What to eat on Keto diet and how to reach Ketosis fast – understanding the Ketogenic Diet.
The Ketogenic diet also called Keto to make it shorter, is a low carb diet which drives your body into ketosis because you need decrease carbs intake while eating moderate protein and high-fat foods. Other terms used to define the same diet – low carb high fat (LCHF) or simply low carb diet.
Normally, your body is using glucose as the primary source of energy – it’s the easiest molecule to convert into energy. Ketosis is a state when instead of using carbs for energy, your body starts using ketones produced in the liver.
To reach the metabolic state of Ketosis, on a low-carb diet you don’t starve yourself, you just cut carbohydrates to the point when your body is forced to use fats for energy.
The problem of high glucose intake is that most of the people can’t burn all carbs consumed during the day, so this glucose then converts into fat and gets stored in your body.
As getting energy from glucose is the only way your body knows well, as soon as the level goes down, the body demands more carbs – you get another quick snack full of carbs, chips or a candy. You get another carb overdose and excessive glucose transforms into fat storage – this the cycle you were building for many years.
What is the solution?
Drive your body into Ketosis to Burn Fat
Every school kid knows that a human can survive without food for a few weeks and only a few days without water. That’s because once you don’t food intake, your body starts burning the fat storage.
This can happen either if you starve yourself (which I don’t recommend to anyone because it’s not healthy AT ALL!) to Ketosis, or if you reduce carbs intake. Whey can’t your body burn fat with the usual carbohydrates intake?
Because when you eat foods with lots of glucose, your body is producing insulin to process the glucose in your bloodstream. Insulin doesn’t allow the fat cells to enter the bloodstream and get burnt off. So your fat keeps increasing the storage in the body.
Lower glucose intake – >> lower insulin levels – >> fat cells finally can enter the blood stream onto the way to the liver where they will be converted in ketones and produce the necessary energy for your body.
Building this healthy cycle of burning fat and not carbs to keep your energy levels stable is the main objective of the Ketogenic diet.
On your way to Ketosis, you will see that Keto diet offers many additional health benefits – it’s one of the big sections of this article, so keep reading.
Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
I’m sure you’ve seen those incredible testimonials from people who claim Keto diet changed their lives.
These are not just pathetic words. After starting a Ketogenic diet, you realize this is more than just a way to lose weight – you feel it very fast. But weight loss is, of course, the first health benefit which is worth talking about.
Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss
Keto diet can impress with its efficiency even someone who has tried numerous other popular diets. And most importantly, Ketogenic diet is a healthy way to lose weight.
Like I previously mentioned, when your body reaches Ketosis state, it starts burning fat and obviously, this leads to a stable weight loss effect.
Blood Sugar gets to a Healthy Stable Level
Keto diet is based on low carb consumption – and this naturally drags your blood sugar down. You cut carbs – your body doesn’t produce glucose – no need for insulin. This is why for people with pre-diabetic conditions or Type II diabetes Ketogenic diet can be a way to maintain a stable blood sugar level without taking medication.
We just talked about blood sugar level, and insulin resistance is very close to this one. People with Type II diabetes may have insulin resistance and be very close to acquiring diabetes. Keto diet lowers insulin levels to healthy numbers.
Keto Clears Your Mind and Improves Focus
People can’t imagine how different their brain activity can be when they consume lots of carbs versus when on Keto. And being on this page for the sake of losing weight, you’ll be surprised to know that lots of people start Ketogenic diet specifically for improving mental performance.
So how does this happen? The secret pills for your brain are the ketones – the fuel produced in the liver from fats. Did you know our brain is mainly fat? Well, on Keto diet, your fatty acids naturally increase and this significantly improves brain function.
Stabilized Energy Levels Throughout the Day
We already know that Ketosis is when your body learns to use fats as fuel to maintain your energy for the day. Why is fat burning better than glucose burning energy?
Well, glucose is something very easy to be burnt and it can’t be stored for a long time. So, you get some glucose, burn it fast, if there was anything extra, it converts into fat storage because you can’t store glucose. In a short while, your body craves for more glucose again.
This cycle creates spikes in blood sugar levels when your energy levels go down, you feel it so badly.
Keto diet teaches your body to use fats as fuel. Fat is a more stable energy source and it’s already in your body, all you have to do – don’t interfere with glucose intakes and let your body slowly and steadily burn fat throughout the day.
Keto gets Your Appetite Under Control
People who stick to the foods with high carbohydrates feel hunger very fast after eating. When you use fats as the main energy source, you feel energized during the day and you feel full and satisfied after eating food rich in fat.
Keto Diet and Epilepsy Treatment
The ketogenic diet was initially invented in the early 1900’s as a remedy to treat epilepsy. It’s still used mostly for kids with uncontrolled epilepsy, but also shows good results for adults. Studies show that Keto diet allows reducing medications for people with epilepsy.
Improved Cholesterol Levels & Blood Pressure
Keto diet is known to improve cholesterol levels by a significant increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol).
At the same time, weight loss which is one of the main reasons for many people to start Keto diet helps to reduce blood pressure.
Improved Skin and No Acne
By lower carbs intake on Keto diet, most of the people experience improvements in their skin health. Studies have shown that low carb diet lowers acne problems and other skin inflammations.
What to Eat on Keto Diet?
Well, diet is a diet, and obviously, you will have to stop eating something that you were used. However, on the Ketogenic diet, you will never feel hungry – that I can guarantee. Plus, once your body enters the ketosis state, your cravings for carbs will go away because you’ll have stable energy levels throughout the day.
Another good news is that Keto is a popular diet and people who’ve tried it, as well as nutritionists, found great alternatives for most of the things you were used to eating before starting the Ketogenic diet.
The main objective which you need to always keep in mind when you choose food or recipes is to lower carbohydrates intake. So foods like bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes, many fruits with high carb levels should be avoided on Keto.
Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet
- All kinds of meat – beef, lamb, poultry, fish
- Eggs cooked in any way you like
- High-fat dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter
- Fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
- Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower
- Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Leafy Greens – spinach, kale
- Berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
- Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
Foods To Avoid on Keto Diet
- Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, quinoa, barley, millet, bulgur, amaranth, etc. Grains contain too many carbs which will slow down your weight loss.
- Starchy Vegetables (everything that grows beneath the ground) – carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, yams, yucca, parsnips).
- Legumes are unfortunately also quite high in carbs and may interfere with your Ketosis state. We are talking about kidney beans, lentils, black beans, chickpeas, green peas, white beans, black-eyed peas, etc.
- Sugars – honey, agave, maple syrup, cane sugar, agave nectar, corn syrup, etc.
- Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc. This might be a surprise for most of us because we are used to thinking that all fruits are healthy. Well, the problem is that most of the fruits are high in carbs and sugar. This is why you should also be careful with fruit juices and smoothies, as well as dried fruits.If you do have fruit, choose lower-sugar options like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and eat them sparingly.
While eating meat on Keto diet is the best way to go, you should avoid processed meat (packaged sausages, hot dogs, etc. because they can be harmful or even cancerous).
Drinks to Avoid on Keto Diet
Alcohol. Not everyone is ready to give up on alcohol, but most of the alcohol drinks have high carbs, you should be especially avoiding beer, cocktails, wine, flavored liquors.
Sweetened and Sugary Beverages are mostly full of carbs. So, you need to avoid all sodas, all fruit or vegetable juices and smoothies (fresh or bottled doesn’t matter), should have your tea or coffee with no sugar, and avoid sweetened milk products.
On my blog, I regularly publish great collections of Keto recipes – check them out whenever you run out of ideas for new meals while on Keto diet.
What are Keto Macros?
If you plan to get serious about Ketogenic diet, you will have to understand what are macros. By macros (shortened for “macronutrients”) we mean the sources of calories for your diet – fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
You need to look for the perfect ratio of macros in most of your daily meals. For Ketogenic diet, the recommended ratios are as follows:
- Fats – 70%
- Protein – 25%
- Carbs – 5%
On a Keto diet, you are recommended to keep your daily net carbs under 20g. Now I expect you’ll be wondering what are net carbs.
What are Net Carbs in Ketogenic Diet?
I guess it will be easier to understand Net carbs if you know that there are also Total carbs. When you look at the nutrition label on some product, you are seeing Total carbohydrates, which can be divided into fiber and sugars. Net carbs are Total Carbs minus Fiber.
You should focus on Net Carbs – they actually affect your blood sugar levels. Fiber’s considered a net zero carbohydrate.
Which Vegetables you can Eat on Ketogenic Diet
This question might sound weird for people who are used to the understanding that vegetables are all healthy and good for any diet. The problem is that most of the vegetables we are used to eating, are rich in carbs. And that’s you are trying to avoid on Keto diet.
However, some vegetables can work great while you are on a Ketogenic diet.
Here is a list of Keto-approved veggies you can use in your recipes every day.
Did you find this post useful? If you are planning to try the Ketogenic Diet, you will probably want to save THIS PIN to your Keto board on Pinterest to check all the tips later.