Due to its shown efficiency for weight loss and other health advantages, the ketogenic or “keto” diet has risen to the top of the diet food list in recent years. This portrayed book aims to provide your needs with an overview of the various benefits of the keto diet, the foods you can and cannot eat, and how it works.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a very low-carb, high fat diet that forces your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When following a keto diet, you eat very minimal carbs, moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. Here’s a basic breakdown of the macronutrient ratios on a keto diet:
- 70-80% of calories from fat
- 15-30% of calories from protein
- Only 5-10% of calories from net carbs (total carbs minus fiber)
This dramatic reduction of carbohydrates puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body switches from primarily burning glucose (sugar) for energy to burning fat and ketones instead. Ketones are produced in the liver from fat stores when glucose levels are low due to carb restriction. Burning fat for fuel instead of carbs has numerous health benefits which will be covered in the next section.
Benefits of a Keto Diet
There are many evidence-based health benefits of following a ketogenic diet when done correctly. Here are some of the top reasons to try keto:
Weight loss is one of the most common goals for people trying the keto diet. By restricting carb intake and reducing hunger, keto helps many people successfully lose weight and body fat 1. When in ketosis, your body is burning stored fat for fuel which promotes fast weight loss. Studies show that keto is significantly more effective for fat loss than a low fat diet 2.
Reduced Hunger and Appetite
For the majority of those around us, the keto diet drastically reduces their levels of hunger, which is an enormous convenience. Consuming high fat and adequate protein keeps you feeling fuller longer compared to high carb diets. Protein from food and ketones’ satiating properties assist maintain the levels of sugar in the blood and lessen cravings. Eating less due to reduced appetite helps with sustainable weight loss.
Improved Blood Sugar Control
Because it restricts carbohydrates, the keto diet decreases levels of glucose in the blood and significantly reduces insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Several studies show keto improves hemoglobin A1c and glycemic control better than low calorie and low fat diets 3. Even a short term very low carb keto diet improves blood sugar control.
Increased Energy and Focus
By providing the brain and body with a steady fuel supply from ketones, many people report feeling increased physical and mental energy while in ketosis. With constant access to fat for energy, you avoid the energy crashes and hunger spikes caused by carby, high glycemic foods. Stable energy equals better productivity and focus.
Numerous chronic illnesses and problems, including cardiovascular illness, arthritis, brain fog, auto immune conditions, and others, are connected to inflammation as a primary cause. The keto diet helps reduce systemic inflammation for many people due to eliminating pro-inflammatory foods like processed grains and added sugars. Anti-inflammatory effects occur whether or not weight loss happens 4.
Improved Heart Health
While high fat intake was once vilified for heart disease, keto’s high fat diet has been shown to improve many heart disease risk factors. These include lower body fat, improved triglycerides, higher HDL (good) cholesterol, and optimal blood pressure levels 5. Ketogenic diets specifically have been shown to benefit heart health and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors 6.
Potential Anti-Cancer Effects
Recent studies suggest that a keto diet may aid in preventing the development and the inhibition of the development of tumors for some illnesses such as malign including breast, colon, brain, and prostate cancers 7. Cancer cells thrive on glucose. By eliminating carbs, keto starves cancer cells while providing protective benefits to normal cells 8. More research is needed but nutritional ketosis shows promising potential as a natural cancer therapy.
With all of these potent health advantages, it’s simple to understand why the ketogenic diet has grown to be so well-liked. One of the best lifestyle adjustments for enhancing general health, vigor, mental clarity, disease prevention, and numerous other is keto!
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
Now that you know why the keto diet works, let’s cover how it works and what’s going on in your body when following a keto way of eating.
The state of ketosis is the key driver and objective of keto diets. Ketosis occurs when your liver begins producing and releasing a substantial amount of ketones into your blood stream. This happens through a process called ketogenesis. When carbs are restricted to around 50 grams or less per day, insulin and blood sugar levels dramatically lower. By transporting carbohydrates to cells where it can be employed as fuel, the hormone insulin helps with blood sugar control.
The liver in your body begins turning fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies in the form of acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate when carbohydrates and insulin levels are low. These ketone bodies replace glucose as your primary energy source. This metabolic state of ketosis helps you burn fat stores more efficiently. Your body and brain can thrive in ketosis by using ketones for fuel in the absence of significant carbohydrate intake.
When first switching to keto, your body needs time to adapt to using fat and ketones as its new primary fuel source in the absence of carbs. This period of adaptation is referred to as “keto-adaptation” or “fat-adaptation”. The adaptive phase usually lasts 2-4 weeks. During this time you may feel tired, sluggish or experience headaches as your body adapts. This is sometimes called the “keto flu”. Once your body shifts to relying on fat, ketones and minimal carbs for energy, the keto flu symptoms vanish.
After adapting, your body will become very efficient at burning fat through fatty acid oxidation and ketones for fuel instead of glucose. Performance and energy levels improve in a state of fat adaptation.
Weight Loss on Keto
The keto diet leads to weight loss in the following ways:
- Restricting carb intake lowers insulin levels. Low insulin signals your kidneys to flush out excess sodium and water, leading to rapid water weight loss in the first week or two of keto.
- Ketosis suppresses appetite and reduces food intake naturally due to keto’s satiating effects. Feeling full while eating less food leads to a calorie deficit.
- Your body burns more fat when in ketosis. First body fat stores get metabolized, then dietary fat gets burned. Excess calories from dietary fat intake also create a calorie deficit.
- More fat gets excreted in stool on keto diets. This loss of calories from fat excretion also contributes to fat loss on keto.
- Preservation of muscle mass. Ketones spare muscle protein breakdown, allowing you to maintain muscle while losing fat weight. More muscle means a higher metabolism.
All of these factors working together is why the keto diet almost always leads to significant weight loss and body fat reduction for those who stick with it. Rapid fat burning continues until you reach your goal weight, then weight loss slows to a more gradual pace.
Foods to Eat on The Keto Diet
Now that you understand the basics of how keto works, let’s cover which foods you can and can’t eat on a well-formulated ketogenic diet. Keto is a very low carb diet, so grains, starches, fruits and sugars are restricted or eliminated entirely. But there are still plenty of delicious whole foods allowed. Here are the main categories of keto friendly foods to build your diet around:
Meat and Poultry
- Other meats in moderation
Choosing fattier cuts of meat is encouraged, along with eating the skin on poultry. Limit lean meats and trim visible fat only if needed.
Fish and Seafood
- Other fatty fish
Leaner fish like cod or tilapia are lower in fat so should be limited. Cold water fatty fish provide beneficial omega 3 fats.
- Chicken eggs
- Quail eggs
- Duck eggs
Eggs are a versatile and nutritious keto approved food. Omega 3 enriched eggs are preferred for more anti-inflammatory effects.
- Greek yogurt
- Regular yogurt
- Hard cheeses
- Soft cheeses
- Heavy cream
When choosing dairy, opt for full fat versions. Avoid low fat dairy products. Some people may need to limit dairy initially if sensitivities exist.
Nuts and Seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Nuts should be unsalted and minimally processed. Nut butters made from allowed nuts are great options as well.
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce)
- Brussels sprouts
These low carb vegetables provide important nutrients for health. Use them generously in keto recipes and for snacking.
Healthy Fats and Oils
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Sesame oil
- Nut oils
- Butter or ghee
- Lard or tallow
Adequate fat intake from whole food sources is key to staying satisfied on a ketogenic diet. Use plenty of these for cooking, dressings and meal prep.
- Plain water
- Sparkling water
- Unsweetened tea
- Black coffee
- Bone broth
- Diet soda (in moderation)
Hydration is crucial on keto. Water should be your primary beverage with meals and throughout the day. Limit milk to 4-8 oz per day if including.
Herbs, Spices and Condiments
- Lemon or lime juice
- Soy sauce
- Hot sauce
Seasonings add lots of flavor without carbs. Choose no sugar added condiments whenever possible. This covers most of the basic foods you’ll be eating on the standard ketogenic diet. Make sure to track your macronutrients and restrict carbs to under 50 grams daily for ketosis. Now that you know which main foods to eat, let’s go over foods you should avoid on keto.
Foods to Avoid on Keto
To achieve ketosis and fat burning, carb intake needs to be extremely low. Make sure to avoid these common high carb foods on keto:
Grains and Starches
- Bread, pasta, rice, oats, wheat, barley, corn, quinoa, cereal, etc.
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, parsnips, etc.
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, peas, peanuts
- Pizza crust, biscuits, muffins, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, pastries
All grains, even whole grains, must be eliminated on keto. Also limit starchy veggies and legumes.
Sugar and Sweets
- Table sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup
- Honey, molasses
- Candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, ice cream
- Milk chocolate and sweetened chocolate
- Fruit juice and sweetened beverages
Avoid any foods with added sugars. Even natural sweeteners will spike blood sugar.
- Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, mangos, etc.
- Dried fruit like raisins, dates, prunes and figs
- Fruit juice
Most fruits are high in carbs so should be limited to 1 serving max per day, if any. Choose lower carb fruits like berries sparingly.
Processed Low-Fat Foods
- Low fat dairy products
- Reduced fat salad dressings and mayo
- Low fat chips, cookies and sweets
- Fat free packaged snacks
Anything labeled low fat, light or diet is usually higher in carbs. Always opt for full fat versions.
- Beer and mixed drinks
- Sweet wines and dessert wines
- Sweet mixers like juice, soda, vermouth
Straight hard liquor like whiskey, gin, tequila, vodka and dry wines are lowest in carbs and okay in moderation. Avoid beer and sweet alcoholic drinks.
- Pre-made sauces with added sugar
- Sugary salad dressings
- Sweetened nut butters
- Most protein bars or shakes
- Sugary condiments like ketchup, teriyaki sauce, barbecue sauce
Always read labels and avoid anything with added sugars. Make a your own sauces and the dressings at your home. Following these guidelines of allowed keto foods versus foods to avoid will put you on the path to successful fat burning through ketosis!
Sample Keto Meal Plan
Hopefully this keto diet food list gives you an idea of what meal planning on keto looks like. Here is a sample menu for one week of keto meals:
Breakfast: Bacon, egg and cheese on a low carb waffle
Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken and avocado
Dinner: Bunless bacon cheeseburger with grilled zucchini fries
Breakfast: Keto yogurt parfait with nuts and berries
Lunch: Tuna salad lettuce wrap with sliced cucumbers
Dinner: Grilled salmon with broccoli and salad
Breakfast: Vegetable omelet with avocado
Lunch: Chicken curry salad with cauliflower rice
Dinner: Pork chops with sauteed Brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Chia pudding with coconut and walnuts
Lunch: Leftover salmon salad
Dinner: Meatballs with low carb tomato sauce and spiralized zucchini
Breakfast: Bacon and egg muffin cups
Lunch: Chicken wings with celery and ranch
Dinner: Steak fajitas on low carb tortillas with fixings
Breakfast: Breakfast bowl with eggs, avocado and sauteed veggies
Lunch: Chicken salad stuffed tomatoes
Dinner: Low carb pizza on a cheese crust
Breakfast: Veggie omelet with olives, feta and avocado
Lunch: Tuna melt on portobello mushroom buns
Dinner: Chicken stir fry with cauliflower rice
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different meals and find keto recipes you genuinely enjoy. Variety keeps the keto diet interesting!
One of the most popular dietary trends in the past several decades is the ketogenic diet, and for good reason. By putting your body into a state of ketosis, you can lose weight and improve how you performed as well as your brain, heart, and diabetes health.
By restricting carb intake to under 50g net carbs daily and eating plenty of healthy fats and protein, you can train your body to rely on fat-based ketones for energy instead of glucose. This metabolic switch reduces hunger, leads to fast weight loss, and improves many biomarkers of health. It does take discipline and commitment to stick with very low carb eating. But the keto diet has a high rate of compliance due to its satisfying high-fat foods. With the right keto recipes and foods to eat and avoid, anyone can successfully achieve fat-burning ketosis and improve their overall health.
Try the ketogenic diet, and you also might be surprised by how much better it can make a difference in your health.
FAQ About the Keto Diet
1. How much time comparable it take to reach ketosis?
It typically takes 2-4 days of restricting net carbs under 20-50g to induce ketosis. Blood ketone levels reach 0.5-3.0 mmol/L to confirm ketosis has been achieved. Urine ketone strips can detect ketosis after just 24 hours in some cases.
2. What are the side effects of starting keto diet?
The “keto flu” can cause headaches, foggy brain, fatigue, cramps, and poor energy levels for up to 1-2 weeks as your body adapts. Drinking more water and getting extra sodium, magnesium and potassium by supplementing can help minimize symptoms.
3. Can I build muscle on the keto diet?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible to build muscle mass while following a ketogenic diet. Eating sufficient protein (0.6–0.8g per pound of lean mass) while lifting weights will maximize muscle growth when carbs are low. Creatine supplements also help.
4. Is keto diet safe long term?
Yes, according to investigation and the foreseeable future, diet known as the ketogenic diet is safe. But for gut both good health and bad health preventative measures, it’s crucial to consume a lot of fiber and a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Periodic carb refeeds help boost thyroid and metabolic function as well.
5. How much weight can I lose on keto diet?
Many people lose 15-25 lbs in their first 2-3 months on keto diet. Heavier individuals can lose over 50 lbs in the first 6 months. Fat loss varies based on gender, age, activity levels, and other factors. After the initial rapid weight loss, expect 1-3 lbs per week.