When people hear the word diet, they think of counting calories. But on a ketogenic diet (or, as it is also called keto), you do not need to spend time on this activity. Keto is a special diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates, thanks to which the body goes into a state of ketosis, ie uses the accumulated fat to produce energy.
During keto (ie 2-3 weeks) can be consumed only 20-50 g of carbohydrates per day, but the body should receive 60 to 80% of all calories from fat. Studies show that such a low-carbohydrate diet is effective in weight loss, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), acne and epilepsy. It is also useful in certain forms of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Pros and cons of the ketogenic diet
The main advantage of the ketogenic diet is that it really helps you lose weight, reduces bad cholesterol and increases the amount of good cholesterol. When the body uses its own fat stores for energy, appetite often decreases (perhaps this process was laid down in humans during evolution to help them survive hunger). In addition, fats are absorbed much more slowly than carbohydrates and prolong the feeling of satiety between meals.
But like any other diet food, keto has its drawbacks. By following it, you may notice side effects: bad breath, headache, nausea and fatigue. The symptoms that appear in the early days of keto are often similar to those at the beginning of the disease. Fatigue and tiredness occur due to a sharp drop in blood sugar levels, but after 24-48 hours there is no trace of them.
Abdominal bloating or constipation may occur during keto, and urination increases with ketosis. Since only certain food groups need to be consumed on a ketogenic diet, there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies that can cause brittle hair and nails.
Many patients find that after the end of the diet they easily regain the lost weight. This can be avoided if you do not eat too many carbohydrates and try to eat low carb foods.
What foods can you eat on keto?
A ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, control your blood sugar and deal with health problems. As you already know, when choosing it, you should eat extremely fatty foods. But no, this is not about burgers and onion rings in batter - you only need healthy fats! Where can I get them? Believe it or not, with which you can eat tasty, filling and varied, while the low-carb foods you need to eat in the next 2-3 weeks (as a rule, ketosis begins on the 7th day of the diet) are easily found in supermarkets. To maximize the benefits and reduce the side effects of dietary restrictions, eat the following 15 foods regularly.
Fish and seafood
Fish and seafood are arguably the best sources of vitamins, minerals and omega-3s. Moreover, in many seafood, either the amount of carbohydrates is negligible, or none at all (for example, in shrimp). If we talk about the most popular products, then 100 g of mussels contain 5 g of carbohydrates, octopuses and oysters - 4 g, and squid - 3 g. By the way, frequent consumption of fish reduces the risk of developing various diseases and improves mental health, so try to eat it at least twice a week.
Low carbohydrate vegetables
Vegetables are nutritious and universal foods, the most important thing is to choose those that do not contain starch. A portion of vegetables without starch contains an average of 1 to 8 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, you can safely include zucchini, cabbage, celery and cherry tomatoes in your diet.
There are hundreds of types of cheese and fortunately, they are all low in carbohydrates and high in fat, making them very suitable for a ketogenic diet. Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and healthy fatty acids. Plus, eating cheese regularly can help reduce the loss of muscle mass experienced by older adults.
A serving of avocado contains 2 grams of net carbohydrates, large amounts of fiber and various nutrients, including potassium. In addition, avocados help maintain heart function, lower cholesterol levels and act on triglycerides in the body. Mix it in a spice blender to make an excellent dressing for vegetable and fish dishes.
Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry are considered the main products of a ketogenic diet. They do not contain carbohydrates rich in vitamins such as vitamin B and minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc. Meat and poultry are also excellent sources of high-quality protein, which numerous studies have shown can help maintain muscle mass during a low-carbohydrate diet.
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet. One large egg contains less than 1 g of carbohydrates and about 6 g of protein, which makes eggs an ideal food for people with keto. In addition, the consumption of eggs affects the production of hormones that prolong the feeling of satiety and maintain blood sugar levels, as a result of which the total calories in the food eaten per day is significantly reduced.
By the way, it is important to note that you should eat the whole egg, not just the protein - it is in the yolk that most of the nutrients are found, including the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help maintain eye health.
Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed directly by the liver, later converted to ketones, or become a source of rapid energy release.
In addition, coconut oil increases the rate of metabolism, promotes weight loss and gets rid of abdominal fat. It is important to be of high quality - there are many flavors and additives in cheap products.
Unscented Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
Ordinary Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy foods high in protein. Although they contain a certain amount of carbohydrates, they can still be included in your ketogenic diet. 150 g of plain Greek yogurt contains 5 g of carbohydrates and 11 g of protein. The same amount of cottage cheese gives 5 g of carbohydrates and 18 g of protein. By the way, studies show that yogurt and cottage cheese can help reduce appetite and contribute to the rapid emergence of a feeling of fullness.
Olive oil is high in oleic acid, monounsaturated fats, which have been found to reduce risk factors for heart disease, and high in antioxidants known as phenols. These compounds further protect the heart, reduce inflammation in the body and improve arterial function. Olive oil is ideal for salad dressings, mayonnaise and addition to cooked foods.
Nuts and seeds
Frequent consumption of nuts reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers, depression and other chronic diseases. In addition, nuts and seeds are high in fiber. But the amount of carbohydrates in them varies. The least is in pecans and Brazil nuts - only 1 g per serving (30 g), in walnuts and macadamia nuts - 2 g, in almonds and sesame seeds - 3 g, in pumpkin seeds - 4 g, in pistachios - 5 g, and in porridge - 8.
Fruits are mostly high in carbohydrates, so you will need to skip them during your ketogenic diet. Fruits are another matter. They are rich in nutrients that can reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases. A serving of 100 g of fruit provides 5-12 g of net carbohydrates. For example, in blackberries there are only 5 g of them, in blueberries - 12 g, in raspberries and strawberries - 6 g each.
Butter and cream
Butter and cream are low carb foods. Studies show that, contrary to popular belief, they have a neutral or beneficial effect on heart function when consumed in moderation.
One serving of olives (about 28 g) contains 2 g of carbohydrates, of which 1 g of fiber. They are rich in oleuropein, an antioxidant that protects the heart. Eating olives helps prevent bone breakdown and lowers blood pressure.
Unsweetened coffee and tea
Unsweetened coffee and tea do not contain carbohydrates. Thanks to caffeine, they can speed up metabolism, improve physical performance, alertness and mood. They can also reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Avoid 3-in-1 coffee and tea bags - as a rule, manufacturers add powdered milk and high-carbohydrate flavors to them.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Yes, the ketogenic diet allows you to eat dark chocolate (at least 70%) and wash it with cocoa. This is because these foods are excellent sources of antioxidants. Cocoa contains approximately the same amount as blueberries and acai berries. But dark chocolate contains flavanols - biologically active substances that reduce the risk of heart disease. In 30 g of unsweetened chocolate there are only 3 g of net carbohydrates, in chocolate with sugar - 10 g.