I will teach you today, the basics of the Ketogenic Diet, also known as Keto Diet.
Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor self proclaimed nutrition expert so please consult your doctor before starting any diet or taking any action that affects your health and wellbeing.
First a summary of the science behind the Ketogenic Diet.
Keep in mind I’m summarizing hundreds of pages of explanation and supporting data into a few paragraphs:
A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically, on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
So the bottom line here is, if you want your body to burn fat – meaning if you want your fat cells to break down triglycerides into fatty acids, release them into your blood stream and actually use them as energy – you need to keep your insulin level as low and absolutely avoid spikes in insulin.
A note on calories: Counting calories or increasing exercise output, according to the research of Taubes and many others, is a bad way to try to lose weight because what usually happens is instead of your body burning fat to make up for the deficit in calories, it simply decreases the amount of energy it expends. So you end up lethargic and still fat.
Being on a diet isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially when you don’t know what you should eat. We’ve put together this ketogenic diet food list to help people out there make decisions on what they are eating and shopping for.
Below you can find a quick visual guide to what to eat on a ketogenic diet. Let’s go over some of the commonly identifiable items that people use on keto.
Eat as much as you want ingredient ideas:
- Prime Rib,
- Filet Mignon,
- Roast Beef,
- Duck (awesome if you can get it because it is very high fat),
- Any Fish, Tuna, Salmon, Trout, Halibut,
- Oils (Olive Oil, Flaxseed oil, etc.),
- Salt, Pepper, Soy Sauce,
- Mustard Greens,
Add for variety but in moderation:
Read the ingredients (if applicable) and make darn sure they contain no sugar:
- Mustard (with no sugar or carbs),
- Tea no sugar with milk
- Coffee black no sugar
- Heavy Cream
- Bok Choy,
- Green Beans,
- Brussel Sprouts,
- Peppers (Red, Green, Jalapeno, Habanero),
- Nuts preferably almonds,
You absolutely must avoid all sugar on this diet because it is the highest GI carbohydrate that will very quickly spike your insulin and destroy any Ketogenic effect. Other foods to avoid roughly in order of damage they will do to the diet:
- All sugar.
- All Bread.
- Did I mention avoid sugar?
- All traditional carbs like rice, pasta, wheat, potatoes, even the low GI ones like beans and lentils.
- Beware of sauces that contain sugar or things like corn starch.
Here are a few things I use to get into ketosis and maintain it.