Many of you have heard of “keto diet” and have already hopped on the bandwagon. Ketogenic “keto” diet is a diet that allows the body to use ketones and fat as fuel while under a strict low-carb and high-fat diet. The science behind it is that instead of your body using glucose (produced by carbs), it uses ketones (produced by fats) as an alternative energy source. Ketones are made if you consume very few carbs, moderate amounts of protein, and high fat. For most people, the keto diet is healthy, though it has been noted that those who take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and breastfeeding women should consult their physicians first before doing this.
There are many options when it comes to keto. Fatty slabs of meat, nuts, butter, cheese are all options. Avoiding grains and sugars at all times seems to be the rule of thumb. I personally love eating “keto” and find it very easy to comply with. Here’s a few options of what you can and can not eat when on the keto diet:
Popular keto foods to consume include:
- Protein such as grass-fed beef, fatty fish (salmon, tuna), pork, turkey, dark meat (liver), chicken (thigh, with skin, legs), eggs
- Oils and fats such as avocado oil, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, butter, heavy cream
- Greens such as avocado, leafy greens (spinach, arugula), celery, asparagus, cauliflower, bok choy, lettuce, cucumber, green peppers, mushrooms, zucchinis
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds
- Dairy products such as cheddar cheese, blue cheese, feta cheese
- Practice moderation in using sweeteners
- Condiments and sauces such as guacamole, lemon butter sauce, mayonnaise (no added sugar)
- Drinks such as water, almond milk, bone broth, plain tea
- Herbs and spices such as salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne
- Supplements such as fiber, multivitamins, MCT oil
The keto foods to consume AT A MINIMUM include:
- Low fat proteins such as skinless chicken, shrimp, bacon
- Oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil
- Vegetables such as leeks, spaghetti squash, eggplant
- Unsweetened nut butters (almond and peanut butters), cashews, pistachios
- Full-fat cottage cheese, full-fat plain Greek yogurt, full-fat ricotta cheese
- Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitol
- Raw garlic, tomato sauce (no added sugar), balsamic vinegar
- Black coffee, unsweetened carbonated water, zero-calorie drinks
- Ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder
The foods to AVOID include:
- Flour-based products, breads, rice, pastas, candies, chocolate bars
- Cold cuts with added sugar, meat marinated in sugary sauces, fish and chicken nuggets
- Margarine and artificial trans fat
- Potatoes, corn, raisins
- Trail mixes with dried fruit, sweetened nut and seed butters
- Milk, sweetened non-fat yogurt, ice cream
- Agave, honey, maple syrup, white and brown sugars
- Barbecue sauce, ketchup, honey mustard
- Soda, fruit juice, lemonade, beer
This is a sample of the keto menu:
- For breakfast: scrambled eggs in butter on lettuce topped with avocado and bulletproof coffee (black coffee with butter and coconut oil)
- For morning snacks: almonds
- For lunch: spinach salad with grilled salmon
- For afternoon snacks: celery strips dipped in guacamole
- For dinner: pork chop with cauliflower mash and red cabbage slaw
There are many pros to doing a ketogenic diet. Most people notice its benefits after several days, months, or years of religiously following the diet.
- Weight Loss: It turns your body into a fat-burning machine.
- Appetite Control: As your body turn to constantly burning fat, it accesses a lot of stored energy, which in turn reduces feelings of hunger.
- Blood Sugar Control and Reversal of Type-2 Diabetes: It lowers blood sugar levels; reducing the potential negative impact of high insulin levels.
- Health Markers Improvement: It improves risk factors for heart disease, cholesterol profile (HDL, triglycerides), blood pressure, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, body fat percentage, weight, and waist circumference.
- Energy and Mental Performance: The brain is fueled by ketones 24-7 and does not rely on carbs for energy; thus, avoiding blood sugar swings resulting in proper concentration, focus, brain fog resolution, and mental clarity.
- Calmer Gastrointestinal System: It can improve your digestion, stomach, less gas, fewer cramps and pains, and improvements in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Physical Endurance Improvement: Stored carbs give energy that only lasts for a couple of hours while the larger stored fats may last for weeks. It also reduces body fat percentage which lets you move better and faster.
- Seizure-Free: It’s often an effective therapy for epilepsy since 1920s, that can make you less reliant on drugs and can increase mental performance.
- Other potential benefits include reversing PCOS, less heartburn, less acne, fewer migraine attacks, fewer sugar cravings, a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.
As famous as this keto diet is, especially to overweight and obese due to its rapid weight loss, it doesn’t fall short of controversies. A number of people oppose this diet due to the fact that it goes against many pre-conceived notions of health that were falsely placed in our minds in the past.
Some critics say that this diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight. They say that ketosis is the mild form of ketoacidosis which affects type-1 diabetics and is their leading cause of death. This is scientifically false.
This kind of diet also has a short-term weight loss effect as you regain some of the weight within a year. It’s also mentioned that it doesn’t improve athletic performance since carbs are largely absent from this diet. It can even lead to muscle loss and extreme fatigue.
Critics hate having to exclude fruits in their diet and other foods that they have grown to love. Many say that compliance over the long term may also be difficult. Those with kidney and heart disease should also be careful with what to consume. Others who started doing this diet may feel tired, have nausea, vomiting, bad breath, constipation, and sleep problems.
Keto diet may be doing a great job in fat loss, but not so in muscle building. You still need carbs to accelerate muscle growth. Athletes should be fat-adapted, which can take a couple of weeks or months before they can see an improvement or even be at the same level of their performance as when they were still consuming a huge
Even famous personalities joined the keto bandwagon. They may have seen the benefits of this diet and wanted to lose weight faster. The following are the celebrities who have seen changes in their body after doing the keto diet.
- Katie Couric, a former Today show anchor said she feels much better after doing it.
- Halle Berry said she fills her plate with meat and healthy fats, avocado, coconut oil,
- Kourtney Kardashian said that keto diet was a really positive experience.
- Kim Kardashian said she lost 60 pounds doing keto after having her son.
- Gwyneth Paltrow is a wellness enthusiast and said she’s a fan of
- LeBron James, one of the greatest NBA ballers, slimmed down and had six packs to show off.
- Vinny Guadagnino, from MTV’s Jersey Shore
reboot,looks 10 years younger and weighs 50 pounds lighter after keto.
- Megan Fox of The Transformers and a mom of three turned to keto to bring her pre-baby body back.
- Adriana Lima,
Victoria’sSecret angel maintains her body, thanks to this diet.
- Alicia Vikander of Tom Raider started stocking up on meat, avocados, and healthy oils.
- Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical dropped 20 pounds after doing keto.
- Tim Tebow, a pro football player who loves keto most especially avocados.
My Take On the Diet
The Keto diet is a great tool and a generally healthy way to eat. I think I personally rather follow the paleo approach and eat carbs when it serves me. This could be before or after long and intense workout sessions. Being in ketosis is a good state to be in once in a while. For those who are in a constant state of ketosis, I am curious to know the long term effects. My bet is they will probably have better long term health outcomes than most.
For those who can’t comply with the diet, they are probably weak individuals with poor discipline and bad habits when it comes to eating. These individuals will have a hard time complying with any diet.
There is never a diet that fits everyone as everybody has a different genetic profile, predisposition to diseases, auto-immune issues, or other physical attributes that ANY diet can affect negatively. That being said, if done properly and under professional guidance, the keto diet can be used effectively to lose weight, get healthy and strong.