What is a Keto Diet?

What is a Keto Diet?

I get that question a lot, “what is a keto diet?” A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.

When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.

  • Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
  • Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

What are “Ketones”?

There’s a reason behind the title, “Keto Diet”.  The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”. This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar).

Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.

What is Ketosis?

During a Keto Diet, we experience ketosis.  Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.

Are there benefits to a Keto Diet?

The benefits that come from a ketogenic diet are similar to those of any strict low-carb diet. However, the effect might be even greater since protein is more restricted. This raises ketones more, and lowers insulin (the fat-storing hormone) more.

What can you eat on a Keto Diet?

Keto Diet: Eat Freely

Grass-fed and wild animal sources

  • grass-fed meat (beef, lamb, goat, venison), wild-caught fish & seafood (avoid farmed fish), pastured pork and poultry, pastured eggs, gelatin, ghee, butter – these are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids (avoid sausages and meat covered in breadcrumbs, hot dogs, meat that comes with sugary or starchy sauces)
  • offal, grass-fed (liver, heart, kidneys and other organ meats)

Healthy fats

  • saturated (lard, tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, goose fat, clarified butter / ghee, butter, coconut oil)
  • monounsaturated (avocado, macadamia and olive oil)
  • polyunsaturated omega 3s, especially from animal sources (fatty fish and seafood)
  • You can find a complete guide to fats & oils in my post here. (which to use for cold use, which for high-heat cooking and which to avoid)

Non-starchy vegetables

  • leafy greens (Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, lettuce, chard, chives, endive, radicchio, etc.)
  • some cruciferous vegetables like kale (dark leaf), kohlrabi, radishes
  • celery stalk, asparagus, cucumber, summer squash (zucchini, spaghetti squash), bamboo shoots

Fruits

  • avocado

Beverages and Condiments

  • water (still), coffee (black or with cream or coconut milk), tea (black, herbal)
  • pork rinds (cracklings) for “breading”
  • mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, bone broth (make your own), pickles, fermented foods (kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut (make your own) – best homemade with no additives (my recipes for home-made condiments are here)
  • all spices and herbs, lemon or lime juice and zest
  • whey protein (beware of additives, artificial sweeteners, hormones and soy lecithin), egg white protein and gelatin (grass-fed, hormone free)

Keto Diet: Eat Occasionally

Vegetables, Mushrooms and Fruits

  • some cruciferous vegetables (white and green cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, turnips, rutabaga / swede)
  • nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers)
  • some root vegetables (parsley root), spring onion, leek, onion, garlic, mushrooms, winter squash (pumpkin)
  • sea vegetables (nori, kombu), okra, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, wax beans, globe or French artichokes, water chestnuts
  • berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, mulberries, etc.)
  • coconut, rhubarb, olives

Grain-fed animal sources and full-fat Dairy

  • beef, poultry, eggs and ghee (avoid farmed pork, it’s too high in omega 6s!)
  • dairy products (plain full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, cream, sour cream, cheese) – avoid products labeled “low-fat”, most of them are packed with sugar and starch and have little sating effect
  • bacon – beware of preservatives and added starches (nitrates are acceptable if you eat enough antioxidants)

Nuts and seeds

  • macadamia nuts (very low in carbs, high in omega 3s)
  • pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds
  • brazil nuts (beware of very high level of selenium – don’t eat too many of them!)

Fermented soy products

  • if eaten, only non GMO and fermented soy products (Natto, Tempeh, soy sauce or paleo-friendly coconut aminos)
  • Edamame (green soy beans), black soybeans – unprocessed

Condiments

  • healthy “zero-carb” sweeteners (Stevia, Swerve, Erythritol, etc.)
  • thickeners: arrowroot powder, xanthan gum (keep in mind xanthan gum is not paleo-friendly – some people following the paleo diet use it, as you only need a very little amount)
  • sugar-free tomato products (puree, passata, ketchup)
  • cocoa and carob powder, extra dark chocolate (more than 70%, better 90% and beware of soy lecithin), cocoa powder
  • beware of sugar-free chewing gums and mints – some of them have carbs

Some Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts and Seeds

  • root vegetables (celery root, carrot, beetroot, parsnip and sweet potato)
  • watermelon, Cantaloupe / Galia / Honeydew melons
  • pistachio and cashew nuts, chestnuts
  • Only very small amounts, better avoided completely: apricot, dragon fruit (Pitaya), peach, nectarine, apple, grapefruit, kiwifruit, kiwi berries, orange, plums, cherries, pears, figs (fresh)

Alcohol

  • dry red wine, dry white wine, spirits (unsweetened)

Keto Diet: Avoid If Possible

  • All grains, even whole meal
  • Factory-farmed pork and fish are high inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and farmed fish may contain PCBs
  • Processed foods containing carrageenan, sulphites, BPAs, wheat gluten
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Refined fats and oils, trans fats such as margarine.
  • “Low-fat”, “low-carb” and “zero-carb” products
  • Milk (only small amounts of raw, full-fat milk is allowed)
  • Alcoholic, sweet drinks (beer, sweet wine, cocktails, etc.)
  • Tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, etc.)

Balmert_AdNeed a FREE Coach?

Let's be accountability partners.  This is what I do - I've help thousands of people with their health and fitness.  I've learn so much throughout my own journey, so I am able to share my experiences to help other people see the best results.  My help costs you $0... NOTHING! FREE! So let me help you. Send me and email or message me on Facebook to connect.   All you have to do is sign-up by clicking the button below and you will be part of our team!  Submitting the request will take less than 10 seconds.

 

Chris Balmert

Make sure you reach out to me:

bbcoachchris@gmail.com (or) Message Me on Facebook

Speak Your Mind

*

*RESULTS VARY - If you want results, then don't be lazy.
Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity.
Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill. Do the work, get the results.

- You must enter a valid email to receive access to my FREE GUIDE -

Don't worry, your contact info will be kept a secret.