The Keto Diet and the Foods You Can Eat
I have never claimed to be an expert at dieting, I just have first-hand experience on what works for me and some of the things that have helped my friends lose weight.
The Keto diet is something I had heard about a long time ago and never gave it much thought.
The thing that made me curious was all the available pins on Pinterest that are keto diet-related.
After pinning quite a few recipes I decided to do some more in-depth research, I thought, who knows, “maybe I’m missing out on something”
Beginning any new weight loss diet can be challenging and confusing, I have done a lot of reading up and I spent a few weeks trying different recipes to see if the Keto diet was right for me.
For starters, the Keto diet requires you to stick to certain foods.
Like with any diet, if you don’t do things right, you can feel like crap, especially if you are active and work out.
Our body needs fuel to move, two important nutrients we need is glucose, a kind of sugar that is found in carbohydrates, like pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes.
The next important food we require is fat, this is found in things like meat, avocadoes butter, and eggs,
A low carb diet causes the body to use fat instead of glucose as its primary source of fuel. When this happens the liver converts fat into energy molecules known as ketones which are used to give you energy. during this process, your body is undergoing something called ketosis.
In order for ketosis to be effective, you need to minimize carb intake, a safe number of carb intake in order to achieve ketosis would be about 20 grams per day, some may choose to consume less.
In order to achieve ketosis, you need to stick with foods that are high in healthy carbs and fats.
Following the keto diet is pretty straightforward, a lot of it is common sense in that you eat healthy food,
The basic guidelines include the following:
Eat whole foods
In order to maintain good health eating non-processed whole foods is the best approach.
Ditch the processed foods
Most of you already know that eating processed foods is not god for our health, these are unnatural foods that contain unhealthy substances which can include fast foods, condiments such as ketchup, salad dressings, and syrups.
Most things that are packaged are unhealthy, this is because they contain preservatives to extend the self-life for a long time, others contain hydrogenated oils and unhealthy fats, excess sugar, and sodium.
Avoid legumes and grains
Say what? Yes, these are supposed to be healthy for you, I mean lentils and whole wheat grains are nutrient-rich but they are also a source of carbohydrates.
Due to the high concentration of carbs in these foods, the Keto diet recommends eating only small amounts of them in order to stay within the guidelines, it is recommended that you eat no more than 20g of carbs per day.
Like most diets, the Keto diet recommends drinking water, any kind of unsweetened tea, coffee, etc.
Avoid drinks that contain sugar or any kind of artificial sweeteners and flavors, you may even want to avoid mineral waters because many of them contain a lot of sodium.
The Keto diet does allow for things like coconut water, coconut milk, and natural kombucha tea.
Believe it or not, alcohol is allowed on the Keto diet (within moderation) allowed spirits include vodka, gin whisky, white and red wine.
Fruits in moderation
While fruits are considered healthy they contain natural sugars (fructose).
While on the Keto diet fruits should be limited this is because fructose is metabolized only by the liver whereas pasta, grains, rice, and bread can be metabolized by other cells in the body.
In order to achieve 100% ketosis, the liver needs to be depleted in order to produce a maximum amount of ketones, consuming fruit prevents this from happening and will take your body out of the state of ketosis.
Fruits allowed on the keto diet include:
- Limes and lemons (limited amounts)
Vegetables are carbohydrates and some contain more than others, vegetables with high carb content can prevent you from getting into a ketosis state.
Allowed vegetables include:
- Alfafa sprouts
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
In moderation, you can have beets, potatoes carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, onions, and garlic.
While this may seem a little weird, whole dairy products are allowed on the Keto diet and are considered “Keto-friendly” the include:
- Whole butter
- Whipping cream
- Whole milk
- Whole cheese
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt (allowed in moderation)
What is not allowed on the Keto diet is low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, because these tend to contain added sugars.
Avoid dairy products that contain sugars and additives.
Unlike many diets that restrict fats, the Keto diet allows between 60-70% of the total calories you consume in a day. This means that the majority of your calories need to come from healthy fats.
When choosing fats you need to be careful because some of them can cause issues with your health.
Healthy fats should come from things like coconut, avocado, and walnut oil, lean fish such as salmon and mackerel.
Unhealthy fats should be avoided especially in the form of processed oils which include vegetable, corn canola, and soybean oil.
Keto-approved fats include animal fats which include grass-fed beef, chicken fat, duck fat, egg yolks, pork lard, and fish oils.
Seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds are nutrient-packed foods that should be included in your diet, these contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Nuts that are approved on the Keto diet include cashews, pistachios, chestnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.
When choosing seeds and nuts please try and ensure that you choose all-natural and avoid those that contain additives and salt if you can.
Meat proteins and seafood
The Keto diet is not just about eating unhealthy ar fat dense foods, 20-35% of your calories should come from protein. Consuming too much protein will end ketosis through the process of gluconeogenesis and prevent you from losing weight.
Keto-approved seafood includes crab, cod, lobster, oysters, salmon, sardines, shrimp, trout and tuna.
Keto approved meats include bacon, beef, chicken, whole eggs, goat, lamb, pork, steak, turkey, veal, and venison.
Processed meats are allowed in moderation which includes pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausage, and salami.
If possible try to avoid meats that contain nitrates and preservatives.
Take a close look at the condiments.
Believe it or not, condiments can make or break any diet, the Keto diet is no different, you should avoid thinks like teriyaki sauce, sweet mustard, ketchup, and salad dressings, many of these contain sucrose and sugar which can create an issue while trying to maintain ketosis.
The Keto diet can be an effective way for you to lose weight, is it for everyone? Probably not especially if you are someone who is not a big fan of the foods you are required to eat. Women who are active and workout a lot will most likely find this diet effective.
I should acknowledge that my list of foods you can eat in this article is limited and is just a baseline guide of some of the foods you can eat on the Keto diet. If you want a more complete list of foods you can eat on this diet there is a big list here on the Dr. Axe website you may want to check out.
Long term effects of the Keto diet
Pros and cons of the Keto diet