The keto diet is one of the most effective that I’ve come across and one of the more straightforward (as opposed to easy!) to follow. In a nutshell, when you’re on a keto diet, you eat a very low-carb, high-fat diet. That means goodbye pasta and bread, hello cheese and oils. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we’ve been taught our entire lives. But it works if you follow the keto diet food list. Plus, you can make many favorite recipes keto-friendly.
When you eat tons of carbs, your blood sugar is consistently elevated, and then so is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood sugar in check by shuttling the glucose into cells, but when there’s a consistently high amount of insulin, your cells become resistant. This insulin resistance makes it easier to store fat, and chronically high levels of insulin also cause excessive inflammation in the body, which contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and potentially type 2 diabetes.
In the 1960s, it was discovered that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides). MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system. The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on twelve children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children. The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.
The best part of low carb eating is that you can still have rich, savory foods – dieting isn’t really a part of the lifestyle. Your body regulates your hunger naturally, so keeping your carbs low is the main concern. Being able to do that while still enjoying roast, fish, and big, healthy salads is what makes low carb so easy to stick with, and keep the weight off for good.
Being in nutritional ketosis is a beneficial body state, and a great deal of research is being done on ketosis as it relates to disease. Ketone bodies themselves are beneficial, and have been shown to alleviate many disease conditions through improvement of cellular energy pathways and mitochondrial health. Ketogenic diets are now being used to treat medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's, cancer and others and much of the success of these treatments is rooted in these cellular effects.
Like those other guys, the keto diet follows strict guidelines on what you can and can’t eat, suggesting you limit your daily carb intake to 20 to 30 net grams while upping your fat like crazy. If all goes well, your body will stop getting all its energy from glucose and insulin produced by grains, sugars, and starches and instead start cranking out ketones to break down and burn up stored fat. Sound good? Of course, it does.
Why higher fat and moderate protein? Fats have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Protein does affect both blood sugar and insulin. If you eat too much protein for your ideal body weight or lean muscle mass (usually more than 1.5-2.0 grams/kg lean body mass), it can spark gluconeogenesis and raise blood sugar. Protein will also spike blood insulin levels temporarily, which can interfere with ketone body production. However, it is important to note that this is an individually driven parameter, as detailed in this excellent post from the Optimizing Nutrition blog.
Giving the ketogenic diet a try? We’ve rounded up some of the best low-carb breakfast, dinner and side dish recipes that are higher in fat than protein, which can help you follow a keto diet plan. If you’re tracking your keto diet ratios, each recipe has nutritional information at the bottom, and some include ketogenic serving suggestions in the notes. Related collections: Low carb recipes, refined sugar free recipes, paleo recipes
A third study published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine that surveyed the eating habits of 471,495 Europeans over 22 years found that people whose diets had lower "nutritional quality" (i.e., fewer fresh vegetables, legumes, and nuts) were more likely to develop some of the most common and deadliest forms of cancer, including colon, stomach, lung, liver, and breast cancers.
"Plenty of people jump right in, thinking all they have to do is cut carbs and increase fat. All of a sudden, they hit a wall and get 'keto flu.' They feel tired, lethargic, and experience headaches," Wittrock says. "The primary reason they get these symptoms is lack of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you're deficient in any of these, you'll suffer mentally and physically. This is the single biggest reason people fail on the keto diet."
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. "For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between," says Dr. Axe. "This ensures that you're getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied." That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they're truly hungry. "If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you."
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
People can’t stop talking about the ketogenic diet, and social media is filled with photos and posts from people who credit this high-fat, low-carb plan for their significant weight loss. If you're interested in giving keto a try, consult your doctor first—and then test it out by swapping your usual go-to snack for a keto version. These blogger- and nutritionist-inspired snack recipes are the ones we’ve been seeing all over Pinterest.
Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
We’re going full on fats with breakfast, just like we did last week. This time we’ll double the amount of ketoproof coffee (or tea) we drink, meaning we double the amount of coconut oil, butter, and heavy cream. It should come to quite a lot of calories, and should definitely keep us full all the way to dinner. Remember to continue drinking water like a fiend to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
It's only when you combine lots of fat and lots of carbohydrates in your diet that you get into trouble. The sugar from the carbohydrates drives up your insulin levels, and those high insulin levels cause the body to mishandle the way fats are metabolized. More fat is stored or circulates in the blood. This causes the metabolic syndrome and weight gain associated with insulin resistance and starts the health problems that should be associated with a high carb diet, not a ketogenic diet plan.
Don’t let the kiddie lunchbox aesthetic fool you—these dehydrated little nuggets might look like they come from a children’s book, but there’s nothing made up about their magic. Whether you’re fiending for the pepper jack, gouda, or cheddar, they’re all shelf-stable, low-carb, high in protein and calcium, delightfully crispy, naturally gluten-free, and super fun to eat. Why? They’re just cheese!
Generally, the ketogenic diet reduces or excludes carbohydrate-containing foods, including breads, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, corn), fruit, and legumes. Instead you are encouraged to consume more high fat foods, such as fatty meats, full-cream dairy, butter, nuts, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil.
Lastly, if you're active, you might need to make some adjustments to take that into account. "For the first one to two weeks, temporarily reducing your exercise load can be helpful as your body adjusts to being in ketosis," he says. "Additionally, for those who have an intense workout schedule, carb cycling may be a good option." Carb cycling essentially means you'll increase your carb intake on the days you're doing exercise, ideally just two to three days per week. "While low-carb days may be around 20 to 30 grams of net carbs daily, high-carb days can range all the way up to 100 grams, although it can vary based on your size and activity level," says Dr. Axe. (Related: 8 Things You Need to Know About Exercising on the Keto Diet.)
This is where we have to depart! Sorry to say but you’re on your own. You should have plenty of leftovers that are frozen, ready, and waiting! I know a lot of you out there have trouble with timing and are busy people – so making sure that some nights you make extras to freeze is important. All those leftovers you have in the freezer? Use them up! Create your own meal plan, at first using this as a guide, and then completely doing it yourself. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be a sinch – I promise you 🙂
"Healthy in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs, SunButter makes for a tasty addition to a keto diet," explains registered dietitian Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D. (Especially since you can't have peanut butter on the keto diet.) The sunflower seeds used in SunButter are also locally grown, roasted, and processed in a dedicated peanut-free and tree nut-free facility, she adds, meaning it's fair game if you have nut allergies.
I’m starting the Keto diet tomorrow, and I am making my list to go to Walmart. I don’t really know where to start such as snack foods. With me being a full time student and working full time, it seems hard to plan out my meals and snacks like what I need to snack on and eat. I definitely need advice and tips on how to help stay on track and get started, any help is greatly appreciated!
The easiest macro to calculate in the ketogenic diet is fat. Once you've got your carbs and protein set, simply fill the rest of your daily calorie needs with fat sources. If you find yourself wanting to gain a bit of weight, add approximately 500 calories, or 55 grams. If you want to lose weight, cut down on your fat intake by 200-500 calories, or 22-55 grams.
A ketogenic diet is a simple and the most effective way to lose weight and reduces the risk factors for chronic diseases. The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrate and high in fats. The diet involves drastically reducing the carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. Low carbohydrate intake puts your body into a metabolic state which is called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy, thereby aiding in weight loss. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy to the brain. Ketogenic diets can help you shed those extra kilos and cause even massive reductions in the blood sugar and insulin levels.
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Wow!! This was sooo good! Tried another crack chicken recipe with a ranch packet and had to throw away the leftovers…no one would eat them. This, however is much better!! Didn’t change recipe other than use pre cooked bacon that I cut up. Probably would be better with the grease involved, however, this is AWESOME!! Also, my chicken tenders were still 3/4 frozen and I didn’t adjust time. They were just fine. Thanks for sharing!! A def do over say myself, hubby, and kids!!!
This is important because one of the primary triggers of insulin is eating. I am not talking about taking your supplements or drinking tea or even one cup of coffee in the morning but eating five to six times a day—and let’s not forget, snacking will spike insulin even if it’s healthy food. The more frequent the eating, the more there is chronic elevation of insulin, leading to insulin resistance.
Hi 😀 yes I have a question, just starting this Keto diet, so we’re very new at this but my boyfriend had a heart attack 8 years ago so we need to be very careful to not get to high on fat with him. Can he still benefit from this diet. His Doctor said he needs to get some of his weight off he is having a hard time breathing. The Doctor said a low carb diet. But I, we would like to try the Keto diet.
Also make sure that you know what foods have mostly carbs, fat, and protein, so you can make the right choices. For instance, it’s not just bread, pasta, chips, cookies, candy, and ice cream that contain carbs. Beans may contain protein, but they’re also very high in carbohydrates. Fruit and veggies also mostly contain carbs. The only foods that don’t contain carbs are meat (protein) and pure fats, like butter and oils (including olive oil and coconut oil).