If looking to get a jump start on the health and fitness goals this year, the ketogenic diet might be thought of trying. Maybe the phrase is heard before which is a huge diet buzzword but not sure what it means. Here’s a primer: an eating plan that drives the body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates) is known as the ketogenic diet .
When eating the foods that gets it there in more on that in a minute, a state of ketosis is entered by the body in one to three days. During the diet, fat is the source from where the majority of calories being consumed come, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens when a very low-calorie diet is being eaten, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
Benefits and Risks of the Diet That Is Needed to be Known
The possible benefits and risks of keto should be known before diving in.
A ketogenic diet is backed up in three instances where there’s research, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss. In cases of diabetes, there is some promising research showing improved glycemic control with the ketogenic diet. A reduction in A1C might be caused which is a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months, something that may help to decrease medication use.
But for people with diabetes, one big concern is that a lot of fat on keto is being eaten, and that fat may be saturated, which is unhealthy when eaten in excess. The much higher total fat consumption is also a challenge among beginners of keto.
Because risk for cardiovascular disease is increased in people with type 2 diabetes, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and the odds of heart problems is increased further. If having type 2 diabetes, doctor should be consulted before attempting a ketogenic diet. A different weight-loss diet might be recommended for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Before using ketogenic diet as treatment plan, those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor.
In terms of weight loss, the ketogenic diet might be of interest because it may be heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. Ketogenic diets will cause weight loss within the first week. All of its glycogen stores will be used up by the body that is the storage form of carbohydrate. With depleted glycogen, water weight will be dropped. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down often drastically, do remember that most of this is water loss initially.
But over time, the keto diet can be effective. A review suggested that fat loss in obese people can be spurred by keto diet when used for a couple of weeks and up to one year. One reason for weight loss is likely that keto diets suppress hunger as noted in a meta-analysis.
One drawback to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty of maintaining it. Studies have shown that weight loss outcomes from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be similar as being on a normal, healthy diet. While more satiating fats might be eaten like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado, limitation is way more in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because it is found to be tough to sustain by people often, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.
Before beginning, what is really realistic should be asked to yourself. Then doctor’s confirmation to be taken. A local registered dietitian nutritionist may be worked with to limit potential nutrient deficiencies and talk about vitamin supplementation, as whole grains, dairy, or fruit will not be eaten and will eliminate many veggies. It can be a red flag of a diet that eliminates entire food groups. This is something to be not taken lightly or dive into headfirst with no medical supervision.
What to Keep in Mind When Creating Ketogenic Meal Plan
If decision is made to move forward in trying the keto diet, the parameters of the eating plan will need to be followed. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of the calories will come from consuming fats. That means meats, fats, and oils are to be eaten, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says. This is different from a conventionall low-carb diet, as even fewer carbs are allowed on the keto diet.
In the keto diet the remaining calories come from protein that is about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs, every body is different, but ketosis is maintained by most people with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day. Net carbs are equal to total carbohydrates minus fiber.
Keep in mind that it’s easy to get kicked out of ketosis that is if something is being eaten as small as a serving of blueberries, thw body could revert to burning carbohydrates for fuel rather than fat.
Complete Food Guide to Follow
It’s essential to know what foods will be eaten before starting, and how more fats are to be incorporated into the diet.
Liberally: Ketogenic diets aren’t high in protein, fat is focused on, so these should all be consumed in moderation
- Grass-fed beef
- Fish, especially fatty fish, like salmon
- Dark meat chicken
- Low-fat proteins, like skinless chicken breast and shrimp as these are great to include in keto diet, but a sauce is added on top for some fat rather than eating plain.
- Cold cuts with added sugar (read the label!)
- Meat that has been marinated in sugary sauces
- Fish or chicken nuggets
Oil and Fat
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Heavy cream
Occasionally: Consumption should be limited, which should be easy to do when avoiding packaged foods, which these are often found in.
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn oil
- Artificial trans fats
Fruits and Veggies
- Leafy greens, like spinach and arugula
Occasionally: These are still great choices, but these carbs are required to be counted.)
- Spaghetti squash
Nuts and Seeds
- Flaxseedand chia seeds
- Unsweetened nut butters (almond or peanut butter)
- Trail mixes with dried fruit
- Sweetened nut or seed butters
- Chocolate-covered nuts
- Cheddar cheese
- Blue cheese
- Feta cheese
- Full-fat cottage cheese
- Full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- Full-fat ricotta cheese
- Sweetened nonfat yogurt
- Ice cream
Liberally: Practice moderation with sweeteners.
- Maple syrup
- White and brown sugars
Condiments and Sauces
- Lemon butter sauce
- Mayonnaise (ensure there’s no sugar added)
- Raw garlic
- Tomato sauce (look for those with no added sugar)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Barbecue sauce
- Honey mustard
- Almond milk
- Bone broth
- Plain tea
- Black coffee(watch caffeine consumption)
- Unsweetened carbonated water (limit only if bubbles make you bloated)
- Diet soda
- Zero-calorie drinks
- Fruit juice
Herbs and Spices
Liberally: All herbs and spices fit in a keto diet, but if large amounts are used, the carbs need to be counted.
- Salt(salt foods to taste)
- Thyme, oregano, paprika, and cayenne
Occasionally: These are still great choices, but some carbs may be contained
- Ground ginger
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Herbs and spices are generally okay to use in small amounts to add flavor to foods.
Optional: Ketones are more quickly produced with the help of these, but no opinion is on either way on recommending to take them or not.
- MCT oil
- Exogenous ketones
A Detailed Ketogenic Diet Food List to Follow
Some of the best foods to eat on the keto diet are mentioned below, along with their serving sizes and an explanation of why they’re good for people following this eating approach.
Per 1 tablespoon (tbsp) serving: 124 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: This is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 124 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: Research has shown that total and bad cholesterol can be reduced by consumption of canola oil.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 116 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: While high in saturated fat, good HDL cholesterol levels may be increased by coconut oil.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 115 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: Derived from coconut, MCT is abbreviated for medium chain triglycerides. Limited research suggest that weight loss is aided will MCT oil and help promote ketosis.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 100 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 11g fat
Benefits: Though the serving provides 11g of saturated fat, research has found that a major factor in increasing risk of chronic conditions is not butter, like heart disease or diabetes.
Per 1 slice serving: 113 calories, 0g net carbs, 7g protein, 9g fat
Benefits: Cheese is allowed as pleased, but a good example of its nutrition stats is cheddar. A study found that cheese eaters had a risk of type 2 diabetes lower by 12 percent.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 52 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 5g fat
Benefits: This is an easy way to add calories and fat into a ketogenic diet.
Per 1 slice serving: 43 calories, 0g net carbs, 3g protein, 3g fat
Benefits: The green light on bacon may be a reason to be up for sticking to the diet, as eating occasions can be made more palatable. The sodium content should be watched, as it can add up quickly.
Per 1 thigh serving: 318 calories, 0g net carbs, 32g protein, 20g fat
Benefits: The skin should be left on here for extra fat. A good source of selenium, zinc, and B vitamins is one thigh.
Per 1 egg serving: 77 calories, 1g net carbs, 6g protein, 5g fat
Benefits: The perfect duo of satiating protein and fat is contained in eggs; they’re also high in the antioxidant mineral selenium.
Per 3-ounce (oz) serving (measured raw): 279 calories, 0g net carbs, 12g protein, 24g fat
Benefits: Ground beef which is made with 70 percent lean meat and 30 percent fat and is a higher-fat choice. An excellent source of vitamin B12 is also got which is necessary to keep energy levels up.
New York Strip Steak
Per 3-oz serving: 224 calories, 0g net carbs, 22g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: An impressive amount of muscle-building protein plus satiating fat in this option is available which is also rich in zinc, a mineral in which proper thyroid functioning is promoted
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 27 calories, 2g net carbs, 3g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Bone-building calcium, plus other minerals, such as potassium and magnesium is contained in asparagus which has been linked with blood sugar regulation.
Per ½ avocado serving: 160 calories, 2g net carbs, 2g protein, 15g fat
Benefits: Fiber is packed in the creamy fruits, something that may be lacked on the keto diet. They also are an excellent source of immune-revving vitamin C.
Fast weight loss can be resulted in the ketogenic diet, but it isn’t for everyone.
Per 1 cup (shredded) serving: 9 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: A rich source of vitamins A and C is chinese cabbage, plus offers some calcium and energy-revving iron.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 25 calories, 2g net carbs, 2g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: More than three-quarters of vitamin C quota in a day is provided in cauliflower; with 3 g of fiber, it’s also a good source of the heart-healthy nutrient.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 16 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: One of the most hydrating veggies out there is celery. Vitamins A and K is also contained in these crunchy spears, and folate.
Per ½ cup (slices) serving: 8 calories, 2g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: A hydrating choice are cukes which are high in water and they are also a surprisingly good source of vitamin K, a vitamin essential for proper blood clotting and bone formation.
Per 1 cup (sliced) serving: 18 calories, 2g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Along with more than a day’s requirements for vitamin C, green peppers are also a good source of vitamin B6, which plays a role in more than 100 enzyme reactions in the body.
Per 1 cup (shredded) serving: 5 calories, 1g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Bulk is added to the meals for very few calories with leafy greens, as well as skin-strengthening vitamin A and vitamin C.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 15 calories, 1g net carbs, 2g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: A study recommended that mushrooms are known for their potential immune-boosting properties. They’re also an excellent source of B vitamins.
Per 1 cup (sliced, raw) serving: 18 calories, 3g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: A great way to sneak in additional fiber is with zucchini, and the veggie also offers a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps form bone and helps in blood sugar control.
A 7-Day Sample Menu for the Keto Diet
Breakfast Scrambled eggs in butter on a bed of lettuce topped with avocado
Snack Sunflower seeds
Lunch Spinach salad with grilled salmon
Snack Celery and pepper strips dipped in guacamole
Dinner Pork chop with cauliflower mash and red cabbage slaw
Breakfast Bulletproof coffee (made with butter and coconut oil), hard-boiled eggs
Snack Macadamia nuts
Lunch Tuna salad stuffed in tomatoes
Snack Roast beef and sliced cheese roll-ups
Dinner Meatballs on zucchini noodles, topped with cream sauce
Breakfast Cheese and veggie omelet topped with salsa
Snack Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt topped with crushed pecans
Lunch Sashimi takeout with miso soup
Snack Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Dinner Roasted chicken with asparagus and sautéed mushrooms
Breakfast Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Snack Two hard-boiled eggs
Lunch Chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers and goat cheese
Snack Sliced cheese and bell pepper slices
Dinner Grilled shrimp topped with a lemon butter sauce with a side of asparagus
Breakfast Fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens
Snack A handful of walnuts with a quarter cup of berries
Lunch Grass-fed burger in a lettuce “bun” topped with avocado and a side salad
Snack Celery sticks dipped in almond butter
Dinner Baked tofu with cauliflower rice, broccoli, and peppers, topped with a homemade peanut sauce
Breakfast Baked eggs in avocado cups
Snack Kale chips
Lunch Poached salmon avocado rolls wrapped in seaweed (rice-free)
Snack Meat-based bar (turkey or pork)
Dinner Grilled beef kebabs with peppers and sautéed broccoli
Breakfast Eggs scrambled with veggies, topped with salsa
Snack Dried seaweed strips and cheese
Lunch Sardine salad made with mayo in half an avocado
Snack Turkey jerky (look for no added sugars)
Dinner Broiled trout with butter, sautéed bok choy
How to Follow the Keto Diet on a Budget
Budget can break with fresh, high-fat avocados and low-carb berries, not to mention nuts and other unprocessed foods, especially if they’re not already part of the budget. Fortunately, there are a few hacks can be followed to cut down on costs while following the keto diet. Two examples can be buying frozen fruits and nuts in bulk.
Snacks: Which Are the Best Options?
It can be tricky to snack on the keto diet can because the usual go-tos that is chips, crackers, and granola bars are off-limits. Starchier whole foods generally considered healthy, such as bananas, won’t be suitable either because of their higher carb count.
Even if not thinking of yourself as a snacker, keto-friendly options on hand may be wanting to keep in purse or backpack and in office desk, when hunger strikes.
Some low carb eats approved are nuts, certain meats, olives, and cheese all high-fat.
Many companies are coming into the business of the keto diet and specialty products are being created that take the guesswork out of macronutrient counting. Favorite comfort foods typically high in carbs, like candy, potato chips, and even cookies are tried to mimic.
Keto Fast Food and Restaurant Options Are More Available Than Thought
It’s unrealistic to think about going to cook every meal, every day, when on the keto diet. Fortunately, healthy options are offered in a growing number of restaurants that fit in a keto diet and some have even hopped on the keto bandwagon officially.
Chipotle can be taken as an example which now offers a Keto Salad Bowl, complete with carnitas, guacamole, tomatillo red chile salsa, and cheese. And that’s just the start. With bunless burger options galore at fast food chains across the United States, dining out on keto doesn’t have to be rocket science.
Still, a little research might needed to be done before an upcoming road trip or a night out. Same goes if knowing not going to have as much time for meal prep on a certain week and resort to hitting the drive-through will be required
The same general keto meal-plan rules apply when ordering: Steer clear of the buns, the tortillas, the rice, and the breaded meats. When in suspicion, opt for a salad with nonstarchy veggies, cheese, avocado, and a simple, olive oil–based salad dressing.
If not a salad fan, though, rest assured that it has numerous other options at disposal.