Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ketogenic Diet!
There are a lot of diet trends out there, and for anyone who doesn’t work in nutrition, it can get a little confusing. Some diets focus on a single type of food (grapefruit diet anyone?), while others focus on fat intake, carb intake, or protein intake, and still others seek to find the right balance between the various types of nutrients.
One diet that’s been growing in popularity in recent years is the ketogenic diet (“keto” for short). One of the reasons it’s become popular recently is the dramatic rate at which dieters lose weight. We’ll cover some of the basics to help you determine if this diet is right for you, but it’s important to remember three things about dieting:
- Success with a particular diet can vary from person to person. Some of this is based on body chemistry, and no two people are the same.
- Unless there are specific health conditions to consider (such as diabetes), diets should be seen more as guidelines rather than something strict. It’s not the end of the world if you want to have a cheat day (or two). Just remember what your goal is and to take that into consideration when making food choices.
- It’s best to consult a nutritionist or medical professional to find the diet that’s best for you.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
A keto diet seeks to induce the liver to produce ketones, a byproduct when the body uses fat as an energy supply because carbohydrates intake is low. This is achieved by dramatically cutting out foods with both simple and complex carbohydrates, while increasing consumption of foods that are high in fat. When the body achieves this state, it’s called ketosis, which is a natural process that occurs in the body when food intake is low. Think about it as forcing your body into a state where it naturally burns fat for energy.
How Does The Keto Diet Work?
The body primarily relies on carbohydrates for fuel, and cutting carbs forces your body to look for other energy sources. By removing carbs from our diet and increasing our fat intake, we can push our body into the ketogenic state.
What Foods Are Included And Excluded?
The keto diet is great for people who like to eat meat, as it relies heavily on animal fats. Additionally, the diet calls for eating more leafy green and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.
The diet cuts out all processed carbohydrates, so no bread, pasta, rice, or high-carb processed foods, but also no potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other starchy vegetables. Sugar is also a no-no, including naturally occurring sugars in honey, agave, or maple syrup.
Lastly, while it’s not necessary to cut fruit, the diet generally calls for cutting down on them and eating fewer naturally sweet vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
Some high-fat dairy is okay to consume, such as hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter and mayo, but things like yogurt or half-n-half should be reduced, too, as they sometimes contain higher levels of carbs.
Can Vegetarians Or Vegans Go On The Keto Diet?
While meat is often a large component of a keto diet, it’s not entirely necessary. Many low-carb diets replace carbs with protein, but the keto diet seeks to replace carbs with fat. That said, vegetarians still need to get protein, and typical keto proteins can include soy products such as tempeh, natto, and some nuts and seeds. Eggs and some dairy are also allowed and can be good sources of protein for vegetarians.
Is The Keto Diet Healthy?
The keto diet can be healthy when followed correctly, but some people with certain health conditions may want to avoid it. As always, it’s best to speak to a professional nutritionist to determine if this is a good option for you.
Schedule an appointment with one of our nutritionist, and our integrative medicine specialists will help you determine if it’s right for you.
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