You may have heard the term “keto” a million times before. It recently emerged with a hundred other trending diets like the paleo diet, atkins diet, and intermittent fasting. Even if the term may seem new, it’s actually been around for a long time, since the 1920s. A lot of research has been done around this diet, and studies show that keto has some serious benefits.
What is Keto?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-protein diet that turns your body into an efficient fat-burning machine. The diet is said to be one of the most effective short-term diets for weight loss, and has many other benefits like improvement of brain function and prevention of chronic diseases.
The way keto works is that instead of using carbohydrates as fuel, the body will produce ketones, which puts you in a constant metabolic state called ketosis. This means that you are using fat as fuel, where you are burning off fat constantly.
The best part is that you can lose weight without having to count calories or track your food intake. The keto diet actually encourages food we are usually told to avoid: bacon, butter, red meat, etc.
Though this diet seems too good to be true, it has its own drawbacks. This diet is incredibly strict— there are many foods that you should avoid, mostly sugary and starchy food (including fruits!) to keep your body in a state of ketosis. You also have to make sure that you keep your carb intake below 20 grams. Read more below for a list of food to eat and avoid.
What To Eat In a Ketogenic Diet
It’s best to stick to natural, whole foods that are high in protein and/or fat. Stock up on these keto-friendly ingredients:
- Meat: Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish: Such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel.
- Eggs: Look for pastured or omega-3 whole eggs.
- Butter and cream: Look for grass-fed when possible.
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella).
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils: Primarily extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
- Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.
Food to Avoid
For the keto diet to work, avoid any carb-based food like rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. If you do eat carbs, keep it to a maximum of 20grams per day.
- Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
If you want to get started on the keto diet, here are keto-friendly recipes for you to try! These recipes are so quick and easy, perfect for beginners who want to get onboard with keto.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 20g butter
- 200ml sour cream
- 100ml heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp chives
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar
- 2 zucchinis
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 5 sundried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp ginger
- 4 slices of bacon
- 300g chicken thighs or breast
- 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 40g butter
- 6 sundried tomatoes
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- parsley, basil, chives or coriander to garnish