The Keto diet has many advantages and positive effects on the body and mind. Like any lifestyle change, the Keto diet requires altering routines such as eating and one’s relationship towards food. Although it may be a challenge at first to avoid foods you are used to eating, you may find it easier than you might have suspected at first. The Keto diet includes foods that many people enjoy such as dairy, meat and salads. Once your body and your taste buds have adjusted to these changes, the Keto diet will become second nature.
It may be surprising that a diet that is known for encouraging healthy weight maintenance or
loss features fat. However, this makes sense once one understands the role of fat in the body
and in one’s diet. Decades ago, the conventional wisdom was that one should eat a large
amount of carbohydrates and few fats to maintain health and lose weight. However, this
approach, rather than causing weight loss, encouraged the body to hold onto and store fats.
When the body burns glucose derived from carbohydrates, it won’t burn fat, which is the goal of
weight loss. Once you cut out carbohydrates and consume enough fats, the body will make the
transition from burning glucose to working off the stores of fat.
The Keto diet should contain 70% fat. However, not just any kind of fat is given a green light on
the Keto diet. The best fats for Keto are from grass-fed beef, butter, oily fish, such as salmon,
poultry, nuts and full-fat dairy. Avoid using low-fat dairy, which may contain carbs to replace the
fat content. Many polyunsaturated fats should be avoided because they contain toxins that can
promote inflammation and lead to illnesses. Usually when they are heated they can cause the
most damage. Mono-saturated fats from avocado and olive oil can contain Omega 3 and
Omega 6 fatty acids that promote heart health. Trans-fats should not be eaten on the Keto diet.
Protein is an important part of the Keto diet, but protein should be consumed in moderate
amounts. To get into ketosis and remain there, the diet should contain 25% protein. You can get
protein from many of the same sources as fats, such as meats, dairy, fish, poultry, eggs and
nuts. However, nuts in particular should be eaten in moderation because of their high calorie
content. In many Keto-friendly foods, such as the ones previously stated, fat and protein are
well-balanced. Avoid lean meats that contain more protein than fat.
Carbohydrates should be eaten in small amounts and should not exceed 5% of the diet. Ketosis
is achieved when carbohydrates are kept to such a low level that it is no longer used as fuel.
The body will break down fats in the liver and use it as energy rather than carbohydrates. This
means that grains and legumes should not be eaten on the Keto diet, because they are primarily composed of carbohydrates. Bread, pasta, cereal should be avoided entirely. It is also important to cut out fruits and vegetables that are carbohydrate-heavy, such as bananas, potatoes and apples. One sweet potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, which is nearly a full-day supply of carbohydrates for the keto diet. To maintain ketosis, levels of carbohydrates should be limited to between 20 and 40 grams a day.
Vegetables and Fruits
One of the most challenging aspects of the Keto diet is trying to gauge which fruits and vegetables you should eat. It is important to eat these foods for antioxidants and important vitamins. It is essential to keep track of how many carbohydrates are in these foods and to be strict about serving sizes. The best Keto plant foods include leafy greens, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes and peppers. Above-ground vegetables tend to be lower in carbohydrates, but be careful of tubers and below-ground vegetables. Carrots and onions can be eaten in moderation, but keep track of the amounts. Fruit tends to contain more carbohydrates than vegetables. You can eat berries on Keto, but since they have a high natural sugar content, they should be consumed as an occasional treat and dessert.
Sugar and Salt
Sugar should be avoided on the keto diet, because sugar is high in carbohydrates. If you have a sweet tooth, you may opt for sugar substitutes. These should be used in moderation, and natural replacements, such as stevia, should be the sweetener of choice rather than artificial sweeteners. Diet colas contain many artificial ingredients that can be unhealthy and can interfere with weight loss.
Although many other diets discourage sodium intake, adding salt to your diet is suggested on Keto, as long as your doctor hasn’t suggested your restrict salt. When you go into ketosis, your body may lose large quantities of fluid at first. Along with these fluids, you are likely to shed electrolytes or minerals such as potassium and sodium. Therefore, it is a good idea to add pink Himalayan or sea salt to your food. Since Keto discourages the consumption of processed foods, you are less likely to eat too much salt, since the majority of problematic sodium in the diet is from canned and processed products.
On the Keto diet, you should drink plenty of water, because your body will lose liquid at the beginning of ketosis. Be sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day. You may drink coffee and tea on the diet, but avoid adding sugar and watch the amount of caffeine you consume. It is a good idea to add fats to your coffee–some people blend grass-fed butter with coffee for a delicious start to the morning. The advantage of drinking coffee this way is that the caffeine is absorbed more gradually throughout the day rather than all at once. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation, but not beer, because it contains grain. You may drink the occasional glass of wine, but since it tends to be high in carbohydrates, try hard liquor instead, of course, in moderation.