Ketogenic Diet : A Beginner’s Guide
After years of being restricted to therapeutic nutrition in hospitals, the ketogenic diet is back as one of the hottest diet trends in America.
The diet originated back in the 1920s as a way to treat childhood epilepsy, and due to its striking success ratepeople eating a keto diet experience about 30% to 40% fewer seizuresit’s still used in that field today.
But what about its use for the general healthy population just looking to drop a notch on their belt or get more out of life? Let’s unpack this ultra-low-carb, high-fat diet bit by bit.
Cravings And Sugar Addiction
Most of the cravings that we get are caused by sugar. Sugar, at the end of the day, is an industry thats run on addiction. There have been numerous studies showing that sugar stimulates the reward centers of the brain.
When we constantly consume sugar, we release dopamine in our brain creating an addiction and an increased tolerance. Over time you will have to eat larger and larger amounts of sugar to continue the dopamine secretion. Once our body is dependent on a chemical reaction in the brain, we can find that were craving things even when were not hungry.
When trying to shift from a high carb diet to a ketogenic diet, cravings can definitely get strong. Its always best to try to clean house before you start so that you dont have food around you that can lead to cravings. We recommend that when switching to keto, you restrict using sweeteners completely for the first 30 days. It normally leads to breaking sugar addiction and ultimately not having cravings.
Besides sugar, sometimes our bodies crave food because of lack of nutrients. The craving usually goes away if you fulfill your nutrient intake in a different way. Below youll see a few ways to get rid of pesky cravings that hit.
Keto Diet Food List Including Best Keto Foods Vs Worst
The ketogenic diet is a very high-fat, very low-carb diet that has gained tons of attention lately for its weight loss benefits. The goal of the keto diet is to enter and then stay in a metabolic state called ketosis, in which you burn fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates .
In the typical diet, our bodies are fueled by glucose that we get from eating carbohydrate foods. But if those carbs stop coming in and glucose levels drop, we can use our fat for fuel.
In fact, once all our our reserved glucose/glycogen runs out after several days on a low-carb, keto diet, our bodies create compounds called ketone bodies from our own stored body fat, as well as from fats in our diet. In addition, researchers have discovered that ketones contain main benefits, such as fat loss, suppressing our appetites, boosting mental clarity and lowering the risk for a number of chronic diseases.
Intrigued? If so, before starting a ketogenic diet, its critical to get to know a properly constructed keto diet food list and also understand how much of each type of food group you consume.
It starts with limiting carbohydrate intake to just 2030 net grams per day. Net carbs describes the amount of carbs remaining once dietary fiber is taken into account. Because fiber is indigestible once consumed, simply dont count grams of fiber toward their daily carb allotment. So that means subtracting grams of fiber from total carb games, to give you the total net carbs.
You May Like: Keto Before And After 1 Month
Side Note: What About High
Protein consumption also plays a role in ketone production, similar to carbs but with much less of an impact. Some of the amino acids found in the protein we eat increase insulin levels and provide substrates to the liver that can decrease ketone production and potentially kick us out of ketosis.
However, one high-protein meal will not affect your ketone levels nearly as much as a high-carb meal would . As long as you dont eat too much protein over the course of the day, it shouldnt cause any issues with ketosis.
How do you know if you are eating too much protein? In general, we recommend staying within these ranges based on your activity level:
- If youre sedentary, we suggest between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound of lean body mass.
- If youre active, we suggest between 0.8g and 1.0g protein per pound of lean body mass.
- If you lift weights, we suggest between 1.0g and 1.2g protein per pound of lean body mass.
If youd like to learn more about how protein intake affects ketosis, feel free to check out this article.
What Is A Keto Meal Plan
Here are examples of high-fat, low-carb foods that are included on the ketogenic food list:
- Your keto diet meal plan should contain high amounts of healthy fats , such as olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, palm oil, and some nuts and seeds. Fats are a critical part of every recipe because fat is what provides energy and prevents hunger, weakness and fatigue.
- Keto meals also need all sorts of non-starchy vegetables. What vegetables can you eat on a ketogenic diet without worrying about increasing your carb intake too much? Some of the most popular keto vegetables include broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, all types of leafy greens, asparagus, cucumber, and zucchini.
- In more moderate amounts, foods that are high in protein but low- or no-carb, including grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, bone broth, wild-caught fish, organ meats and some full-fat dairy products.
- What about fruits? As you will, youll need to cut down on your typical fruits, as keto fruits are far and few between.
On the other hand, the types of foods youll avoid eating on the keto, low-carb food plan are likely the same ones you are, or previously were, accustomed to getting lots of your daily calories from before starting this way of eating.
This includes items like fruit, processed foods or drinks high in sugar, those made with any grains or white/wheat flour, conventional dairy products, desserts, and many other high-carb foods .
Don’t Miss: Is Tomato Sauce Keto-friendly
Keto Diet Foods To Avoid
Eating a low-carb diet can be simple, especially once you discover the pattern of foods you should avoid.
If losing weight is your goal, you should put these foods on your “do not eat” list. Plenty of keto foods are tasty and good for you, so avoiding these pitfalls should be no problem.
Obviously, you need to avoid high-carb foods. But what are high-carb foods? Can you eat any vegetables and fruit that you want?
Keep reading and learn which types of food have too many carbs to eat while following the keto diet!
Processed Keto Food Items List
Eating a 100% whole food diet takes some serious dedication and isn’t necessarily feasible or realistic for most people – at some point you are going to consume packaged or prepared foods.
There are a lot of high fat and high calorie foods marketed as keto approved, but not all of these options are good for your overall health. Many keto packaged foods can contain significantly more calories than their higher carb counterpart and very little nutritional value, which can put you at a disadvantage.
In other words, just because that ice cream is keto, doesn’t mean it’s going to help you lose weight. Especially if its twice the calories of traditional ice cream!
While you dont have to avoid these processed keto food altogether, they should not make up the bulk of your food intake. And you should always pay attention to the ingredients and nutrition they bring to the table.
Common processed keto food options include:
- Ultra processed packaged foods
- Processed cheese
Don’t Miss: Keto Friendly Drinks At Starbucks
How To Shop For Healthy Keto Foods
Check both the nutrition label and ingredients to make sure there arent any sneaky carbs, sugars, or fake ingredients that may mess up your hard work and compromise your health.
I Broke My Sugar Addiction
You can’t eat sugar on the keto diet, and most of the no-carb sugar substitutes don’t work for me. So when you’re left with no recourse, you just have to quit sugar.
That doesn’t mean the cravings went away. In the first few days, the cravings for a peanut butter cup or a soda or even just a banana were strong. When you go back to typical eating, you might find that many foods you ate regularly are now just too sweet to finish.
Also Check: Keto Long Island Iced Tea
Starchy Vegetables And High
Starchy vegetables contain more digestible carbohydrates than fiber and should be limited on the ketogenic diet. These include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets. Limit high-sugar fruits too, which spike your blood sugar more quickly than berries and have more carbohydrates .
Carb counts for high-sugar fruits:
- Banana : 24 g net carbs
- Raisins : 21 g net carbs, 22 g total carbs)
- Dates : 32 g net carbs
- Mango : 22 g net carbs
- Pear : 21 g net carbs
Carb counts for starchy vegetables:
- Corn : 32 g net carbs
- Potato : 33 g net carbs
- Sweet potato : 20 g net carbs
- Beets : 14 g net carbs
Nuts Seeds And Healthy Oils
Nuts and seeds are full of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fiber and protein. They also are very low in net carbs. Olive oil and coconut oil are the two oils recommended on the keto diet. Olive oil is high in oleic acid and is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but contains medium-chain triglycerides , which can increase ketone production. MCTs may increase metabolic rate and promote the loss of weight and belly fat too. Measure portion sizes when consuming any type of healthy fat.
Carb counts for 1 oz. of nuts and seeds :
- Almonds: 3 g net carbs
- Brazil nuts: 1 g net carbs
- Cashews: 8 g net carbs
- Macadamia nuts: 2 g net carbs
- Pecans: 1 g net carbs
- Pistachios: 5 g net carbs
- Walnuts: 2 g net carbs
- Chia seeds: 2 g net carbs
- Flaxseeds: 0 g net carbs
- Pumpkin seeds: 2 g net carbs
- Sesame seeds: 4 g net carbs
You May Like: Is Gluten Free Bread Keto Friendly
Keto Legumes Nuts And Seeds List
When it comes to legumes, nuts and seeds, the best ones to consume if youre on the keto diet are:
Eat moderately: Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts and pistachios nut butter seeds
Avoid: Most beans, lentils
A note about nuts
The Bulletproof perspective on legumes, nuts and seeds is pretty different from keto. With the exception of coconut, we recommend limiting your intake of nuts and legumes because they can contain high amounts of inflammatory oxidized fats, mold toxins and plant anti-nutrients.
So, are nuts, seeds and legumes bad? Not necessarily. These keto-friendly foods can absolutely fit into a healthy diet. Some people feel great when they eat peanuts, while others encounter food sensitivities. Pay attention to how you feel, be mindful of your macros and opt for organic, high-quality products whenever possible.
Keto Food List: 221 Keto Diet Foods
I bet you sometimes feel like its tough to both eat delicious food and also stay keto, right?
Well, Ive been doing this for a very long time, and I can promise that its easier than you might think.
In this article, Im going to show you exactly what to eat on a keto diet and what to avoid.
Below are over 200 keto foods the same foods that Ive eaten to lose weight and feel better.
Also Check: Foods Good For Keto Diet
I Came Down With Keto Flu
The “keto flu” is a term you’ll see on keto blogs and forums. For me, it was a very real event, but not everyone will experience it.
As your body breaks through the carb cycle and enters ketosis , you may experience fatigue, mental fogginess, even irritability. My “keto flu” only lasted a day, and once I passed it, I never experienced the symptoms again. I even ate a cookie one day during the diet to celebrate my birthday. I certainly came out of ketosis when I ate that treat, but I didn’t experience any repercussions for it. .
Desserts And Sweetened Treats
Sugar isn’t compatible with this diet, and neither are any of its replacements you may usually use in the kitchen honey and maple syrup are also high in carbohydrates and off the menu. Many keto dieters turn to special dessert recipes after realizing that a gluten-free recipe doesn’t necessarily mean a recipe that’s low in carbs, either. Sugar can make its way into many other baked staples you may know and love, like crackers, processed snack bars and foods, which can be low in nutrients.
If you’re tempted to go keto, consult with your doctor before embarking on any extreme weight loss plan. While the ketogenic diet can include some healthful foods , many others get nixed .
Read Also: Keto Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream Bars
What Can I Not Eat On The Keto Diet
Eating keto means staying away from high-carb snacks and foods. Your diet will consist of five to 10 percent carbohydrates, which is 15 to 30 grams per day. Its not a lot to work with, considering one serving of almonds is six grams of carbohydrates. Its a good idea to spread out your consumption throughout the day. This can help you meet your nutrient requirements with each meal.
Sweets and high-carb snacks are never a good idea on a nutrition plan of any kind because they contain high amounts of trans fats that can potentially lead to weight gain, raised blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels.
To see progress in weight loss, it takes time and dedication. While there are some food restrictions, the benefit of eating on the keto diet is that there are substitutes for most of yourfavoriteindulgences.
Keto Diet Foods: Carbohydrates
When following keto, you want to get the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables such as leafy greens , asparagus, and broccoli, and most other vegetables that grow above ground. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and parsnips.
The rest of your carbohydrate intake should come from the carbs in nuts and seeds, the small amount in dairy and on occasion, from fruits like berries.
Don’t Miss: Keter Urban 30 Gallon Deck Box Outdoor Storage Table
Tuna Salmon Or Sardines
If you opt for fresh fish, grill, bake, or pan-fry it in a healthy oil and serve with a low-carb veggie like broccoli or cauliflower rice.
If you choose canned, mix it with mayo and serve over greens, suggests Jalali. For a simple keto lunch, Greene suggests combining a can of tuna with half an avocado in a collard green wrap.
Quinoa And Other Grains
While loaded in nutrients, grains like quinoa and millet are too high to become a staple in your keto diet.
For example, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa packs 20 grams of carbs, only 2 of which are dietary fiber .
If you still want to include quinoa in your keto diet, consider it a garnish rather than a central part of your meal.
|8 grams||8 grams|
Look for chocolate that has more than 70% cacao and is low in added sugar. Or opt for dark chocolate made especially for keto diets.
You May Like: Can You Have Cool Whip On Keto
Phase : The Attack Phase
The attack phase is intended to jump-start weight loss. During this first phase, participants will eat only lean protein from the allowable protein list the diet provides, along with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and a minimum of six cups of water per day. During this time, your body is supposed to enter ketosis, similar to other low-carb plans, the idea being that you will use your fat stores as fuel. It is also recommended to include moderate exercise into a participant’s day. Typically, that attack phase lasts 3-7 days, depending on how much weight a person wants to lose.
Protein foods allowed in this phase include lean meats, fish, eggs, nonfat dairy products, and seitan. Small amounts of oil, lemon juice, and pickles are permitted. Artificial sweeteners, dietary gelatin and shirataki noodles, low-carb noodles made from glucomannon, can be eaten in unlimited quantities.
The Short & Essential Keto Diet Food List
Basically, keto friendly foods include most meats, most vegetables, most seafood, and healthy fats.
More specifically, you can eat all the foods listed below. In fact, you could probably use this as a short and easy keto shopping list
- Non-Starchy Vegetables
- Nut butters and nut milks
Ok now that you have the short list of keto foods, lets go a little more in depth
Did You Know All of This?
Also Check: Recipe For Keto Banana Bread
The Do Not Eat List For Low
Low-carb diets might be a good choice to improve general health for any number of reasons, including losing weight, managing diabetes or lowering blood lipid levels. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Dietary Guidelines recommend 130 carbohydrates per day, thereby making any dietary intake below that amount technically low carb. However, typical diets for low-carb living limit the macro to â20 to 60 grams per dayâ , according to the Mayo Clinic, with starchy and sugary foods topping the “do not eat” list.
When following a low-carb diet, eliminate high-glycemic starches and sugary foods.