods to Eat for Keto
Now that we know what the health benefits are, what should we eat to enter ketosis? Here’s a list of healthy, nutrient-dense, low-carb, fat-filled foods:
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Olive oil
- MCT oil and powder
- Nut butter
- Grass-fed butter
- Salmon and other seafood
- Unprocessed meat and poultry
- High-fat Greek yogurt (if you tolerate dairy)
- High-fat cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, swiss, or cottage cheese (if you tolerate dairy)
- Heavy whipping cream (if you tolerate dairy)
- Low-carb vegetables (those that grow above ground)
- Nuts like almonds and macadamias
- Stevia and other low-carb sweeteners
- Coffee and tea without sugar
- Bone Broth
- Coconut or almond milk (unsweetened)
What Foods to Avoid for Keto
The number one thing we must avoid when following the keto diet is anything filled with carbs. Here’s a specific list of what to NOT eat:
- Wheat products like pasta, cereal, pastries, cakes, rice, beer, or corn
- Whole grains from quinoa, rye, buckwheat
- Anything sugary from candies, chocolate, and ice cream
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams
- Oatmeal and muesli
- Low-fat products such as milk
- Large fruits high in sugar such as apples, mangoes, bananas, oranges, grapes
- Fruit or sugary juices
- Sweetened nut milks
- Sweetened tea, coffee, lattes
- Milkshakes high in sugar
- Cocktails with syrups
- Sports drinks
Wrapping It Up
A keto diet is extremely effective in overall health and wellbeing while being an effective and sustainable protocol for weight loss. That is, only when it’s done right! Through learning all about how it works and what food to consume, you’ll be able to kickstart your keto journey.
Use this overview of the ketogenic diet as a starting point to fitness and wellness. If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on the keto diet, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated!