Guess you have heard of a nutrition plan that doesn’t need calorie counting or limiting food intake yet effective at weight loss. It’s the keto diet, a diet that eliminates carbs from your diet to give you weight loss. The ketogenic diet or simply keto diet is used to deal away with obesity due to its strategy of burning fat for the body’s fuel instead of sugars to achieve weight loss.
In this article, we are going to look at what you should know about the ketogenic diet, foods to eat, foods to avoid, side effects and how to apply it for weight loss.
What is a keto diet?
A ketogenic diet or in short keto diet is a low in carbs, adequate proteins and high in fat diet that’s used to treat diseases and fight obesity. The diet forces the body to use fat for energy other than carbs. In normal circumstances, the carbohydrates contained in the food we eat is turned into glucose which is then transported around the body. However, if there are little carbohydrates in the body, then the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones. The ketone bodies then replace glucose as an energy source for the brain.
To sum up, the process by which the body enters a metabolic state and turns fat into ketones is called ketosis. Ketones are molecules that can supply energy to the brain.
A few weeks while on the keto diet, the body and brain become efficient in burning fat for energy instead of carbs and this leads to weight loss. The keto diet also lowers insulin levels in the body. These are the main reasons for the keto diet.
The keto diet involves dropping off most of the grains, rice, sweet potatoes, cereals, corn, fruits nearly all foods rich in carbohydrates. Then foods high in fat are adapted and some of them include fish, meat, pork, eggs, cream, avocados, oils, nuts, and low-carb vegetables.
Using the ketogenic diet for weight loss is not a temporary fix, most people adopt it as a lifetime lifestyle to stay healthy and forever super slim. The good thing about losing weight with the keto diet is that you can burn fat 24/7 without going hungry or restricting your food intake as it’s the case with other diet plans.
There is no restricting on the number of calories you consume or times you can eat a day. With the keto diet, you can eat whenever you feel like, don’t exercise but still lose weight.
There’ s no need to exercise for weight loss while on the keto diet for weight loss. Of course, exercise is good for your health to stay fit and healthy, but while on the keto diet, with exercise or not you still achieve weight loss.
In this article, you will learn how to do keto, what to eat, what to avoid and when to eat. You will get to know the problems people face when they start a keto diet and how to solve them. I will teach you weight loss with the ketogenic diet, what to expect, how to speed it up and how to overcome the weight loss plateau should it happen.
What do you eat on a ketogenic diet for weight loss?
As said earlier, a keto diet consists of low carbs, moderate protein and high fat intake. Avoid eating too many carbs, eat below 20grams per day. The fewer the carbs the more effective and faster you will reach ketosis, lose weight and improve type 2 diabetes. Below are some of the foods you should eat while you are on the keto diet.
Since meat has a high-fat content and proteins, it should be included in your keto diet. Types of meat you can eat are bacon, red meat, sausage, poultry meat (chicken, turkey). But keep in mind, the keto diet is about a high-fat content, not proteins that’s why you won’t need huge amounts of meat.
Fish and seafood.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, arctic char, sardines, anchovies, pacific halibut, catfish tuna and trout are keto-friendly. Unless you have concerns about mercury or other toxins, then consider eating the smaller fish like herring, sardines and mackerel.
The presence of omega-3 makes eggs a reliable source of healthy fat and proteins. Whether boiled, fried or scrambled, in whatever way you eat eggs, they will deliver good results.
Extra virgin Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil are some of the oils to eat while on a keto diet.
Most green vegetables are of low-carbohydrate content and the addition of tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, bell pepper, cauliflower, mushrooms, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, onions and cabbages are some of the keto diet-friendly vegetables.
Nuts and seeds.
The best nuts and seeds for a keto diet include walnuts, pine nuts, sesame nuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, macadamia nuts and flax seeds can be eaten while on the keto diet.
Cream, cheese and butter.
Hard cheese, butter, soft cheese, whipping cream, cream cheese are all healthy creams and butter for a keto diet.
A moderate number of berries is okay. Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are healthy for a keto diet if you eat them in small quantities.
Some fruits are high in calories that’s why they will need sorting out. Eating some and get rid of others can help you keep your keto diet. Eat these fruits raspberries, plum, kiwi, cherries, clementine, coconut meat and peach.
What to drink while on the ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Drinking water is the number one best option for a keto diet. Whether chilled, iced or sparkling as long as it is water, it’s healthy. You can flavor it with cucumbers, lemons or limes for a taste.
With no sugar and a small amount of cream or milk added in, it’s still keto-friendly. For added fat content, stir in butter and coconut for bulletproof coffee.
Most teas are keto diet friendly just be sure of the sweeteners you add as they make be carrying sugars. It’s wise to take tea without sugar. Whether its black tea, green tea or herbal tea it’s all healthy.
The ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Being on the keto diet can help you lose weight without the stress of limiting the amount of food you eat. Not like other weight loss diet plans, the ketogenic diet is able to help in weight loss without counting calories or tracking your food intake.
The ketogenic diet is known to promote weight loss due to the following
Increased fat burning.
Since the keto diet relies on fat to fuel the body, the amount of fat on the body will decrease leading to weight loss. The ketogenic diet is even able to burn fat as you sleep making it efficient in weight loss.
Reduces fat storage in the body.
Research shows that the keto diet is able to reduce lipogenesis in the body which is the process of converting sugar into fat.
The keto diet has a positive effect on reducing appetite. It has an effect on hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. Being on a keto diet will make you feel satisfied which will help you deal away with unnecessary snacking.
Food elimination from your diet.
Removing some foods from your diet will reduce the calories you consume which is a major key for weight loss.
Higher protein intake.
Protein has a lot of weight loss benefits. Since the keto diet has a portion of proteins in it, the body is also able to lose weight with proteins.
Related: Why you may be dieting and exercising but not losing weight
Is the ketogenic diet weight loss plan for everyone?
Apparently no, since the keto diet removes food nutrients like the carbs and lowers the protein intake too, it does not suit everybody. But most people are safe if they choose to do the ketogenic diet for weight loss or to live a healthy lifestyle. Below are the groups of people who can’t do the keto diet.
1. Pregnant women.
During pregnancy, you never want to lose weight as it’s unhealthy. Since the keto diet cuts major nutrients from your diet, it’s not favorable for you if you are pregnant as it will deny your baby proper growth.
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are important to the health of the baby and mother during pregnancy. Removing them from the diet will cause a nutrient deficiency for both the mother and baby. If you want to lose weight try other means apart from the keto diet.
2. Breastfeeding mothers.
Attempting the keto diet for weight loss while breastfeeding will cause more harm than good. It’s so as breastfeeding needs plenty of calories. By cutting the calorie intake, it will affect your milk production
Water is needed for milk production and the keto diet cuts out most water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, this makes it unfit for breastfeeding.
3.If you have a digestive disorder.
The keto diet is low in fiber since whole grains and fiber-rich foods are cut out. Yet people with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation getting enough roughage or fiber can keep them healthy.
It is wise to drop the keto diet and try other weight loss strategies.
4.Internal organ disorders.
The keto diet is inappropriate for people with kidney diseases, liver, pancreatic or kidney conditions. Keto diet may worsen these conditions that’s why it’s advisable to ask your doctor before trying the keto diet for weight loss.
People who shouldn’t do the keto diet.
- Underweight people.
- Children of 17 and below.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
- When you aren’t sure if the keto diet may interfere with your medication.
- Sick people with either fever or any serious illness.
- People with serious mental health problems.
- People expecting to undergo surgery or recovering from surgery.
Foods to avoid while on the keto diet.
Just like any other diet plan having foods to avoid, the keto diet is no exception. Below are some of the foods you should avoid while on the keto diet.
Foods that contain lots of sugars don’t make it in the keto diet. Foods such as pastries (cakes, cookies, muffins), candy ice cream
The keto diet is about eliminating carbs from your diet and get fuel for the body from fat. Yet grains are rich in starch, full of calories and cannot be in a keto diet since its aimed at removing carbohydrates from your diet.
Such foods include rice, pasta, wheat-based products, corn, pasta, Oatmeal, wheat, rye, sourdough, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum and barley.
It may be surprising seeing fruits among the foods to avoid. Fruits are healthy and are recommended in many diet plans except Keto. Few fruits are like raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, lemon, limes and blueberries are keto-friendly. Most of the fruits are high in sugars, carbs and calories thus making them Keto unfriendly.
Such fruits include; Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, mangoes, peaches, grapes, Dried fruits(raisins, dates) and pineapples are some of the fruits to avoid.
You should avoid fruit juices and smoothies as they will carry the sugars, calories and carbs.
Root vegetables and root tubers
Leafy vegetables or those that grow above the ground are healthy for the keto diet. And for the vegetables that grow below the ground, they are ketogenic diet unfriendly for weight loss. Examples are potatoes and carrots.
The keto diet is aimed at eating fat large quantities and so the low-fat food sources don’t qualify or fit in the keto diet. Low-fat foods are most times highly processed and high in calories.
Many alcoholic drinks have a high carb and calorie content and so consuming them may throw you out of ketosis.
Most beers, wines and cocktails are not keto-friendly and should be avoided.
Many soft drinks and beverages are keto unfriendly. This is due to the high amounts of sugar and carbs they pose.
Beverages to avoid are; colas, root beer, energy drinks, soda, fruit juice, hot chocolate, sports drinks, and ginger ale are some of the few drinks to avoid while on the keto diet for weight loss.
Though proteins are vital in the keto diet, some protein sources don’t qualify due to the presence of carbs and calories in them. These are mostly legumes, for example, black peas, baked beans, green peas, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, pinto beans and many others.
Side effects of the keto diet.
The keto diet has got some side effects even when practiced by someone eligible. Some were obvious and others come up when the keto diet is misused or abused. These are the side effects that occur when the person fails to eat balanced, nutrient-rich foods as part of the low-carb and high-fat diet.
Cutting out fiber and roughage sources from your diet will leave you prone to constipation. Roughages and fiber sources such as beans, fruits and whole grains being eliminated from the diet by keto, as a result, people on the keto diet miss out on the benefits of the fiber-rich diet such as proper digestion and microbiome support.
The keto diet has a way of providing fiber to the diet through avocados, flaxseed, almonds, pecans and chia seeds. These are able to provide fiber and still keep you in ketosis.
The keto diet can lead to the loss of lean muscles in the body. Its related to the fact that proteins alone are not effective at muscle building as proteins and carbohydrates combined would have done.
The keto flu
One of the most common and immediate side effects is the keto flu. You will experience it in the first weeks after your body enters the state of ketosis. It’s a group of symptoms that involve headache, foggy brain, fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty breathing and constipation.
Since the body has been used to burning carbs for energy, switching to burning fat, it becomes less efficient at making energy for the whole body. But the keto flu will not last a lifetime, just within a few days, the flu will be gone and your body will get used to the new diet.
Too much meat while drinking less water will lead to an increase in uric acid known as kidney stones. This is a side effect that can be caused to you when you decide to do a lot of meat while on keto.
A good diet plan shouldn’t involve high risks of diseases and it can happen with the keto diet as long as you eat moderate amounts of meat and drink plenty of water.
The elimination of many fruit, vegetables and other foods, may leave your body with a deficiency of some vital vitamins and minerals. It will have negative consequences in the long run and therefore it’s important to do the keto diet for weight loss over a short period of time.
The bottom line,
The keto diet shouldn’t be a long-term diet as advised by experts in the diet. Since it eliminates major nutrients from the diet, it is believed to cause damage to the body in the long run. Many diet plans recommend fruits and vegetables now imagine a diet that strips you of these two important foods for years. Think about what would happen to your body.
Doing the keto diet for weight loss is a smart strategy as long as you choose a legit keto diet food plan and you do it under the supervision of a qualified nutrition expert or doctor.
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