What is the Keto Diet and How Does It Work?
There are so many different diets out there that it can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of endless choices, but look no further because the ketogenic diet has pretty much everything you need. Among the proven health benefits of the keto diet are weight loss, mental focus, increased energy, controlled blood sugar, stabilised blood pressure, and so much more. Interested?
What is the ketogenic diet and how does it work?
Well, the word “keto” comes from the name of small molecules that our bodies produce called “ketones.” They’re basically an alternative fuel source that your body uses when glucose, i.e. blood sugar, is in short supply.
If you consume fewer carbs – the things that break up into blood sugar quickly – and eat moderate amounts of protein (moderate because they can be converted into blood sugar as well), your body produces the necessary amount of ketones and starts running almost entirely on fat.
Your insulin levels become really low, while fat burning increases dramatically.
To put it simply, when you follow the ketogenic diet, it becomes easier for your system to get access to your fat stores and burn them off. As a result, you lose weight incredibly fast, but unlike a lot of crash diets out there, this one doesn’t hurt your system. It’ll still work like a charm even through all these changes.
There are different types of ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is sort of an over-arching term. There are actually a few versions you can choose from depending on your preferences.
Standard ketogenic diet – A low-carb, moderate-protein and a high-fat diet consisting of approximately 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
Cyclical ketogenic diet involves periods of higher-carb refuelling, for example, two higher-carb days after five standard low-carb ketogenic days.
Targeted ketogenic diet allows you to add carbs around your workouts
Higher-protein ketogenic diet: like the standard ketogenic diet but with more protein, changing the menu to 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
Keep in mind that the safest choices here are the standard and high protein ketogenic since they’ve been studied more exclusively than the other two types. The cyclical and targeted diets are more suitable for bodybuilders or athletes. But enough with the theory…
What you can and can’t eat while on a standard ketogenic diet
Keto foods you should eat
You should base the majority of your meals around these foods and ingredients:
- Meat like red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken or turkey.
- Fatty fish including salmon, trout and tuna, pastured or Omega 3 whole eggs, grass-fed, butter, and cream.
- Unprocessed cheese such as goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese or mozzarella.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or chia seeds.
- Healthy oils especially extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
- Low carb vegetables: tomatoes, onions and peppers, and most green leafy veggies will do.
- Healthy herbs and spices
Foods you must avoid
You should should avoid these foods under any circumstances:
- Sugary foods such as soft drinks, juices, smoothies, cake, ice cream, sweets, and anything that contains sugar (artificial or natural).
- Fruits. This includes whole fruit and fruit juice
- Grains or starches including wheat-based product, rice, pasta or cereal.
- Beans or legumes such as peas, kidney beans, lentils or chickpeas.
- Root vegetables and tubers, for example, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots or parsnips.
- Products labeled low fat or diet
- Unhealthy fat – the kind found in vegetable oils, mayonnaise, and other products.
- Alcohol. An occasional glass of wine won’t hurt your diet though. (The perfect beverage choices for the ketogenic diet are water, coffee, and tea. Just avoid sweetening those up with sugar. You can add a small amount of milk or cream to your coffee though).
Getting started with any new diet always seems like the most daunting task. To make it a bit less confusing for you here’s a seven-day ketogenic real plan that you can follow or use as an example when creating your own.
Adjusting to a ketogenic diet
Now, you might experience some keto side effects as you begin the ketogenic diet. The biggest one is the “keto flu” – the symptoms of which include poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, and they just have discomfort.
In order to minimise your risk of having these problems, try a regular low carb diet for the first few weeks before going full on keto. It’ll give your body a chance to burn more fat while gradually preparing it for the ketogenic diet.
Following a ketogenic diet can also change your body’s water and mineral balance. Just try to add extra salt or take mineral supplements, if you notice these changes and be sure to check in with your doctor from time to time.
A 7-Day Keto Diet Plan
Keto Diet Plan Day 1
Breakfast: a sausage and spinach frittata and a cup of coffee with two tablespoons of heavy cream.
Lunch: half a cup of simple egg salad, 4 romaine lettuce leaves, and 2 slices of bacon.
Dinner: 6 ounces of rotisserie chicken, 3/4 cup of cauliflower gratin, 2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce and 2 tablespoons of sugar-free Caesar salad dressing.
Between-meal snacks: half an avocado with light salt and pepper, 24 raw almonds.
Keto Diet Plan Day 2
Breakfast: again, a sausage and spinach frittata and a cup of coffee with heavy cream. If you want to change things up, you can make an egg, tomato, basil and goat cheese omelet instead.
Lunch: 2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons of sugar-free, Caesar salad dressing, and one cup of chopped leftover chicken from yesterday’s dinner.
Dinner: one Italian sausage link, one cup of cooked broccoli, one tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese.
Between-meal snacks: have another half an avocado with lite salt and pepper and add 5 sticks of celery was two tablespoons of almond butter.
Keto Diet Plan Day 3
Breakfast: 2 cream cheese cupcakes, 2 slices of bacon, and a cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
Lunch: one Italian sausage link for 3/4 cup of cauliflower gratin. Or you can have a shrimp salad with olive oil and avocado for a change.
Dinner: one and a half cup of chilli spaghetti squash casserole, 2 cups of raw baby spinach, and one tablespoon of sugar-free ranch dressing.
Between-meal snacks: 2 sticks of stringed cheese and one cup of homemade bone broth.
Keto Diet Plan Day 4
Breakfast: we’re back to a sausage and spinach frittata and a cup of coffee with heavy cream to drink. Sugar-free yogurt with peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia is an alternative option as well.
Lunch: one and a half cups of chilli spaghetti squash casserole or stir-fry beef with vegetables cooked in coconut oil.
Dinner: half a cup of antipasto salad, 4 sundried tomatoes and feta meatballs, 2 cups of raw baby spinach, and one tablespoon of sugar-free Italian dressing.
Between-meal snacks: half an avocado with light salt and pepper and one cup of homemade bone broth.
Keto Diet Plan Day 5
Breakfast: 2 cream cheese pancakes, two slices of bacon, and a cup of coffee with heavy cream or ham and cheese omelet with vegetables.
Lunch: half a cup of antipasto salad and 4 sun-dried tomatoes and feta meatballs or chicken salad with olive oil and feta cheese.
Dinner: one cup of pot roast, 2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, one tablespoon of chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
Between-meal snacks: 5 sticks of celery with 2 tablespoons of almond butter and one cup of homemade bone broth.
Keto Diet Plan Day 6
Breakfast: 3 scrambled or fried eggs, one teaspoon of butter, 2 slices of bacon and a cup of coffee with heavy cream.
Lunch: one cup of pot roast, 2 cups of chopped romaine salad, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, one tablespoon of chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. To change things up, you can have a burger with salsa, cheese, and guacamole instead.
Dinner: one and a half cups of chilli spaghetti squash casserole, 2 cups of raw baby spinach, and one tablespoon of sugar-free ranch dressing or steak and eggs with a side salad.
Between-meal snacks: 24 raw almonds or one cup of homemade bone broth.
Keto Diet Plan Day 7
Breakfast: 2 cream cheese pancakes, 2 slices of bacon and a cup of coffee with heavy cream or fried eggs with bacon and mushrooms.
Lunch: half a cup of antipasto salad with 4 sundried tomatoes and feta meatballs or a handful of nuts and celery sticks with guacamole and salsa.
Dinner: one cup of pot roast, 2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, one tablespoon of chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. If you want to go with something else, you can have pork chops with parmesan cheese, broccoli, and salad.
Between-meal snacks: one cup of bone broth and 2 sticks of stringed cheese and that’s pretty much it.
Yes, there are a lot of repeating dishes throughout this seven-day plan, but don’t worry. Try this custom keto diet service – meal plans custom-made to your tastes.
And remember, you can always incorporate your favourite meals just make sure that they abide by the basic guidelines of the keto diet.