A ketogenic “keto” diet is an eating plan that is designed to seriously diminish carbohydrates, your body’s primary fuel source, and dramatically increase fats. As carbohydrate levels drop, the body is compelled to burn stored fat, which can result in weight loss.
Ketosis is the metabolic process that programs your body to become efficient at burning fat for energy. It turns fat into ketones in the liver, which provides energy to the brain. Ketones are small fuel molecules produced by the body as a result of the process.
The whole point of going keto is to reach ketosis. To get there, a keto calculator may aid you in the process. This will help you know the exact amount of carbs, fat, and protein you need to hit your goal weight.
The keto diet has its definite rules of what to and what not to eat. The diet is intentionally designed to be restrictive. Nonetheless, with a variety of accessible food options, you may be able to ease up the transition.
Food to Eat While On Keto2
Fatty fishes, such as salmon, are one of the greatest foods to consume in the keto diet. However, if you have concerns regarding mercury or other toxins, you may eat smaller fishes like sardines, mackerel, and herring. Certain fishes are carb-free and are rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.
Shellfish are keto-friendly foods. Even so, carbs in various types of shellfish vary. For example, while shrimp and most crabs don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates, other types of shellfish do.
While these shellfish can still be incorporated into your diet, it is vital to consider their carb content. This is when you are trying to choose food options within a narrow scope.
2. Low-Carb Vegetables
Vegetables are the go-to tasty, healthy foods. They add variety, flavor, and color to your usual keto meals.
Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, eggplant are sparse in calories and carbs but are high in nutrients like vitamin C. These vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, which help fight against free radicals.
The majority of individuals have ended up eating more vegetables than usual while on keto. This is because veggies have replaced pasta, rice, potatoes, and other starches. Remember to go for non-starchy vegetables with less than 8 g of net carbs per cup.
While majority of fruits contain very high carbs and should be avoided when preparing keto meals, berries are different. Berries contain plenty of fiber but are low on carbs. Also, these fruits are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against diseases.
Raw raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries have lower net carbs compared to blueberries, which makes them better options for people on a keto diet.
4. Nuts, Seed, and Healthy Oil
Food like nuts, as well as seeds, are enriched with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. Likewise, they are low in net carbs.
Coconut oil and olive oil are the two suggested oils on the keto diet. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats; gladly, it bears medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can promote ketone production. MCTs may speed up the metabolic rate and facilitates weight loss.
In fact, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are sometimes given coconut oil to improve their ketone levels. Also, lauric acid is the major fatty acid present in coconut oil, which helps maintain the state of ketosis longer. Coconut oil is also said to help adults lose their belly fat and excess weight.
Moreover, olive oil is high in oleic acid and is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. Regardless, be mindful of portion sizes when consuming any kind of healthy fat.
Most cheeses are sparse in carbs and rich in fat, which makes them great options in the keto diet. Some keto-friendly cheeses include mozzarella, parmesan, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, goat cheese, and more.
Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fat that has been associated with fat reduction and improves body composition. Notably, one ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese has 1 gram of carbs, 6.5 grams of protein, and a good amount of calcium.
Eggs are enriched with protein, vitamin B, minerals, and other antioxidants. Two eggs have zero crabs and 12 grams of protein. Likewise, they hold antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which sustains eye health.
In addition, eggs prompt hormones that facilitate feelings of fullness and neutralizes blood sugar levels.
7. Plain Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt can be added into a keto diet in moderation because it also contains carbs. Cottage cheese is also a similar food that can be eaten moderately on a keto diet. One-half cup of plain Greek yogurt contains four grams of carbs while the same amount of cottage cheese contains five grams of carbs.
These two foods can be eaten as a snack without adding anything or combined with nuts and other spices for a quick treat. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese can make you feel full longer, thus reducing hunger pangs and cravings.
Foods to Avoid While On Keto
Grains such as cereal, rice, pasta, bread, beer, and crackers are high in carbohydrates. Hence, try to consider alternatives like shirataki noodles, a better low-carb choice.
Sugary breakfast cereals and healthy whole-grain cereals also bear high portions of carbohydrates; hence, these should be avoided in the keto diet. Nevertheless, dry wine and spirits can be excellent occasional treats in the diet.
A high intake of fruits and vegetables has constantly been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart problems. Unfortunately, a lot of fruits are high in carbs which are not appropriate in the keto diet.
For instance, a small apple has 21 grams of carbs, 4 of which come from fiber. A medium-sized banana has 27 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. On the brighter side, berries are sparse in sugar and higher in fiber compared to other fruits. For this reason, these can be consumed sparingly on a keto diet.
Additionally, a rule of thumb is to refrain from dried fruits. These harbors high amounts of carbs and may potentially hinder you from maintaining ketosis.
3. Sweetened Yogurts
Yogurt is a delicious and versatile food. Although yogurt has fairly low carbohydrate content, a lot of individuals tend to indulge in fruit-flavored, sweetened low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Sweetened yogurt often contains as many carbs as one dessert.
On a keto diet, learn to stick to plain yogurt to limit added sugars (carbohydrates). For example, Greek yogurt can be enjoyed in mindful amounts. It is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates compared to regular yogurt.
Although juice offers certain nutrients, fruit juice contains fast-digesting carbs that can result in a rapid spike in blood sugar.
Pasta is a versatile and inexpensive household staple; however, this contains high carb content. One cup (250 grams) of cooked pasta carries 43 grams of carbs, only 3 of which are fiber.
On a keto diet, indulging in spaghetti or other types of pasta is nonideal unless you can control your portion sizes. As an alternative, you may opt for spiralized vegetables or shirataki noodles. This allows you to satisfy your cravings without going beyond your carb limit.
The keto diet has been claimed to support promising health-related benefits. Studies have shown that its benefits include weight loss and increase performance. Notably, to attain all these perks, eat only keto-friendly food, and refrain from high carb foods.
Despite the restrictive food options, it is good to know that there are alternatives that you can enjoy. Moreover, it would be best to work with a dietician to aid in creating your meal plans and ensure that you’re acquiring the essential nutrients while maintaining ketosis.