If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you’ve probably heard of the keto diet. Keto, or ketogenic, is a low carb, high fat diet that puts your body in a metabolic state that is called “ketosis.” This means that your body becomes better at burning fat for energy.
According to Harvard Health, “The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.”
The ketogenic diet is the best way to reach the state of ketosis. In this diet, you reduce carbs to around 20 to 50 grams per day, lessen sugar, and pile up on fats. But like with all diets, this means prioritizing fats from nutritious food sources, such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils.
What food can I eat? What should I avoid?
- Meats like chicken, pork, steak, ground beef, lamb, bacon, turkey, ham, and sausage (in limited amounts)
- Fatty seafood are fine, like salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, trout
- Shellfish like crab, clams, oysters, lobster, mussels
- High-fat dairy like heavy cream, soft and hard cheeses, cream cheese, and sour cream
- Recommended vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber, spinach, lettuce, and olives
- Nuts like macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts. You can also eat their butter versions, as long as they are not sweetened
- Unsweetened coffee and black tea
Moreover, Good Housekeeping (confirmed on Atkins) also lists down the food that you can’t eat:
- Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, peaches, pineapple, pears, grapefruits, and mangoes
- Grains like wheat, rice, rye, oats, corn, quinoa
- All kinds of bread, pasta, corn, oatmeal, crackers, pizza, flour
- Legumes like black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils
- Sugars and sweeteners
- Sweets. Thankfully there are keto-friendly desserts available in the market
- Alcohol like beer, cider, sweet wines, and sweetened alcoholic drinks
- Cooking oils like canola oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil
- Bottled condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, some salad dressings and hot sauces that contain added sugar
- Low-fat dairy. Use high-fat ones!
Check out a more detailed list on the food you can eat on Healthline.
How do I know if I’ve entered the state of ketosis?
There are several tests available to see if you’ve entered the state of ketosis. Some examples include blood, urine, and breath tests, which measure the ketones present in your body. You can also watch out for symptoms like thirst, a dry mouth, frequent urination, and decreased hunger.
What are the other health benefits of keto?
Studies have shown that it can help improve “risk factors like body fat, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.” Research has also suggested that it could help symptoms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and brain injuries.
Are there precautions?
Harvard Health warns that there are numerous risks to the keto diet. It’s high in saturated fat. It could lead to nutrient deficiency, liver and kidney problems, constipation, fuzzy thinking, and mood swings.
Before going on keto, it’s important to consult a doctor, especially if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure, or more. Consult a doctor if you are taking medications, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Results may vary so find a diet that you can commit to in the long run and that you enjoy. Treat your diet like a journey that you enjoy, not punishment.
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