The ketogenic diet is gaining in popularity; people are finding themselves with more energy, a clearer head and less excess weight when they switch to it; but it can be hard to know what to eat on a ketogenic diet to stay in that optimal fat burning, energy-producing zone. Today I welcome guest blogger Amelia Johnson. Amelia is a writer/editor with an endless passion for bringing a lot of useful and trustworthy information to the community. She founded stayhealthyways.com, a blog dedicated to sharing quality articles related to health, nutrition, fitness, and beauty.
The Keto Diet: What You Need to Eat and Avoid
The moment you decide to be on a diet, the most critical aspect entails the knowledge of what you need to include and exclude from the diet. The keto diet is not any different. Its success is solely dependent on the foods you eat. Therefore, it is essential to know which foods are recommended for the keto diet as well as those that you should strive to avoid at all costs.
But first, what is the keto diet? The keto diet works to enhance weight loss by using a different approach from other diets which rely on extreme physical exercises, counting of calories eaten, or minimizing the food portions consumed. As a high-fat, low-carb diet, the keto diet achieves its weight loss goals by changing the source of fuel for the body to enable it to stay energized.
The keto diet ensures that the body does not burn sugar or glucose for its energy needs. Instead, it relies on dietary fat. As a result, the diet seeks to promote consumption of high-fat, low-carb foods.
How adequate is this diet? Well, the keto diet has been thought to be helpful as targets weight loss through the rectification of hormonal imbalance. You should find the keto diet a convenient dietary approach to weight loss as it does not limit you to given food portions or calorie count. Also, the diet takes advantage of metabolism to enhance weight loss. Therefore, it is essential that you feed on the right foods.
The Recommended Keto Diet Foods Are as Follows
If you have been thinking of the most versatile and healthiest foods, then eggs should be on the list. But what makes eggs an ideal choice for your keto diet? The answer lies in its nutrient content. One large egg carries less than a gram of carbs and well below 6 grams of protein.
Eggs are essential in triggering the release of hormones which work to give you a feeling of satiation for longer. This food also triggers the production of hormones responsible for the stabilization of the blood sugar levels. As a result, feeding on eggs can significantly restrict your total calorie intake for a day (1).
The yolk is concentrated with the egg’s nutrients. Therefore, ensure that you consume the egg in its entirety to benefit from its potent antioxidant characteristics which are carried by lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants, for instance, have been associated with better eyesight.
However, the egg yolk is associated with high levels of cholesterol, making eggs a less preferred food. Research has vindicated eggs regarding the claims that it contributes to higher levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Indeed, eggs have been termed to influence the LDL shape. Such modification results in the reduction of heart disease risk.
- Fish and Shellfish
If you have been unsure of what to eat for your keto diet to work efficiently, then create a place for fish and shellfish. These two are among the most keto-friendly alternatives. Mainly, fish is virtually carb-free, and it is rich in potassium, B vitamins, and selenium.
When dealing with shellfish, it is worth noting that their carb contents vary depending on their types. For instance, most crab types and shrimp have no carb contents, while other shellfish types have some carb contents. Therefore, if you intend to stay with a narrow carb range, you should ensure that you account for such carb content from shellfish if you are to benefit from your keto diet.
Among the popular shellfish with carb content ranging between 3 and 7 grams for every 100 grams (3.5 ounces) include: oysters (4 grams), mussels (7 grams), squid (3 grams), octopus (4 grams), and clams (5 grams).
You will also benefit from the high omega-3 fatty acid content present in mackerel, sardines, salmon, and other fish types rich in fat. The omega-3 fatty acids are essential in promoting insulin sensitivity and lowering the levels of insulin among overweight and obese individuals.
Make it a goal to get a minimum of two shellfish or fish servings each week to enhance the effectiveness of the keto diet.
- Avocado Oil
I have just heard all the hype about the many uses of avocado oil, especially in the cosmetic industry. However, a friend recently shared the essence of adding this incredibly healthy food to my keto diet.
Notably, there are 9 grams of carbs in every 100 grams of avocado. While this sounds like a lot of carbs, the net carb is just 2 grams as the rest 7 grams are account for the fiber content.
Returning to avocado oil as incredibly healthy food, it hosts numerous nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals like potassium which is not present in many foods. Research shows that indeed, avocado may promote the process of transition into the ketosis state as it contains significant levels of potassium (2).
If you have low good cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your body, then avocado oil may help reverse this. Indeed, diets high in avocado oil servings may reduce your bad triglycerides and LDL cholesterol by 22% while improving your good HDL cholesterol by 11%.
You can find the best brand of avocado oil in this excellent article.
- Unsweetened Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are favorite beverages for most people. They are recommended for the keto diet list since they not only are healthy but also are among the few carb-free drinks you can ever have.
There are ample caffeine contents both in coffee and tea. Caffeine has the impact of enhancing your metabolism alongside bettering your mood, alertness, and physical performance (3).
Also, tea and coffee drinkers are associated with reduced vulnerability to diabetes. Indeed, the risk for the development of diabetes is inversely proportional to high tea and coffee intake.
It is okay to add heavy cream to your tea or coffee. However, if you must use tea and coffee lattes, then you must ensure that they are not light as light ones are rich in high-carb flavors and are typical in non-fat milk.
While these foods are good for boosting the efficacy of your keto diet, there are other foods which significantly counter their ketogenic effect.
Therefore, Avoid the Following Foods
If you love candy, then you will be a little disappointed. Just like any sugar-rich food, candy is high in carbs owing to its high sugar content. There are high quantities of net carbs in sugar, with a teaspoon and tablespoon of sugar carrying over 4 and 12 net grams of carbs respectively.
If you find sugary foods irresistible, then find a safe alternative in berries. I particularly recommend eating blueberries and raspberries. These will make replace the urge for sugars, especially for fruit junkies. Eat these in moderate amounts, though.
On the other hand, you must give up cookies, sodas, pastries, fruit juice, and ice cream. While this sounds like a hurdle, your body will have minimal cravings for sugar, and you easily resist such foods when you entirely switch into ketosis.
- Caloric Beverages
Again, fruit juices and sodas are here. Added to them are dairy and milk replacements, sweetened coffees and teas, as well as alcohol. Since the keto diet is founded on the carb intake reduction basis, it is paramount that you worry about the carb content present in your beverages.
Beers and ciders must be off limits by all means for those who love alcohol. Find safer alternatives to drinks which do not affect your ketosis. These include brandy, gin, vodka, tequila, scotch, whiskey, and rum.
While most liquors are keto-friendly as they have minimal if any carbs, the problem stems from the mixers which go with such beverages. Avoid all caloric mixers pretty much when you drink alcohol.
On the foods-to-avoid list, grains potentially carry the highest carb amounts. Imagine, if a single slice of bread carrying between 10 and 30 net grams of carbs, then the harm that grain-based foods cause to your keto-diet is huge.
Therefore, avoid the following foods since they are loaded with carbs.
How often do you eat nuts? Well, nuts, especially chia seeds, are among the best foods for a keto diet. Chia seeds contain high omega-3s and low carbs, and they make an excellent fuel source for the body.
Chia seeds have high plant compound concentrations which combat inflammation to improve immunity.
Remember, when you feed on chia seeds in moderation, you benefit from their high fiber content. As a result, chia seeds are vital in curbing your appetite. As a result, chia seeds indirectly contribute to better weight management as the fiber content helps to stop your cravings and minimize excessive intake of calories.
Chia seeds also contain antioxidants and healthy fats which are credited for their anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, chia seeds are critical for the regulation of lipid concentrations as well as the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and related cognitive decline disorders.
Is Water Important?
Lastly, ensure that you drink lots of water to allow the body stay in ketosis perfectly. Drinking enough water means that you get to replace lost water, you curb cravings and suppress appetite, you alleviate stress on kidneys, you boost fat metabolism, and you minimize bad breath associated with ketone acetate.
But how do you get to drink the recommended water amount? It’s simple, just get yourself a fruit infuser water bottle. With this, you get to flavor up your water with your favorite herbs and fruits, even veggies. This not only enhances the nutritional value and taste of your water to make you drink even more water each day.
Create your keto diet today based on the foods listed herein for better weight loss. If you have any food recommendations for a more effective keto diet, do not hesitate to share with us.
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