It is not uncommon that time to time a certain kind of diet will evolve in to popularity and many joins the band wagon. But rarely I have seen a diet which had such a big impact like the current sensation ‘Ketogenic Diet’ aka ‘The Keto Diet‘. While not only it is creating awe inspiring transformations amongst common people who never had the courage to lose weight, the keto diet is also resulting complete lifestyle overhaul for better.
What types of foods you can eat on a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic Diet is not like any other diet where you’ll be told to eat a strict diet plan, rather you’ll be eating just like you ate normally in your daily life till now. In other words, rather than a single food or meal, it’s important that you consistently meet your goals for fat, protein, and carb intake in order to get into ketosis and reap the potential benefits.
All you have to do is choose fatty foods instead of foods that are high in carbohydrates. Fat-dense foods provide the foundation of the Ketogenic Diet. Fat dense foods also keeps you satiated for a longer duration, which brings us to proteins another staple of keto; however, it’s important to remembers that the ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet. In fact, too much protein can keep you from getting into or staying in ketosis.
Finally, it’s kind of a misnomer to say that there are “ketogenic foods.” While there are some foods that lend themselves very well to the ketogenic diet (due to their fat content), there are very few foods that directly contribute to a ketogenic state.
Having said all that, time to go keto!
Coconut is such a powerful superfood, and potentially the best Ketogenic Food. While coconut is made up od mostly saturated fats (over 90%), as much as 70%, of them are a special type of fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). You see, unlike long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), which are the more common fats in foods, MCTs are easily burned for energy and are far likely to be stored as fat.
MCTs are considered “functional” fats, and they have been shown to lower body weight, improve markers of metabolic health, reduce belly fat, and improve insulin sensitivity. In other words, all fats are not created equally, and coconut oil is a very rich source of this unique, health-promoting saturated fat.
MCTs, are easily absorbed and metabolized by the liver and readily converted to ketone bodies. MCTs are also available in the form of MCT oil, or MCT powders. Mostly extracted from coconuts. You can add MCTs in you pre/post workout smoothies too. MCTs are known to boost metabolism, suppress appetite, an effect that’s likely due to their conversion to ketones.
Numerous studies have shown coconut and its derivatives are great for overall health especially for weight loss.
Do you know you can replace common purpose flour with coconut flour and practically prepare every based flour recipes, that is known as Keto cooking.
Where coconut is a supreme keto food, avocado is the celebrity keto food. With nearly 80% of calories from fat, avocados are another near-perfect food for ketogenic dieters. Only 8 gm carbs in one-half avocado, and nearly all of them are fiber which are indigestible.
This brings up an important point when it comes to the ketogenic diet. Generally speaking, most keto resource suggest that you count “net” or “usable” carbs towards your total daily allotment. In other words, indigestible carbs (such as insoluble fiber) don’t count. So, when you’re counting carbs, make suer you subtract indigestible carbs from the total carb count.
In this example, one-half an avocado contains 8 grams of total carbs and 6 grams of dietary fiber. So, one-half an avocado contains 8 grams of total carbs and 6 grams of dietary fiber. So, one-half an avocado contains just 2 grams of net carbs.
Avocados are also very nutrient-dense containing upwards of 20 essential nutrients, including vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Avocados are a great source of potassium, which is a very important mineral to consume on the ketogenic diet. In fact, active people should take in about 2-3gms of potassium per day. One-half an avocado gets you almost 25% of the way there, providing just under 500mg.
Olive oil will be a staple in your ketogenic diet, common vegetable oils are a no-no on keto infact for anyone who wants to be healthy common vegetable oils should be avoided. Olive oil contains polyphenol olecanthal, which has been shown to promote a healthy inflammatory response.
Olive oil is a great choice for homemade salad dressings, drizzling on green vegetables, low-heat cooking, and for homemade mayonnaise. Speaking of which…
Good news America’s favorite condiment is allowed on the ketogenic diet. Believe it or not, according to a recent in-depth analysis, mayonnaise sales more than double that of ketchup ($2 billion versus $800 million).
That said, nearly all store bought mayo, which is made with soybean oil, is garbage. This is a problem because cheap, inferior refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, are packed with omega-6 fats. Overconsumption of omega-6 promotes inflammation, particularly when they are consumed in excess of omega-3 fats, which are considered to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
With that in mind, you have two better options when it comes to mayo. One, make your own at home using olive oil or avocado oil. In its simplest form, mayonnaise is a combination of oil, egg yolk (an emulsifying agent), and either vinegar or lemon juice.
Your second option is to look for mayo at the store that is made only with a healthy oil such as oilve or avocado oil – no soyabean, canola, or other junk oil.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are very useful on a low carb diet high fat diet like the Keto diet. Otherwise too, nuts and seeds are very healthy to eat, they are rich in monounsaturated fats, essential fats, magnesium, zinc, folate, vitamin E, and other important micronutrients.
Here’s a complete list of nuts and seeds, including calories and net carbs:
* Please note: few nuts like chestnuts, cashews and pistachios are higher in net carbs, so they can kick you out of ketosis if you do not count your carbs mindfully.
Nuts and seeds were known for weight gain, because of higher fat content but now that we know fat doesn’t make you fat. It is safe to say nuts and seeds are a solid kind of healthy food, as it was since ancient times.
What you may not know is that the body does not efficiently absorb all the fat and calories from nuts and seeds. Instead, studies have shown that the body excretes up to 18% of the calories from nuts. Eating nuts and seeds increases the release of important appetite – suppressing hormones, and believe it or not, the simple action of crunching and chewing on nuts and seeds send signals of fullness to your body.
Butter, Ghee, Heavy Cream, and Sour Cream
These 4 are the pillar of ketogenic diet, at least for keto beginners once you learn your way through you would be able to use other fat sources more judiciously. But until then these 4 will be your go to source to increase the fat content for any of your recipes.
But won’t eating so much saturated fat might cause me a heart attack? Well if you still have this doubt lurking in your mind, then you need to read some more about how Keto works, and how healthy fats don’t ain’t the culprit and all that. This post is not for those who are still stuck in that old mumbo jumbo, industry lead propaganda of fat is bad concept.
More and more studies are showing that full-fat dairy, is related to less belly fat and better markers of cardiomeatbolic health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and glycemic control. Not only that, researchers believe that these better health outcomes may actually be brought on, at least in part, by dairy saturated fats.
Shocking, I know. When you’re ready, go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor. Add that cream to your coffee. Add some butter to your veggies.
Like coconut oil, dairy fat (which you’ll be getting plenty of from these foods) is a natural source of MCT’s. Remember, MCT’s are quickly burned off as energy, and they’re highly unlikely to be stored as fat. Even more, the body can readily convert MCTs to ketone bodies in the liver, making butter and cream even more attractive foods for a ketogenic lifestyle.
Full-Fat Cheese, Greek Yogurt, and Cottage Cheese
Till today you had been looking for the low fat version for all of these dairy derivatives, now its time for a paradigm shift with the Ketogenic Diet.
Keto is all about eating fat, so skimming for low fat version of anything will not make any sense.
P.S. Be careful with these foods, particularly yogurt and cottage cheese. While they’re very good sources of protein, remember that the ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet; it’s a moderate-protein diet, so you don’t want to go overboard. Also, yogurt and cottage cheese also contain carbs. A half-cup serving of full-fat Greek yogurt contains about 5 grams of carbs (and 14 grams of protein) while a half-cup serving of full-fat cottage cheese contains about 4 grams of carbs (and 13 grams of protein).
It should go without saying that you should only choose plain versions of Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. None of the flavored or fruit-on-the-bottom garbage with added sugars.
You must have heard conflicting things about eggs from different health advocates, some will say too much cholesterol some say its nature’s perfect food but all this conflict comes to an end on Keto. For ketogenic dieters eggs are perfect keto food.
Eggs contain virtually zero carbs, and they contain healthy fats, and they contain healthy fats, and they are a good source of high-quality protein.
Eggs are also packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They also contain some “bonus” nutrients, including choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These nutrients nutrients boost brain health and cognitive function, eye health and vision and heart health. For example, choline has been shown to boost the body’s production of brain-derived neurotophic factor (BDNF), which is a very important factor for the brain and central nervous system, and it plays a key role in cognitive function, mood and mental health.
Bacon is in limelight again and the new found glory is all because of Ketogenic diet. Bacon is a good fit for the ketogenic lifestyle because it is moderate in both fat and protein.
There are a couple things to watch for when it comes to choosing bacon, so you’ll want to read the nutrition labels carefully. For instance, store-bought bacon is often cured with sugar. It’s not necessarily a lot of sugar, but since you’ll be watching your carbs very closely, you’ll want to avoid unnecessary, added sources such as this.
Tip: Don’t go hog wild, there are better sources of fat, and you’ll want to make sure that you balance your fats overall, getting a good mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll be able to do that by choosing a variety of foods from our list.
Cold-water Fatty Fish
If you and your family is fond of fish recipes, then you’ll be pleased to know that you are well covered on Keto. Fatty fishes like Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, Salmon, Mackerel also shrimps and crabs goes well in Keto recipes. Fishes are best source of omega-3 fatty acids which also helps support heart health, brain health, improves vision and also promote a healthy inflammatory response.
Beef is a staple of the ketogenic diet. That said, if you’ve been conditioned to go for leaner cuts of meats, now’s the time to choose fattier cuts. For instance, instead of lean ground beef or ground sirloin, choose 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef.
Just like eggs and dairy, when you buy meat, it’s a good idea to get the best quality that you can afford. You see, meat from organic pasture-raised animals contains about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional meat products. And while all beef contains CLA, grass-fed beef has been shown to contain considerably more. That’s a bonus if you’re looking to drop fat and tone up.
Like beef, poultry, especially fattier cuts like thighs and legs, is a staple of the ketogenic diet. Like eggs and diary, it’s good idea to invest in the highest quality poultry that you can afford. Just like the nutritional content of eggs is influenced by the hen’s diet, the meat is as well. In other words, pasture-raised chicken is going to have a slightly healthier nutritional profile than chicken from conventional birds.
Another advantage of poultry is that it’s incredibly diverse, and you’ll find a ton of delicious keto recipes including chicken. Seriously, there are hundreds of then from stuffed chicken to bacon-wrapped chicken to jerk chicken to chicken pot pie and more!
Coffee is has nothing to do with keto, and definitely starbucks coffee is not anywhere close to keto. But if you avoid adding sugar carbs, and add heavy cream, coconut oil, or even butter if that’s your cup of tea… or coffee. This is also known as bulletproof coffee.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to avoid carb-containing foods like fruits, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes and when following the ketogenic diet. However, once adapted to the ketogenic diet, which may take weeks (and for some folks, months), then many find that they can include small amounts of certain carb-containing foods while still maintaining ketosis.
Berries are well-known for their many potential health benefits. They’re packed with dark-colored polyphenols that serve as powerful antioxidants that can also help promote a healthy inflammatory response. Among fruits, they have a relative,y low amount of net carbs, so they are typically the first to be introduced.
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