This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet – how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it, specifically healthy weight loss.
Remember, we need to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.
Before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it’s important to take a look at what you’re eating first and take out anything that’s unhealthy, inflammatory, or that’s causing hormonal imbalances.
Once, you read through this guide to lose weight fast using a ketogenic diet, I’d love for you to take a look at The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet, a simple science-based diet to help you shed 7-19 pounds in just 21 days.
Many Americans suffer from various chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and the main culprit is usually the food they eat. The standard American diet contains excessive amounts of protein and carbohydrates, neither of which is good for your health because it eventually causes you to develop insulin and leptin resistance.
As a result, you gain excess weight, develop inflammation and become prone to cellular damage.
To avoid this problem, significant changes in your diet are necessary, and the best way is inducing your body into a state of nutritional ketosis, a condition where your body burns fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar. In order to reach nutritional ketosis, you must follow a ketogenic diet. But what exactly is a ketogenic diet?
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about a ketogenic diet – how you can apply it to your lifestyle and what positives you can reap from it.
The Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on minimal carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high healthy fat consumption — the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In fact, it’s what I recommend for most people who would like to optimize their health.
There are many reasons why you should try a ketogenic diet. It can be very beneficial for people suffering from chronic conditions, or for people who would simply like to be healthier than their current state. You’ll be excited to know that a ketogenic diet can help with the following:
Fast Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, then a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to do it, because it helps access your body fat so that it can be shed. Obese people in particular can benefit from this method.
In one study, obese test subjects were given a low-carb ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, researchers noted that the low-carb group lost more weight (9.4 kilograms) compared to the low-fat group (4.8 kilograms).
Even my own body was able to feel the benefits of following a ketogenic diet. I was able to drop my weight from 225 to 190 pounds, despite eating 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. Since then, I have increased my consumption to 3,500 to 4,000 calories just to maintain my ideal weight.
The human body can use sugar and fat as fuel sources. However, the latter is preferred because it is a cleaner, healthier fuel, as it releases far fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals.
By eliminating sugar from your daily food consumption, you’re decreasing your risk of developing chronic inflammation throughout your body.
Inflammation is the #1 reason many of us are unable to get rid of stubborn body fat. The simple formula is as follows:
Fat = inflammation = more fat gain
It’s a vicious cycle.
And the only way to reverse the belly fat gaining process, is to reduce your inflammation.
Lower Risk Of Cancer
One exciting discovery about the ketogenic diet is how it can help prevent cancer. Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, recently made headway on how the ketogenic diet can help impact this dreaded disease.
D’Agostino explains that all of your cells (including cancer cells) use glucose as fuel. However, cancer cells do not have metabolic flexibility and cannot adapt to using ketones as energy, which your regular cells can. Once your body enters a state of nutritional ketosis, the cancer cells starve to death.
Increasing Metabolically Active Tissue
Jeff Volek, Ph.D, is a registered dietitian specializing on how a high-fat, low-carb diet can affect health and athletic performance. In one of his books, he states that ketones have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids that can be useful for building muscle mass.
Ketones spare these amino acids, leaving higher levels of them around, which can help promote muscle mass.
Constant hunger can cause you to consume more calories than you can burn, which can eventually lead to weight gain. A ketogenic diet can help you avoid this problem because reducing carbohydrate consumption can reduce hunger symptoms.
In one study, participants who were given a low-carbohydrate had reduced appetites, helping them lose weight easier.
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity and Reducing Insulin Resistance
When you consume carbs, they are broken down into sugars in your body. In turn, this causes your blood sugar levels to rise and leads to a spike in your insulin. Over time, you may develop insulin resistance, which can progress to type 2 diabetes.
By altering your diet to a ketogenic approach, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers noted that diabetics who ate low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets were able to significantly reduce their dependency on diabetes medication, and may even reverse it eventually.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets You Can Try
There are several variations of the ketogenic diet based on specific needs:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
SKD is the type I typically recommend for most people, because it is very effective. It focuses on high consumption of healthy fats (70 percent of your diet), moderate protein (25 percent) and very little carbohydrates (5 percent).
Keep in mind that there’s no set limit to the fat, because energy requirements vary from person to person, depending on their daily physical activities.
However, majority of your calories still need to come from fats, and you still need to limit your consumption of carbohydrates and protein for it to become a standard ketogenic diet.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
TKD is generally geared towards fitness enthusiasts. In this approach, you eat the entirety of your allocated carbs for the day in one meal, 30 to 60 minutes before exercise. The idea here is to use the energy provided by the carbs effectively before it disrupts ketosis.
If you’re following this approach, I recommend that you eat carbs that are easily digestible with a high glycemic index to avoid upsetting your stomach. Then, when you’re done exercising, increase your intake of protein to help with muscle recovery, then continue consuming your fats afterwards.
Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
Whereas TKD is focused on fitness enthusiasts, CKD is focused more on athletes and bodybuilders. In CKD, you cycle between a normal ketogenic diet, followed by a set number of days of high carb consumption, also known as “carb-loading.”
The idea here is to take advantage of the carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen lost from your muscles during athletic activity or working out.
If you’re a high-level athlete or bodybuilder, CKD may be a viable method for you. It usually consists of five days of SKD, followed by two days of carb-loading. During the ketogenic cycle, carb consumption is around 50 grams, but when you get to the carb-loading cycle, the amount jumps to 450 to 600 grams. Again, this method isn’t recommended for most people who do not have a high rate of physical activity.
High-Protein Ketogenic Diet
This method is a variant of the SKD. In a high-protein diet, you increase the ratio of protein consumption to 10 percent and reduce your healthy fat consumption by 10 percent. In a study involving obese men that tried this method, researchers noted that it helped reduce their hunger and lowered their food intake significantly, resulting in weight loss. If you’re overweight or obese, this may help you at first, then you can transition to SKD after you normalize your weight.
Restricted Ketogenic Diet
As mentioned earlier, a ketogenic diet can be an effective weapon against cancer. To do this, you need to be on a restricted ketogenic diet. By restricting your carbohydrate and calorie intake, your body loses glycogen and starts producing ketones that your healthy cells can use as energy. Because cancer cells cannot use these ketones, they starve to death.
A 2010 study helps back up this claim. A 65-year old woman who was suffering from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive type of brain cancer, was put into a restricted ketogenic diet that started with water fasting and then proceeded to consume 600 calories a day only. After two months, her weight decreased and the ketones in her body elevated.
Furthermore, there was no discernable brain tumor tissue detected using magnetic resonance (MRI) or fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging scans.
Get Rid Of These Foods Before Going on a Ketogenic Diet
Before coming up with an actual ketogenic diet food list, it’s important to take a look at what you’re eating first and take out anything that’s unhealthy. This means that you have to remove sugars, starches, packaged and processed foods from your diet, because a ketogenic diet focuses on eating real, whole food.
Furthermore, avoid drinking milk because it contains the carbohydrate galactose – drinking just one glass can basically eat up your entire carb allotment for the day. In addition, avoiding milk helps lactose-intolerant people to implement the ketogenic diet. Many other products should be avoided, such as hydrogenated vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, etc.), peanut butter, soy products and sodas. They may be low on carbohydrates, but they are unhealthy and can wreak havoc on your health.
The Best Foods to Eat for a Ketogenic Diet
So now that you’ve taken out all the unhealthy food sources, what’s the next step? When it comes to the core of an actual ketogenic diet, remember that you need to consume only a moderate amount of protein, or about one-half gram per pound of lean body mass, each day. In addition, carbohydrates must be minimized and high-quality fats increased to serve as your new fuel source.
To ease yourself into a ketogenic diet meal plan, I usually recommend adding medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil into your food. It’s typically more expensive than other types of MCT oil, but I prefer it more because it converts into ketones more effectively. You can start with 1 teaspoon per day, then gradually increase your consumption to 2 to 3 tablespoons per day.
If you stomach does not agree with MCT oil, you can try MCT powder, which is easier on your stomach. The table below provides a good overview of other foods rich in high-quality healthy fats:
- Coconut oil, coconut, and coconut milk (organic if possible)
- Grass-fed butter and ghee (organic is possible)
- Monounsaturated oils (olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia oil)
- Nuts (raw)
When building your ketogenic diet meal plan, it’s important to stick to green leafy vegetables because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants and various nutrients. Your best choices include broccoli, spinach, parsley, Brussels sprouts and zucchini.
While fruits are generally healthy for you, majority of them should be are avoided in a ketogenic diet because of their high amounts of sugar. However, certain berries are safe to eat in moderate quantities, such as blackberry, blueberry and cranberry, because they are rich in antioxidants that can support your health.
As for beverages, there are several you can choose from. The most important is water, but you may also drink organic black coffee, which is rich in antioxidants. Coconut milk can be consumed as well, as well as herbal teas because they are rich in various antioxidants and nutrients. If you want a more extensive list, The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet provides you with hundreds of keto-friendly foods, along with a complete 3-week meal plan and bonuses.
Ketogenic Recipes You Can Try
It may look like there are plenty of foods not allowed when following a ketogenic diet, but there are actually many recipes that you can cook that adhere this method. Here are three ketogenic recipes that I personally use in my daily routine:
Quick scrambles are my favorite breakfast of choice when staying in Ketosis. You can throw in eggs, most vegetables, and even bacon, sausage, or cheese to mix things up.
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup white mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. organic red salsa
1.) Heat the boil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Sauté a few minutes or until onion is translucent.
2.) Whisk eggs with salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add them to the skillet with veggies and cook until scrambled to your liking. Add shredded cheese. Plate with red salsa spooned on top.
Going into nutritional ketosis by following a ketogenic diet is one of the most radical but highly beneficial lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health. As with most dietary changes, always remember to listen to your body. If you feel any side effects other than the ones listed above, then necessary adjustments may be needed to your food intake.
Sun Butter Keto Bombs
A great bedtime snack if you have a craving or just a mid-morning snack if you’re extra hungry from a workout or whatever!
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter
- ¾ cup organic coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 tsp. stevia powder extract or liquid stevia
1.) Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.
2.) Whisk the ingredients and pour the mixture into ice cube trays. Freeze for about 2 hours.
3.) Once frozen, you can pop them out and store them in a container or just keep them in ice cube trays.
Chocolate Keto Ice Cream
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- ½ cup xylitol (or liquid stevia)
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- Hot water
1.) Starting with 1 Tbsp. hot water, dissolve cocoa powder. Add 1 tsp. of hot water, until powder is dissolved.
2.) Gently mix all ingredients together.
3.) Add mixture to ice cream maker (I like this one). Mix to desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Ketogenic Diet
Q: How do I go into nutritional ketosis?
A: To enter into a state of nutritional ketosis, take a look at what you’re currently eating and remove any unhealthy items such as sugary drinks and processed foods. The next step is to consume whole, organic foods that are high in healthy fats, has moderate protein and only minimal carbohydrates.
Q: How long does it take to get into ketosis?
A: Each person reacts differently to a ketogenic diet. You may experience a few side effects in the first seven to 30 days, such as constipation, fatigue and urination. But once your body normalizes, you will start feeling the benefits.
Q: How many carbs can I consume to be in a state of ketosis?
A: It’s generally recommended that only 5 percent of your daily diet is allocated to carbohydrates because if you consume more than that, your body gets thrown off ketosis. However, this is only for SKD, or the standard ketogenic diet. If you’re an athlete or a bodybuilder, you can consume more carbs without affecting ketosis by following a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) or a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD).
Q: How long does it take before ketosis shows results?
A: The results of ketosis can be felt as early as the first week when your body begins to dump water and carbohydrates, but the weight loss will only be minor. As time goes on, your body will begin to consistently shed excess fat, provided you stick to your ketogenic program.
How To Get Started On The Ketogenic Diet?
If this article made sense to you and you believe you could benefit from the ketogenic diet, the most logical place to start is with a 21-day science-based program, The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet
See what others are saying about The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet: