Diet plans are really hard to stick around in our lives. We all can agree on that.
You don’t want a diet that helps you to lose weight but you cannot enjoy.
If only there’s a diet that is enjoyable, taste good and still helps us to lose weight at the same time, right?
Well, the keto diet (or ketogenic diet) is exactly that.
The keto diet is a very delicious, low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. It offers various health benefits and helps your body to burn fat more effectively.
That sort of summarizes it.
Let’s dive into the details of the keto diet.
Are We Fat Burners?
Due to our urban lifestyles today, we consume carbs more often than before. Carbs provide us sugar (glucose) as a source of fuel for our body. This makes our body to live on sugar for energy.
We were never meant to be like that. Way back then, carbs weren’t even as abundant as today. People lived off with just vegetable and meats. Vegetables were probably their main source for carbohydrates, but those alone won’t be enough to trigger your body to burn sugar as fuel.
Our bodies were originally fat burners.
Only lately in this time of history, that we humans change our diets to accommodate more carbs than we ever need. And, this causes our bodies to adjust.
Your body turns carbohydrates into glucose and uses that as fuel. Ever wonder why people go for a soda drink or a chocolate bar for an energy boost?
When your body is out of energy, it needs more glucose, so you will need to replenish them. But why can’t it use fats as an energy source just like our ancestors did?
It’s the Insulin
What’s that? Basically, Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose to move around in your bloodstream. The glucose will then be transported and distributed to parts of your body that need them.
But, Insulin also locks down stored fats. This is the reason why your body can’t just go fat burning mode!
By lowering the amount of carbs you consume, your glucose level will drop, therefore your body will recognize that it does not need to produce insulin as much. With lesser insulin, your body burns fats much easier, entering a metabolic state known as “ketosis”.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens when the body does not have enough glucose for energy, stored fats are used instead. The stored fats are used to produced ketones within the body.
For tips on how to achieve ketosis faster, you can learn more about this in our post – How To Get Your Body Into Ketosis.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
“Keto” in ketogenic diet actually comes from “ketones” which are small fuel molecules produced by the body. The body produces ketones when you eat very few carbohydrates (breaks down into blood sugar) and a moderate amount of protein (converts into blood sugar when in excess).
The aim of this low-carb diet is to starve your body of carbohydrates to stay in a state known as “ketosis”, which triggers your body burns fats instead of sugar.
This diet changes your body from burning sugar to burning fats. This diet consists of more fats and fewer carbs.
Wait, more fats?
Yes, it requires you to drastically decrease carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat. The enemy here is not fats, it’s sugar.
By decreasing sugar intake, your body’s fuel supply will run mostly on fat, turning it into a fat burning machine. It will now turn fats into ketones in the liver. Instead of sugar, the ketones are used to supply energy to the body and especially the brain.
Now you know that ketogenic diets will massively reduce blood sugar levels. Besides burning fats to lose weight, ketogenic diets will give you many other health benefits.
To enter “ketosis”, the fastest way is fasting. Of course, no one can do fasting forever. On the other hand, this diet can be eaten regularly and helps you to enter ketosis state without having to fast.
The Health Benefits of Keto Diet
Ketogenic diet are similar to low-carb diets. Just that it is also a moderate protein and high fat diet. A healthy ketogenic diet goes around 75/20/5 rule which is 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs or less than 50g of carbs a day.
Think of the keto diet any other low-carb diet out there, except that it’s a super-charged low-carb diet that maximizes all the benefits that you can get from a low-carb diet.
The keto diet changes your body into a fat-burning machine. When the fat-storing hormone insulin is decreased drastically, fat burning increases naturally. In this way, fat loss can be achieved easily without having to fast.
Controls Blood Sugar Level
The keto diet regulates and controls your blood sugar level. Since it lowers your blood sugar level, this would be great for managing or preventing diabetes. The keto diet is also a natural way to reduce the need for medications in some cases.
Better Appetite Control
One of the things that are so good about the keto diet is that you’re going to have great appetite control.
You won’t feel hungry all the time as before, because your body has easy access to your stored fats twenty-four hours a day.
On a keto diet, most people only feel the need to eat twice daily. Eating lesser while feeling full will definitely lose that excess weight.
You will save time and cash since you’re not eating as often as before.
Some people are addicted to sweet food. They probably always reached out to candy bars or soda a few times on a daily basis without noticing themselves.
The keto diet is a good way to fight this sugar addiction since it focuses on satisfying your hunger and cuts off your carbs and sugar intake.
Food can now finally become your friend in your weight loss journey!
Better mental performance
The ketones are an effective fuel source for the brain. It is a common experience to feel more energetic mentally when in ketosis.
The keto diet allows one to enter ketosis that encourages constant production of ketones while also cutting off blood sugar swings. This improves one’s mental clarity, focus and concentration during work.
Better physical endurance
Having constant access to the energy of the stored fats, you will have better physical endurance. In contrast to the stored carbohydrates known as glycogen that only lasts a few hours, stored fats can last way longer, sometimes up till weeks.
What to Eat on a Keto Diet?
Most of your meals should be based on these foods:
- Healthy Oils
- High-fat Cheese
- Nuts or Seeds
- Low-Carb Vegetables
It is better to have unprocessed meat and grass-fed meat because they are low in carbs and healthier too. The keto diet is a high-fat and moderate protein diet, so don’t eat an excessive amount of meat. The reason is that excess protein in your body is converted into glucose, which is exactly what carbs and sugar produce when they are broken down.
This will get you out of ketosis. The rule is 75% fats, 20% protein and 5% carbs. Hence, take only enough amount of meat.
Examples of meat can be any red meat, chicken, steak, ham, bacon, sausage or turkey. These are going to be enough to cover all the types of protein that your body needs.
Processed meat like meatballs, canned meat, sausages usually carries additional carbs. Make sure to check on the ingredients label. Try to get only those that are below 5% in carbohydrates.
Fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel or trout are what you can include in your keto diet. They provide you with protein and are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats that you can’t get from most meat.
Buy organic or pastured eggs. Omega-3 eggs are good too as they supply you with omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can’t produce them, so it is good to include omega-3 food in your diet. But how should you cook the eggs? You can boil, scramble, fried or cook them in any way that you like.
Remember keto diet is a high-fat diet. Most food like meat, fish and eggs are a good source for fat. Still, you can also add butter into your food or cooking. This will provide you a good amount of saturated fat and make your keto diet more delicious as well.
Coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil are good examples of healthy oils. Add them into you food as they provide you with healthy fats too!
Cheese like cheddar, mozzarella, goat, blue is also a good source of fats and most don’t contain any carbs. It is better to go for unprocessed cheese. Avoid snacking on cheese when you aren’t hungry which will slow your weight loss!
Avocados have plenty of health benefits. They are also low in carbs and gives you the fat similar to the healthy oils. That’s why including them into your keto diet is a perfect choice! You can make guacamole or just enjoy them as a whole avocado!
Nuts and Seeds
Common nuts and seeds are walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc. All of these can be a good source for fat. Despite that, you should have them in moderation because some people may find themselves snacking on them more than they need to.
Why specifically low-carb vegetable? This is because all vegetables contains some amount of carbs and we will only want the ones that are low in carbs.
But, how do you know what kind of vegetables to eat, right?
Easy. Pick the vegetables that grow above ground. Those that are green and leafy. Other good options are tomatoes, peppers, cauliflowers, broccoli, onions.
You cook them in butter or make a salad with olive oil. In any way, they will be adding more colors and flavors into your keto diet. The carbs that you need will come from here too.
Add healthy herbs to your food to boost the flavor. You may add salt, pepper or other spices to your food, but have them in moderation. Generally, you should go easy on the condiments. E.g. Too much salt is unhealthy and too much chili pepper will give you stomach pain.
We have a list of keto recipes for you to try out in your daily meals. They taste amazing, and most importantly, they’ll help you shed those extra pounds.
Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet
Any food that is high in carbs – Avoid it completely! Most weight loss diet that you can find there always aims to reduce your carbs consumption.
Below is a list of foods will help you to reduced your carbs consumption significantly.
- Sugary Foods
- Wheat-Based Products
- Beans or Legumes
- Root Vegetables
- Low-Fat or Sugar-Free Diet Products
- Unhealthy Fats
This is one of the biggest obstacles for everyone. Still, you need to stop eating sugary foods, otherwise your body won’t turn into a fat-burning machine. Get rid of all the sodas, cakes, ice cream and candy bars in your fridge, they have ridiculously high sugar content.
Of course, most people can’t stop entirely, but at least start from reducing the number of sugary foods you buy the next time you go for grocery.
You should always avoid rice, cereal, pasta or any wheat based products. These are high-carb foods that will be converted into sugar in your body. It will keep you out of ketosis and stops you from burning those stored fats.
Generally, alcohol has a high amount of carb content which affects your body from entering the state of ketosis. If you decided to do the keto diet, then you’ll need to stay away from alcohols.
Before you start groaning about having to stop drinking, we have good news for you.
Keto-approved alcoholic drinks do exist!
Check out our blog post on Keto Alcohol Recipes to try out some of these intoxicating cocktails you don’t want to miss!
Beans or Legumes
Peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc are high in carbs as well. Therefore, they have the same impact as the wheat-based products mentioned earlier.
Some of the examples of root vegetables are potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc are food that are high in carbs. Again, they converts into sugar when broken down in your body. We’re on a low-carb diet, so this is a no-no!
You’re probably really surprised to see this here! The reason behind this is that fruits are rich in carbohydrates. It primarily consists of simple sugars, fructose and glucose.
They’re lower in carbs than foods like rice, bread or pasta but higher in carbs than low-carb vegetables. Not that you should not eat fruits at all, just moderate your fruit intake on a low-carb diet.
However, there’s an exception for some fruits like berries, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fiber while still being low in carbs. Know some berries recipes? It’s time to use them!
Low-Fat or Sugar-Free Diet Products
These highly processed diet products are full of chemicals are often high in carbs too. They affect your ketone levels in some cases. Not as good as it sounds right?
These are processed fats and a good example would be mayonnaise or processed vegetable oils. Keep out from any processed, unhealthy fats or at least try to limit your intake.
For those who have a serious case of a sweet tooth, don’t worry! You don’t have to say goodbye to amazing desserts and addictive snacks. Here’s where you can get your quick and easy fix – keto dessert recipes and keto snacks recipes!
Eating Out on a Ketogenic Diet
Friends asking you out for dinner? You’re probably thinking you could forget about your diet since you can’t really control what’s in the menu. In a Keto diet, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Unless you’re in a vegan restaurant, you could always find fish or meat-based dishes in most restaurants. Replace any other high-carb food or side dishes with vegetables. Bacon, avocados, cheese, eggs or omelets are good options too.
Easy and delicious. Right?
The keto diet is safe and just like any other diet. Though your body will have to go through some sort of adjustment or side effect, you don’t really have to worry about it too much.
If you have any of the side effects that we mentioned below, it will only take a short amount of time for these effects to fade away.
The most common one is known as the keto flu that will last for around a couple of days.
The thing is that you have been eating the way you’ve been eating for your whole life. So, the sudden change in diet will definitely make your body go against you a little bit.
If you have a keto flu, you will probably experience fatigue, mild dizziness, increased hunger, light nausea and a little decreased exercise performance.
Why would you get keto flu?
That’s because you’ve been eating food that is rich in carbs. Food high in carbs can retain water. When you switch to the low-carb keto diet, you lose excess fluid, through increase urination mostly.
Now you’re both dehydrated and lacking in salt. That can cause some of the symptoms of keto flu to appear.
The great news is you can counter the keto flu and it usually disappears within a few days. Or, you could even avoid it completely, by drinking enough water and salt.
Add half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of water and drink it. This simple action will cure the side effect within half an hour. You could try this once daily in the first week. Alternatively, you could have bouillon or broth as a substitute for a tastier option.
Once your body starts to adapt and turns into a fat-burning machine, these side effects won’t be showing up anymore.
If You Want to Become a Fat Burner, Keto Diet is For You.
The ketogenic diet is suitable for those who want to turn their body into a fat burning machine. If you’re overweight or diabetic, this diet will be a perfect fit for you.
It may be hard to stick to the keto diet initially, that’s because it’s really difficult to cut down carbs since it has been around us our entire lives. You won’t believe how much carbs you eat in a day. A good place to start is being aware of what you eat every day.
Your body has been conditioned to be a sugar burner. You don’t want that.
You want to be a fat burner.
Same goes to any diet, they will work if you stick to it consistently in the long run.
If you find it hard to stick to the diet plan, here are some keto hacks that will help you stay on track – Keto Hacks To Make Your Ketogenic Diet Super Easy.
And, that’s all guys. Drop those weight now with the keto diet!