Over the last several years, our attitudes and knowledge surrounding traditional dieting techniques has seismically shifted. For decades we’ve been operating on the idea that dietary fats are the enemy; that a diet high in fat leads to health issues like heart disease; that eating fat makes you fat. However, recent research is showing that the real culprit is sugar, and that dietary fats are healthy – necessary! – to maintain a healthy body and healthy lifestyle.
Now what we’re seeing is a resurgence of the low-carb diet, with enough varieties to fit almost any kind of lifestyle. One such variety that is experiencing widespread popularity has been around since the late 1800s, and unlike most low-carb diets that are based around a high protein intake, the main part of this diet is made up of fats. This is the ketogenic diet.
What is Keto?
The ketogenic diet (keto) is a high fat, adequate protein, and very low carb diet that keeps your body in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body burns ketones as its primary source of energy rather than its preferred source – glucose. Ketones are made from fat, making your fat stores your body’s main source of energy.
The keto diet was first used as a method to control diabetes in thelate 1800s. Then, in the early 20th century it was used to help treat epilepsy in children. Today it is still used to help treat both conditions, and research into its other benefits is ongoing.
As a weight loss tool, keto has been shown to be very effective at not only reducing body fat, but also maintaining a healthy weight afterwards. Against other high protein and medium carb diets, studies have found that keto dieters feel reduced hunger and eat less after weight loss. Researchers aren’t totally sure why this is, but it’s thought that the high fat content of the diet helps with feelings of satiety, making keto a promising diet for those who have struggled to maintain weight loss in the past.
A diet that includes adequate fat may also be beneficial to your hormones. Especially in men, low fat diets have been correlated to low testosterone levels. Excess body fat has also been correlated to low testosterone. With this in mind, the keto diet seems like a perfect solution to keep testosterone levels in check, as it helps to reduce body fat while focusing on keeping dietary fat intake up. To further help your testosterone, try pairing your new diet with an exercise program and dietary supplement like HF Labs Delta Prime, which uses ingredients like vitamin D and zinc to help support your body’s natural production of testosterone.
Keto Diet Food List
The key to following the keto diet plan is keeping your carb count ultra-low. The pitfall for most first-time keto dieters is watching their fruit and veggie intake, as veggies especially are considered a “free” food on most diets. Here is a short list of some keto staples.
- Beef – fatty cuts
- Poultry – especially the dark meat, which has a higher fat content
- Pork – fatty cuts (like bacon!)
- Fish – especially fatty fish like salmon
- Olive Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Coconut Oil/Butter
- Sour Cream
- Whole milk/Plain Yogurt
- Heavy cream
A Note About Dairy: Dairy products will still have carbs, so make sure to check the nutritional facts and track your carbs with these foods
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Spaghetti squash
- Summer squash
- Berries – most fruits will be very high in carbs, so best to stick with berries in very small amounts
A Note About Vegetables: The list of veggies you can eat is extensive. A good rule of thumb is to avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots (root vegetables). If you’re unsure, look up the nutritional value of any vegetable and just track the carbs.
How to Follow the Keto Diet
For many, a keto lifestyle will be radically different from any kind of eating style you’ve followed before. Again, we’ve been chanting the low-fat mantra for decades, so the adjustment to a high-fat diet may feel strange and counterproductive at first. The best way to start and stick with a keto diet plan (or any diet plan, for that matter) is to plan and prepare your meals and snacks in advance. Especially when you’re learning, its best to have your entire day mapped out and with you so in case hunger strikes, you don’t accidently make a wrong choice.
It’s also going to be very important to track your macros in the first stages of your diet plan. Tracking macros is similar to counting calories, but you’re working with much smaller numbers. And like with calories, as you get familiar with your diet, you’ll start to form patterns and learn how to meet your daily goals easily. Generally, a keto diet requires your daily calorie intake to be made up of 70% fats, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs. For a 2000 calorie a day diet, you should be getting roughly 165g of fat, 75g of protein, and only 40g of carbs. You’ll find that the carbs will add up quickly, which is why it’s in your best interest to plan your meals ahead of time.
The keto diet is a successful weight loss and weight management tool. With staples like bacon, avocados and dark meat on the ok-list, many feel like they’re not on a diet at all! If you have struggled on restrictive diets in the past, the ketogenic diet may be exactly what you need to be successful with weight loss.