What is keto?
Keto is an abbreviation of the word ketogenic referring to the ketogenic diet. It is commonly shortened down to keto as it’s catchy and easier to say, especially for Australians (like myself), as making words up, or at least abbreviating them is our favourite past time here down under!
Tell me more about the ketogenic diet…
Now that we’ve got that covered, what is keto about anyway?
It’s a way of eating that goes against the conventional guidelines in many western countries, as it focuses on low carbohydrates, medium protein and high fats.
The general portions are having up to 20 grams of carbs or 5%, protein 20-25% and 70-80% fat.
It uses fat to burn energy instead of Carbohydrates. Through this metabolic process, it converts your body into a fat burning machine.
How it works
What happens when you feed your body fat instead of carbohydrates? When your body stops relying on carbs for energy, it burns your fat stores. It makes the body produce small fuel molecules called ketones. The ketones become an alternative fuel source produced in the liver which is then used by our bodies and brain for energy.
When you are producing ketones, you are considered to be in ketosis. These ketones are what your body needs to function at it’s optimum level.
When insulin is no longer released and your body is no longer relying on carbohydrates for energy, it allows our bodies to burn fat faster.
Your brain needs a lot of energy to work at its best, which these ketones help it work fabulously, improving your memory, clears brain fog, and gives you an amazing energy boost.
Some people describe this feeling as a natural high. As an added bonus, your body also starts to drop the weight. You also gain increased energy. You also feel hungry less often and eat until you’re full which for most people, means smaller portion sized naturally.
An easy way to measure if you are in ketosis or not is by using ketone sticks which you can get on Amazon such as these.
Foods which help you get into ketosis
Meat – Beef, lamb, pork, chicken. Grass fed is better as it has higher levels of omega 3 present.
Seafood – fish including salmon, sardines.
Eggs – grass fed and free range contain the highest levels of omega 3. Eggs contain a high level of nutrition, making an eggcellent start to the day for breakfast.
High fat dairy – Greek yogurt, butter, cream, Camembert, brie, cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, feta cheese
Above ground vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, cucumber, tomatoes, brussel spouts, spinach, celery, asparagus, lettuce etc.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Nuts – as much as a small handful. For information on which nuts see here.
Herbs and spices
Switch your fats
Going keto means cutting down on carbs (carbohydrates) in your diet to 20 grams of carbs, and switching them for healthier options to mindfully and more consciously incorporate medium amounts of protein and higher amounts of healthy fats.
1 The healthy fats
The fats that help our bodies produce ketones are:
These oils have high saturated and monounsaturated fats, all of which help our bodies get into ketosis, and help our brains use the right fuel it needs to be alert, and process the neurotransmitters it needs to for us to feel at our best.
2 Avoid unhealthy fats
Unhealthy fats contribute to inflammation which is caused by eating too many omega 6 fatty acids and not having enough omega 3 fats. To get these fats in the optimal level of 4:1, we need to reduce the amounts of omega 6 that we consume.
These are vegetable oils, soybean oil, canola oil. They all have polyunsaturated fats and trans fats, and have high levels of omega 6 which leads to inflammation.
Naturally occurring omega 6 fats are okay and essential found in real foods such as nuts, but in a typical western diet omega 6 oils have been over consumed which has led to inflammation in the body.
In particular, they are added to many processed foods, take away foods and foods in a can or jar for convenience. For more information on healthy fats see my Brain-Boosting Keto Foods post. Always check the ingredients list to see what oils have been added and if there are extra ingredients that could throw you out of ketosis such as sugar.
For more detailed information, visit my page here.
Which foods to avoid
When aiming to lose weight, get into ketosis and burn fat easily, it’s best to avoid things like:
Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Corn, Potato chips, Sugar, Fruit, Chocolate, Lollies, Rice, Soft drink, High carb beer & Fruit juice.
Today I have a much greater awareness of what’s low carb and which fats to incorporate into my way of eating, so I can easily adapt and adjust most recipes or reach for the lower carb alternative when I’m cooking or out with family or friends.
It can be difficult to know where to start and whether you’re following a ketogenic diet if you don’t have extra information to help you along your way. There’s a number of resources that can help like this one.
Having some recipe ideas can also help in going low carb and keto for you to get started or click on the picture below and visit my favorite blogger :).
Happy keto’ing my friends