KETOGENIC DIET BASICS
Basically, the purpose of the ketogenic diet is to force the body into burning fats instead of carbohydrates. Those who follow it eat a diet that contains high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and low levels of carbohydrates.
Through this breakdown of macronutrients, you’re able to change how the body uses energy to produce some pretty awesome benefits. But to fully understand how it works, it’s important to have a grasp on exactly how the body uses energy in the first place.
FAT FOR ENERGY VS CARBS FOR ENERGY
Normally, when you eat a diet rich in carbohydrates, your body converts the carbs to glucose for energy and makes insulin to transport the glucose into your bloodstream. Glucose is the “preferred” energy source of the body, so if it’s is present, the body will turn to it first.
When you lower your carbohydrate intake through a ketogenic diet, your body doesn’t have that same amount of carbs for fuel. Without prior knowledge, this might seem like a bad thing, but it actually produces remarkable results — because this sends your body into a state known as ketosis, which is the basis of a ketogenic diet.
Ketosis happens when the body turns to fat, instead of carbs, for fuel. Specifically, the liver converts the fatty acids in your body into ketone bodies, or ketones, to be used for energy. So when you overload the body with fats as the main energy source, it adapts and becomes “keto-adaptive,” or more efficient at burning fat!
The process of ketosis is a natural survival function of the body that helps it adapt when there’s not much food available. Similarly, the ketogenic diet focuses on “starving” the body of carbohydrates to facilitate ketosis and burn fat while also provide the body will great nutrition.
MACRONUTRIENTS ON A KETOGENIC DIET
The general breakdown of a keto diet looks like this:
- high in fat
- moderate in protein
- and low in carb
It’s important to note, as you’ll see, that the ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet. As we explained above, the categorization of a diet as ketogenic depends on the amount of protein and carbs eaten each day.
Here are the general percentages of nutrients on a ketogenic diet:
- Calories from carbs: 5-10%
- Calories from protein: 20-25%
- Calories from fat: 70-80% (sometimes more for certain people)
This is a general range, although numbers can vary slightly depending on each person’s needs and goals on the diet.
RECOMMENDED FOODS FOR KETOGENIC DIET
- Meats including: beef, chicken and other poultry, pork, lamb, goat, turkey, veal, and fish sources like salmon, sardines, catfish, tuna, trout, etc.
- Fats and oils including: nuts and seeds (whole or as butters), oils like olive oil, sesame oil, or high oleic sunflower and safflower oils, ghee, and grass-fed butter.
- Eggs (preferably free-range).
- Dairy products including: cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, and heavy creams.
- Low-carb vegetables including: spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, and onions.
- ONLY lower-sugar fruits including: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and avocados (and only in small amounts).
- Herbs and spices as long as they have no added sugars.
FOOD TO ELIMINATE ON KETOGENIC DIET
- Beans and legumes including: kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and green peas.
- Grains including: whole grains and breads and pastas made from grains like oats, wheat, barley, rice, rye, and corn.
- Fruits besides small portions of berries.
- Starches including: potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.
- Low-fat diet products that are packaged and processed.
- Sugar-laden products including: smoothies, sodas, fruit juices, ice cream, cookies, cakes, and candies.
- Unhealthy oils including: mayonnaise products and processed vegetable oils
- Alcohols, as they can take you out of ketosis from the high carb content.
- Artificial sweeteners, which can sometimes affect blood sugar levels.
- Condiments that contain added sugar or unhealthy oils.
Source: Perfect Keto