Keto diets claim to work by burning fat and shedding weight, all without cutting calories.In a typical high-carb diet, the body uses glucose as the primary means of energy, which means that most fats get stored for later use. On a keto diet, you eat foods that are low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein. Eating fewer carbs forces the body to turn to a different source of energy known as ketones.
Ketones are created in the liver in a process known as ketosis. During ketosis, the liver converts fat into ketones which means the body burns high levels of fat in a short amount of time. Although you can achieve ketosis without cutting calories or counting points, which are popular methods in other diets, you can only eat certain types of foods while on a keto diet.
What Can You Eat On A Keto Diet?
You want to consume a moderate amount of protein while on a keto diet. Choosing meat options that are high in fat, grass-fed and pasture-raised helps avoid unnecessary hormones and bacteria. While all red meats are fine for a keto diet, fattier cuts of red meat, such as ribeyes, are better than leaner varieties. When it comes to eating chicken, dark meat is better because it contains higher levels of fat. Fish is also high in fat, though you should try to buy varieties found in the wild, like cod, catfish, halibut, trout, tuna, mahi-mahi and mackerel. Other protein options include eggs, liver, and shellfish.
Eating enough fat is very important in a keto diet — if you don’t eat enough fat and consume too much protein your body will use the protein to create glucose for energy in a process known as gluconeogenesis, which will prevent you from reaching ketosis.Your keto diet should be around 75 percent fat.
You should also pay attention to the kinds of fat you consume — saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats are all great to eat on keto while trans fats, such as margarine are altered chemically and are linked to severe diseases. An excellent way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet is to cook with tallow, coconut oil and lard, and drizzle food with avocado and olive oil.
Dairy is typically used as part of a well-balanced keto diet because of its high-fat content, but it should be eaten in moderation. It’s important to keep an eye on the carb and protein levels of dairy products. Dairy foods that you can safely eat on keto include:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Greek yogurt
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
- Cheeses such as brie, mozzarella, Monterey jack, parmesan, cheddar, feta, and Swiss
Vegetables are important on a keto diet as long as you avoid veggies with high levels of sugar… The optimal kinds of veggies to eat on keto are low in carbs and high in nutritional value. Spinach, kale, green bell peppers, green beans, romaine lettuce, cabbage and baby Bella mushrooms are great on a keto diet.
Nuts are great to incorporate into a keto diet so long as you keep an eye on the carb count — walnuts and pine nuts are high in carbs and are probably best avoided. Pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, nut butter, and almonds are all fine to eat on keto. But stay away from peanuts because they are legumes, which have no place the keto diet.
Many people experience stomach issues when switching to keto, so drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is very important. Other beverage options include broth, flavored water, tea, and coffee. Avoid sugar and go with sucralose or stevia to sweeten your coffee if need be. You can also substitute your usual creamer with butter.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
It’s imperative that you avoid grains (bread, pasta, rice, corn, beer) on a keto diet because of their high carb content. You want to keep your carb consumption below 25 grams a day. Other foods to avoid include:
- Sugary drinks (sports drinks, candy)
- Starch (potatoes, winter squash)
- Fruit (apples, bananas, oranges)
When it comes to condiments, reduced sugar ketchup is a great option, as is ranch dressing, yellow mustard, and mayonnaise. Check the carb content on any condiment before using it in your diet.