What to Eat on a Keto Diet
Did you tell yourself that you were going to lose weight in 2022? Was this the year you are going to finally do it once and for all? Was it your new year’s resolution? If so, awesome. By this time, you are likely either losing weight and thriving – or, you might be struggling to stick with it. Statistics show that the latter is true for most of us. Losing weight is hard and it is one of the most common – and most commonly broken – new year’s resolutions.
Some diets just don’t work. And when you are restricting yourself so much, it just backfires. You are going to cave and go eat that cheeseburger, or ice cream, or pizza, or bag of potato chips… whatever tickles your fancy. We are human – carrot sticks only satisfy the urge to munch for so long (for some, it’s only hours). But what if there was a diet that allowed you to indulge in all the good stuff?
A keto diet is not a junk food diet, but it does allow you a little more flexibility on what you eat – including better tasting food. And, thanks to alternatives that have been created, you can find just about anything you want in the grocery store. Even keto ice cream.
How Keto Works
The idea behind keto is to burn fat by eating fat. What? Yes, you read it right. The keto diet, formally known as the ketogenic diet, has grown in popularity over the last several years – with many people finding success in their weight loss. It is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Let’s explain how it works so that it makes a bit more sense.
The body typically burns carbs for fuel. But when you are on a keto diet, your body will begin to transition and slowly start burning fat for fuel. Ketosis is the process by which your body breaks down fatty acids, producing ketones in the liver. These ketones then supply the brain and body with energy. To get the body into ketosis, you have to avoid carbs. In fact, you want to stay under 25 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) each day. Keep in mind that this is just a general number that will vary for each person.
Protein plays a huge role in this diet as does fat. Both of these things need to make up the biggest part of the keto diet.
Why Choose Keto?
As unhealthy as it may sound to consume high quantities of fat, it does seem to have some great benefits that come along with it, such as:
- Weight loss, which leads to a plethora of other health benefits. And the weight loss most experience on keto is often greater than what people find on other diets.
- Reduce inflammation throughout the body.
- Increase energy levels with fewer drops in energy. After all, carbs are notorious for drops in energy levels so eating minimal carbs can reduce that greatly.
- Better blood sugar – and type 2 diabetes – control. Some may even reduce the need for diabetes medication altogether!
- Better brain health and cardiovascular health.
What to Eat on a Keto Diet
Ready to kick off a new way of eating to see if it works for you? Let’s look at all the foods you should be eating on a keto diet.
Meat and Poultry. Protein is important on a keto diet – which means meat and poultry are important, too. Consider choosing grass-fed meats, if possible.
Seafood. Fish and shellfish are both good for a keto diet and they contain some much-needed nutrients, too. Though beware because some shellfish have carbs that others don’t, such as oysters and octopuses.
Eggs. Eggs are high in protein and have very few carbs. This makes them a frequent part of the keto diet.
Cheese. Another common find in a keto diet is cheeses of all types – sans American cheese. Most cheese is low in carbs and high in fat – and they taste great as part of many dishes. There have been many findings over the years that, although many believe it to increase your risk of heart disease, it may actually protect against it while offering many other benefits, too. Do your research!
Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is one of the healthiest types of yogurt – and it is high in protein, too. It is important to note that many do contain carbs so you will want to keep an eye on that.
Vegetables. Not all vegetables are keto-friendly, but they are important for your overall health as they provide a long list of nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Consider adding the following to your diet:
- Green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, collard greens, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, etc.
- Summer squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Green beans
- Brussel sprouts
Foods to Avoid on Keto
Just like everything in life, there are restrictions. Some foods you have always considered good for you – like fruits and vegetables – have a higher level of carbs, for instance, than you may realize. Limiting them is important to achieve and maintain ketosis. Certain foods that you should not include in a keto diet include things, such as:
- Grains, including rice, quinoa, oats, wheat, and more
- Fruits, including apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, mangoes, and more
- Beans, including kidney beans, black beans, lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans, and more
- Vegetables, including corn, carrots, peas, yams, potatoes, and more
- Sugars, including honey, maple syrup, agave, and more
- Drinks, including sodas (regular and diet), sweet coffee beverages, sports drinks, beer, and more
Well, there you have it – everything you didn’t know that you needed to know about keto. If you decide to give it a whirl and watch it transform your life, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor first. Then, make yourself a list, head to the grocery store, and load up your refrigerator with all the foods you will need to succeed. Happy losing!