You want to lose a lot of weight, right? We all do, to some degree. Weather it’s 5, 10, 20 or even 100 pounds. The ketogenic, or keto, diet can help us to achieve the goals we have. Let’s break down what the basics of the Ketogenic diet is, or what I’ll refer to as Keto from now on” and what it isn’t.
*If you’d rather skip all the information and dive right into the program, go here and get started today*
The Keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet. Similar to the Atkins and South Beach diets. You eat a moderate amount of protein, really low carbs and higher fats. I like to keep my carbohydrates under 50 carbs per day. And aim to go lower than that. My fats I keep fairly high, with my protein being a close second. Generally I gauge it as follows:
- Fats: 60%
- Protein: 30%
- Carbs: 10%
What good is a low carb diet?
When you workout, you expel energy through your movements. That energy in your body burns calories. When you eat a high amount of carbs, your body uses that as the primary source of fuel. In turn, when you eat a surplus of fats and lower your carbs, your body uses fat as the primary source of fuel when expelling energy. This state our body is put in, is called ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a state our body is put in, when we eat a surplus of fats, moderate protein and minimal to no carbohydrates. During ketosis, we expel what is known as ketones. Ketones are acids known as ketone bodies, which have 3 main types: beta-hydroxybutyric acid, aceto-acetic acid, and acetone. This may seem confusing at first, but I encourage you that you don’t need to have a doctorate in chemistry to understand their role in the body.
Think of your body as a car. Your muscles are the motor. Fat, carbohydrates and, even in some occasions, protein can all be used as energy or gasoline. The opposite side, being “exhaust”. When fat is burned off that results in ketones. Or glucose; resulting in lactic acid. 99% of the time, seeing a large amount of ketones in your urine means you are in the fat burning “zone”. A lot of people don’t believe this, I like to let the results speak for themselves.
What CAN I eat?
You don’t have to suffer without carbs. Many of us believe that without rice, potatoes and baked goods we cannot survive. I hear it time and time again “we need carbs to live.” Or “we cannot survive without carbs.” The complete opposite is true, we live in a society so addicted to carbohydrates and junk food full of (empty calories), when we take them away things can become hostile.
On the Keto diet, you can have:
- Vegetables(mainly green).
- Meat(fatty meats are good here also).
- Cheese sparingly.
- Nuts sparingly.
- Oils (healthy oils).
Here is a list of what I currently eat on my Keto diet:
- Grass fed ground beef.
- Chicken (both whole and ground).
- Asparagus(by far my favorite).
- Coconut oil.
- Ghee(clarified butter).
- Ground lamb.
- A low carb protein powder(currently using quest nutrition).
- Almond butter (fewer carbs than peanut butter. But use whichever you wish).
- Almond milk.
- Olive oil.
- Green beans.
- Salmon and tuna steaks.
- Occasionally I will throw in some eggs and bacon as well.
I like to keep it fairly simple, and straight forward. I also have spaghetti squash. Which has a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. With only 4 carbs per serving. You have to go by the ‘net’ carbs. Because that is your total carbs minus the fiber. I like to keep my vegetables fresh. If you can’t do fresh. Opt for frozen. If you can’t do frozen. The last ditch, is canned. I always try to keep everything as organic as possible. As well as grass fed meats when optional.
On the Keto diet, aim to drink at least a gallon of water a day. Depriving your body of complex carbs, can dehydrate you. It is imperative that you drink an adequate amount of water, regardless of doing a Keto diet or not. The goal is at least half your body weight in ounces. But I try to maintain a gallon a day. Water not only improves muscle recovery, there is a list of other things. The removal of waste, proper brain function, flushing toxins from the kidneys, clear skin(removal of debri and oil that causes acne), eye health, the list goes on.
As with any Diet or lifestyle change, it is important to properly prepare for the journey. You cannot expect to be successful with your Keto diet if you have 5 boxes of rice, 10lbs of potatoes, chips, candy, soda, cookies, ice cream, etc all laying around the house. The worst killer of any diet or lifestyle change, is temptation. If it’s there, you’ll be tempted. When you haven’t had any carbs for 3-4 days and you get in that “carb flu” sort of mode. The one where your body is craving carbs, as a last ditch effort before it begins to use fat for fuel, and so you feel groggy and sickly. You will go straight for the first carb source around. Fail to prepare or prepare to fail.
As with any diet, you should always consult a health professional if you have any underlying health conditions. Especially diabetes and things of that nature, as a ketogenic diet can change your bodies insulin sensitivity.
That being said, there is the basic overview of the Keto diet. It’s fairly simple and straight forward. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them. Stay healthy and active.