There’s a good chance you’ve heard about low-carb, high-fat diets but passed on them because “high-fat diet” sounds like an oxymoron. We’ve been taught, after all, that fats cause fat, among other things. But do you know the basics of the ketogenic diet?
You might be surprised to know that there is a connection between fats in your diet and how much you weigh. But, these fats don’t lead to weight gain and heart disease. Instead, they promote weight loss and do not raise your risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, all the benefits of following a low-carb, high-fat eating plan can be obtained from one easy-to-follow diet called the Ketogenic Diet.
What is the ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet (keto, for short) is very low in carbohydrates, high in essential fats, and moderate in proteins. The diet was used in the early part of the twentieth century to help children with epilepsy, but in recent years it has re-emerged as a way to lose weight, get more energy and focus, eliminate digestive issues, and treat type 2 diabetes.
The keto diet promotes eating fresh, whole foods like meat, fish, veggies, and healthy fats and oils. It eliminates processed and chemically treated foods.
The diet is designed to put your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses fat instead of sugar to generate energy. Simply put, if you want your body to switch into ketosis, you need to follow a diet that’s high in fats and low in carbs.
Still hung up about increasing fats in your diet? Consider this:
The truth about fats
Essential fats, like polyunsaturated fats, lower LDL and triglycerides and improve your cholesterol profile. Polyunsaturated fats are called essential fats because they’re required for normal body functions. Your body can’t make them, so you must get them from food.
Polyunsaturated fats help to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are required for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, are widely recognized for their health benefits. You can get these omega-3s by eating foods such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil.
Also, keep in mind that fats are the most efficient form of energy and each gram contains about nine calories, compared to four calories per gram of protein and carbohydrates.
Remember, polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. There are no essential carbohydrates!
A tale of two villains
In the United States today, more than one in every ten adults has diabetes. For seniors (65 years and older), that figure rises to more than one in four. The health industry had concluded that fat was the culprit and encouraged companies to create low-fat and fat-free alternatives for almost every food in existence. The result: obesity, diabetes, and heart disease continued to rise.
But now opinions and the nutritional landscape are changing. It turns out that carbs are the real villains here. We’re beginning to realize that excess sugar and carbohydrates are having a detrimental effect on our health, while most fats are now recognized as being healthful and essential. There’s a revolution afoot, and the keto diet is right up front leading the charge.
Now for the nitty-gritty. First off, what you won’t be eating:
Foods to avoid
Before you start stocking up on keto-healthy foods, you probably should rid your fridge and pantry of all those high-carb items that might tempt you if you get a craving. So, here you go; pitch these foods into the trash, get a fresh start, and prepare to re-invent yourself:
- Sugars: Soft drinks, cereals, ice cream, juices, cakes, candy, pastries, sports drinks
- Starches: Bread, potatoes (in any form), rice, beans, lentils
- Beer: Except light beers, which are low in carbs
- Most fruits: Berries in moderation are okay
Warning! Don’t be fooled by low-carb versions of high-carb foods. These are usually high-carb junk foods that are hiding behind the façade of creative marketing.
What you will be eating instead
- Meats: Beef, pork, lamb, game, poultry—choose grass-fed or organic if possible.
- Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are good choices, but skip the breading.
- Whole eggs: Fried, scrambled, or in an omelet, but try to find the organic variety.
- Vegetables that grow above the ground: Lots of choices, including cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, asparagus, peppers, and tomatoes.
- Dairy: Real butter, cream (with 40% fat content), sour cream, cheeses, Greek yogurt. Be aware that milk (whole, 2%, or skim) contains quite a bit of milk sugars. Almond and coconut milk are good alternatives.
- Nuts: Pecans, Brazil, and macadamia nuts have the lowest carbs, but any nut in moderation is a better snack choice than chips or candy.
- Bacon: Honestly, can you think of a better way to start your day than with eggs and bacon?
- Avocados: This unique fruit is in a league of its own. Loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids, avocados are an excellent source of fiber and provide too many other benefits to list here.
- High-fat sauces and natural fat: Using butter and cream for cooking gives you two benefits—it makes your food taste better, and it helps you feel satisfied longer. Béarnaise and Hollandaise sauces are low-carb options, and you won’t go wrong using either olive oil or coconut oil.
- Chicken broth or bouillon cubes: Just make sure they contain at least one gram of sodium.
Keto Food Pyramid – Source MyKetoKitchen.com
It will come as no surprise that water heads the list of drink options. Black coffee, or with small amounts of milk or cream, is good throughout the day. If you’re hungry, add some full-fat cream. If you aren’t into coffee, tea is fine.
Dry wines, either red or white, are low in carbs and can occasionally be enjoyed. Same with beer, although it’s best to stick with low-carb (and low-calorie) light beer.
Pure spirits–whiskey, brandy, cognac, vodka, and tequila– contain zero carbs, and they are all fine in moderation as long as you don’t mix them with soda or juice.
Remember, go easy on the alcohol! Frequent drinking will slow down your weight loss!
Think about lasting changes
If you’ve been frustrated in the past by yo-yo dieting that produced rapid but temporary results, you need to embrace a change that’s sustainable over the long term. Following a balanced, unprocessed eating plan that includes vegetables, meats, fish, nuts, and olive oil—the ketogenic diet—just might be your ticket to a long and vibrant life.
A Great Talk About The Ketogenic Diet