Originally designed for medical purposes, the ketogenic diet has become one of the most spoken about dietary approaches on the market.
While this high-fat style of eating is not for everyone, research has shown that keto can be a highly effective approach for weight loss.
A ketogenic diet can be characterised as a pattern of eating where the majority of energy comes from fat (approximately 70-80% of calories), with moderate protein intake and low carbohydrate intake (less than 5%).
This high fat intake means that fat takes over from carbohydrates as the major fuel source of the body, and also drives the production of another alternative fuel source called ketones.
Ketones are a molecule that can be used in place of carbohydrates in the body.
Some of the commonly reported benefits of following a ketogenic diet is increased feeling of fullness, as fat slows the emptying of the stomach, and improve blood glucose control.
The increased feeling of fullness can mean a reduction in energy consumed, which is how people experience weight loss following this diet. A well planned out keto diet will have most of the fat coming from healthy foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, eggs, cheese, oily fish and meats.
Non-starchy vegetables are also an important component of a healthy ketogenic diet providing essential micronutrients and a small amount of fruit can be consumed as well. However, not everyone gets keto right.
A common mistake made by many excited new keto followers is choosing too many of the 'fun' high-fat foods which are fried or highly processed and nutrient-poor. These include processed meats, take-away foods and hydrogenated fats, which, when consumed regularly, have been associated with increased risk for specific diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.
Another point to be aware of is that calories still count following a keto diet. Many choose keto after hearing the promise that you can eat as much as you like if it’s just from fats and a bit of protein. But the diet isn’t magic.
As previously mentioned, many people experience increased fullness eating more fat, and thus spontaneously eat less, leading to weight loss. However, if an individual eats more calories than they expend during the day, no matter where those calories are coming from, they will not lose weight.
So, with these things in mind, what does a healthy keto diet look like? Here is a sample meal plan.
A nutritionally complete 2000 calorie keto diet meal plan.
· 3 large eggs, plus 15g grated cheddar cheese, scrambled
· ½ and avocado
· 1 cup spinach, wilted
· 2 tsp olive oil, drizzled over spinach, add salt
· 30g almonds
· 1 large can of tuna, drained
· 50g feta cheese
· 1 cup of mixed lettuce leaves
· 1 cup of diced tomatoes and capsicum
· 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
· 80g Greek yogurt
· 20g macadamia nuts
· 15g of dried chia seeds
· 130g cooked salmon cooked in 20g butter, garlic and herbs
· ½ an avocado
· 1 cup of broccoli, steamed
· 1 cup of green beans, streamed
Calories - 1970
Fats - 145g (65%)
Protein - 125g (25%)
Carbohydrates - 55g (10%)
Fibre - 30g
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