The Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat consumption diet was originally met with some concern as people questioned how increasing one's consumption of fat could possibly help burn the body's existing fat stores and increase weight loss progression. However, as more research appears every month supporting the effectiveness and ease of the program, it grows more and more respected and recommended by everyone from health bloggers to medical professionals.
What Is The Keto Diet?
The original version of the Keto Diet as a program for harvesting medicinal benefits was used in the 1920s in the experimental treatment of epilepsy in children to unexpected success in lessening their symptoms and even reversing them with some cases when used on a long-term basis, typically as a lifestyle change instead of just a temporary diet program. Studies such as these are being performed in relation to a variety of different medical conditions that scientists and doctors believe may be connected to the body's production of energy, the type of nutrients consumed in larger quantities or even just regular monitoring of the macronutrients consumed on a daily basis.
Keto (or ketogenic) refers to the body's natural survival metabolic stage of ketosis that initiates in the body when carbohydrate intake is suddenly reduced to almost nothing, and the difference is made up with increased consumption of healthy fats. At its core, the Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan designed to induce and maintain ketosis in the body.
There are many reasons why people may choose to start a ketogenic lifestyle, one of the most popular being for the purpose of weight loss and fat loss in tough areas like the abdomen. This happens as an effect of ketosis, a metabolic process that increases the production of ketones in the body and helps to burn fat (where most diets can only initially help with losing water weight while fat burning has to be achieved through increased exercise).
What Is Ketosis?
When the body is in ketosis, it enhances the production of ketones, the tiny energy molecules that serve as an efficient and clean-burning fuel source for the brain, its internal functions, and other major processes throughout the major organs. Ketosis is typically a survival process that was developed in the early days of humanity when the original species went through cycles of knowing they had food to not knowing where their next meal was going to come from. During these periods of starvation, the body would enter ketosis and rely on the fat stores created during the feasting period to sustain the body when food was scarce.
Today, the process is rarer for someone to enter because of survival reasons thanks widely available food sources available (relatively inexpensively) regardless of the time of year. This has given scientists, nutritionists and medical professionals all over the world to study its effects and figure out how to develop it into a controlled weight loss method that can be used to help ease a variety of other health conditions when used properly.
The Science & Specifics of Keto Diet: How Does It Work?
The Average American Adult Diet is based on a daily macronutrient consumption balance of around 45% to up to 65% carbohydrate intake! That's high compared to the rest of the world and one of the reasons the Keto Diet has become so popular in the west where Keto Diet followers are seeing the most dramatic results.
When carbohydrates make up the majority of someone's daily macronutrient consumption, the body adjusts to using glucose (a sugar product found in ingredients with high carb content) and glycogen for energy. Glycogen is a fatty by-product of carb digestion that can be stored in the body's fat cells when not burned up or can be converted to fuel cells in the liver before being distributed around the brain and internal organs.
When the liver no longer has glucose to convert into energy cells, it calls on the fat from stored areas around the body to create another form of fuel cell called ketones, burning the fat cells from some of the most complicated areas for dieters to conquer like the core, thighs and upper back.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the vital nutrients needed in large amounts by the body in order to function properly and stay strong and healthy. Macronutrients are broken down when consumed and digested and then are transferred throughout the body to be used as energy, stored as fat deposits or expelled from the body as waste. There are three main macronutrients involved in a balanced daily consumption ratio that is required to induce and maintain ketosis. These macronutrients are:
Proteins: These can come from a variety of animal and planted-based sources, but not all of them are recommended for the Keto Diet as they can threaten the effectiveness of ketosis as a weight loss tool. Protein is digested into substances called amino acids which are necessary for a number of elemental functions, some of which include: Damaged cell repair to help speed healing after injury or major surgery
Strengthening muscles after workouts
Improve fundamental brain function
Repairing cellular decay from damage done by glucose fueled fat cells
Carbohydrates: Carbs are the most influential nutritional element cut when someone is starting a ketogenic diet because they make up the base of most people's energy production. The reduced carbohydrate consumption is particularly important for diabetics and those with other blood sugar conditions to monitor as the glucose levels affect the body's insulin production in the pancreas, which it releases to control the body's blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Fats: There are healthy fats that improve internal systems and organ functions, as well as unhealthy fats that cause lifelong health concerns if they are consumed too often and too much. Fat consumption is a source that the body relies on to maintain regular processes through the production and distribution of energy cells.
It is in regards to the fat consumption increase that most people become hesitant or start to question the Keto Diet way of life. After all, how could eating more fat possibly help burn fat and improve overall health? When the daily consumption of these three macronutrients is balanced, so that carb consumption is severely cut, fat and protein consumption are increased to make up the difference, and the right types of fat are increased when the ketogenic lifestyle is at its most efficient and successful.
Balancing the Macronutrients: Choosing Your Most Effective Version of the Keto Diet
There are two main versions of the Keto Diet that have been researched and practiced longer than others. These versions are also the most often recommended for those trying to achieve specific health goals: The Standard Keto Diet and the High Protein Keto Diet.
Standard Keto Diet: This version of the Keto Diet uses the base daily macronutrient consumption ratio of 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein consumption and 75% keto-friendly fats. This version of the diet is the most commonly practiced and researched across the globe. 5% carbohydrate intake for the average adult is estimated to be no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day in order to induce and maintain ketosis in the body.
High-Protein Keto Diet: Almost identical to the Standard Keto Diet and its base daily macronutrient consumption, this version of the program simply increases the amount of daily protein intake to around (or up to) 35% while the fat intake drops to around 60% and the carb consumption stays at a mere 5% in order to sustain the ketogenic state. This version of the Keto Diet is mostly used by those looking to rebuild and strengthen their muscles or people who have protein deficiencies and similar health conditions related to the levels of protein in their body.
There are two other versions of the Keto Diet that are not as studied or widely practiced but are growing popularity in some health and wellness circles: The Cyclical Keto Diet and the Targeted Keto Diet.
Cyclical Keto Diet: This version of the Keto Diet uses the same ratio as the Standard Keto Diet but alters when the Keto Diet is observed throughout the week. Meant to be used as a guide for intermittent periods of low-carb and high-carb consumption windows. Dieters following this method induce ketosis in their body and then remain in that state for five days of the week before slipping out of ketosis with high carbohydrate intake for the next couple of days in an attempt to restore the body's glucose levels before entering ketosis again for another five days and so on. This type of Keto Diet is not intended for making a lifestyle change, but rather for short-term use for those looking to lose weight without completely changing their body's internal processes.
Targeted Keto Diet: The final version of the Keto Diet also uses the same daily intake ratio as the Standard Keto Diet but gives the Keto Diet follower the freedom to up their carbohydrate intake in the hours before high-intensity workouts or other major physical activity. Like protein, carbohydrates are used in the creation of fuel for the body but must be burned off or else they will turn into sugars and dangerous fats that lead to increased weight and heart disease. This is another version of the Keto Diet that is not recommended for long-term use but rather is popular with bodybuilders and other professional athletes.
How to Calculate the Right Amount Of Macronutrients for Daily Consumption
How do you know which version of the Keto Diet is the right method for helping you reach your weight loss or other personal health enhancement goals? The easiest way to find out is to check online for one of the free multitudes of macronutrient calculators available. These calculators use the person's age, gender, weight, and level of regular physical activity to determine the ideal ratio for entering and sustaining ketosis.
Another way to determine the proper ratio for your personal health and wellness needs is to speak with a health professional such as a nutritionist or your personal health physician. Someone with training and medical experience can give you the most specialized and personalized information, tips and tricks based on your personal health history and overall goals for the Keto Diet as a wellness tool.
Other Ways of Boosting Ketosis & Its Effectiveness as a Health Tool
Fasting is a widely respected practice with centuries of research to support its effectiveness and benefits. There are lots of reasons that people fast, the most popular are typically for spiritual reasons as a part of their religious beliefs and for health reasons so that faster can reap the many health benefits that come along with planned fasting.
Planned fasting or Intermittent Fasting, as it is more commonly referred to, is a diet-related health system designed around the basic practice of decreasing your calorie intake by eliminating your food consumption for a controlled, pre-determined period of time. During this time, the internal organs, systems, and processes have time to cleanse, detox and reset before the Intermittent Fasting participant starts consuming their regular daily calorie intake once more at the end of their fasting window.
When used along with the Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting can help to increase the body's performance and help the dieter maintain a consistent state of ketosis, even though their food consumption will be fluctuating. There are a few different methods of Intermittent Fasting, each with its own benefits and risks that should be considered before trying them (and especially before trying them in combination with a new diet program).
For those who aren't interested in further cutting their food consumption throughout the week either for health or psychological reasons, another way of maintaining a ketogenic state even on the busiest days is to make sure that your pantry and refrigerator and filled with a healthy snack and grab and go options. This not only ensures a healthier choice than junk food or sugary temptations that can throw anyone off of their dieting game, but it also means that the dieter always has a keto-friendly food option ready when their blood sugar drops or their fat intake for the day is low and needs to be boosted without a lot of extra calorie consumption.
One way people do this is by using their weekends to stock their kitchens with fat bombs, sweet and savory bite-sized treats made out of healthy fats and designed to enhance the production of ketones in the body between meals or around increased physical activity.
What Are The Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diets are most known for the weight loss that happens as a result of the reduced carb intake and depleted fat stores as the body adapts to functioning in ketosis. The first thing that happens is the body rids itself of excess water stored in the fat cells within the first few days of entering a ketogenic state. This not only helps to inspire the initial weight loss but can also lead to a variety of different health benefits and enhancements including improved blood pressure, better cognitive performance, and improved blood sugar management for those who suffer from with this and related complications.
With such promising results from original testing in the early 1900s, studies are continuing to be conducted on the effects of diet-related ketosis on mental and psychological conditions like seizures, tremors, memory disorders and even more advanced mental diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, depression and no end of others to see if the health benefits will do anything to ease their symptoms or physical troubles. The Keto Diet as more than a weight loss tool has been a popular topic of discussion in medical circles for decades and continues to make waves as more benefits and uses come forward every year showing the value of intentional ketosis.
There are a number of health conditions that have been proven to be eased or even eliminated by use of the Keto Diet as a lifestyle change. One of the more talked about benefits of the Keto Diet (particularly over similar programs currently being studied) is its potential to help the body use the ketogenic state as a method for helping the body heal itself from growing cancer cells. This theory was formed when results from years of studying cancer cells showed that many types of cancer cells use glucose and glycogen in the body to multiply faster than in other study participants who induced and maintained a state of ketosis throughout their treatment. While the details of this theory are still being tested, this is one potential benefit of the Keto Diet that is sure to continue to dominate health circles for decades to come!
The effects of a prolonged ketosis in children with autism are still being studied on a long-term basis, but recent studies show positive results on helping to improve the child's overall behavior, increasing IQ, strengthening cognitive function and control of obesity symptoms in autistic patients following a ketogenic lifestyle change (many are specifically focusing on the Cyclical Keto Diet method for their studies).
Multiple sclerosis patients have also seen exciting results from the switch to a Ketotarian lifestyle. Some of the reported benefits include minimized inflammation, noticeable enhanced memory retention, and improved overall long and short-term memory when followed as a permanent dietary change to eating habits instead of a temporary diet for weight loss or other health enhancement goals.
Those with kidney disorders or negative symptoms related to kidney function can benefit from a ketogenic lifestyle change. When entering and sustaining ketosis for a couple of weeks increases the body's production of uric acid which helps to clear the kidney and improve the organ's vital functions. This is not a long-term solution as the body adjusts to the increase in uric acid and actually starts to lower the body's uric acid levels over time.
Other notable benefits of a ketogenic diet include:
Treatment and improvement of metabolic syndrome symptoms and the condition as a whole
Better sleep and increased energy throughout the day
Decreased appetite and craving for sugars and carbs the longer the diet is followed
Strengthened muscles and decreased recovery time after anything from daily workouts to marathons and twisted wrists to major surgeries
Ready to learn about the other side of the Keto Diet such as side effects, foods to eat and avoid, and how to shop to prep your kitchen for a ketogenic lifestyle? Keep reading to see about everything you need to know and before stating the version of the Keto Diet that's right for you!
The purpose of this chapter is to provide readers with everything they could ever possibly want or need to know to get themselves prepared for and excited about starting a ketogenic diet to help with their personal health goals. The Keto Diet is simple and straightforward compared to other diets on the market for weight loss and fat burning. It also has a wide range of health benefits (some of which we covered in the last chapter); however, there are also some negative effects that can develop throughout a ketogenic diet is not acknowledged and addressed when they appear.
Before diving into any diet program or major lifestyle change that could affect your health, it is important to know what you're signing on for before starting any diet plan, including negative effects that may new dieters should watch out or may have to deal with.
What to Watch Out For When Starting the Keto Diet
The individual side effects of adjusting to a ketogenic diet are different for everyone as each person reacts uniquely to changes in the body. There are some people report going completely free of negative side effects throughout the process of inducing ketosis and giving the body time to adjust (usually two weeks is the minimum recommended amount of time for letting the body adjust to major dietary changes before altering your plans or seeking medical help). If you read over those blogs and articles, don't let yourself get too excited as most people experience at least some mild discomfort or slowing of overall physical and mental performance for a short period of time.
The main reason for this is because during the early days of a Ketotarian lifestyle the body as a whole (from powering internal functions to strengthening the vital organs) is learning to adapt to lower levels of glucose and the increased levels of ketones it now relies on for its main source of fuel.
As the body adapts to functioning without glucose and with increased levels of fats and protein, the digestive system has to grow accustomed to the new way the body absorbs and processes consumed food. This can take time and often leads to a short period of digestive distress. This is one reason unpredictable vomiting and bursts of nausea have also been known to be reported, especially during the first week of the Keto Diet.
Pro Tip: One trick to beating stomach discomfort without affecting the ketogenic processes is to mix one teaspoon of coarse salt with two cups of fresh water every day when your stomach starts to feel upset, ill or just uncomfortable. Sipping carbonated water or some hot water with lemon can also help to ease a disquieted stomach. Any discomfort can be contributed by a number of factors like a new ingredient you've added as part of your regular diet or could be that your stomach is sensitive to the increased protein or fat consumption. If the concerns start to interfere with your daily life, affect other aspects of your health or just start to worry you, never hesitate to contact your personal physician or other medical professionals to ensure that the stomach discomfort is not part of a larger problem.
Leg cramps are one of the more common complaints which people on the Keto Diet have reported and are connected with both hydration levels and ketone production levels. This can be easily fixed with a daily multivitamin to ensure natural potassium levels are where they should be. This should get rid of all muscle soreness in the legs and throughout the rest of the body.
One effect women have reported when adjusting to a ketogenic diet is irregularities with their menstrual cycles. For some women, it's the intensity of their cycle while others see normal flow levels but for a longer or short period of time than they are accustomed to. Some studies have shown that long-term irregularities can be a symptom of infertility or reproduction concerns brought on a by a major change in their dietary and eating habits. When they have an additional layer of fat in their body for the purpose of protecting a baby in the uterus, this layer of fat exists and can be difficult to overcome even when the woman is not pregnant or has any current plans of doing so. Women who experience changes to their periods when starting the Keto Diet, women who are pregnant before starting the diet and women who have intentions of becoming pregnant within a year of starting the diet should speak with a medical professional about whether or not the Keto Diet is the right choice for them or if there are other health enhancement diet options that may better suit their intentions.
Yo-yo dieting is an uncommon, but growing in interest and coverage, potential psychological negative effect of the Keto Diet. This condition is the repetitive and compulsive act of partaking in a dramatic or intensive diet, coming back of off it after a pre-determined period of time or once they've reached their temporary health goals, only to go back on the diet again either because the health goals achieved in the first round of dieting have reversed or because of setting new health goals beyond the ones recently reached. In some cases, this condition can lead to the development of dangerous eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia and can also inflame existing health conditions or create more severe health concerns throughout the body.
This condition is also easily avoidable when dieters take the time to gather plenty of information on any diet they plan to start, prepare their kitchen with a full stock of keto-friendly products (after clearing it of items and ingredients that are not recommended for the Keto Diet) and collect everything they need to get started without stress or illness!
Pro Tip: It is critical for people on the Keto Diet to pay attention to their hydration levels and drink plenty of water as the ketosis in the body can lead to dangerous levels of dehydration. Low levels of water content in the muscles and organs can lead to kidney damage and failure along with other effects of low water intake such as:
Increased thirst and decreased urination
Dry skin and sunken eyes
Dizziness and headaches
Dry mouth and bad breath
Other symptoms to watch out for at the beginning of a ketogenic diet include, but are not limited to:
Heart palpitations and fluttering without strenuous activity
Severely decreased tolerance to alcoholic beverages
Noticeable hair loss across the body
Increased chance of kidney stones
Skin distress like rashes or breakouts
These issues are usually temporary, lasting only a week or two. For anyone experiencing them continuously after starting a ketogenic diet and making alterations to try to combat them naturally, should seek medical assistance as they may be signs or symptoms of a more concerning health condition.
What Is The Keto Flu?
The Keto Flu is a term that refers to the sudden appearance of negative symptoms some dieters feel at the start of their journey while their body adjusts to running on the products and fuel cells produced by the Keto Diet. While it is not contagious or similar to the more recognized influenza flu in many ways, it does share a lot of the same base symptoms that people feel in the days leading up to coming down with the flu. Some of the most common symptoms associated with the Keto Flu include:
Irritability, anxiety and other emotional imbalances
Muscle weakness and damage
Decreased mental, physical and sexual stamina
Digestive concerns ranging in intensity from mild cramps to intense constipation
Headaches that can range in severity from mild pressure aches to severe migraines
Since it is related to how the body is responding to the Keto Diet, the Keto Flu can easily be reversed by returning to the body's normal dietary consumption levels and eating habits. This method is only recommended for those who are having symptoms so severe that it is causing intense pain or stress of their system. The Keto Flu is a common occurrence throughout the first month of a ketogenic diet (according to years of data and results available with research), but for the majority of those who claim multiple concerns, the symptoms typically appear and retreat naturally within the first week.
How to Fight the Keto Flu & Its Symptoms
One of the reasons the Keto Flu develops as a concern for many new Keto Diet followers is because it's also often a sign that the dieter's daily macronutrient consumption balance is off. One of the easiest ways to combat the Keto Flu is to start gradually increasing your daily fat intake, maybe starting with 5 grams a week increments until the Keto Flu symptoms disappear and the body finally adjusts to being in ketosis.
Another way to fight the Keto Flu is to start taking a daily multi-vitamin. This is already a habitual practice recommended for adults (especially those with muscle weakness or known nutrients deficiencies). Keto Diet followers often find that by increasing their fat intake (even though they are healthy fats) they lose out on vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that they used to get from parts of their diet that have been altered to decrease the carbohydrate consumption. There are hundreds of different vitamins on the market that are designed to focus on specific health concerns. There are also those that were created to be more generic, providing the people who take them with a complete dose of each of the vitamins and minerals adults are recommended to consume on a daily basis, in the amounts that they are recommended to take them.
One step new Keto Diet followers adjusting to the effects of ketosis and the symptoms of the Keto Flu can take is to decrease their physical activity for the first few weeks of their diet. Cutting back on regular exercise for a short period of time gives the body a chance to adjust, repair and reset without the additional strain of intensive or extensive exercise. When the body starts to feel better or more back to normal, regular exercise can be continued or even increased to help boost the positive effects of the Keto Diet and help to sustain the ketogenic metabolic state while burning stored body fat.
Pro Tip: Just stay focused! This, above all else, is the key to success on the Keto Diet. Make the adjustments and changes to your daily plan to help with other symptoms like the ideas mentioned above or other tricks like increasing your water intake, filling your daily diet with more dark greens and rich proteins, and making sure you're getting enough sleep (as this is something that can often be affected by the start of a ketogenic diet).
Now that you've read about the potential side effects of starting a ketogenic diet and some of the most common (and effective) methods to fighting them, let's take a look at some of the steps beginners on any version of the Keto Diet can take in order to prepare themselves fully for the changes, obstacles and struggles that may be coming their way in the first few weeks of their journey.
Have A Clear Picture of What You're Consuming Each Day
There are many ways for people to start dieting. One of the most popular and widely practiced methods is the classic calorie counting program. With this program, dieters lose weight by keeping their overall food consumption within a certain balance of caloric intake. For some, calorie counting is too taxing with everything they already have to keep track of in their daily lives, while for others it's the only way to know they have reached their required nutritional intake each day.
The success of many diets is determined by how complex managing food consumption becomes in the process of achieving their desired health results. The Keto Diet is one of the most popular diets circulating health and wellness communities right now because of the freedom it allows with the types of food consumed instead of cutting back on the types of macronutrients consumed through food each day. This means that even though the calorie intake levels for every person is determined by their personal health status, history and goals, those following the Keto Diet don't need to worry about this as much as they do the macronutrient content of the foods they're eating regularly.
Pro Tip: Know what you're eating! Always follow these simple steps when choosing ingredients to use in your meal planning or kitchen stocking.
Always Check Labels: Regardless of what the ingredient is, always look at the label. This is especially important for people new to the diet (and especially with products they may have used before making their dietary changes) as there are lots of products and ingredients that may seem keto-friendly, but on closer glance include things like glucose or hidden carbs that can affect ketogenic performance.
Check the Ingredients: The first five ingredients on any product label list can be very telling (particularly on products or ingredients listed as healthy or dietary). Products or pre-packaged meals that have starches and sugars listed in the first of their ingredients (even if they are labeled ‘keto' or ‘keto-friendly') should be avoided as those starches and sugars are going to slow weight loss and take the body out of ketosis.
Don't Overlook Serving Size: Just looking at the product or ingredient's carb levels isn't enough to get a clear picture of whether a diet option is keto-friendly or not. The label may say that it only contains 1 gram of carbohydrates, but the serving size may not be enough to fill them up with just one portion, so they decide to go ahead and have a second portion and dieters can end up overeating and forcing their body out of ketosis.
Calculate Your Food's Complete Carbs: This is particularly important for those who are sensitive to carbohydrate consumption levels and those who are having difficulty inducing or sustaining ketosis. If you ask 100 Keto Diet followers whether it is more important to take Net Carbs or Total Carbs into account when checking food labels, you will find that the answers are as different as the individuals. Those who support Net Carbs over Total Carbs and vice versa, do so because that one method has been more effective in meeting their health goals. If you were to ask a nutritionist or personal physician, the answer would most like be more diplomatic and say that both are critical components for a true and successful ketogenic diet. Total Carbs are typically already calculated and listed, it is easy to find the Net Carbs of an ingredient by simply subtracting the amount of Dietary Fiber listed from the Total Carbs amount.
What Foods Should You Pack Your Kitchen With
One of the ways to guarantee your success with any version of the Keto Diet that can be used to meet your health needs is to make sure there are plenty of good ingredients available in your kitchen! Here is a closer look at some of the most effective and powerful foods and products that can be used to make the most out of your Ketotarian lifestyle.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile and widely praised keto-friendly cooking oil substitutes recommended for anyone preparing themselves for the Keto Diet. It is also the favorite choice for many who would rather avoid the strong and prominent flavor of olive oil and prefer something milder that can be used in just about any dish. Coconut oil has been used for years to help with neurological concerns and conditions such as dementia, memory loss and conditions like Alzheimer's. Most recently it has grown in popularity in the western hemisphere as research finds that coconut oil helps not only with weight loss but with the burning of tough core fat and other stores throughout the body.
One of the main reasons coconut oil is so popular for Keto Diet followers is because it is arguably the healthiest cooking oil and frying fat replacement option available on the market. This is thanks to the medium-chain triglycerides it contains which are directly absorbed and converted to ketones in the liver after digestion, unlike other forms of healthy fat and cooking oils that are first converted into longer fat chains and sent through the body before being stored in existing fat cells for use as energy later.
For those who aren't bothered by (or even prefer) the taste of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is another recommended healthy fat to use as a replacement for butter and other cooking oils not designed for a ketogenic diet. Olive oil, in its most pure form, has been used to improve people's health since the early days of medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome, with some physicians, philosophers, and theorists of the day even claiming that it could be the key to immortality. For this reason, it was often prescribed as a daily habit for kings and queens to take a tablespoon of olive oil by mouth before going to bed each night. One of the reasons for its continued use in modern times (now as a weight loss and fat burning tool) is the high presence of oleic acid in its contents. Oleic acid is a type of fat that has been proven to help people with existing heart conditions or a higher risk of developing severe heart disease reduce or eliminate their symptoms before ever becoming a serious problem.
Avocados have been described as a miracle food for decades now, first making their mark on the culinary world in Latin and Hispanic cuisines and on the western side of the United States. Technically a fruit, avocados are high in fiber and low in sugars, making them a popular staple in any ketogenic kitchen. Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in households across the globe, but unfortunately, they are also one of the first fruits to be reduced or eliminated for consumption when people start the Keto Diet as they are one of the highest in sugar content per serving. Avocados make a great replacement for bananas as they are of a similar texture, but without the added sugars and carbohydrates that come with eating the tropical yellow fruit. Avocados are featured in a variety of different forms and functions.
What Foods to Avoid On the Keto Diet
While followers of the Keto Diet are lucky in the fact that the diet program they've chosen to follow includes all kinds of tasty ingredients and products often not welcomed on diets that religiously follow calorie counting, like with other diets, there are foods that are not recommended for consumption when the body is in ketosis. Here is a closer look at some of those foods and why those embracing a Ketotarian lifestyle should avoid ever eating them.
Tropical fruits are one of the top items on the lists of foods to avoid on the Keto Diet. This category includes fruits such as bananas (which we discussed a little bit in the last section), mangoes and some melons. The reasoning for this is because they contain the highest levels of carbs and sugars of any other fruit options available around the world. Some beginners to the Keto Diet who regularly ate fruits like bananas before they started the program notice that they are more achy and fatigued on a physical level after that cut the fruit from their diets. Increasing the amount of water being consumed to help increase blood circulation is the easiest and fastest way to eliminate muscle aches and cramps. Dieters who are suffering from lack of potassium and other nutrients can also just go ahead and have a banana or other dose of fruit. They just need to make sure they are aware of the macronutrient amounts they are consuming and balance them within their macronutrient consumption balance ratio for the day.
Another category of food not recommended for consumption on any version of the Keto Diet is whole grains. While they are recommended across other diets as a healthy alternative to processed carbohydrates and flour-based products, it is typically recommended for followers of the Keto Diet to completely reduce them from their food options in favor of vegetable-based grain substitutes like riced cauliflower or smashed chickpeas. Whole grains are almost entirely made up of carbs, and even one portion (if not carefully planned and balanced out) can be enough to threaten ketosis levels for even the most experienced Keto Diet followers. Even grains like quinoa and barley that are typically recommended as healthy alternatives to white and brown rice should not be consumed on the Keto Diet as they are also high in carbs and not much else.
There are some processed foods specifically designed to be purchased, used and consumed by those following one of the many Keto Diet methods, but processed and refined foods do more harm than good when consumed on a ketogenic diet more often than they are helpful. One of the reasons for this is because pre-made and processed products can often be filled with hidden chemicals or ingredients that can be detrimental to the ketosis performance in an individual's body. Processed and preserved foods often contain chemicals that do not occur naturally in food, and therefore, the body struggles to digest them. Unable to use them as fuel in the body, these chemicals are broken down, and their byproducts end up stored in the fat cells, hurting any weight loss or fat burning progress that has been made or is in the process of happening.
When in doubt or concerned, most Keto Diet followers prefer to make their meals at home out of organic meat and produce and only with ingredients that contain things they can pronounce. This isn't always the easiest way to live when the day gets demanding, but it is the most proven and researched way to achieve your personal health goals, regardless of what they are or how long you're expecting them to take.
Take a look at these sample shopping lists for a better idea of how to get yourself and your kitchen ready for making the change to a Ketotarian lifestyle as painless and seamless as possible!
7-Day Beginner's Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan
Another way to ensure success on any version of the Keto Diet is to do your research, make your decisions based on what you've learned, and sit down to draw up a solid plan to get started. Having a plan makes overcoming obstacles easier when they arrive and knowing what to expect during the early days makes it easier to defeat psychological blocks and negative physical side effects when they develop.
To use this meal plan, choose a meal from each category for each day of the week. For those who may be using an Intermittent Fasting program along with their Keto Diet, just choose meals from the categories that fit around your fasting windows during your feasting times.
Hamburger and cheddar frittata
Coconut & chia breakfast puddings with black coffee and fresh orange slices
Homemade cheesy keto-friendly bagels with crispy bacon
Beat the Keto Flu Breakfast Smoothie
Chia seed cereal with fresh berries and almond milk
Crispy parsnip fries with keto-friendly dipping sauce
Trail mix with keto-friendly nuts, chia seeds, and homemade granola
Salted caramel popcorn made with coconut oil
Guacamole fat bombs
Dark chocolate and coconut smoothie
Chicken & Vegetable sushi rolls
Roasted shrimp and BLT lettuce wraps
Vegetable Pad Thai with zucchini noodles
Shredded chicken sandwich with yellow curry hummus spread
Steak and egg cheddar-filled protein cups
Sweet & tangy grilled chicken thighs
Grilled steak with roasted green beans
Cauliflower-stuffed bell peppers
Eggplant lasagna with roasted garlic spread on keto-friendly toast
Beef and broccoli with riced cauliflower
Not everyone eats dessert every night, but for those who do, each of these makes enough for leftovers throughout the week.
Fresh berries with orange cream spread
Dark chocolate and avocado almond milkshakes
Holiday Sugar Cookie Fat Bombs
Homemade raspberry sherbet with keto-friendly coconut whipped cream
Flourless peanut butter cookies made with coconut flour