What It Is?
A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It is known as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, and low carb high fat (LCHF).
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will start to create glucose and insulin.
Since glucose is being used as a primary source of energy, your fats are not needed or stored. Typically on a normal carb diet, the body will use glucose as the main source of energy. By lowering the number of carbs, the body is converted into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural phenomenon the body has to help us live when food intake is low. In this state, ketones are produced in the body, which is made from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state which is the fastest way to get into ketosis. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.
Our bodies have a talent to adapt everything when you fill it with high and low carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels are beneficial in health, weight loss, physical and mental performance.
Types of Keto
There are four different types of the ketogenic diet:
Standard ketogenic diet
This is the regular and most common type of keto diet, you plan all meals and snacks around fat like avocados, butter, ghee, fatty fish and meats, olives and olive oil. You need to get about 150 grams a day of fat in order to shift your metabolism so it burns fat as fuel.
The High Protein Ketogenic Diet
This is similar to the standard keto diet, but with additional protein. The goal is to consume extra protein to build muscle. On the high protein keto diet, you will consume:
- 60% of calories come from fat
- 35% of calories come from protein
- 5% of calories come from carbohydrates
This is an effective method for bodybuilders, weightlifters, or those who need more protein in their diet.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet includes eating a low carb keto diet for many days, followed by a day or two of eating a high carb diet.
On the CKD, you alternate between two phases: a standard ketogenic diet phase with a carb-loading phase.
The high-carb phase can last anywhere from 24–48 hours. During the carb-loading phase, roughly 70% of your calories will come from carbohydrates.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet
The TKD is a hybrid between the standard ketogenic diet and the cyclical ketogenic diet. It allows you to train at higher intensities at the gym but doesn’t force you out of ketosis for extended periods of time (as with the CKD).
This type of ketogenic diet is ideal for maintaining exercise performance, fueling your muscles with glycogen during exercise.
If you are looking to try TKD, aim to consume 25–50 grams of net carbs 30 minutes to an hour before exercise. This would make up your carb intake for the day.
Keto for Weight Loss
Fat burning is one of the many benefits of ketosis that improves overall health and makes it an effective tool for weight loss.
Keto has a cult following for a good reason: it makes you feel great. Keto-ers feel more satiated throughout the day and have increased energy levels, both physical and mental, leading to:
- Fewer cravings
- Lower caloric intake
- More self-control
- More physical activity.
Keto Other Benefits
- Improves heart health
- protect brain functioning
- reduce the risk of cancer
- Reduces acne
Keto Foods to Avoid
This is the big no-no. Cut out all soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks and “vitamin water” (these are all basically sugar water). Avoid sweets, candy, cakes, cookies, chocolate bars, donuts, frozen treats, and breakfast cereals.
Read labels for hidden sugars, especially in sauces, condiments, drinks, dressings and packaged goods.
Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (including sweet potatoes), French fries, potato chips, porridge, muesli and so on. Avoid whole grain products as well.
Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are high in carbs too. Small amounts of certain root vegetables (other than potatoes and sweet potatoes) may be OK.
Keto Foods to Eat
Meat – Unprocessed and organic meats contain low carbohydrates and are good for a keto diet.
Fish and seafood – These are all good, especially fatty fish like salmon. However, avoid breading, as it contains carbs.
Eggs – Eat them any way, e.g. boiled eggs, fried in butter, scrambled or as omelets, whatever you want. Buying organic or pastured eggs might be the healthiest option.
Vegetables – Vegetables are a great and tasty way to eat good fat on keto.
High-fat dairy – Butter is good, high-fat cheese is fine and high-fat yogurts can be had in moderation. Heavy cream is good for cooking.
Nuts – Can be had in moderation, but be careful when using nuts as snacks, as it’s very easy to eat far more than you need to feel satisfied.
Water – The best drink, have it with ice or sparkling. Sip it hot like a tea, or add natural flavoring like sliced cucumbers, lemons, or limes.
Bone broth – Hydrating, satisfying, full of nutrients and electrolytes. It is easy to make. Homemade bone broth can be a great beverage to sip on the keto diet.
Keto Sample Meal Plan
Here are some healthy ways to eat through a keto diet:
- Mushroom Omelet.
- Bell pepper stuffed with cheese and eggs
- Baked avocado eggs
- Caesar salad with chicken.
- Steak bowl with cauliflower rice, cheese, herbs, avocado, and salsa.
- Coconut chicken curry.
- Meatballs served with zucchini noodles and parmesan cheese.
- Grilled salmon with spinach sautéed in coconut oil.
- Roast chicken with cream sauce and sautéed broccoli.
It’s nice to have the option of a few low-carb, keto snacks for busy days when you have to skip lunch or after a tough workout.
- Pepperoni Slices
- Iced Coffee
- Kale Chips
- Low-Carb Bars
- Sugar-Free Jell-O or Popsicles
- Macadamia Nuts
- Devilled or Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Lettuce Wraps
Keto for Dining Out
Here are some helpful tips to remember when you are going on a keto dine out:
- Eliminate the starch
- Add healthy fat
- Keep an eye on sauces and condiments
- Don’t overfill your plate
- Choose drinks with care
- Rethink dessert
Side Effects of Keto
If you’re considering this diet, you’ll probably want to know about the side effects before you decide if it’s right for you.
Keto flu – With the start of the keto diet, the body switches from using sugar as a source of energy to using the body’s stored fat. In the process of breaking down fat, it may lead to dehydration and flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, dizziness, irritability, nausea, and muscle soreness.
Kidney and heart damage – Because the body can be low on electrolytes and fluid on top of the increased urination that can lead to a loss of electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium. This can make people prone to acute kidney injury.
Not suitable for everyone – Not all patients are appropriate candidates for the keto diet, especially those with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or other conditions that may be the result of a previous diet.
Taking keto diet supplements can help you to:
- Avoid symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, headaches, and constipation.
- Speed up how quickly you get into ketosis and start making ketones.
- Decrease the chances you’ll experience nutrient deficiencies, such as an electrolyte imbalance, or dehydration.
- Control your appetite and cravings, which helps support weight loss if that’s your primary goal.
- Improve your ability to digest fats.
- Help prevent constipation and GI issues.
- Give you enough energy to stay moderately active and to recover from exercise.
- Help decrease inflammation, muscle soreness, and pain.
Here are some effective supplements for a keto diet:
If you’re looking for keto supplements for weight loss, consider getting a quality protein powder, such as one made from bone broth.
Protein powder is great for controlling your appetite and providing a good dose of amino acids with relatively few calories and very little carbs.
While many people might turn to the keto diet for help with weight loss, this is far from the only health perk that’s associated with ketosis.
If you’re looking to improve digestive health, immune system function, joint health and even the health of your skin, hair, and nails, then supplementing with collagen protein is wise.
MCT oil, which is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides, is one of the most popular supplements to help you stay in ketosis, plus it has benefits if weight loss is one of your goals.
Because MCTs are a type of fat that can be used readily for energy, they’re helpful for producing ketones, suppressing your appetite, keeping your energy up and even improving endurance and physical performance.
When you’re following a strict keto diet it can seem challenging to get enough essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber on a daily basis, considering you’re reducing the variety of foods you eat.
While non-starchy vegetables should still be making a regular appearance on your plate, taking a multivitamin is a good “insurance plan” for ensuring your nutritional needs are being met.
Whether you’re on a low-carb diet or not, probiotics are multi-functional supplements that have been shown to support overall health in many ways.
Taking a quality probiotic supplement is a great way to improve your gut microflora and support digestive and immune health, but there are some specifics you’ll want to be aware of when purchasing one.