Today, everyone wants to get a fit and healthy lifestyle and we know you are one of them. There are countless practices to get in shape and lose weight. Various exercises, fitness routines, change in lifestyle promotes fitness. Although, none of these practices are complete without a healthy and balanced diet. A healthy diet is specially designed according to the needs of the body. Several diets are followed by many fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, all fall in the same category and are referred to as Ketogenic Diet or Keto Diet.
What is a Keto Diet?
The term Ketogenic refers to a low carbohydrate diet. Sugars, white bread, sodas are some sources of carbohydrates that are very easily digestible. The main goal of a keto diet is to cut all the easily digestible carbohydrates and replace that with fats and proteins. When there is a very little intake of carbohydrate (less than 50 gm) per day, the body starts to break down the stored fats and proteins for energy. This process of breakdown of fats and protein for energy is known as “Ketosis”. Is must be noted that the keto diet is primarily focused on weight loss and also helps in managing epilepsy.
Types of Keto Diet
In total, there are four types of Keto diet that can be followed according to your weight lose goals. All the four types of ketogenic diets are given below.
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) – This is the most followed keto diet. This keto diet has a very low carbohydrate, moderate amount of protein and very high fat. Typically there is 5% carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 75% fats.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) – This is different than the previous diet plan. In a cyclical ketogenic diet, there are 5 days of ketogenic diet followed by 2 days of high carbohydrate intake and vice versa. This is primarily used by athletes.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – The targeted keto diet is mainly followed by bodybuilders. It is similar to the standard keto diet except for you can take carbohydrate around workouts.
- High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD) – This is other keto diet that can be followed by anyone. Here the amount of protein is increased to 35% and the amount of fat is reduced to 60% while the amount of carbohydrate r mains the same.
In this article, our main focus would be on the Standard Ketogenic Diet and High Protein Ketogenic Diet as both these types of Keto Diet can be followed by almost anyone wanting to lose weight.
The Keto Diet Foods List
The following are the foods that are high in fat as well as proteins and have very little to no carbohydrate. These foods should be prepared more healthily while avoiding the addition of any type of sugars and unhealthy fats. Also, follow the list of Foods to avoid while on a Keto Diet mentioned below to get a complete list of food items that should not be consumed.
Low Carbohydrate Vegetables
Starchy vegetables or roots such as potatoes, beets, yams are very high in carbohydrates and must be avoided on a keto diet. While the non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and have very few carbohydrates. Although these vegetables are packed with healthy nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants which helps protect yourself from cancer-causing free radicals.
Following is the list of all the low-carbs vegetables that you can include in your diet.
- Bell Peppers
- Green Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
Moreover consuming vegetables such as cauliflower, kale, broccoli and spinach have been studied to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Seafood can easily be one of the most keto-friendly foods to exist. While high in protein, vitamins, and healthy fats, they contain very low to no carbohydrate at all. Although shellfish such as Mussels, clams, oysters, and octopuses should be avoided in larger quantities due to the comparatively higher amount of carbohydrate per 100 grams.
Fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardines should be consumed. These fishes are virtually carbohydrate-free and are the rich source of omega-3 fats, vitamin B, potassium and selenium. These have been found to improve mental health and reduce the risk of any medical conditions.
Meat and Poultry
Meat, poultry, and eggs are the staple foods in a keto diet. These are to be consumed routinely to fulfill the needs of proteins and fats required by your body. Meats, chickens, and eggs contain no carbohydrate and are a rich source of Vitamin B, minerals that include potassium, selenium and zinc, protein and fats.
If possible, always go for the grass-fed animals due to their meat being high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and linoleic acid compared to grain-fed animal’s meat.
If there would be one food to be called a super food then it would clearly be the eggs. Eggs are one of the healthiest food on this Keto Diet Foods List. It is highly recommended to consume the entire egg to get the most out of it. As the yolk contains most of the nutrients found in an egg that includes antioxidants, zeaxanthin, etc.
A large egg provides the body with 1 gram of carbohydrate and approximately 5 to 6 grams of proteins. Consuming whole eggs daily could help reduce the risk of heart disease by modifying the shape of LDL that promotes a healthy heart.
Dairy products are a great fit in the keto diet. Delicious yet healthy and are a great source of healthy fats, proteins, minerals and are low in carbohydrates at the same time. The dairy products that would make a great addition to the keto diet are as follows.
- Cheese – There are uncountable types of cheese with a different appearance, taste, and odor. Although, one similarity among all of them is the number of low carbohydrates, high proteins, and fats.
- Plain Yogurt – Plain unsweetened and unflavored yogurt is a great source of proteins and have very low carbohydrate per serving.
- Cottage Cheese – These are another delicious and healthier dairy products that can be consumed to fulfill the body protein needs.
- Butter and Cream – These are rich in conjugated linoleic acid that is responsible for fat loss, thus making it a great addition to your keto diet. Apart from that recent studies have shown that these are not linked with heart diseases and the daily intake of butter and cream in smaller quantities can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Oils that contain healthy fats must be used for daily cooking. Oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, and other MCTs should be used. Unlike the unhealthy long-chain fats that are difficult to break down by the liver, MCTs can easily be broken down into ketones by the liver without much effort and can be used as a source of energy.
Olive oils, on the other hand, are rich in oleic acid that greatly decreases the risk of heart disease. Apart from that the olive oils or the extra virgin olive oil are rich in phenol, a type of antioxidants.
These oils are a source of pure fat and contain no carbohydrate whatsoever making these the healthy alternative for cooking on low heat.
Low Sugar Fruits
Almost every fruit contains sugar, some have very high sugar content such as mangoes, bananas that must be avoided while other fruits such as berries, tomatoes, etc. are low in sugar. Although, while eating any fruit on the list it must be taken care of not to consume these in excess amounts to keep the sugar and carbohydrate in check. List of low sugar fruits are as follows.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a perfect snack while on a keto diet. They have high amounts of healthy fats, low carbohydrate and high in fiber. Fiber-rich foods make you feel full and make you eat less. According to researches consumption of nuts and seeds has been found to reduce the risk of heart diseases, chronic diseases, depression, cancer, etc.
Below is the list of all the nuts and seeds that can be consumed on a keto diet along with the amount of carbohydrate per 28 grams or 1 ounce.
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Cashew Nuts
- Chia Seeds
Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Tea and coffee are the most consumed drinks for reason, a good one. Not only do they taste great but it also has a ton of benefits that makes them a healthy beverage. Unsweetened tea and coffee are quite healthy and free from carbohydrates.
The presence of caffeine increases the metabolism of the body that boosts the physical performance, increases alertness and also makes you feel good. Studies have shown, people who drink unsweetened tea or coffee regularly have reduced chances of developing diabetes.
Dark Chocolates are not new when it comes to the list of healthier and tastier foods. Dark chocolates are rich in antioxidants. Other than dark chocolates, cocoa powder also has the highest antioxidants as any other fruit.
Consuming these can help protect you from heart diseases and high blood pressure. Although, it is important to note that dark chocolates with a minimum 70% or more cocoa solids should be considered.
Foods That Must Be Avoided While on Keto Diet
So far we have listed all the keto diet foods that should be replaced by your current diet to achieve ketosis and lose weight. Now here is a list of foods that must be avoided at all costs while on the keto diet to keep the intake of sugars and carbohydrates at a minimum.
- Sugar – Sugar or foods high in sugar must be avoided. Some sugary foods are soda, diet soda, fruit juice, smoothies, candy, ice cream, smoothies, etc.
- Sugar-Free Foods – Sugar-free foods are highly processed and can affect the ketone levels in your body.
- Fruits – We have already listed all the foods with lower amounts of sugar that are okay to consume in smaller quantities. Although fruits like mangoes, bananas, pineapples, apple, pears, grapes, and all other fruits except berries should be avoided.
- Root Vegetables – Root vegetables are starchy and very high in carbohydrates and thus avoided. Some common root vegetables are Potatoes, Yam, Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, etc.
- Grains – Rice, cereals, pasta, and other wheat-based products should be avoided while on the keto diet.
- Beans or Legumes – They include peas, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.
- Diet Products/Low-Fat labeled Products – Food items that are labeled as “Diet” such as “Diet Coke” and “Low Fat” such as “Low Fat Milk” must be avoided. These are highly processed and have a very high amount of carbohydrates.
- Unhealthy Fats – Various commonly used oils contain unhealthy fats and consumption of the same must be limited. These are processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol – Many alcoholic beverages are high in carbohydrates and thus avoided.
Health Benefits of Following a Keto Diet
Keto Diet is not just helpful in weight loss but has a ton of benefits on the overall health and helps you with several medical conditions that are discussed below.
- Cancer – Various types of cancer can be treated with the help of keto diet. The diet helps in slowing down the tumor growth.
- Heart Diseases – Keto Diet helps to improve various health conditions that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It controls body fat, Blood pressure, HDL Cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels as well.
- Epilepsy – The keto diet was primarily designed to fight epilepsy and became popular. It greatly reduces seizures in epileptic children.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – It slows down the progression and reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Brain Injury – Brain injuries can be treated with the help of the keto diet and can also reduce concussions, proved by the study on an animal.
- Parkinson’s Disease – Keto diet helps in the improvement of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
- Acne – The most depressing and biggest problem for the youth today is acne. Following a keto diet can greatly improve the conditions of acne by lowering the insulin and sugar levels in the body that are linked to acne.
Although the Keto Diet food list discussed above can easily be implemented in your daily life but be sure to only consume a limited amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates that is to be taken daily. Choose from the four different types of Keto Diets discussed above according to your goals and requirements. Be strict to your diet and perform exercise or yoga everyday.