How does keto diet work?
Keto involves reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. When carbs are not available, your body begins to burn fat for fuel. That can be your body fat or fat from food. When fat is burned ketones are produced and they are what gives you energy. Ketones are also why this diet is called “keto”.
Your macronutrient profile on the keto diet should look something like this.
- 60-75% of calories from fat
- 15-30% of calories from protein
- 5-10% of the calories from carbohydrates
It might seem complicated to hit those percentages. So, let’s make things simpler. A lot of people consider themselves keto when they eat less than 50g of carbs per day. If you’re wondering how many carbs you should eat, check out our previous blog post.
What can you eat on a ketogenic diet?
The keto diet doesn’t restrict any specific food but many are left out because of carbs. You simply can’t fit in high carb foods in the strict daily limit. But it still leaves you with plenty of healthy and tasty options. Here are the main food groups that you can enjoy on a ketogenic diet.
- Most nuts and seeds
- Meats, fish, and seafood
- Cheese and full-fat dairy
- Oils and fats
- A variety of vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can get a bit tricky on keto. Most non-starchy vegetables should be fine while most fruits are simply too sugary to make the cut. Here is a list to get you started.
Best keto vegetables
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
Fruits you can eat in limited amount on keto
Foods and drinks to avoid on keto
The rules are simple, foods that are high in sugar or starch are not going to fit inside the daily 50g of carbs. So, be careful about the following.
- Sugary foods (candy, cookies, biscuits, desserts, cakes, pastries, sweetened yogurts, ice cream, breakfast cereals)
- Starchy foods (wheat-based bread and pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, chips, crackers, legumes, cereal, oats)
Keep in mind that all sweetened and sugary drinks, including fruit juices, have to be avoided also. On keto, you can enjoy water, coffee and tea as long as you don’t add sugar. Alcohol should also be excluded, mainly beer and cocktails. If you want to squeeze in a drink on special occasions, go for dry wine, champagne, or distilled spirits.
The ketogenic diet works for weight loss
Scientific research shows that keto is effective for losing weight (1,2). There are several reasons why that might be the case. One reason is pragmatic. Cutting out carb-heavy and sugar-rich foods makes it easier for people to eat less and get in a calorie deficit which is necessary for weight loss. Also, being in ketosis lowers insulin levels, which can help burn body fat stores more easily (3). And another reason may be that keto helps people naturally eat less, as a result of feeling more satisfied (4).
How does keto help with diabetes?
Keto can be a powerful tool in blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes. That’s because carbohydrates, especially sugar, raise blood sugar much more than protein or fat. Eating fewer carbs lowers blood sugar which in turn helps manage and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes. Scientific research on low carb, keto, and diabetes is really promising in this regard (5,6). You can read more about why institutions such as Diabetes UK, Diabetes Canada, Diabetes Australia, and The American Diabetes Association endorses carbohydrate reduction as an effective option.
Other health benefits of keto
Apart from weight loss and diabetes management, keto is finding other applications in human health. Here is a list of the most promising ones.
- Heart health – Improves blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (7).
- Cancer - Explored as an additional treatment for cancer to slow tumor growth (8).
- Epilepsy - Causes significant reductions in seizures in epileptic children (9).
- Alzheimer’s disease - Reduces symptoms and slows its progression (10).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome - May be considered as a non-pharmacological treatment (11).
What is “keto flu” and how to get rid of it?
Some people experience flu-like symptoms in the first few days after transitioning to keto as the body switches from burning mostly carbs to mostly fat for fuel. It’s a result of changes to the body’s balance of fluids and minerals. The symptoms might include fatigue, headache, irritability, difficulty focusing, dizziness, or muscle cramps.
If you experience these symptoms, you can rest assured that nothing is wrong. It’s just a temporary transition as your body adapts to the new source of fuel. You can also try to minimize or prevent these symptoms by replenishing fluids and salt.
- Drink a glass of water with half a teaspoon of salt stirred into it (if you need quick help)
- Include more soups based on salted bone broth, chicken or beef stock.
- Aim for 2,5 litres of water per day in the first days of keto
Keto diet plan
Keto diet plans can be shocking for beginners as many of their popular dishes disappear. And they often get repetitive with eggs for breakfast every morning and pieces of meat or fish for lunch and dinner. That’s why we want to offer an alternative – a tasty keto plan that includes all of your favourite meals such as pasta, burger (with buns!), pizza, porridge, nachos, and cakes!
Here are three days of keto eating to get you started. Each day is less than 50g of carbs and each meal has between 7-17g of carbs. All recipes include a vegan option so no problem if you don’t like meat or eggs.
Keto Day 1
Your first day has a total of 46 g of carbs and includes porridge, pasta, burger, and a chocolate lava cake! Follow the recipes and tell everyone how tasty keto can be!
- Muesli Porridge (9g of carbs)
- Pasta Carbonara (17g of carbs)
- Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes (10g of carbs)
- Mexican Burger (10g of carbs)
Keto Day 2
The second day goes even lower to 38g of carbs but doesn’t compromise on taste. Enjoy a spinach tart, pizza, nachos, and a grilled cheese sandwich with the following recipes.
- Spinach Tart (10g of carbs)
- Pizza Margherita (8g of carbs)
- Nachos with Vegetable Salsa (13g of carbs)
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich (7g of carbs)
Keto Day 3
Your third keto day includes 44 g of carbs and delicacies such as toast, pizza, muesli bars, and cheeseburger sliders.
- Toast Squares with Cheese (12g of carbs)
- Pizza with Vegan Bacon (17g of carbs)
- Low Carb Muesli Bars (7g of carbs)
- Cheeseburger Sliders (8g of carbs)
You can find all of the key ingredients such as pizza bases, pasta, burger buns, and toast squares in our Keto bundle. Get yours today and start enjoying the keto benefits!
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