A ketogenic diet is higher fat, low carb, moderate protein diet that can help you burn fat and lose weight more effectively. There has been a big buzz in recent years, with no shortage of celebrity fans, with the likes of Halle Berry, Vinny Guadagnino, and Kourtney Kardashian, all advocating the keto diet.
Proven to have the overall health as well as weight loss and performance, with multiple studies showing that it can be especially useful for losing excess body fat without hunger.
According to dietitians and doctors, a ketogenic diet can induce rapid weight loss because it cuts the carbs drastically. However, the diet is different than other low-carb diets such as Atkins because it has exceptionally high fat and only a moderate amount of protein.
Let’s have a look at how a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight and what are the best ketogenic diet foods.
What is Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic, also known as “keto” diet is not new, as it has been used for centuries for medical purposes, especially for controlling diabetes. It was one of the most popular diets for diabetics in the 19th century, but it has only started to gain attention as a potential method for weight loss in the 1970s.
It’s essential to learn how to eat real foods so you can lose the excess body fat without hunger. This diet is high in fat and extremely low in carbs while also being moderate in protein, which means that your body will soon get into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis happens because the carbs reduce to a bare minimum, and the amount of fat ingested is increased. After entering ketosis, the body starts to turn all those fats into ketones. These are molecules that supply the brain with energy, which means that after a few days of being on a ketogenic diet, your body will become super-efficient at using fat and ketones instead of carbs for fuel.
Keep in mind, however, that a ketogenic diet will also lower your insulin levels. It is especially beneficial if you have diabetes, and one of the main reasons this particular diet has lots of health benefits.
How do I induce Ketosis?
To reach the ketosis state, you need to consume a maximum of 20-50 grams of carbs on a 2,000 calories a day diet. A plain bagel, for example, has 44 grams of carbohydrates, which means that if you eat that, you can’t have any more carbs that day.
But cutting carbs is only the first step in inducing ketosis. You also need to ramp up your physical activity and also increase your healthy fat intake. Another way to get into ketosis is fasting for several hours. Many people go into a mild state of ketosis if they don’t eat anything between dinner and breakfast.
To achieve ketosis, you also need an adequate protein intake that is not excessive, though. One of the main benefits a keto diet has over other weight loss strategies is that consuming sufficient amounts of protein results in preserving most of the muscle mass. Losing weight generally results in a decrease of the muscular mass, but studies have shown that this is less severe with keto diets.
Are you wondering when you’ve reached ketosis. The Results can vary from one individual to another, it’s a good idea to test your ketone levels to make sure you’re achieving your weight loss goals.
You can do so with the help of a blood ketone meter, which requires a drop of blood in a similar way to a glucose meter, or with a Ketonix meter, which measures the acetone levels in your breath. Multiple studies indicate that acetone breath levels are a reliable way to monitor ketosis.
What are the Staple Foods in a Ketogenic Diet?
When you are following a ketogenic diet, you need to renounce almost all carbs. If you don’t do that, you are body will not be able to reach the ketosis state.
As such, staple foods that you are allowed to eat on a ketogenic diet include products that are high in fat, such as meat, butter, fish, eggs, heavy cream, cheese, oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and a selection of low-carb vegetables.
Ketogenic diet foods :
Meat is a staple of the keto diet, but you should look into unprocessed meats and try to get grass-fed or organic as much as possible, as they are healthier options. However, keep in mind that keto is a higher fat diet, not high in protein, so there’s no need to eat large quantities of meat. Since excess protein can convert in glucose, it might make it more challenging to get into ketosis. Some types of meat, mainly processed items such as meatballs, cold cuts, and sausages often contain added carbs.
You can eat eggs; however, you want when you’re following a keto diet. Scrambled, omelettes, fried in butter, or boiled are all acceptable options, so choose the one you prefer. The healthiest option would be to buy organic or pastured eggs. If you worry about your cholesterol levels, you should limit the number of eggs you consume, but most people can safely eat as many eggs as they want daily.
Fish and Seafood
All fish and seafood are suitable on a keto diet, but fatty types such as salmon are the best. Wild-caught fish is the best, but you should also consider small varieties such as mackerel, sardines, or herring. When eating fish on a keto diet, always avoid breading, as it contains carbs.
Because most of the calories you consume on a keto diet need to come from fat, you should try to incorporate as many natural fats as possible. You can quickly get them from meat, eggs, and fish, but you should supplement those sources by using fat in cooking. Butter and coconut oil are two great options, and you should also be as liberal as you want with olive oil in salads. High-fat sauces such as garlic butter and Bearnaise sauce are also excellent choices.
Another great source of fat is in high-fat dairy — think butter, heavy cream, and full-fat cheese. However, you should try to avoid drinking milk, as it contains sugar that can quickly add up and make it challenging to reach ketosis. Using some milk sparingly in your coffee is OK, though. Make sure you only add a splash. Low-fat everything, be it yoghurt or cottage cheese is best to be avoided entirely because these products often have lots of added sugars.
There’s no need to eliminate vegetables on a keto diet. Vegetables that grow above the ground are preferable because they are often low in carbs. Green and leafy items such as cabbage, broccoli, avocado, and cauliflower are all excellent candidates. Besides being healthy for you in general, vegetables are also a great vehicle to get more fats in on a keto diet because you can pour plenty of olive oil on them or fry them in butter.
You can eat Nuts in moderation on a ketogenic diet, but you should not have them as snacks, as it’s easy to eat too many of them to keep satisfied. Some nuts, such as cashews, are higher in carbs than others, so make sure you check the carb content before digging in.
What can you Drink on a Keto Diet?
Keeping well-hydrated is essential for your well-being, but it’s also a great way to help those pounds fall off. Water is your best friend on a ketogenic diet, as it has no carbs and no calories at all. You can drink regular or sparkling water.
Other drinks that are OK to have are tea and coffee, but without adding any sugar at all. Unlike in the case of different diets that ban the consumption of alcohol altogether, you can have a glass of wine or a shot of vodka on a keto diet, but in moderation (see the section below to see how to handle alcohol).
What Foods to avoid on a Keto Diet?
Some of the foods that you need to eliminate from your diet to be able to reach the ketosis state are all products that contain a lot of carbs. Included here are both the sugary and starchy kind of carbs, including bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes.
Avoid highly processed foods and try to eat whole foods as much as possible. Low-fat diet products are also best to avoid when you’re on a keto diet because this diet needs to be high in fat on purpose. After all, this is what will provide you with the energy you are no longer getting from eating carbs.
When it comes to drinks, it’s best to avoid alcoholic beverages as much as possible, but you can have some in moderation. Dry red and white wines are generally fine, but try to stay away from sweet wines that are high in carbs and beer, which is liquid bread.
If you want something more substantial, look for spirits that have no carbs at all, such as gin, vodka, and whiskey, but steer clear from things such as Martini or Irish cream, as they are super high in carbs.
Is there Evidence that a Keto Diet helps with weight loss?
Yes, and the evidence is strong. Ketogenic diets help you lose fat and improve your insulin levels at the same time, which is helpful if you have diabetes. Moreover, this is a diet that preserves muscle mass, and studies have shown that this diet has better results than others, even when the calories intake is identic.
Besides helping you with weight loss, a keto diet comes with multiple other health benefits, with studies showing that the ketosis state may have brain-protective benefits. There are no studies currently available to determine whether a keto diet is a good strategy for maintaining a healthy weight.
Is a Keto Diet safe to follow long term?
According to the Mayo Clinic, keto diets are not ideal to follow forever, because they cut many healthy foods, making it more difficult for the body to get all the nutrients it needs. Low carbohydrate diets may have various side effects when followed long term, with symptoms including headaches, bad breath, and constipation.
Most of the studies related to the safety of keto diets are made on participants who followed such a diet for six months up to a year. This means that there are no studies currently available to let us know whether it’s safe to be on a keto diet for years.
The good news is that if you keep at it, you can reach the desired weight with the help of a ketogenic diet and then maintain that weight through balanced nutrition. Meaning that there’s no need to think of a ketogenic diet as a lifestyle, but more as a means to an end.
The keto diet is a popular choice for those who want to lose weight without hunger. Because it only has several rules that are easy to follow and doesn’t involve complicated meal plans that you need to observe over multiple months, a keto diet is an option that fits into many people’s lifestyles. The number one rule is to eliminate carbs from your diet, and that is a rule that’s easy to remember.
To achieve your goals, make sure you know precisely what ketogenic diet foods to incorporate daily, and how to induce and measure ketosis. As with any other diets, it’s a good idea to talk to your medical practitioner before starting, particularly if you have any known health issues.
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