Unless you’ve spent the last twelve months living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the keto diet by now, right?!
You’ve probably heard a ton of people blabbering on social media about their ‘keto diet plan’ and wondered – what the hell is it?
In this article, I’m going to be giving an explanation of what keto actually is, different types of keto diets, which foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid, along with some frequently asked questions.
What is a Keto Diet?
The keto diet (short for ketogenic) is a type of diet which consists of very little carbohydrates, high-fat and a moderate amount of protein.
It’s fairly similar to the Atkins and low-carb diets.
The main purpose of the keto diet is to make the body enter a state of ketosis. The way we do this is by dramatically reducing the amount of carbohydrates we feed our body and giving it fat instead.
When we drop our carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat, eventually our bodies adjust and begin to use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
It also turns fat into ketones in the liver and improves cognitive function. There have been many reports of people feeling sharper and more alert when in a state of ketosis.
Ketogenic diets are super popular for people with blood sugar issues, as they result in huge reductions in both blood sugar and insulin levels.
Overall, the keto diet plan is a great choice if your goal is weight loss or management.
Which Types of Ketogenic Diets Are There?
There are four main types of keto diets and the type which you choose is completely up to you. Develop an educated opinion of each version and see which one works best.
The four types of keto diet are as follows:
Standard Ketogenic Diet: This is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It consists of around 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% (or less) carbohydrates.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: This keto diet plan involves some refeed days, for example, 5 days spent in ketosis, followed by 2 days where carbohydrates are introduced.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet: This version of keto allows you to add some carbohydrates around your workouts.
High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: This is like a normal keto diet plan, except it has a slightly higher percentage of protein. So you’re looking at around 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates. This method is preferred by those who regularly train with high intensity.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet is the one I would personally recommend to start with. It’s also the one which has been researched the most – by far.
What Foods Should I Eat?
When you’re putting together a keto diet plan, you have to pick your foods very carefully.
If you pick the right foods, you will feel great, burn fat and you’ll stay in a steady state of ketosis. Pick the wrong foods, you’ll feel sluggish and the weight won’t shift.
Here’s a list of foods which will help keep your body in a ketogenic state:
- Healthy oils
- Low-carb vegetables
- Healthy herbs and spices
Basically, you should be basing your diet around low-carb foods which are fresh and healthy.
Which Foods Should I Stay Away From?
The main foods you should be avoiding when on a keto diet are those which contain high amounts of carbohydrates.
Here are the main ones to avoid:
- Grains or starches
- Low-fat or diet products (they’re usually full of carbohydrates)
- Sugary foods and drinks
- Root vegetables
- Beans or legumes
- Sugary condiments/sauces
Are There Any Supplements Which Can Help With A Ketogenic Diet?
No supplements are absolutely necessary to remain in ketosis but there are a few which make life a bit easier.
Eating a diet comprised of 75% fat can be quite tough as there aren’t a ton of different fatty foods out there.
The main supplements I use when following a keto diet plan are as follows:
MCT Oil: I add MCT oils to drinks, protein shakes and especially coffee when following a keto diet. It a super healthy form of fat which will provide you with sustainable energy and increase your ketone levels.
Multivitamins: I think a multivitamin is essential for everybody who’s trying to live a healthy lifestyle, but in this case, it can give additional benefits due to shifts in water and mineral balance within the body. I would recommend Opti-Women for the girls, and Opti-Men for the guys.
Exogenous Ketones: These are great when you’re trying to remain in ketosis, as it helps raise the body’s ketone levels and gives it fuel to run on.
For more information on the supplements I use, take a look at this article where I go over the four supplements I wouldn’t go without. It’s not keto related but they’re essential for anybody looking to take care of their health.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If I follow a keto diet plan, can I ever eat carbs again?
Of course you can eat carbs again, but you should steer clear of them for a couple of months. This allows your body to properly adjust to the new diet and run on fat instead of carbs.
Will I get smaller and lose muscle?
You will lose muscle whenever you lose weight unless you are taking some form of anabolic steroid. What we must try and do is minimise this effect.
By keeping your ketones high and taking in a sufficient amount of protein, you shouldn’t lose too much muscle, especially if you are doing regular resistance training.
Can you build muscle on a keto diet?
It is possible for beginners if you’ve never really built any muscle before. However, this is simply the body adjusting to the task of lifting weights.
If your main focus is building muscle, you would be far better off on a higher-carb diet.
Do I need to carb load?
No. The keto diet isn’t simply about restricting your calories – it’s about making your body run on fat so that you literally don’t need carbohydrates at all.
Will it make me tired all the time?
If you’re feeling fatigued or tired all the time, you probably aren’t fully in ketosis. The best way to combat this is to actually drop your carbohydrates and enter ketosis properly.
I heard keto was dangerous?
Ketosis is a natural bodily function and it’s perfectly safe.
People often get ketosis confused with ketoacidosis, which occurs due to uncontrolled diabetes.
I have diarrhoea, how can I fix this?
The sudden change in diet can sometimes cause various digestion issues, but these will subside after a couple of weeks.
If they continue, try eating more fibrous vegetables and supplementing with a magnesium supplement.
In my opinion, a keto diet plan is best for this who are overweight and looking to lose weight, those who are diabetic and trying to control their insulin levels, or those who simply have bad metabolic health.
It’s not the best type of diet for those who are looking to add muscle to their frame, or those who are trying to become high-level athletes.
If you’re in the first group of people though, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. The weight loss and health benefits of a keto diet are astounding, and it’s effectiveness been proven time and time again.
If you’d like some ideas and recipes to help you create some tasty ketogenic meals, you should go ahead and read The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel. It contains 125 ketogenic recipes and has 5 different meal plans you can choose from.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step plan which will help you lose weight as quickly as possible in a healthy manner (no starving yourself – the diet consists of 3-4 meals per day), you should really consider taking a look at our 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
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We’ve eliminated all the risk, so the only way you can possibly lose out is by not getting involved. Besides, you won’t want a refund when you see the kind of results it’ll bring you – trust me!
To get started with the challenge, or to find out more information, you can check it out here.
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