The Keto diet- I'm sure most, if not all of you have heard of this at least one time around. Someone you knew was on it and raving about it, you heard someone ask if the eggs on the menu were Keto-friendly. So what is the Keto diet? And more importantly, is it safe, healthy, and effective?
The Keto Diet
Similar to The Atkins Diet, the Keto Diet is a very low carb diet. I'm talking 5% daily intake of carbs low (that's basically nothing). You are replacing the missing carbs from your diet with FAT! Yes I said it, that scary (but should not be scary) word FAT! We are keeping our protein content the same.
Typically, we use carbs as energy for our body. When we remove carbs from our diet, the body has two options; use fat as energy or protein as energy. Protein is a very bad (or toxic) form of energy, so we boost the body with fats instead. By having such a high fat to low carb ratio, we put our body into a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is the process of using our stored fat as energy. We can only be in a state of ketosis with a low-carb, high-fat diet. Our body begins to make acids called ketones from our stored fat, so that we can make the required energy our bodies need to do our daily tasks.
Let me try to sum this up:
Normal Diet: we eat carbs--> our body turns it into energy---> we can function throughout the day
Keto Diet: we eat fats without carbs---> our body converts our stored fat into energy---> we can function throughout the day
Why do we need to replace carbs with fats and not just rid our body of fats? Many reasons. 1. we need the fat to keep supplying energy 2. we cannot let our bodies use protein as energy (as it is not a clean or safe source of energy) 3. it keeps us full and prevents us from craving foods 4. we need to replace the missing calories
A General Idea of Foods You Cannot Eat
Starchy foods and vegetables
Sweetened drinks-pop, juice
Beans and Legumes
A General Idea of Foods You Can Eat
Meats- and I mean (basically) all meats- including processed meats like bacon, sausages, hotdogs, pepperettes, pepperoni
Fish- all fish as long is it is not battered
Cream and Cream cheese
Nuts and Seeds
Oils, Fats, Lard
If you have already watched my blog post from Friday, you will already know that I tried a Keto diet for three weeks. If you haven't already watched the video, please find it on my facebook page.
Now, if I am going to do a Keto diet, I am going to do it my own way. I like to try to eat as healthy as I can so I am not about to eat a ton of unhealthy fats all day every day. Here is what I did differently:
I do not eat red meat or pork so I did not add any of these foods to my diet
I do not like eggs (personal taste, there is nothing wrong with eggs)
I only incorporated healthy fats (like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds) and I stayed away from unhealthy fats (like vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine)
I kept with my normal routine: I did not excessively exercise or change my routine to benefit or delay weight loss
What I ate
Breakfast- I always have a breakfast every single morning, I just added a few extra fats to my shake to give me more. My shake contained:
Lunch- I am home most days throughout the week so it was easy for me to make myself lunch. If I wasn't going to be home or if I was in a rush, I would pre-make a meal or bring another shake or protein bar with me
Vegetable salad with homemade oil and vinegar dressing
organic turkey meat rolled in havarti cheese
bunless (non-breaded) chicken burger cooked in butter with lettuce, tomato, cheese
bunless (soy) veggie burger cooked in oil with lettuce, tomato, cheese, hot sauce, and mustard
Dinner- Usually I would meal prep my dinner. I would make 3-4 days worth of the same dinners and switch up the veggie side for variety. This way I didn't have to put too much thought or effort into it.
chicken in cream sauce
chicken and vegetable stir fry
Snacks- I spent 1 night a week making homemade Keto snacks out of ingredients like stevia, coconut flour and almond flour.
Fat bombs (homemade snack with coconut oil, cream cheese or nut butters)
hummus and cucumbers
celery and nut butter (like real peanut butter)
veggies with (limited) ranch
nuts and seeds or trail mix
Keto crackers (homemade)
Supplements- I continued to take my regular supplements but I did add:
sea salt- I added extra sea salt to many of my meals to boost my electrolytes
MCT Oil (coconut oil) to boost my fat content
CLA- I started taking these about one and a half weeks in because I was finding it difficult to get all my fat in
What I ate at restaurants
my go to was Greek salad- I aimed to find restaurants that had this as an option
chicken wings (as long as they weren't breaded)
salads without breads or croutons with a olive oil dressing (when possible or I would settle with vinaigrette)
Benefits of Keto
easy to follow
keeps you full
will not lose muscle mass (if done properly)
lots of food options
works (if done properly)
Downfalls of Keto
cannot cheat on this diet
can cause yo-yo dieting
plenty of unhealthy fats are allowed on this diet (which can lead to other health concerns)
restrictions with socializing with friends and family
The Keto flu is a set of symptoms some people experience while transitioning into ketosis. Typically people who experience these symptoms are individuals who are used to a high carb or high sugar diet, and are transitioning into a Keto diet without slowly decreasing their carbs first. Some symptoms include:
hangry (mood swings while hungry)
low blood pressure
But don't make these symptoms scare you! They usually only last 3-5 days!
I may not have lost a lot of lbs, but i did shred a lot of inches.
As you can see, my muscle did not decrease no matter how much weight I lost.
Overall How I Felt
Overall I felt fine. I know that is not the "ooohhh... ahhhh...." response you were looking for. I must tell you the truth. I really didn't feel too different. The biggest difference I felt was I never got bloated after any meal. That was a huge plus for me. Another plus was that I didn't experience any symptoms of the Keto flu- keep in mind I already consume a low carb diet on the daily to begin with. I didn't feel any boost in energy (although that could be many different factors). I also always felt full and never craved any no-no foods. I actually found it hard to eat all my food per day. I always ate foods that I enjoyed eating so it didn't feel like a chore to me. My biggest downfall was the socializing aspect. I am a very social being who enjoys going out with my friends and I did find it difficult restricting myself on certain foods and drinks that I could have.
I mean, Keto doesn't lie. If you put in the work, you will see results. I lost 4.2 lbs and 10 inches in 3 weeks. I know that may not sound like an overly large amount to everyone, but that is a healthy amount of weight loss in a short amount of time. Especially for someone who doesn't necessarily need to lose the weight. I think Keto has a time and a place. I do not think it is a "way of life" so to speak. But I do see the benefits in it, especially if you follow a plan closer to how I did it- with healthy oils only.
See how I rate this diet (5 means best, or best case scenario, 1 means worst or not approved)
Feeling of fullness- 5
Variety of food- 4
Side effects- 4
Ability to stay on diet without cheating- 4
Likelihood of it working- 4 (as long as you are doing it properly)
I hope this helped in your understanding and decision on whether or not you would like to try a Keto diet. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact me!
If you are interested in learning how to incorporate a healthier Keto diet into your life, stay tuned!