Starting the keto diet can be a little overwhelming, but no worries, we’ve put together some basic information about the Keto diet and listed out some keto-friendly ingredients to help you take out the guesswork of grocery shopping.
What foods to avoid on a Keto diet?
Since this is a high-fat diet that limits carbs, here are some foods that the Keto Diet Limits:
- Grains and starches such as rice, pasta, and cereal
- Most fruit: While fruit is healthy and offers many vitamins and minerals, the diet restricts most fruits due to the number of carbs.
- Beans and legumes such as peas, lentils, chickpeas
- Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips
- Sugary foods such as fruit juice, pastries, cakes, ice cream, and soda
So as you can see, this may require saying goodbye to some pantry friendly items that you’re used to having at your fingertips. But before we start with what you should add to your shopping list, let’s learn a little bit about the Keto Diet and how it works.
What is the Keto diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is primarily a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. It requires drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. If done correctly, the reduction in carbs will put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Instead of the body burning carbohydrates as the primary source of energy, it resorts to burning fat for energy. It results in the body releasing ketones into the bloodstream.
How many carbs can I eat on the Keto diet?
Most of our cells in the body prefer to use blood sugar, which comes primarily from carbohydrates, as the main source of energy. In the absence of blood sugar circulating from food, we start to break down the stored fat in the molecules. This shift from using blood glucose to stored fat as a source of energy typically starts occurring over two to four days if eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, it is important to note that everyone’s body has individualized metabolic processes and may impact ketosis.
The two most studied Keto diet is the Standard Ketogenic Diet which typically contains 5% carbs (which is generally about 20-50 grams per day), 20% protein, and 75% fat. High-Protein Ketogenic diet is similar but includes more protein with 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 75% fat.
What are some of the health benefits of the Keto diet?
Some studies claim that health benefits can include:
- Weight loss without hunger
- Reduction in blood sugar and Improved insulin sensitivity for those that are diabetic or prediabetic
- Reduction in abdominal fat
- Decrease in triglycerides
So now that you have learned what not to eat on a keto diet, here are some ingredients that you can stock up on when you’re following a keto diet.
What are foods you can eat on a Keto Diet?:
- red meat, pork, chicken, and turkey
- Fatty fish: such as salmon, tuna, and halibut
- Shellfish: crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels
- Deli meat: ham, turkey, roast beef
- Sausage, Turkey Bacon
whole cheese, greek yogurt
Nuts and seeds:
almonds, walnuts, chia seeds
olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
Avocado, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Sweetened Coffee, tea, almond milk, coconut milk
- most green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, all lettuce
- cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower
- tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, olives
Low carb pasta alternatives:
zucchini noodles, squash noodles, shirataki noodles
almond flour, coconut flour
Seasonings and herbs:
- herbs such as cilantro, thyme, rosemary, spices such as garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon, and oregano
- Condiments: such as lime and lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, buffalo sauce, sugar-free ketchup, ranch, pestos
Although the keto diet is focused on high fat, you’ll want to ensure that you incorporate healthy fats and a variety of vegetables that will provide maximum vitamins and minerals.
Here are some low carb/keto-friendly recipes:
What are the risks of the Keto Diet?
Although many claim that the Keto Diet has helped with weight loss and can provide other health benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. There are also some side effects as somebody adapts to the diet. These symptoms can include:
- Poor energy and mental function, sleep issues, nausea, and mood swings
- It can also impact the water and mineral balance of the body
- Some may lose muscle on the diet
- Digestive disorders
This diet was also primarily used to manage seizures in children with epilepsy, but the research on its long-term effectiveness in treating obesity or diabetes is still limited.
Although it could be an alternative to treating certain conditions and may result in a quick fix for weight loss and lowering blood sugars, it may not be the most sustainable diet for all.
Most diets like this is pretty much an all or nothing diet that can be restrictive and may omit a wide variety of other nutritious foods that can be beneficial for your overall health. In addition, if a person is not educated on heart-healthy sources of fat, they may consume an excessive amount of unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk for heart disease.
There are also additional risks for those that are already taking diabetic medication that lowers sugars. They would need to work and consult with their medical practitioners to make adjustments to the medications.
In addition, the diet is not recommended for those that have medical conditions involving the kidney, pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gall bladder as it could worsen their conditions.
In general, the Keto Diet may have some benefits in weight loss and lowering blood sugar, however, it is always important to consult with nutritionists, doctors, and specialists to ensure that you are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet