What is the Keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. This diet has to be very low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fat, and include a moderate amount of protein to achieve positive results. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. A ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in blood sugar, insulin levels and help with weight loss.
BENEFITS OF KETO DIET
- Weight loss
- Reduce blood pressure
- Slower aging process
- Improve sleep and mood
- Increase energy efficiency
FOODS TO EAT
There are hundreds of types of cheese. Fortunately, most are very low in carbs and high in fat, making them a great fit for a ketogenic diet.
One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese provides 1 gram of carbs, 6.5 grams of protein, and a good amount of calcium (23Trusted Source). Cheese is high in saturated fat, but it hasn’t been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest that cheese may help protect against heart disease (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source). Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fat linked to fat loss and improvements in body composition (26).
In addition, eating cheese regularly may help reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging.
LIST OF CHEESE YOU CAN CONSUME ON A KETO DIET
- blue cheese
- Colby jack
- cottage cheese
- cream cheese
- goat cheese
- pepper jack
- string cheese
Fish and shellfish are very keto-friendly foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium, yet virtually carb-free (6Trusted Source).
However, the carbs in different types of shellfish vary. For instance, while shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs, other types of shellfish do (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source). While we can still include these shellfish on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to account for these carbs when you’re trying to stay within a narrow range.
These are the carb counts for 3.5-ounce (100-gram) servings of some popular types of shellfish (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source):
- clams: 4 grams
- mussels: 4 grams
- octopus: 4 grams
- oysters: 3 grams
- squid: 3 grams
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been found to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in people who have overweight and obesity (14Trusted Source).
In addition, frequent fish intake has been linked to a decreased risk of disease and improved cognitive health (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1 to 2 seafood meals every week (16Trusted Source).
3. LOW-CARB VEGETABLES
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals. Vegetables and other plants contain fiber, which your body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs.
Therefore, look at their digestible (or net) carb count, total carbs minus fiber. The term “net carbs” refers to carbs that are absorbed by the body.
Many vegetables contain very few net carbs. However, consuming one serving of “starchy” vegetables like potatoes, yams, or beets could put you over your entire carb limit for the day.
The net carb count for non-starchy vegetables ranges from less than 1 gram for 1 cup of raw spinach to 7 grams for 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Vegetables also contain antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cell damage (19Trusted Source, 20).
What’s more, cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower have been linked to decreased cancer and heart disease risk (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
LIST OF LOW-CARB VEGETABLES YOU CAN CONSUME ON KETO DIET
- green beans
- peppers (especially green)
4. MEAT AND POULTRY
Meat is a source of lean protein and is considered a staple on the ketogenic diet. Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbohydrates and are rich in B vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium, and zinc. While processed meats, like bacon and sausage, are allowed on keto, they aren’t the best for your heart and may raise your risk of certain types of cancer if you eat too much. Choose chicken, fish, and beef more often and limit processed meats. It’s best to choose grass-fed meat, if possible. That’s because animals that eat grass produce meat with higher amounts of omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid, and antioxidants than meat from grain-fed animals.
Eggs are high in protein, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Two eggs contain zero carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein. Eggs have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness and keep blood sugar levels stable, and they also contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect eye health. Eggs have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness and satiety.
It’s important to eat the entire egg, as we found most of its nutrients in the yolk. Although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, consuming them doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels in most people. Eggs appear to modify the size of LDL particles to reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. SEEDS AND NUTS
Nuts and seeds are healthy, high fat, and low-carb foods. They have linked frequent nut consumption to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and other chronic diseases. nuts and seeds are high in fiber, which can help you feel full and absorb fewer calories overall
Carb counts for 1 oz. (28 g) of nuts and seeds (net carbohydrate equals total carbs minus fiber):
- almonds: 2 grams net carbs (6 grams total carbs)
- Brazil nuts: 1 gram net carbs (3 grams total carbs)
- cashews: 8 grams net carbs (9 grams total carbs)
- macadamia nuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
- pecans: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
- Walnuts: 2 g net carbs (4 g total carbs)
- Chia seeds: 2 g net carbs (12 g total carbs)
- Flaxseeds: 0 g net carbs (8 g total carbs)
- Pumpkin seeds: 2 g net carbs (4 g total carbs)
- sesame seeds: 3 grams net carbs (7 grams total carbs)
- pistachios: 5 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
Berries are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect against disease. They are low in carbs and high in fiber. These tiny fruits are loaded with antioxidants that have been credited with reducing inflammation and protecting against disease.
carb counts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of some berries:
- blackberries: 11 grams net carbs (16 grams total carbs)
- blueberries: 9 grams net carbs (12 grams total carbs)
- raspberries: 6 grams net carbs (12 grams total carbs)
- strawberries: 7 grams net carbs (9 grams total carbs)
8. BUTTER AND CREAM
Butter and cream are good fats to include on a ketogenic diet. Each contains only trace amounts of carbs per serving. In fact, on the contrary, some studies suggest that moderate consumption of high-fat dairy may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Like other fatty dairy products, butter and cream are rich in conjugated linoleic acid, the fatty acid that may promote fat loss.
9. HEALTHY OIL
Olive and coconut oil: Oleuropein, the main antioxidant found in olives, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect your cells from damage.
Coconut oil has unique properties that make it well suited for a ketogenic diet. To begin with, it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are taken up directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a rapid energy source. The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, a slightly longer-chain fat. It has been suggested that coconut oil’s mix of MCTs and lauric acid may promote a sustained level of ketosis.
In addition, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants known as phenols. These compounds further protect heart health by decreasing inflammation and improving artery function
10. COCOA POWDER AND DARK CHOCOLATE
cocoa provides at least as much antioxidant activity as any other fruit, including blueberries and acai berries.
Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy. Chocolate can be part of a ketogenic diet. However, it’s important to choose dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, preferably more, and eat in moderation. One ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa) has 3 grams of net carbs.
They are both delicious sources of antioxidants.