The ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts 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 can supply energy for the brain. A keto diet can help you lose much more weight than a low-fat diet. This often happens without hunger.
Different versions of the keto diet, including:
- Standard keto diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs
- Cyclical keto diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted keto diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
- High-protein keto diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
There are several versions of the keto diet. The standard (SKD) version is the most researched and most recommended.
- Fish and seafood
- Fresh meat and poultry
- Low-carb veggies
- Nuts, seeds and healthful oils
- Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
- Unsweetened coffee and tea
- Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Here is a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a keto diet:
- Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Fruit: All fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.
- Beans or legumes: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products: These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats: Limit your intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis.
- Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
***See “Keto Diet Food List” for more examples of what to eat on a keto diet
TIP: Regardless of which diet philosophy you follow, always take it one day and one pound at a time and consult a physician.
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