The ketogenic diet is currently all the rage, but what exactly is it? Plain and simple: you significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake by opting for low-carb foots and replace them with those that are high-fat, putting your body into a new metabolic state known as ketosis.
When in ketosis, the body actively transforms fatty acids in the liver to ketones that are used as energy for both the brain and burning fat. Generally, when we consume high-carb foods, our bodies produce glucose and insulin, which can result in fatigue and weight gain. Rather, a ketogenic diet can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, which is beneficial for lowering your risk factor for diabetes, among other diseases and diet-related issues.
A standard ketogenic diet revolves around 20-50 grams of carbs per day, depending on your frame. This can be challenging, but there is an abundance of tasty foods that you don’t have to omit.
Protein: Seafood, Meats, Poultry and Eggs
Salmon and various fish are packed with vitamins and are carb-free, and the same applies to some shellfish species. Shrimp and crabs are completely carb-free, but other shellfish may contain some. Be sure to do your research prior to indulging into your shellfish preference to ensure that it compliments the suggesting serving, and always opt for wild caught fish rather than farmed.
Part of the ketogenic diet involves adequate protein, so incorporating meats and poultry into your routine is also key. However, it is recommended that you avoid consuming over 20-30% of your daily caloric intake from the meat as a precaution remain in ketosis. Eat chicken moderately, but adequate servings of dark meats, offal/organ meats, and pork are suitable options.
With only 1 gram of carbs per egg, eggs are perfect for the ketogenic diet. Studies have shown that eggs can make you feel full longer and significantly reduce your food intake throughout the day.
Nuts and Seeds
High in fat and low in carbs with numerous health benefits across the board, nuts and seeds can also increase feelings of fullness and result in appetite suppression. Depending on the type of nuts and seeds, they can range anywhere from 0-8 grams of net carbs per ounce. Be sure to check the recommended carb count for 1 ounce of of the nut or seed that you prefer to eat.
Fruits & Vegetables: Low-Carb, Non-Starchy Vegetables and Coconut and Berries
Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, kale, zucchini, and celery all compliment the ketogenic diet well. What is even better is that you can naturally substitute the savory mashed potatoes or noodles that you consumed prior to the diet by replacing them in healthier form. You can make noodles out of zucchini and faux mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Vegetables are generally low-carb, but some starchy ones can break the diet. Be sure to refrain from vegetables like potatoes, yams, beets, or corn.
While most fruits are sugary and are too high in carbs for the diet, coconut and berries can still be incorporated into your keto-routine. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all in the safe zone. They all have their own individual benefits, as they supply the body with antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of disease.
Drinks: Water, Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea are carb-free and contain caffeine, which not only seemingly increases your energy levels and alertness, but also increases your metabolic rate. The only catch: be sure you refrain from using any sweeteners or sugars, which will result in the addition of carbs. If you do want to add in some flavor, opt for liquid Sucralose (not Splenda), monk fruit (pure), or stevia instead.
Dessert: Dark Chocolate
Nope, you don’t have to kiss chocolate goodbye. Choosing a dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocao solids can pack an antioxidant punch and coexists with the keto-criterion.
This list is not exhaustive, so there are plenty of foods that you can also incorporate into your ketogenic diet. We recommend speaking with your physician prior to incorporating any new weight loss regimen into your routine to ensure safety. Prior to consuming any of these meals, be sure to do your research so that you know the adequate serving size for the respective food so that you can trigger or uphold ketosis.