What is a Keto Diet?
Perhaps you’ve recently heard of the keto diet, or other terms such as ketogenic diet, low carb diet or LCHF (low carb high fat). The keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet, where the body produces ketones (in the liver), to be used as energy.
Let’s have a look at what keto means.
When you feed on foods high in carbohydrates, your body produces insulin which in turn produces glucose. Since glucose is used as a primary source of energy, your fats are not needed and therefore stored. Typically on a normal diet, the body makes use of glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbohydrates, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is, therefore, a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when our food intake is low. During this period, we produce ketones from the breakdown of fats in the liver. A properly maintained keto diet aims to urge the body to starve on carbohydrates.
Below are some of the recommended foods to eat on a Ketogenic diet.
Sardines, salmon, mackerel are high in omega-3 fats and very low in carbohydrates, which lower insulin levels.
Meat and poultry
Opt for grass-fed meat as it contains more omega-3 fats than meat from grain-fed animals. Fresh meat and poultry are an ideal source of high-quality protein which help preserve muscle mass during a low-carb (Keto) diet.
Keto diet emphasizes on non-starchy vegetables that are low in carbs and calories, but high in nutrients such as minerals and vitamin C. Hence, rice or mashed potatoes are substituted by low-carb vegetables like cauliflower. Similarly, “pasta” (spaghetti) can be made from squash and zucchini instead of wheat flour.
Cheese and plain yogurt
Cheese is both delicious and nutritious as it is low in carbohydrates, rich in calcium, protein and contains beneficial fatty acids. Plain yogurt helps to reduce appetite and promote satiety. For a quick keto treat, combine plain yogurt with chopped nuts, an optional sugar-free sweetener and cinnamon.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are ideal sources of fiber, healthy fats and are low in carbohydrates. Further, consuming nuts reduces the risks of heart disease.
Olive oil and olives
As a pure source of fat without carbs, olive oil is an ideal base for salad dressings. The olive fruit is rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties protecting your body cells from damage.
Many fruits are high in carbohydrates to include on a Keto diet. Berries, however, are an exception as these are high in fiber and low in carbs. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are loaded with antioxidants, protecting against disease and reducing inflammation.
Ketogenic diets are highly effective in weight loss and it severely restricts your carbohydrate intake. If you’ve recently adopted the Keto diet, leave your comments below to share your experience!