The Ketogenic or ‘Keto’ diet is one of the most popular lifestyle movements going around right now. So is it just a fad? Or is the low carb, high fat lifestyle here to stay? We consulted qualified Nutritionist, undergraduate Naturopath and Keto Kitchen Author, Jackie Morgan and got the lowdown on all things Ketos…
Here’s everything you need to know about the Keto diet!
What is ketogenic diet?
Put simply, a ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet with medium amounts of protein. When you switch to ketogenic lifestyle you limit the amount of carbohydrates you consume, increasing your intake of fats in their place. The reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. In ketosis you change your metabolic state from being a ‘glucose burner’, running off carbohydrates and sugars to a ‘ketone burner’ using fats and ketones for energy. It is important to note that when you remove carbohydrates from the diet they must be replaced with another macro nutrient. In a ketogenic diet, you replace your carbs with fat, hence why your fat intake is so high on this program – and why you’ll never feel hungry!
What are ketones?
Ketones are small ‘fuel’ molecules produced by the body. Ketones are an alternative source of energy that are produced from your liver when there is little or no glucose (carbs) available. The ketones are then metabolized to provide your brain and body with a sustainable source of energy.
What happens to my body when I go keto?
When you change to a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its energy supply from glucose burning to running almost entirely on fat. Aside from the fats from your diet, your body will also begin to burn through its own fat stores, making it excellent for weight loss. Other benefits of a ketogenic diet include stabilised blood sugar levels, improved energy, improved sleep, improved mental focus and clarity as well as reduced cravings.
Do I have to stick to Keto for a certain period of time before it becomes effective?
Ideally, yes. In my clinic, that time frame is 6 weeks as I run a 6 Weeks to Ketogenic program frequently and believe this length of time is the most successful and sustainable. It is important for your success on a ketogenic program that you try to eat low carb for as long as possible. Why? Well it can take around 5 days for your body to properly induce ketosis and begin using ketones as fuel. Just 30-40g extra of carbs a day and you’re back out of ketosis. You want to try and remain in a ketogenic state for as long as possible to really reap the benefits of this lifestyle change. If you are only sticking to low carb, high fat Monday- Friday, only to go back to the way you regularly eat over the weekend, then you won’t see a change. By eating to your ketogenic macros (which you’ll find below), you’ll stay in ketosis easily.
Foods to Consume on a Ketogenic Diet:
– Leafy greens: vegetables: cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli etc
– Other vegetables: zucchini, asparagus, green beans, onion, garlic, squash, celeriac, avocado, tomato etc
– Fresh and dried herbs: basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, thyme etc
– Spices: cinnamon, chilli, garam masala etc
– Quality grass-fed and free-range meats: turkey, duck, chicken, beef, lamb etc
– Fats duck fat, lard, tallow, butter, ghee etc as well as olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc
– Others: Chia seeds, nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut cream/milk/yoghurt etc
– Fruit: Raspberries and blueberries
– Dairy: high quality sources of cream, cheese and butter/ghee
– Condiments: cashew cheese, guacamole, homemade mayonnaise, tomato sauce and other homemade sugar-free
– Fermented foods: kimchi, coconut yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut etc.
What can and can’t I eat on a ketogenic plan?
– High sugary foods: cake, cookies, ice cream, lollies, fruit juice, soft drinks etc
– Alcohol (you can manipulate your macros to fit in the occasional red wine)
– Wheat and wheat based products: cereals, pasta, bread etc
– Starchy vegetables: sweet potato, potato, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, beetroot etc
– Grains: rice, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, oats etc
– Fruit: All fresh and dried fruit except small amounts of berries
– Legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas etc
– Low fat, diet products and not foods that contain artificial sweeteners (ie diet coke, sugar free gum)
– Refined vegetable fats and oils
– Processed, packaged and refined
For more from Jackie Morgan, visit her website here.