What Is The Keto Diet?
How The Ketogenic Diet Originated
The ketogenic or keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that first emerged in 1923.
Keto did not begin as a weight-loss diet. Dr. Russell Wilder created this way of eating for epileptic patients as an alternative to the high demands of fasting. When patients with epilepsy ate low-calorie diets and fasted regularly, their symptoms improved.
Since long-term fasting wasn’t sustainable, the keto diet was a way of gaining the same positive effects while eating regularly.
How Does The Keto Diet Work?
One reason that the keto diet has become so popular for weight loss and those trying to improve their health is due to its rapid fat-burning effects.
To follow keto, your diet must comprise around 75% fat, 20% protein, and up to 5% carbs. This means that keto strictly excludes some foods while it allows others.
Which Foods Should You Avoid?
The high amount of fat and moderate levels of protein enable your body to enter ketosis and burn fat instead of sugars as fuel.
If you consume too many starchy carbohydrates, your body will turn to sugars for energy instead of fat.
One of the top foods to eliminate from a keto-friendly diet are grains. This includes quinoa, corn, wheat, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, millet, and rye. This means that bread, pizza, and cookies are off the table.
While you do not have to avoid every fruit, such as blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, the keto diet does not include fruits that contain a high sugar content.
Fruits that are full of sugar include pineapples, grapes, apples, bananas, tangerines, oranges, and mangoes.
Legumes and Beans
Since legumes and beans are high in starch, they are not a good fit for the keto diet. This includes kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, white beans, black beans, lentils, lima beans, and pinto beans.
Sugar And Processed Foods
If you regularly consume processed foods and sugars, your body cannot enter ketosis.
Sweet foods to avoid include, candies, honey, syrup, ice cream, sweetened drinks, and baked goods.
Many processed foods are sweet, but the ones that are not sweet such as pasta, hotdogs, sandwich meat, margarine, biscuits, and bread are not included in the keto diet.
While many vegetables are keto-friendly, root and tuber vegetables are not. These starchy foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cassava, and yams.
Which Foods Should You Eat?
Most keto foods that you can freely eat are unprocessed whole foods. These include certain vegetables, mushrooms, fish, meats, and healthy oils.
The one fruit that is 100% keto friendly is an avocado. Packed with healthy fats and protein, avocados are an excellent way to stay full while in ketosis.
Meats that you can eat guilt-free on a keto diet include seafood, venison, lamb, beef, goat, and poultry. Meats you should avoid are grain-fed animals. Instead, opt for meat from wild-caught fish as well as pastured and grass-fed animals.
Leafy greens are vegetables that are low in carbs and rich in nutrients. These include spinach, swiss chard, bok choy, lettuce, chives, radicchio, and endives.
Other keto=-friendly veggies such as kale, asparagus, spaghetti squash, zucchini, kohlrabi, and radishes are safe to eat in any quantity that you desire.
When you want to add oils to your food while on a keto diet, there are several healthy options. Olive oil, macadamia oil, and avocado oil are a few natural oils that belong in the keto diet.
You can also opt to use animal-based fats such as tallow, lard, poultry fat, coconut oil, and butter.
Besides water, two keto-friendly beverages include black coffee and any kind of tea. As long as you do not add sugar, you can still sometimes add a moderate amount of cream or milk to your tea or coffee for extra flavor.
If you have a sweet tooth, use a natural sweetener such as stevia or erythritol as a high-quality sugar substitute.
The low-carb, high-fat nature of the ketogenic diet makes it an excellent way to lose fat or gain muscle if you work out regularly. If you are ever in doubt of what diet is healthy for you, consult a doctor or a certified dietician.