Are You Considering a Keto Diet? Tools for Success!
The basic guideline for following a ketogenic diet is easy to understand but it takes a bit of work and time (as well as withdrawal from a carbohydrate heavy eating style) to accomplish. It is a low carbohydrate plan, not a zero carbohydrate plan.
The Fat-Protein-Carbohydrate Split of the Ketogenic Diet
Daily intake of protein is dependent on your personal height, weight, gender, and if you are physically active (20-25% of your total food intake) – 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories. Carbohydrate consumption should be between 20-60 grams (5-10% of your total food intake) – 1 gram of carbs equals 4 calories. The remainder of your calories will come from fats (70-75% of your total food intake) – 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.
If you follow these general guidelines, your body will respond by entering ketosis. You are trading the carbohydrate foods for fats as well as a bit more protein than usual.
The foods that work best with a ketogenic diet are inexpensive and readily available in most local grocery stores.
6 Tips for Ketogenic Diet Success
- You’ll have to prepare more of your meals since ketogenic foods are unprocessed. Natural ingredients need to be cooked in a healthy way (say no to microwaving!) and the extra effort is worth it!
- Avoid “diet” foods. Pre-prepared products that claim to be “low carb” are highly refined and chemically altered. They aren’t good for you.
- Keep a journal and track your intake. This is helpful in the beginning to fine-tune what foods you enjoy, which don’t agree with you, and particular successes with preparation.
- Get plenty of water since your body is going to flush a lot of toxins and water weight common in a high-carbohydrate diet.
- Work on making this different way of eating a strong habit before you focus on weight loss. Initially, you’ll lose the weight of excess water and then level off.
- Plan your meals, avoid eating out when possible, and make detailed grocery lists. These steps will make following your nutrition goals easier. Consistency is the key to success.
Natural foods that have not been processed are your best bet on the ketogenic diet. Here are a few examples you can use to create your grocery list and meal plan.
If you select meats with a good natural fat content, your choices are simplified. If you buy lean meats, be sure to include healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, or organic butter. Combining fruits with peanut butter or a handful of nuts gives you two groups together. Lettuce is excellent in place of bread.
Excellent Sources of Fat
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Butter (organic)
- Red Palm Oil
- Avocado Oil
- MCT Oil
Excellent Sources of Protein
- Deli meats (search for organic or grass-fed ham, turkey, and roast beef)
- Pork or beef ribs, roasts, chops, loins, or steaks (search for organic and grass-fed options)
- Fresh ground beef, pork, or turkey (without additives)
- Chicken (all sections with or without skin)
- Fresh, frozen, or canned shrimp, cod, tilapia, scallops, crab, lobster, tuna, sardines, wild salmon, and oysters
Excellent Sources of Carbohydrates (Produce)
- Squash (all kinds)
- Mushrooms (all kinds)
- Onions and garlic
- Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, and romaine)
- Artichoke hearts
- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries *
- Almonds, macadamia, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans *
- Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds *
- Almond milk or coconut milk (unsweetened)
- Almond or coconut meal/flour
- Olives, capers, and pickles
- Vinegar or horseradish
- Organic chicken or beef stock
- Peanut butter or almond butter *
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Lemon or lime juice
- Mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, and soy sauce
- Full fat cheese, heavy whipping cream, sour cream, and cream cheese
- Herbs, spices, and extracts (no added sugar)
- Dark Chocolate (search for cacao content of 70% or higher)
Items above that have been marked with an asterisk (*) have carbohydrate content and should be eaten in moderation.
The ketogenic diet gradually takes your body from a carbohydrate burning system to a fat burning system. Though weight loss should not be the primary reason for switching to a ketogenic nutrition plan, eventually, your body functions more efficiently and utilizes stores of fat. That results in a leaner body overall.
Since obesity is a core risk factor for most serious diseases, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is a smart choice for total body health.