You may have heard your friends boasting about losing weight on the Keto diet. But what is it? What can you eat and not eat on it?
It’s very much the “in” diet of the moment. Like Atkins over 15 years ago, it’s something that dieters all over the world are taking part in. Books are being written about it, lifestyles are changing, but what exactly is Keto, and does it actually work?
That’s what we’re going to try and discover today.
I’ll start off by saying, on a personal level, that I am currently doing the Keto diet, entering my third week. I’m seeing some definite results and I’m very high on this diet. It doesn’t feel like a fad so much as it’s an alteration of lifestyle. But what might be easy for me might be difficult for others, and that’s solely a “based on personal tastes” kinda thing. So just keep that in mind as we go through.
What is Keto?
Keto is a low carbohydrates high fat and moderate protein diet.
The word keto is short for Ketogenic. Ketogenic is defined as “related to or causing Ketosis.”
I know, I defined one word you don’t know with another word that you don’t know.
Ketosis is defined as “a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.”
The goal of the Keto diet is to put your body into a state of ketosis by taking in fat as your primary source of food. Typically, when we eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, the body uses that for fuel. So, the fat you eat is stored for later. By cutting back severely on carbohydrates and focusing mainly on fat, the body will eat up your fat to fuel itself.
The body takes care of the fat, burning it off for energy, and then you lose weight. When we’re in a state of ketosis, the body is burning fat consistently. Every move you make eats up energy, and when that energy comes from fat, that’s less fat around your midsection.
Keto isn’t really concerned with calorie counting, though some do take this into account. Keto judges success or failure through the tracking of macros.
What are Keto Macros?
Keto macros are percentages that are gathered based on the food you’re eating on a daily basis. Keto is very specific about what percentage you should be consuming in fat, protein, and carbohydrates on a daily basis.
According to the Keto diet, your daily macros should break down like this:
- 60-75% of your calories should be derived from fat. (More is not a bad thing)
- 15-30% of your calories come from protein
- 5-10% of your calories come from carbohydrates
I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing.
“How am I supposed to know what percentage is what?”
Don’t worry, you don’t need to sit there and do a lot of math. I have found that the app “MyFitnessPal” is a Keto dieter’s best friend. You just put in all of the food that you eat in a day, and the app automatically calculates your macros. And it’s 100% free to use.
One thing to be wary of is the dreaded Keto Flu. This is an ailment that hits most Keto dieters right at the beginning of their Keto journey, as soon as the body realizes what you’re up to.
It happens when your body suddenly has no sugar to burn through and has to switch gears in order to burn fat. Insulin levels are drastically lowered, and you may encounter some flu-like symptoms, headaches, irritability, or depression.
Just know that it’s temporary. A lot of eager Keto folks jump ship the second it starts to get uncomfortable. The Keto Flu passes. You can weather this storm.
What Can You Eat?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? “What can I eat on the Keto diet?”
You want foods that are naturally high in fat and contain little to no carbs. So right away you’ve got butter, olive oil, meat (this diet is a bacon lover’s dream), fish, above ground veggies, eggs, and cheese. (Yes! A diet that includes cheese! REJOICE!)
You’ll want to avoid things like bread, rice, potatoes, juice, soda, candy, donuts, pasta, and even fruit. These foods are all chock full of carbohydrates.
If you’ve got questions about a certain food, we’ve for the answers.
Here are some of the foods that we’ve examined to determined whether or not they conform to the Keto lifestyle. Click on one to find out.