1. LOW CARB INTAKE (from specific sources)
- Less than 50 grams of net carbs per day but better below 20 grams.
- Most of the carbs should come from non-starchy vegetables.
- Green, fibrous vegetables are your best choices, though many other low carb vegetables are fine.
- Always accompany a carb with either a fat or a protein.
Find some interesting low carb food sources below:
NET CARBS: The Ketogenic diet only counts Net Carbs as fiber content in food decreases the overall carb content’s ability to impact blood sugars
Net Carb Formula → Total Carb Count Minus Fiber Count of a Food
2. LOTS OF HEALTHY FATS
Image courtesy: Eat This Not That
In Ketosis, fat is the main energy source for the body. Fats provide satiety, boost metabolism and support the enjoyment of food. Fat intake is variable and depends on weight loss goals.
The best fats are monounsaturated and saturated, including olive oil, grass fed butter, and coconut oil Margarine is never advised, as it is fake and interferes with ketosis.
Limit intake of polyunsaturated fats, including soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. It is not advisable to eat so much fat that you send your caloric intake through the roof.
WHEN IN DOUBT, EAT LESS CARBS AND MORE FAT
Daily Fat Intake Guidelines (Will vary by body size):
- 2 to 3 eggs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil when cooking or for salad dressings
- 2 ounces of cheese 4 to 6 ounces of meat, chicken, seafood, or fish at each meal
- ½ an avocado or 10 olives
- 1 to 2 ounces of nuts or seeds
- Use canola, peanut and grapeseed oils for pan cooking and stir-frys
- Full fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil that contains ketosis boosting MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)
- Avoid low fat foods, including reduced fat dairy as they have carbohydrates, and chemical compounds
3. ADEQUATE PROTEIN
Protein is both 46% ketogenic and 58% anti-ketogenic, as some protein will convert to glucose in the bloodstream and inhibit ketosis. So intake should be enough to prevent muscle loss, but not so much that will disrupt ketosis.
General Protein Intake Guidelines:
Adequate requirement of protein in your diet will vary depending on lifestyle and physical workout requirements. As a thumb rule, one should follow the below scale:
- Sedentary lifestyle: 0.69 – 0.8 grams per pound of lean body mass
- Mildly active: 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass
- Heavy strength training/bodybuilding and exercise: 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass
Lean body mass is typically defined as – body weight minus body fat.
You can use any of a number of online lean body mass calculators, such as this one, to figure yours.
Good sources for Protein include:
- Fatty red meats
- Chicken with skin
- Deli meats
- Fowl (duck, goose, hen, quail)Organ meats (tongue brains, liver, heart, and kidneys)
- Game meats (ostrich, venison, caribou, bison, and elk)
- Nuts, seeds and full fat dairy (but in moderation as they do contain some carbs)
4. EAT TO SATISFACTION
Eat when hungry until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. In face, stop eating a few bites before you feel full. This will allow the body to digest the food quicker and reduce intake of any excess fats.
5. INCREASE SALT INTAKE
A little extra salt can help avoid possible side effects as your body adjusts to ketosis, including headaches, muscle cramps, or weakness that occurs as result of an electrolyte imbalance.
Further, since a low carb diet is naturally diuretic, you don’t have to avoid salt to minimize water retention.
Get that salt from 1 to 2 cups of broth daily or soy sauce over food
Caution: Ask your doctor about increasing salt, and if you are being treated for a condition that requires limited sodium intake, like hypertension continue with the medical advice of your doctor.
6. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Water is a natural appetite suppressant and supports the body’s ability to metabolize fat.
Several studies found that reducing intake of water might cause fat deposits to increase, while drinking more reduces them.
Hydration greatly promotes weight loss, so drink lots of fresh water throughout the day. The more active you are the more hydration you will need.