What does Keto mean?
Keto comes from the fuel molecules the body produces in the form of ketones. This form of fuel is used to power the body when blood sugar in the form of glucose is not available. When you eat carbohydrates or sugars, they are converted into glucose and your liver distributes that glucose in the form of glycogen into your blood stream. Glycogen is used to power the body. Ketones are created when you utilize all the glycogen within your blood stream and your body is forced to get that energy from your body’s own fat stores. Ketones are produced in the liver when fat is metabolized.
Once you have been following the ketogenic diet for several days, your body will begin to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. This isn’t an easy process and your body will fight you by responding with sugar cravings, nausea, fatigue, and what is sometimes referred to as the “keto flu.” It takes most people about two to three months for their body’s to become very efficient at converting their fat to be used as fuel.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet
The Standard Ketogenic Diet or SKD usually consists of 75% fat, 20% Protein and 5% Carbohydrates. When using this diet to lose weight, the carbs are restricted anywhere from 5 grams to 20 grams of net carbohydrates a day. If you are at your goal weight and are wishing to just maintain, the net grams can be adjusted somewhere between 20 to 50 grams per day.
If you are an athlete or body builder, getting enough protein is a must to build muscle. A higher protein ketogenic diet would be suggested raising your protein to about 35% of your total caloric intake while reducing your fat intake to only 60% and keeping your net carbs around 5%.
Keeping track of your calories (macros) is not important in the beginning. What is important is tracking the amount of carbohydrates you consume in the form of net grams. Carbohydrates are measured by the amount of starch, sugar, sugar alcohols, and fiber they contain. The only part we count are the net carbs or the carbs we actually absorb and turn into glucose. Fiber is not digested and therefore is not counted in this measurement. Making sure you eat enough fat and do not consume too protein is very important. If you eat more protein than your body can utilize, it will be converted into glucose and stored as fat. Fat consumption is important because it satiates, satisfying our hunger and making us feel full longer. Carbohydrates on the other hand can actually make us more hungry and create sugar and food cravings.
What foods are on the ketogenic diet?
The Ketogenic pyramid looks very different from the standard food pyramids developed since the 1970s. The base of the Keto pyramid is filled with meats eggs, cheeses and fats. This will make up the bulk of your calories. As you go upwards, above ground vegetables that are low on the glycemic scale will be eaten to make up the bulk of your carbohydrate load (5-50 grams). Fruits, nuts and below ground vegetables can be eaten in very limited quantities occasionally because they contain more dense amounts of carbohydrates. Notice that breads, pastas, sugars, skim milk, corn, beans/legumes and rice should be totally excluded due to their extremely high glycemic indexes.
Ketogenic Diet Food List
It is always recommended to eat “whole” and “unprocessed foods. Be careful when consuming foods with nitrites like bacon and salami. Nitrites have been shown to cause cancer. If you do eat foods with nitrites, vitamin C has been shown to negate the negative effect of nitrites. You can take a vitamin C supplements along with your bacon, sausage, hot dogs etc.
A ketogenic diet is not like Atkins. Atkins is very high in protein and that can cause a problem because excess protein will be turned in glucose and stored as fat on our bodies. We recommend that keep your protein intake around 20% of your total macro calories. If you are an athlete, you may be able to increase your protein intake to around 30% of your total calories.
Foods to Eat
Meat, Fish and Eggs
Red Meat White Fish
Chicken (skin-on is okay) Venison
Pork (including bacon) Pheasant
Ham Crab and Shrimp
Berries (in limited quantities):
Non-starchy Vegetables/Low-Carb Vegetables:
Most Green Vegetables Tomatoes
Leafy Greens like Spinach and Kale Peppers
Nuts and Seeds: Limited Quantities
Macadamias Chia Seeds
Almonds Pumpkin Seeds
Walnuts Flax Seeds
Peanuts (a legume exception)
Organic Nut and Seed Butter - Limited quantities with no added sugar
Heavy Whipping Cream Butter
Half and Half Ghee
Yogurt Sour Cream
Cottage Cheese Cream Cheese
Cheese (unprocessed )
Cheddar Goat Blue Cheese
Unsweetened Nut Milk
Almond Milk – 30 calories no sweeteners
Cashew Milk – 30 calories no sweeteners
Fats , Oils, and Avocados
Coconut Oil MCT
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Almond/Nut Oils
Hemp Oil Flaxseed Oil
Avocado Oil Sesame Oil
Flours, Ground Seeds, and Other Baking Products
Coconut flour Almond Flour
Flaxseeds Ground Psyllium Husk ground/flakes
Chia Seeds whole Baking Soda
What to Drink
Water Water with Lemon/lime
Carbonated Water Fruit-infused Water
Tea (remove all fruit before drinking)
Calorie-Free Beverages (limit artificial sweeteners)
Alcohol (one or two drinks max per day and only 2-3 times a week)
Champagne, Dry Gin
Vodka Whiskey Rum
Dark Chocolate 70% or higher
Seasonings and Condiments:
Salt, Himalayan Salt, Kosher Salt
Healthy Herbs and Spices without added sugars (NO MSG)
Catsup without sugar
Vinegars (Balsamic has a lot of sugar – limited quantity)
No sugar maple syrup
Natural vanilla flavoring
Salad dressings like Blue Cheese and Caesar