Basic Definition of Keto
The Ketogenic (Keto) Diet in its basic definition is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat diet. Following the Keto Diet helps to promote your body going into a state of ketosis (more on this below). Typical macros for the Keto Diet are as follows:
- 5-10% of daily calories from Carbohydrates
- 15-25% of daily calories from Protein
- 65-75% of daily calories from Fat
Goal and Ketosis
The primary goal of the Keto Diet is for your body to switch from burning glucose as its primary fuel source to burning fat as its primary fuel source. This is traditionally referred to as being “fat-adapted.” In the traditional high carb American diet, the body is burning glucose for its primary fuel source, and the body receives this glucose from the carbohydrates that you eat. When this happens, the fat has little to do and so it is stored…hence excess body fat!
So, what is ketosis? Excellent question! Ketosis, in short, is the metabolic state of burning ketones. “Ketones are a source of caloric energy in the body that are used by the brain, heart, and muscles in the same manner as is glucose (sugar).” These ketones are produced in the liver when insulin and blood sugar are very low…the by-product of a low-carbohydrate diet. When your body is burning ketones instead of glucose, your body is now considered fat-adapted and in a state of ketosis.
What happens when you are fat-adapted?
When your body becomes fat-adapted, you will begin to experience numerous health benefits. These benefits include:
- Weight Loss – When your body is fat-adapted, you will experience weight loss…often very quickly. Instead of your body burning glucose and storing fat, in ketosis your body is burning fat. In order to have enough fat to burn, your body will now burn stored fat as a source of fuel.
- Satiation – With your body burning fat, and pulling from your stored body fat, you won’t be hungry near as often. You will likely notice that you can go for long periods of time without needing to eat!
- More Energy – Once you are fat-adapted, you will notice increased energy levels and less ups and downs
- Inflammation reduction – Once you rid your body of carbohydrate rich foods and begin eating healthy, you can expect inflammation (and the pains that go along with it) to reduce greatly.
What Foods to Avoid
So, we’ve stated that going Keto involves a “low-carb diet,” but what exactly does that mean. It certainly doesn’t mean you can eat any carbs as long as you reduce the amount. There are many things that you want to avoid altogether. You should eliminate the following:
- Sugar (including anything with added sugar)
- Starchy vegetables (ex.: white potatoes)
- Grains and bread
- Refined high polyunsaturated vegetable oils
- Processed foods
These foods lack nutritional value and excessively promote insulin production in the body. “Grains, sugars, and bad oils promote oxidation, inflammation, fat storage, dysfunctional fat metabolism, increased rick of cancer and heart disease, and accelerated aging.”
What should you Eat on Keto
Replace these “bad” foods with good, nutrient-dense foods.
- Eat a lot of vegetables, especially green veggies. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You need the nutrients from veggies and you can’t enough of them.
- Good meats. Ideally, would be local, grass fed animals. However, eat what you are able to get and afford. Fish is excellent source of protein.
- Eggs and bacon. Yes, you read that right…BACON!! Eggs and bacon are both good sources of protein as well as fat.
- Nuts are an excellent snack. Focus on Macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and almonds.
- Dark chocolate is great when you are craving something sweet…just make sure it is 85% (or higher) dark chocolate.
- Fresh berries. Just make sure this is limited as these are high in sugar, though natural.
- Sweet potatoes. Again, limited as they are high in carbohydrates.
- Avacodos are an excellent source of fat.
- For your oils, use coconut oil, avacado oil, and olive oil.
- Heavy cream and stevia are good options if you aren’t able to drink your coffee black.
This is just a sampling of things you should add to your pantry and refrigerator. Make sure you follow this site regularly for more explanation of what to eat and some recipe ideas. The bottom line is that you should enjoy your food and eat for nutrition rather than eating for the sake of eating.