If you pay attention to the food world, you’ve probably heard about the ‘Keto diet’, and unless you’ve started the diet yourself, you’re probably also confused about what it is or exactly how it works.
And to be honest, the diet does sound a little counterintuitive. It claims to help you lose weight — by eating lots of fat.
You read that correctly. The Keto diet encourages you to load up your plate with fat, so you can shed your own.
Ketosis (where Keto gets its name) is the metabolic state where your body runs out of glucose, the most basic form of sugar, so needs to burn fat stores for energy.
When your body has too much glucose, it converts the unneeded amounts to fat. So eliminating excess glucose is good, but if do that while starving your body of calories (like in conventional diets), your metabolism slows down, thus you stop burning as much energy.
What the Keto diet does, is it starves your body of carbs, but not calories, so your body reaches Ketosis early and often — cueing your stored fat to get to work.
What do I eat?
The general rule is this: eliminate as many carbs as possible — especially sugar — and don’t shy away from fats. If you really want the diet to work, it’s recommended to limit carbs to no more than 15g a day, or 5% of your calorie intake. That means no wheat, pasta, rice, corn, and potatoes.
When you do eat carbs, it’s best to get them from vegetables (the greener the better), high-fat dairy, and nuts.
The great part is, you get to eat lots of your favorite high-fat foods. Cheese, steak, almonds — all highly recommended. Monosaturated and saturated fats (think coconut oil, nuts and animal products) are the most desirable fats, as well as those healthy Omega-3’s and 6’s. So if you’re in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger with avocado, feast away — just remember to skip the bun.
I’m having trouble cutting out sugar.
This is one of the biggest struggles for many starting on the Keto diet. American diets have become so sugar heavy, we’re often unaware just how much we’re eating till we cut it out. Sugar withdrawal is a real thing.
While sweeteners are okay under the diet, they prolong the craving period for sugar, which can lead to headaches and eventual breaking with the diet, and experts don’t recommend it.
Instead, if you’re hitting that lunchtime urge to grab a soda with your meal, resist. And if you’re one of us who can’t take the blandness of water with a meal, then grab a naturally-flavored Hint water, with zero sweeteners and zero sugar. Keto away.