KETO BEGINNER’S GUIDE: Part 1
By Noreen’s Keto Kitchen
What is Keto?
- The ketogenic diet (Keto) is a low-carb and high-fat diet. The Keto diet shares many similarities to the Atkins diet and some other low-carb diets.
- Keto means drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with good healthy fats. The reduction of carbs in your diet, sends your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which supplies energy for the brain.
- Keto diets can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has many health benefits. Studies have shown that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health and well being in many ways.
- The Keto diet may even have benefits protecting against type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods to Avoid:
You will want to keep your carbohydrates very low (20 net carbs), coming mostly from green leafy vegetables, nuts, and dairy. Do not eat any refined carbohydrates such as wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starches (potatoes, beans, legumes) or fruit. The few exceptions to this are avocados, tomatoes and berries which can be consumed in moderation.
Here is a list of foods that you should avoid on the Keto diet:
- ALL Sugary foods: Sugar, Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup, Soda, fruit juice, sweetened teas & coffee, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, donuts,cookies, cereal, granola bars, etc.
- Artificial Sweeteners: aspartame, Acesulfame potassium, Saccharin,
- ALL Grains & starches: ALL Wheat-based products, corn, potatoes, oats, rice, pasta, cereal, corn starch, potato starch, rice starch, etc.
- Fruit: MOST fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
- SOME Dairy: Avoid Milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole) and low fat yogurts
- Beans or legumes: Soy, Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, hummus, etc.
- Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are almost always highly processed and high in carbs/sugar. They may also contain grains and starches not allowed on Keto.
- SOME condiments or sauces: Read the labels. A lot will contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fat from soybean oil.
- Unhealthy fats: avoid processed vegetable oils, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, etc.
- Alcohol: avoid beer, cider, cocktails & mixed drinks as they generally have wheat & sugar. Many hard liquors/spirits are zero carbs and zero sugars, however they may throw some people out of ketosis briefly.
- “Sugar-free” diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some people. These foods also tend to be highly processed and may contain grains or starches.
What Can I Eat?
You should base all your meals and snacks around these foods.
Always check nutrition labels to make sure there are no hidden sugars, carbs or starches.
- Meat & Poultry: Red meat, steak, lamb, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey.
- Fish & Seafood: salmon, trout, tuna (canned or fresh), mackerel, shrimp, scallops, tilapia
- Eggs: organic is best if you can afford them
- Butter and cream: If you can afford the grass-fed then go for it, if not use what fits your budget- but use real full fat butter and full fat heavy cream.
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue,mozzarella, etc).
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Healthy oils: Extra virgin olive oil, Ghee, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Low Carb Sweeteners: erythritol (such as Swerve), Monkfruit, pure Stevia
- Avocados: Whole avocados or natural guacamole.
- Low-carb veggies: Most green veggies (Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Green Beans, Brussels Sprouts) Cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices. Mustard, no sugar added ketchup.
- Drinks: Water, coffee, tea, seltzer or sparkling water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
Veggies on a Keto Diet:
The carbs that you are eating should be mostly coming from dark green and leafy vegetables. Your meals should mostly consist of a protein (eggs, meat,chicken.etc) with vegetables (cooked in olive oil, butter,etc) and an extra side of fat (avocado, bacon, cheese).
Here is a list of some common low carb veggies:
|Spinach (Raw)||1/2 Cup||0.1|
|Bok Choi (Raw)||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Lettuce (Romaine)||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Cauliflower (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||0.9|
|Cabbage (Green Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.1|
|Cauliflower (Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.4|
|Broccoli (Florets)||1/2 Cup||2|
|Collard Greens||1/2 Cup||2|
|Kale (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.1|
|Green Beans (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.9|
Possible Side Effects of Keto:
The keto diet is safe for most healthy people, however there may be some side effects while your body adjusts to this new way of eating. This is best known as the “keto flu” and will usually only lasts a few days. Keto flu can include poor energy, headache, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea or digestive discomfort.
Not everyone will get the Keto flu. So don’t let it deter you from trying Keto.
To possibly reduce the onset of the Keto Flu, you can try a less restrictive regular low-carb diet for the first week or so to help ease yourself into it.
The Keto diet can also effect the water and mineral balance of your body, so adding extra salt to your meals, water, or taking mineral supplements can help.
In the beginning (first week or two), it is important to eat until you’re full and avoid restricting calories too much. Normally, a Keto diet causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction.