What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a high fat low carb diet with some proteins.The general rule of thumb for a keto diet is a maximum of 50 carbs daily or about 10% of total calories. Protein goals are generally around 0.8 g of protein per pound.
The science behind that keto diet.
Carbohydrates are usually our body’s main source of energy but because the keto diet is so low in carbs fats become the primary fuel for the body. When we burn fat for energy we produce compounds called Ketone bodies which is why it is called the ketogenic diet.
Ketones can be detected in the urine, blood, and breath so people following a keto diet will often use test strips to check the urine for ketones to confirm that they are in ketosis. When ketones are present in the urine that is a result of the body burning fat for energy or fuel.
For people with diabetes however ketones can build up and lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious medical condition. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, fruity scented breath, confusion, and consistently high blood sugar. Diabetics should not go on this diet without consulting physician. If they suspect diabetic ketoacidosis they should seek medical treatment immediately.
What you can eat on the keto diet?
- Very limited carbs: 50 g of carbs per day or less though most advocates recommend 20g. This includes carbs from lower carb foods like vegetables, avocados, nuts, and plain Greek yogurt.
- Somewhat limited protein the keto diet is not a high protein low carb diet. the protein recommendation is generally 0.8 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. You’ll need to know your percent of body fat for this or you can use your lowest helpful weight. If a very lean wait for you is 150 pounds for example, then use 150 x 0.8 for a total of approximately 120 g of protein daily.
- Fat make up the rest. The keto diet is mostly fat, with that being the wildcard varies by amount depending on calorie needs as well as appetite. This can include animal fats like butter, heavy cream, mayonnaise, and bacon as well as plant-based saturated fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and vegan mayo.
Keto calculators are available online to help you figure out your macro nutrient goals (carbs, protein, fat). Find your keto calculator here
What Types of Food Do You Eat?
Starchy and refined carbs are off limits including bread, rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes, beans.
Sugar of any type is also out including table sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, and agave.
Only a small amount of fruit is allowed mostly berries because of their low carb content.
Fats of all types
Meat, Fish, poultry, and eggs are allowed
Non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens fresh or frozen. carbs from his vegetables need factored into daily carb allotment.
No calorie plant-based sweeteners like Stevia or Trulia
Beverages with zero sugar or artificial sweeteners including water tea and coffee
A typical day on the Keto diet
Coffee with coconut oil butter or MCT oil
Breakfast is some combo of fat plus protein eggs cheese bacon sausage butter
Lunch burgers with cheese no bun salad with protein avocado and oil and vinegar
Dinner fish, chicken, beef, or pork with vegetables cooked with olive oil served with avocado guacamole or mayo based sauce
Snacks are hard-boiled eggs, cheese, avocado, nut butter, berries, and do-it-yourself fat bombs
What the heck is a fat bomb?
Fat bombs or any type of little snack bites centered on high-fat ingredients like butter, bacon, and coconut oil
The reality is that we don’t need to be in a perpetual state of ketosis to drop extra body fat countless people have lost significant amount of body fat by cutting calories with a low-fat carb rich diet.
I’m an advocate of lower carb high protein diets even if we exercise on a regular basis.
Not everybody especially those of us with sedentary jobs or hobbies still spend a large portion of our time sitting at a desk in our car or on her sofa the lack of activity means we burn fewer calories.
I have seen many clients and friends experience positive results with the keto diet. The main advantages of following a keto diet is appetite control as we feel less hungry on the low-carb keto plan which generally results in a natural reduction in our calorie intake.
Some of the research shows that people eat 300 fewer calories per day or more without even trying. As a result following a keto diet can help to reduce cravings as well as drop body fat.
Other Benefits of the Keto Diet
Other benefits of the keto diet include improving blood sugar control, cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation, all of which are likely due to the extra weight loss as well as feel following the low carb diet.
A few things I don’t love about the keto diet
It can make eating feel more like science then pleasure at first. Counting our macros for carbs, protein, and fat for each meal and snack can feel burdensome. Many people simply get into a routine and are eating the same combinations of food for most meals and snacks.
It limits our vegetable intake. I’ve had countless keto followers tell me they’re avoiding vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, egg plant, spinach, and kale because they’re too high in carbs. Let’s be honest who among us can blame our extra pounds on too much asparagus? I however make the adjustments elsewhere when i want to include these vegetables in my daily routine.
it’s easy to go overboard with high fat process meats. We know the processed meats like sausage and bacon aren’t exactly super foods. So while they’re okay in small amounts, I recommend keeping these as extras to accompany a less processed keto diet not the focal point.
Bottom line. As with any diet if it centered on foods that we enjoy and it fits within our lifestyle habits and we are more likely to stick with it and see positive results, go for it!
Experimenting with the keto diet can serve as a valuable education tool as well helping us to recognize just how much carb or fat or protein or calories we’ve actually been consuming in our everyday diet. If you decide to try keto diet, track your food intake in an online or a food log like my fitness pal. It will tally up all those numbers for you.
Consider adding a multivitamin and calcium supplement because you may not get the full spectrum of micronutrients from the food choices on the keto diet. As always check with your physician before beginning any new program and consider consulting with a registered dietitian to help you design a diet that fits within your lifestyle and your body needs.
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Toni Sweeney is a Triple Certified Ketogenic Diet and Primal Health Coach and weight loss expert who personally lost 80 pounds while making a total lifestyle change. The founder of TS Transformations, her formulas and plans has helped thousands of women lose weight and keep it off forever.