The Keto Diet Explained
The keto diet is not necessarily simple to achieve because it takes strict diligence, however, with that being said, there is room for creativity within the strictness. To simply explain the keto diet, it is eating a diet that is very high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. To explain in more detail, the goal through keto is to keep your fat-accumulating hormone, insulin, low by keeping your blood sugar low. In doing so, you turn on fat-burning genes while suppressing the abdominal-fat-amassing machinery.
Every keto diet varies, percentage wise, depending on the person. However, generally, ketogenic diets reduce carbohydrates to less than 50 grams a day. That is the equivalent of an apple or one cup of quinoa and that’s it. These examples easily add up to 50 grams or complex carbs.
Eating a high-fat diet—like 70 percent dietary fat or higher in this case—means you aren’t getting sufficient glucose as fuel, and glycogen (your glucose backup tank in your liver) eventually becomes depleted. This shifts your body’s primary fuel source from glucose to fat-derived ketones. So, you quite literally burn fat from eating—either dietary fat or body fat—for fuel on a ketogenic diet. All from eating large amounts of healthy fats. My how the times have changed.
What do you actually eat on the keto diet?
Well, as you can tell from above, a whole lot of healthy fats galore.
There is no room for a fear of fat here. Don’t worry though, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Once you see and feel the results of the keto diet that fear will be replaced by relief and content. A properly designed ketogenic diet will include high-quality fat sources like:
- Wild-caught fish
- Grass-fed beef and wild game
- Free-range poultry
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Raw nuts and seeds
- High-fat fruits like coconut and avocado
- Quality oils including extra-virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil
Everything in the list above should always be of high quality. This is a mandatory aspect of the keto diet. Especially with animal fats, you want to choose the very highest quality. Toxins congregate in fatty tissue, so when you eat, say, a fatty grain-fed steak from a factory-farmed cow, you’re ingesting those toxins. This completely turns off the process that is the entire purpose of the keto diet when it is not the highest quality.
You’ll balance those healthy fats out with loads of gut-healing, microbiome-supporting, low-carbohydrate plant-based foods, including leafy and cruciferous vegetables.
The keto diet is heavy on dietary restrictions so important to have a really good understanding of what your body can and cannot eat and what it needs specifically.
These dietary restrictions work for some people. However, can you picture yourself passing on bread and desserts forever? Does this sound like the kind of plan you could more or less stick with for life? If not, a ketogenic diet might not be for you and that’s ok!