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Diets can be very confusing and often disorienting. And with the new things that are being invented and innovated every day, it can be hard to keep up.
It is especially harder when the topic is a diet plan. You have so many diet plans that are all over the internet. But one name that almost always is suggested first when it comes to weight loss is the Keto Diet.
But what is the Keto Diet, How does it work, what are the right foods to eat and which Keto Meal plans should you follow? If you are desperately looking for those answers then don’t worry, you are reading the right article! In today’s article, we will answer all these questions and try to make your Keto Diet one of the best dieting experiences ever.
The Keto Diet, for short is one of the most popular diets out there at the moment. Its popularity skyrocketed after several Hollywood celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, LeBron James, Megan Fox, and so many more could not stop singing praise to the Keto Diet.
- 1 Intro Into The Keto Diet
- 2 What Exactly is Keto?
- 3 Let’s Start With The Basics of Keto Dieting
- 4 Keto Diet Meal Plan for Vegetarians
- 5 Medically Reviewed By:
Intro Into The Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is a High Fat Low Carb diet which means that you have to include lots of good fats in your diet, a moderate amount of protein and very low amounts of carbs. This is the essence of the Keto Diet.
There are two types of fats: good fats and bad fats, and it’s crucial to differentiate one from another. Good fats include unsaturated fats like polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats found in food like omega 3, dark chocolate whole eggs, etc. while bad fats include saturated fats such as trans-fatty acids that are found in plain chocolate, oils, junk foods, and cruddy food items.
The history of the Keto Diet is just as surprising as its results. Keto was invented initially by physicians for its ability to control epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes seizures as the nerve cell activity is disturbed.
In the 1920s, after extensive research, physicians came up with a way to control or minimize epilepsy. They found that when the patients fasted, the fasting condition resulted in less violent seizures as well as also very less number of seizures in a day.
The Keto Diet became one of the most popular and effective treatments for epilepsy. But along with invention and synthesis of new drugs, the Keto Diet became less popular until it completely faded into obscurity.
It was picked back up by Jim Abrahams, a Hollywood producer when his son was diagnosed with epilepsy, and nothing seemed to work. As expected, Keto Diet helped improve his son’s condition. Soon, it again became an essential part of the treatment for not just epilepsy but several similar neurological disorders.
It was only a matter of time, and Keto Diet was again in the spotlight. But this time for its weight loss abilities. Soon, it was endorsed by the Hollywood diet gurus as the ultimate weight loss diet. Soon the modified version of the Keto Diet like the Atkins Diet also became the hot talk of the health and fitness industry.
What Exactly is Keto?
I am sure that most people have heard of Keto Diet and how it helped your friend or boyfriend’s friend or whoever lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks. And it must have gotten you intrigued.
With the Keto Diet, you incorporate the majority of good fats and low carbohydrates. This results in getting your body into a state called Ketosis.
Let’s start from the beginning, okay?
So we need energy in our body for almost anything. We need energy for digestion, working, solving complex problems, etc. In fact, we even need energy when we sleep as this is the time when all the repairing takes place in our body.
Now, this high demand of energy has to come from something or somewhere. Typically, in our body, this energy comes from the breakdown of carb which produces glucose and insulin. Both of these are primary energy currencies of the body.
Glucose is the primary energy source while insulin is there to make sure that the glucose is circulated throughout the body. Glucose is the first choice as energy currency in most animals and even in plants. This is because glucose is the most natural molecule in the body to convert and use for energy.
Fats in Keto Diet
Fats, normally are the most difficult molecules for the body to break down and when the body cannot break them down, the body stores the fats in the form of adipose tissue. This happens often.
But when fasting, the body’s supply of energy is very low as it is and since you are not eating anything else, the body cannot produce more glucose. It is then when the stored fat comes into play. Your body instead of waiting for glucose takes things into its own hands and starts to break down excess fats.
But instead of glucose, the fats are broken down into an alternate energy fuel called Ketones. When this break-down of fats to ketones happens, your body goes into this state called ketosis. And in this state, your body is a fat terminator.
How Is This Connected To Weight Loss
Of course, when your body breaks down fats to ketones, this helps with weight loss, but unfortunately, we cannot fast all the time, and because of this, the Keto Diet was invented. The Keto Diet mimics the fasting action in the body and helps the body reach the state of ketosis and maintains it. In fact, this is how the Keto Diet got its name.
So now that that is out of the way let’s move on to the part where we tell you what you can eat when on a Keto Diet and what to indefinitely avoid. As we mentioned, the Keto Diet has a higher consumption rate of good and healthy fats than proteins and carbs.
The caloric ratio of the Keto Diet is 75% healthy fats, 20% proteins, and 5% carbs. This ratio is to be strictly followed in the standard Keto Diet as it ensures that your body reaches and remains in the state of ketosis.
Let’s Start With The Basics of Keto Dieting
When on Keto Diet, your majority of the food in-take should revolve around these food items:
- Including eggs in your diet is an excellent idea but make sure they are pastured or organic eggs which are rich in good fats like omega 3 and therefore make a great addition to your Keto Diet
- You can have all the meat that you want, but the meat should be fatty meats and come from animals like grass-fed beef, pork, red meat, ham, bacon, sausages, turkey and other fatty organic meats.
- Fish also makes a great Keto-friendly food. However, the fish you include in your diet should be fatty fish having very low or no mercury. Fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and trout are excellent options for a healthy Keto meal.
- You can have poultry like chicken, turkey, goose, and duck. These make really good Keto meals.
- Dairy products are given the green light when following Keto Diet. You can have any high-fat dairy like butter, milk, Greek yogurt, sour cream, and heavy cream. Just make sure it comes from grass-fed animals, and the dairy you consume should be high in fat.
- You can also have full-fat cheese which is unprocessed like goat cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, blue cheese, brie cheese, feta cheese, etc.
- You can include nuts and seeds in your diet. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds and so on are allowed in the Keto Diet. You can also nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter and so on. But whichever nut butter you choose to consume must be high in good fats.
- You can use oil and salad dressings. But just make sure that they are healthy and high in good fat while being low in carb. You can use healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
- You have the option of eating as many veggies as you want but the only rule here is that they should have very low starch content. Green leafy veggies like spinach, coriander and other veggies like greens, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, cabbage, kale, etc. all make a good option as Keto-friendly foods.
- You can also have fruits which have low sugar content. Fruits like berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and other berries as well as fruits like grapefruit, rhubarb, lemon, and apples can be incorporated in your Keto Diet.
- You can use Keto-friendly condiments to make your meals more yummy and interesting. Condiments include salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, and other herbs and spices.
Beverages That Are Allowed In the Keto Diet
- Plain water is a great idea. It has no caloric value whatsoever but plays an important role in your system. It keeps you hydrated so you can fulfill your weight goals more effectively.
- If you are the kind of person who loves or cannot live without soda, then don’t worry. We have a solution for that too. Swap your unhealthy soda with sparkling water. It is a much healthier option comparatively and tastes just like soda. Well, almost similar.
- You can have tea as well. But it should be unsweetened. Unsweetened green tea is an even better option.
- Sweetened coffee is also a great idea when practicing the Ketogenic Diet. The caffeine present in the coffee is reported to help in weight loss as well gives you an extra boost of energy. You can have it as a latte with full-fat milk or cream, or you can have your coffee any way you want as long as it is unsweetened.
Of course, there is a long list of foods and beverages that you need to stay away from if you want to follow the Keto Diet.
Foods You Need The Exempt When You Are On Keto Diet
- You have to avoid grains and products that use grains as an ingredient that means stuff like cereals, rice, oats, wheat, pulses, etc. are not an option. Grains contain a high amount of fiber which is not allowed in the Keto Diet.
- Regular Bread and baked goods like cakes, macarons, whole wheat bread, brown bread, etc. are also not allowed in the Keto Diet.
- Since most pasta and noodles are made of grains, they, therefore, contain starch which is not allowed in this diet and because of that pasta and noodles made from grain has to go.
- While you can eat veggies, you have to avoid starchy vegetables like most tubers such as potatoes, sweet potato, squash and other veggies like peas, corn, etc. Since starch is a form of carb, therefore these vegetables high in starch are not a part of Keto Diet.
- It is also a great idea to avoid beans and legumes so chickpea, gram, etc. are not to be consumed when on a Keto Diet.
- You also have to keep arm’s distance away from sweet and sugary foods like white sugar, brown sugar, candy, ice cream, custards, most conventional desserts, maple syrup or any sugar alcohols when following the Keto Diet.
- Do not include any low fat or zero fat food or beverages like low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, etc. as the goal here is to make good fats the major part of your diet.
- Also avoid consuming fruits having high sugar content like bananas, pineapple, cantaloupe, etc. when on a Keto Diet.
- Avoid sauces and salad dressings that have high carb content like barbecue sauce.
- Just because fats get a hall pass in this diet, does not mean that you start eating all the fats. You have to avoid unhealthy fats like mayonnaise, industry-fed meats, margarine, tropical oils, etc. Also, avoid eating foods that are processed and diet foods. Avoid eating anything that contains artificial agents like stabilizers, sweeteners, preservatives and other artificial additives.
As we saw earlier that there are some drinks that you are allowed to have alongside your meals on a Keto Diet. Now we will talk about the drinks that are not Keto-friendly and should be avoided.
Beverages You Should Avoid When Following A Keto Diet
- Sugary drinks such as store made juices, sports drink or instant shakes should be avoided at all costs as they have empty calories. Even sweetened coffee and tea is not allowed.
- Sodas should be avoided as their carb content is quite high and are artificially sweetened. Besides, the artificial sweeteners, sodas already have lots of sugar, to begin with.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages while you are following the Keto Diet. So beers, wines, cocktails, etc. all have to be given up. They are not only bad for health, but they also are fermented and therefore have high carbohydrates. So avoid alcohol as much as possible.
The thing to note here is that the meat should be of a pastured animal. An animal which is raised on the farm and fed grass do not have high levels of toxins accumulated in their fats. The fats are also good and healthy fats like omega 3.
However, if the animal is industrially raised or fed industry prepared feed, then the toxicity level in their fats increases drastically, and also the good fats are replaced with bad fats like omega 6. This interrupts the state of ketosis in the body. So despite you having high fat and low carb diet if you do not have grass-fed meat then you won’t be losing any weight.
Important Notes For Keto Diet
Another to note here is that most foods, if not all, cut out of the Keto Diet have a very high carb content. So if you want to eat something and do not know whether it is acceptable in the Keto Diet then simply search or see its caloric content. If it contains high carb, then don’t eat it or drink it.
The Keto Diet does not allow you to eat normal flour made from grains and bread made from grains. But that does not mean that you forego bread entirely. Get creative, make your own homemade bread. You can use almond flour to make your bread. There are so many delicious homemade bread recipes out there which are Keto friendly.
Now that you know what you can include in your Keto Diet and what you cannot, you can plan your own meals. Follow the guidelines, and you will be good.
But for those in need of a little inspiration, don’t worry we got you covered there too. We will give you 3 best Keto meal plans that have definitely won us over. So let’s get this show on the road.
Keto Diet for everyone
Okay, so this Keto meal plan is one of the most popular diet plans among us. It’s your standard Keto Diet.
Breakfast: For breakfast, you can have baked egg in an avocado cup with unsweetened green tea
Lunch: Baked Pork Chops with rosemary and oregano
Dinner: Beef and broccoli flavored with soy sauce and pepper
Breakfast: Greek Yogurt topped with fresh berries or nuts and some chia seeds
Lunch: Cauliflower fried rice where instead of rice, you use cauliflower
Dinner: Roasted Beef with some sautéed mushroom and zucchini
Breakfast: Keto-friendly shake or smoothie with kale, almonds and fresh berries
Lunch: Tuna salad with some greens
Dinner: Grilled shrimp and broccoli and asparagus with grass-fed butter
Breakfast: Fried whole eggs with bacon and fresh berries
Lunch: Almond bread bacon sandwich with a side of greens
Dinner: Zucchini noodles (zoodle) salad
Breakfast: Feta cheese and spinach omelet
Lunch: Cream and onion soup with bacon
Dinner: Meatloaf with salad
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with berries and seeds
Lunch: Grilled asparagus and greens with beef
Dinner: Grilled chicken with salad
Breakfast: Scrambled egg lettuce with cilantro and rosemary
Lunch: Kale, cherry tomato and green grilled chicken salad with a dressing of olive oil and herbs.
How easy and delicious was that? You can switch it up or make your own recipes. But this is one of the best Keto meal plans that we follow and recommend. You can season your meal with any spices or herbs as long as they are in the Keto meal plan.
You can have a mug of unsweetened coffee, tea or green tea along with your breakfast. It is best to do Keto Diet with fasting in between that is no snacks, but if you really want some snacks then, there are some snacks that you can squeeze in.
Keto Diet Snacks
- Lettuce dipped in sour cream
- Beef Jerky without sugar
- Some non-processed cheese
- Turkey Jerky without sugar
- Coconut chips
- Peanut butter and celery
- A light Keto-friendly milkshake
- Bacon almond bread sandwich
These are a few suggestions for you. You can pretty much come up with your own innovations. Just remember it has to be Keto-friendly.
Keto Diet Meal Plan for Vegetarians
I understand the struggles of vegetarians and sympathize with them. Just because something is the way it does not mean it cannot be innovated. Meat is the cornerstone of the Keto Diet and therefore naturally not very popular with vegetarians. But it should not be the case. We have a Keto Diet meal plan that is just as delicious and just as Keto-friendly as the normal meal plan.
Breakfast: Begin your morning with Greek yogurt topped with some fresh fruits and nuts.
Lunch: Asparagus, kale, zucchini and cherry tomato salad with oregano and extra virgin olive oil dressing
Dinner: zucchini noodles with pesto sauce
Breakfast: feta cheese ‘omelet’ with tomatoes
Lunch: Creamy, green onion and tomato soup
Dinner: Crustless spinach and cheese pie
Breakfast: A yummy Greek yogurt and berries smoothie with some almonds
Lunch: Almond bread sandwich
Dinner: Mushroom and asparagus risotto
Breakfast: Keto-friendly pancakes with blueberries
Lunch: Baked cauliflower and cheese
Dinner: Sautéed avocado wedges with greens
Breakfast: Almond flour, dark chocolate, and nuts muffins
Lunch: zucchini noodle pasta
Dinner: avocado and veggie cups with sour cream
Breakfast: Pumpkin porridge with flax and chia seeds
Lunch: Grilled cauliflower and soup
Dinner: Sautéed mushrooms with bell peppers
Breakfast: You can have a Keto-friendly shake or almond bread toast with nut butter
Lunch: Roasted vegetables with feta cheese and pesto
Dinner: Eggplant or zucchini lasagna
And you have the whole week in the bag. Trust me these are all delicious and 100% Keto-friendly dishes. They do not take too long to prep, and you can enjoy them with your choice of spices or seasonings.
You can have snacks like nut butter, kale or lettuce or celery with heavy or sour cream; you can even have smoothies using Keto-friendly ingredients.
Diabetes Keto Diet Meal Plan
Keto Diet has a lot of benefits besides helping in weight loss. Keto Diet also helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar level and have a healthier life. First of all, Keto Diet contains decidedly less or no sugar at all. But you can tailor the diet to your necessity and make it completely sugar-free.
Breakfast: You can have some Keto-friendly protein pancakes and sweeten them with Stevia, honey or completely forego a sweetening agent. It is delicious either way/
Lunch: Lunch can be grilled fish of your choice with a side of veggies.
Dinner: Dinner can consist of grilled chicken with some seasoning.
Breakfast: You can also have Egg whites with basil as seasoning accompanied with some unsweetened coffee or unsweetened tea.
Lunch: Tuesday lunch can be made more exciting with some low carb and Keto-friendly pasta salad.
Dinner: This meal can consist of creamy risotto with asparagus, beef, and cheese.
Breakfast: Another great option is tomato and cheese omelet with the seasoning of your choice.
Lunch: Lunch can be smoked sardines with greens dressed in lime juice.
Dinner: Roasted beef with seasonings and a side of salad.
Breakfast: A sugar-free smoothie with nuts and berries. Use extra berries to give your smoothie some natural sweetness.
Lunch: Avocado and chicken salad with some high-fat dressing or cream.
Dinner: Make the most of your dinner by making some avocado and zucchini noodles in fresh pesto.
Breakfast: Start your day with some boiled whole eggs and unsweetened beverage of your choice.
Lunch: This can be some grilled chicken with sour cream and salad
Dinner: Make the most of your dinner by making some avocado and zucchini noodles in fresh pesto.
Breakfast: Have some scrambled whole eggs with feta cheese
Lunch: Beef roast with some salads if you want.
Dinner: Smoked Salmon with lime dressing.
Breakfast: A healthy Keto-friendly protein shake is a great breakfast option.
Lunch: Turkey almond bread sandwiches.
Dinner: Grilled veggies with bacon.
So those are the three best Keto meal plans that you should follow. If you are a vegetarian than make sure you are getting all your vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. If needed, take supplements but always consult a physician or dietician before you began taking any supplements.
The Keto Diet works wonders when it is paired with enough exercise. Do at least 30 minutes of resistance training and cardio 3 times per week. You can even do some yoga if you want. But make sure that you do some resistance training because along with fat, in any diet, there is also a high chance of losing muscle mass as well.
Exercising And Keto Diet
Doing some exercise is great but do not overdo it. Do not exercise for more than an hour daily unless you are very experienced. If you exceed this time limit, then there is a high chance that your muscle will get inflammation and cramps which will cause your body to not recover as quickly.
Over-exercising is a common problem when it comes to weight loss. You might be doing everything right. Eating healthy fats and exercising but still, your weight does not drop. This could be because you over-exercise, which is just as bad as not exercising at all.
We hope that we have inspired you with some ideas and tricks and helped you in your Keto and weight loss journey. If you have any other ideas or experiences that you want to share with us, then please do. We’d like nothing more than that to hear from you!
- Benefits of Breakfast Smoothies for Weight Loss
- Top 10 Reasons Why Keto Isn’t Working
- The Ultimate Best Keto Foods List – 100 Keto Food Resources
- Carb Cycling vs Ketogenic Diet: What’s the Difference?
Medical Review Comments from Dr. Robin Walsh, BASc, ND
The ketogenic diet has gained great popularity lately and for good reason. It tends to have profound benefits for weight loss and managing blood sugars and insulin. Like any dietary plan however, it is not recommended for everyone. People that are pregnant, or breastfeeding or have gallbladder or kidney issues should not attempt this dietary plan. It is however great for those with diabetes, insulin resistance, sluggish weight loss especially around the middle and woman with PCOS. It has also been found beneficial for those with neurological and gut issues and is showing promising research in treatment resistant migraines and traumatic brain injury patients.
This article does a great job at explaining how to do a healthy ketogenic diet. You can always do any plan clean…or dirty. I can be eating salmon and salad OR chicken wings and sweet potato fries and still be considered to be on the paleo diet. It is the same for keto. You can technically be eating bacon fat, dairy and desserts all day and still be considered ketogenic. If we are honest with ourselves however, we know that eating these foods is not going to promote our health and longevity even if it is helping us shed some pounds. It is important that this diet be plentiful in healthy fats and proteins as well as a variety of colourful vegetables.
The one clarification I would like to make in this article is the authors comment that you can eat as much protein as you want. I find that in many cases, this will through you out of ketosis. Proteins will raise insulin and it is important to keep them to 20% of your daily intake. The author did clarify that these proteins should be fattier cuts which is great. I would just caution you that if you are struggling with weight loss on this plan check the amount of protein you are eating as it is often too high.
Another keto hack is if you are having sluggish weight loss to check the amount of dairy you are consuming. While a delicious and yummy food, and technically allowed on the plan it can increase the stomach to release incretin hormones. These hormones will increase insulin which can cause your body to want to store fat.
I think a healthy and balanced ketogenic diet is great for many people. I use it often in my practice for short term resets and kickstarts, as well as for longer term protocols. Before embarking on a lifestyle program it is important to speak with a qualified health care provider.
Note: Dr. Robin Walsh is not associated with any products, will never recommend a specific product, nor give specific medical advice here in her contributions. She comes as a representative of herself alone and always recommends consulting with your primary care physician before making any health-related decisions.
Last updated: December 16, 2019
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Ben has been a certified personal trainer for several years now and has a passion for wellness, health, fitness like no other. He’s been educating himself on nutrition since he was in high school. His girlfriend is a professional herbalist and food healer, so he takes the health and wellness discussions into the homefront. Not only is Ben a seasoned, professional writer, but he also uses and tests health products, protein supplements, and more personally and shares his insights on topics such as protein, diets, muscle recovery, muscle building, supplements, and naturally-sourced products.