A keto diet can be a great way to burn unwanted fat, but you need to make the right ketogenic food choices. Discover which ingredients you need to stay far away from.
Avoid Ketogenic Chaos
The ketogenic (keto for short) diet has become hugely popular as a way to lose weight and improve your overall health. There is no doubt that it can work. Thousands of people have reported impressive weight-loss results by sticking to keto diet plans.
But like all diets, ketogenic meal plans can only work if you stick to the regime. Because of it scientific basis, the keto diet plan places some very precise restrictions on what you can and what you can’t eat. Many people who fail on this diet do so simply because they inadvertently break the rules, rather than because the diet itself has let them down.
So if you are embarking on a ketogenic diet, you need to understand what you are getting into, and why the various elements of the plan are important.
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What Exactly is the Ketogenic Diet?
Before we get into the details of what you should and shouldn’t eat, let take a look at what a ketogenic diet plan is, and how it can help you lose weight. When you understand what you are trying to achieve, the details of your food choices make a whole lot more sense.
The idea behind a ketogenic diet is to manipulate your body to send it into a state of ketosis. In the usual course of things, our body only enters this state when we are critically short of food. When our blood-sugar levels drop very low, our body doesn’t have access to enough glucose in the bloodstream to fuel our body processes.
Because of this, it resorts to Plan B – ketosis, and starts producing ketones as an alternative fuel source. Your body switches from using sugar as a fuel, to burning fat instead. So if you are trying to lose a few pounds of fat, it’s obvious why this can help…it’s getting your body to do exactly what you want. You are burning fat every hour of the day!
Ketogenic diet plans aim to send your body into ketosis more often by adjusting the balance of the food you eat. The idea is to greatly reduce the percentage of carbohydrates you consume, in order to lower your blood sugar to keto level. At the same time, you eat a moderate amount of protein, and a surprisingly high quantity of fat
Foods You Should Eat on a Keto Diet
It might seem counter-intuitive to consume more fats when you are trying to burn body fat, but in keto diets, this works! This is because your body needs the presence of fats to trigger the switch from burning carbs to burning fat.
So instead of avoiding things like oils in your food, you are actually adding them in. The same goes for cheeses, nuts and peanut butter.
Here’s a good video that explains the foods that for part of a well-balanced keto diet:
In summary, you should be eating foods like these:
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, macadamias and sunflower seeds
- ‘Above-ground’ vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli
- High fat dairy such as high-fat cream, hard cheeses and butter
- Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
- Berries such as blackberries, raspberries and blackberries
- Meats such as beef, lamb and poultry
- Fats such as high-fat salad dressing, coconut oil and saturated fats
When you get a good mix of foods like these in your diet, you are well on your well to ketosis and the weight loss that comes with it. The problems occur if you start adding in other ingredients that do not fit into the keto picture.
The Keto Diet
You are aiming for a macronutrient mix of around 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates. It’s very easy to let your carb ratio become too high, with the result that your body never tips over into ketosis.
So now it should be clear where the problem lies. We have been taught for decades that we should be cutting back on fats, and whilst including a generous portion of carbs in our diets. But on a ketogenic diet, that is a recipe for disaster. So we must do things differently.
We need to focus on bringing down the carb levels, while upping the volume of healthy fats. We also need to maintain a healthy amount of protein in the mix. Let’s look at the three macronutrient food groups in turn – carbohydrates, protein and fats – to see where the dangers lie.
Carbs to Avoid
We’ll start with carbohydrates, because these are the biggest danger area. It’s so easy to over-consume them. Here’s what you need to know. You should avoid eating:
- All grains (and food made from grains) should be avoided. Yes, all of them…they are too high in carbs!
- Beans and legumes – also high in carb content.
- Tropical fruits, fruit juices, dried fruits and fruit smoothies. (Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are OK in modest quantities.
- Any vegetables that grow below ground (eat leafy greens instead).
- Any foods with high sugar content
Proteins to Avoid
On a ketogenic diet, you need to be careful not to each too much protein. In particular, you should avoid consuming:
- Milk and low-fat dairy products (most full-fat products are OK)
- Shredded cheese
- Grain-fed meats and dairy
- Factory-farmed fish and pork
- Processed meat such as hot dogs and packaged sausages.
Fats to Avoid
While we are aiming for a high fat intake on a keto diet, it is important to choose the right products. You should avoid consuming processed vegetable oils such as:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Sunflower oil
Drinks to Avoid
We also need to be careful about what we drink on a ketogenic diet. Alcohol can slow down fat loss in ketosis, so keep consumption of alcoholic drinks to a minimum. You should also be wary of sweetened and sugary beverages.
A Successful Keto Diet
Clearly, sticking to a ketogenic diet successfully is going to require some getting used to. If you have never tried this diet plan before, you may be bewildered by the complicated choices you now have to make.
Fortunately, there are thousands of great keto recipes you can use to cook tasty meals while staying firmly within the keto guidelines. Do some research first, and find some recipes that look good to you. Pinterest is a good place to start – you will find more delicious keto recipes there than you could cook in your lifetime.
Before you go shopping, make a detailed list of all the foods you need to buy to fit in with your keto diet. It’s also a good idea to take a list of the foods you should avoid – that way, you won’t be tempted by a fridge full of the wrong foods.
Going keto is certainly an adventure, and one that has its challenges. But if you stick with it, you will find that this diet plan can help you shift those unwanted pounds, and set you on your way to a fitter and healthier body.