What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet has many health benefits, and many believe that is due to the interesting diet it really is. A ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.
Extensive research has shown that the ketogenic diet may help you lose weight and can help you improve your overall health for the long run.
Research has also shown that the ketogenic diet can help you improve the effects of diabetes and epilepsy, as well as it can help with several other diseases, including several forms of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Due to it is plentiful health benefits, the ketogenic diet has become very popular these days.
While the ketogenic diet normally limits a person to between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, some people find it challenging to find foods that they can eat and actually enjoy eating while on the diet.
However, there are plenty of nutrient rich foods that can be enjoyed while following a ketogenic diet.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
- 2 Ketogenic Diet Summary
Grass Fed Meats, Wild Caught Fish And Free Range Poultry
One of the best types of food you can enjoy while following a ketogenic diet are grass fed meats, free range poultry, and wild caught fish. Beef, deer meat, goat and lamb are all great sources of B vitamins, as well as selenium, zinc and potassium.
Fresh fish, such as salmon and other types of fish also share these benefits. If you would rather consume poultry, you are in luck, as free range chickens, turkeys and other types of poultry also have amazing benefits, without the carbohydrates!
But why are grass fed meats better for you than commercially farmed meats? Grass fed meats are higher in omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and conjugated linoleic acid.
This means they are more healthy for you overall, but with all the research done in recent years, we already knew that.
If you prefer seafood over meats and proteins, you can enjoy some of your favorite shellfish while on the ketogenic diet as well.
However, since shellfish have such a wide variety of carbohydrate amounts, it is important to only consume the shellfish that do not have as high a carbohydrate count. Crab meat, shrimp, oysters and clams are all pretty good choices for low carbohydrate percentages.
In addition to salmon, mackerel, sardines and several different types of fatty fish are great choices. This is because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
These omega-3 fats have been shown to increase how sensitive a person is to insulin and help to lower insulin levels in overweight people.
If you are looking for even more reasons to consume your favorite seafood, keep in mind that by eating fish regularly, research has shown that you can lower your risk for several diseases and even help your mental health improve.
To receive the full benefits, it is suggested that you consume a minimum of two servings of seafood each week. Not only is it a great food to eat while following the ketogenic diet is also a great food to eat even if you are not following it.
Overall, grass fed meats, free range poultry, and wild caught fish are all great foods to consume while following the ketogenic diet.
They can help improve your overall health with their abundance of health benefits, as well as help ward off diseases, improve your good cholesterol, and even improve your mental health. And they taste great too!
Tea And Coffee
What many people do not know, is tea and coffee are all actually really good for you, and they have huge health benefits to boot!
Coffee and tea and both carbohydrate free, therefore it is not surprise they make the list for the ketogenic diet. This is because tea and coffee contain caffeine.
Caffeine helps your metabolism to work faster and let's face it, caffeine gives us the boost we need to power through the day. Caffeine makes us more alert, helps boost our mood and helps to improve our physical performance throughout the day.
A lot of people do not know, however, that people who consume tea and coffee on a regular basis have a lower chance of getting diabetes. The more coffee and tea you consume, the lower your chances.
When it comes to coffee and tea, while you should steer clear of light coffee and tea lattes, you can definitely add heavy cream to your tea and coffee while on a ketogenic diet.
Tea lattes and light coffees tend to have high carbohydrate additives and are generally made with non-fat milk.
Over all, if you are an avid coffee and tea drinker, you are in a great position to enjoy your favorite drink, as well as benefit from their amazing benefits while following a ketogenic diet!
While you should avoid vegetables that are high in starches, such as potatoes, due to their high carbohydrate counts, you can enjoy some of your favorite low carbohydrate vegetables!
Not only are non-starchy vegetables rich in many nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, they are also low in calories, which makes them win-win. Plus these vegetables are rich in fiber.
Our bodies do not break down and absorb fiber like they absorb other carbohydrates, therefore when choosing your vegetables, take into account that you are looking for their digestible carbohydrate count without is the amount of carbohydrates without the fiber.
Potatoes, beets and yams will put you well over your carbohydrate limit if consumed, due to their starchiness, however, vegetables such as spinach, kale, snow peas, scallions, leeks, dill pickles, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are all great choices, because they are not only low in digestible carbohydrates, but they also have numerous health benefits!
Due to the amount of antioxidants that vegetables contain, they help our bodies to fight against molecules that are unstable, known as free radicals. Free radicals can cause cells to become damaged.
Cruciferous vegetables can even help to prevent heart disease and certain forms of cancers! Now we see why our mothers always told us to eat all our vegetables!
What makes these vegetables even more amazing, is that they can be used to substitute some of your favorite high carbohydrate foods!
You can make spaghetti squash and zucchini into noodles to substitute your white pasta noodles and cauliflower makes an amazing trade off for mashed potatoes or white rice.
So even if you have been avoiding these truly amazing vegetables in the past, now you can enjoy them in a new light!
While you will have to steer clear of most fruits while following a ketogenic diet, due to their high calorie counts, that does not mean you have to give up your naturally sweet treats completely.
Berries are an amazing low carbohydrate fruit that is packed full of fiber and antioxidants. Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all rich in disease fighting antioxidants that can also help reduce inflammation.
These little fruits are not only super tasty, but super good for you too!
Cocoa Powder And Dark Chocolate
Believe it or not, while on the ketogenic diet, you can enjoy one of your favorite treats! Chocolate! However, you must keep in mind that it is cocoa powder and dark chocolate that are good for you, due to their high amount of antioxidants.
Milk chocolate does not share their nutritional value!
Research has even shown that cocoa contains just as many antioxidants as several types of fruit!
Dark chocolate can even help to lower blood pressure and keep the arteries healthy, which helps to lower the chances of you getting heart disease, thanks to the flavanols it contains.
In order to benefit from these antioxidants and flavanols, however, it is crucial to choose a dark chocolate that has no less than 70 percent cocoa solids. That being said, the more cocoa solids, the better!
While unsweetened chocolate that is made of 100 percent cocoa has the lowest amount of carbohydrates, dark chocolate that is made up of 70 percent cocoa is still a low carbohydrate treat that is packed with goodness!
And to think, I bet you thought you had to give up your go to comfort food, didn't you?
Many of you probably know that avocados are known as a super food. This is because they contain a lot of fiber and not many carbohydrates! Avocados are also rich in many minerals and vitamins.
Among other benefits, avocados are rich in potassium, which is very important since most people are lacking in the potassium department already.
What is even more incredible is the fact that if you are consuming more potassium, switching to the ketogenic diet will actually be easier for you!
Research has shown that consuming avocados can improve your health greatly too. This super food can help to stabilize your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Avocados can help to lower the bad cholesterol and in turn, people will have higher levels of the good cholesterol. Avocados also lower the triglyceride levels. This is all good news for your heart and your overall health!
Avocados are a fantastic food to add to your list of foods when switching to the ketogenic diet. Not only are they nutrient rich, but they can definitely help you transition to the ketogenic diet a lot easier thanks to their high levels of potassium!
Olives And Olive Oil
Believe it or not, olive oil is really good for your heart, thanks to the high amounts of oleic acid found in it. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat which research has shown to help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
And if you are a fan of using extra-virgin olive oil, you are getting a huge dose of antioxidants. These antioxidants are known as phenols and they can help your heart even more than oleic acids do.
They can decrease the amount of inflammation and help to make your arteries function better!
Since olive oil is a pure fat, it does not contain any carbohydrates. This makes it a great base for mayonnaise and salad dressings! Yum! Bear in mind however, that olive oil is not good to use for high heat cooking, since it is not a saturated fat.
It is best to add to foods after you finish cooking them.
Olives have similar benefits to olive oil, but also contain the antioxidant known as oleuropein. This is an anti-inflammatory that can protect your cells from becoming damaged, similar to other vegetables! Depending on the size of the olive, olives can be a very good low carbohydrate food to include in your diet!
Extensive research has even shown that olives can help to lower your blood pressure and helps you maintain bone density! Even more perks to eating olives! That being said, it is a great idea to add olives into your diet, either in the form of the vegetable itself, or in the oil form. Both methods provide numerous health benefits and are both are very low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
Since shirataki noodles have only 5 calories per serving and less than a gram of carbohydrates, they are a great addition to your ketogenic diet. This is due to the fact that these noodles are mostly made up of water.
What causes them to be made up of mostly water? These delicious noodles are composed of glucomannan, which is a viscous fiber that absorbs a whopping 50 percent of its weight in water.
Thanks to the glucomannan in these noodles, consuming them helps you feel full for longer and helps to lower your blood sugar, which is an added benefit if you are diabetic or are looking to lose weight.
This is because the glucomannan makes food move through your digestive tract more slowly than it normally would.
You can find shirataki noodles in many forms. Some of these forms include linguine, fettuccine and rice. This makes them a great substitute for many of your favorite noodle dishes!
Give them a try the next time you want to make a dish that calls for rice! You just might be surprised with how great they taste!
Seeds And Nuts
Considering seeds and nuts are high in fat but low in carbohydrates, they are a perfect snack to consume if you are following the ketogenic diet!
If you eat nuts on a regular basis, you are doing wonders at lowering your chances of getting some strains of cancer, several chronic diseases such as heart disease, and lowering your chances of having depression.
Both seeds and nuts are high in fiber, which is an added bonus if you are trying to lose weight because they make you feel fuller for longer and that leads to your body absorbing less calories throughout the day.
Keep in mind, however, that the amount of carbohydrates vary based on which seed or nut you choose to consume.
While flaxseeds, pecans, chia seeds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts are lowest in carbohydrates, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and cashews are a bit higher in their carbohydrate amounts.
Overall, seeds and nuts do wonders for your body and they can definitely provide a long list of health benefits if consumed regularly.
Coconut oil is a pretty unique food on the ketogenic approved food list. This is because it has many benefits to your health overall and is low in carbohydrates!
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, also known as MCTs. The liver absorbs and converts these triglycerides into ketones and are used as a quick energy source, unlike long-chain fats.
Coconut oil has been used to help Alzheimer's disease patients and those suffering from other brain and nervous system disorders by increasing the levels of ketone.
Lauric acid is the main fatty acid found in coconut oil. This acid is considered a long-chain fat, however, since coconut oil contains both lauric acid and medium-chain triglycerides, it is believed that is why it helps to build a good level of ketosis.
Coconut oil is also believed to help people lose weight. There are many ways to add coconut oil into your diet. Think about using it especially if you want to lose weight as well.
It surely comes as no surprise that eggs make the cut for being a truly healthy food on the ketogenic diet's approved list of foods. Not only are they extremely versatile, they are also super good for you.
Eggs are extremely low in carbohydrates and fairly low in protein as well.
Eggs have also been proven to help trigger the release of certain hormones that cause you to feel full for longer and help keep your blood sugar levels at a stable level, which means you will consume less calories throughout the day.
However, in order to truly benefit, you have to eat the entire egg. Despite popular belief, the yolk is actually the most nutritious part of the egg. The yolk can help to protect your eyes because it contains lutein and zeaxanthin.
Many believe the yolk is not healthy because it is fairly high in cholesterol, however, the yolk will not cause your blood cholesterol levels to rise in most cases and the egg can actually change the way the bad cholesterol in a way that can actually help to lower the risk of heart disease.
How you choose to eat your eggs is totally up to you, but you should definitely get back into the habit of eating the entire egg! It is definitely worth it, and let's face it, that is the best part of the egg!
Now we are going to talk about the good types of dairy products you can consume while following the ketogenic diet. Cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, butter and cream are all good choices while on the diet and they all have a variety of health benefits too.
Cheese is a favorite food for many. There are so many different types of cheeses today, that it is definitely a good thing that all of them are low in carbohydrates.
While they are low in carbohydrates, they are also high in fat, which makes them perfect for the ketogenic diet. Cheese is also a great source of calcium.
While many believe that because cheese is high in saturated fat, that it is not a healthy food, there is no evidence linking cheese to an increased risk of heart disease. Some studies have even proven that cheese may help to reduce your chances of getting heart disease.
Considering cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid, it is believed that cheese may actually aid in weight loss. This is because conjugated linoleic acid is linked to fat loss.
Regular consumption of cheese has also been linked to a reduction of muscle loss and an increase to strength as you age.
That being said, cheese is very good for you!
Cream and butter are also good dairy choices. They contain low amounts of carbohydrates and if consumed in moderation, they may be able to lower your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Similar to cheese, due to the amount of conjugated linoleic acid, cream and butter may be able to help you lose weight. While you should not consume butter and cream on a regular basis, you do not need to cut it out of your diet completely while following a ketogenic diet.
If you are looking for a high protein dairy product, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are the way to go. They do contain some carbohydrates, but not enough to take them off the list.
The amount of protein they contain is beneficial, as both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese have been known to make you feel full for longer. And they are both snacks that a lot of people enjoy.
If you are looking for a sweeter treat, you can add berries, chopped nuts, or cinnamon onto them. This makes them both tasty, and healthy!
Ketogenic Diet Summary
There are many benefits for choosing a ketogenic diet. Whether you are looking to achieve your weight loss goal, control your blood sugar levels, or one of the many other health related goals, it is definitely a good diet to consider.
The best part is, there are countless foods that are not only full of nutrients, but that are delicious and very versatile that can help you keep your carbohydrate counts in check.
This means you do not necessarily have to give up all your favorite foods just to be able to maintain the ketogenic diet.
In addition to all these delicious foods, there are countless benefits with this diet, and in order to really get the best results with a ketogenic diet, you should consider consuming all of these foods on a regular basis.
Even if the ketogenic diet is not for you, these foods are rich in necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can improve your overall health for the long haul. Just remember, as with any diet changes, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet.