The ketogenic diet, also known simply as the keto diet, is a high-fat, adequate-protein and low-carbohydrate diet that is very popular and effective in healthy weight loss. Moreover, the keto diet can be used to regulate your intake of different food groups for a healthier balanced diet. We will discuss the science behind the keto diet, which foods are keto-friendly and which to avoid. Finally, we will look at healthy ways to stick to the keto diet and stay committed. By the end of this short guide, you should have a good idea of how to manage the keto diet in a healthy, sustainable way.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The science behind the keto diet is relatively straightforward. Naturally, our bodies break down carbohydrates in the body and burn the glucose found within the carbs as energy. Meanwhile, the fat that we eat is stored as fat in the body. The keto diet’s aim is to reduce the intake of carbs so much that the body is forced to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. As a result, the body does not store as much fat and you lose weight.
If you significantly reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the body, the liver will go into a state of ketosis. This is what it is called when the liver begins to convert fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies. Ketone bodies replace glucose as your main source of brain fuel. As this is the science behind the diet, you can see where the ketogenic diet gets its name.
Which Foods Are Keto-Friendly?
Now that you know the ketogenic diet relies on foods that are high in fat, you might be wondering what that looks like as a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet. Well, the focus is on healthy fats, for instance, the fats found in avocado, sesame and olive oils. Moreover, nuts and seeds are a great ingredient in keto-friendly meals or keto-approved snacks to keep your energy levels up.
High-quality red meats are also your friend, as well as fish, cheese, eggs and low-carb fruits and vegetables. For more information about which foods are full of protein and healthy fats, click here. You might be surprised by what is included or left off of the list. Have you ever been on a diet before that limits fruit intake?
Which Foods to Avoid
Avoid any foods that are high in sugar and carbs. This includes some fruits and vegetables, such as corn, bananas, apples, potatoes and pears. While these foods are generally considered to be healthy, they can push you over your carbohydrate allowance while on the keto diet.
Moreover, any high-carb food that is also full of unhealthy fats should be avoided. For instance, processed cereals, cakes and candies, chips and fries. Anything that you see as a guilty pleasure is probably not keto-friendly.
How to Stick to the Keto Diet
Use fun recipes so you don’t get bored of the same old plain foods and add seasoning to make meals more enjoyable. On top of that, you can allow yourself one little craving every day. It is very hard to stay in ketosis all of the time, and one small piece of chocolate to satisfy a craving is always okay.
Remember, when you are trying out the keto diet, your most important focus should be on keeping yourself healthy and strong. This is not about trying to drop as much weight as possible or eating as little as possible. You need to nourish your body and keep your energy levels high. Experts suggest introducing a lot of carrots into your keto meals for hydration and immune system health, as well as their high nutrient and fiber contents.
One of the best ways to stay committed to the diet is by making sure you are eating well and feeling good. If you starve yourself or malnourish yourself, you will want to quit and you will be damaging your body.
So, there you have it. The ketogenic diet is the practice of limiting your net intake of carbohydrates so that your body is forced to burn fat as a fuel, rather than sugar from carbs. This is a very effective way of stimulating weight loss in the body. Moreover, it is a good way of making you aware of your sugar intake for a healthier lifestyle. Foods such as meat, cheese, beans and nuts are great for the keto diet, while carbs like pasta and bread, and high-sugar foods, like chocolate and even some fruits, are best avoided. Stick to the diet by being kind to yourself and allowing yourself moments of guilty pleasure. Good luck!