A ketogenic diet is one that strives to put the body in a ketosis state. This happens when you are on a low-carb or no-carb diet. The body uses energy from blood sugar or fat stores. When there isn’t enough sugars in the blood stream for that energy, the body begins to burn fat for its energy.
When you eat few, if any, carbs, the body produces ketones from burning the stored fat. This is called ketosis. This is also the state that the body goes into while fasting. While fasting isn’t a state that can continue for more than a day or two, a state of ketosis can last indefinitely and help you lose weight.
Benefits of Ketosis
Ketosis can reverse Type 2 diabetes, which is the result of blood sugar in the body. While it’s important to take insulin when prescribed by a doctor, you can work towards removing your need for insulin over time with a ketogenic diet.
Increase mental focus is one big benefit of a ketogenic diet. Many believe that the brain is fueled by carbohydrates. In fact, the brain can be fueled by ketones instead. Many can use the keto diet to increase their mental performance.
Signs You’re in a Ketogenic State
It takes a few weeks for the body to adapt to a ketogenic diet. It definitely doesn’t happen instantly. One of the signs you might notice when in ketosis is a fruity, bad breath smell. This smell is caused by ketone levels that are elevated. Sugar free gum or brushing your teeth more frequently can combat the smell.
Actual weight loss is another sign that you’re in ketosis. During the first week, those on a ketogenic diet will see a surge in weight loss. While some believe that it’s because they’ve reduced their calories, it can often be a result of the ketogenic diet.
Another sign of ketosis is a decrease in appetite. The reduction in hunger is often attributed to the increase in protein consumption as well as the brain’s use of ketones, which changes hunger hormones.
Ketosis Diet Food List
There are some foods that you can eat without worry while others should be eaten in moderation. There’s a third list of foods that you should never touch if you want to stay on a ketogenic diet.
Eat These Foods Without Worry
Wild Sources of Animals and Grass-Fed Meat
This includes beef, goat, lamb and venison – whether they’re grass fed or wild sources. Fish and seafood that’s caught in the wild are good for this diet. Pasteurized pork, poultry, and eggs work for this diet, too. They contain omega 3 fatty acids.
Vegetables without Starch
All the vegetables that are leafy and green are considered vegetables without starch. This includes kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, lettuce, spinach, and endive. Some other non-starchy vegetables are celery stalks, cucumbers, summer squash, and asparagus.
While technically a fruit, avocados are good for this diet. There aren’t many other fruits that work with a ketogenic diet.
Stick with water for the most part, but you can also have coffee without cream and sugar. Herbal teas without sweeteners work, too.
Mustard, pesto, and bone broth can be used with the other items on this list. All spices and herbs are compatible with this diet. Homemade condiments without preservatives are best for a ketogenic diet.
Macadamia nuts, coconut butter, egg yolks, olive oil, and avocado oil are important for the healthy ketogenic diet.
If you need a supplement during the diet, whey protein shakes are helpful – especially in the first few weeks of the diet when hunger and fatigue can be a problem. Stay away from additives, soy lecithin, and artificial sweeteners.
Foods to Add to Your Diet Occasionally
- White and green cabbage
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bean sprouts
- Plain yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
Nuts and Seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
Foods to Avoid Completely
Grains and Processed Foods
Stay away from grains like wheat, rye, corn and barley. Quinoa and white potatoes should be avoided for the purposes of ketosis. These are all foods that are high in carbohydrates. Processed foods, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and sweet pudding are all a big no-no on this diet, too.
Bananas, papaya, mango, and pineapple are fruits that are high in carbs and sugars. Grapes and tangerines as well as fruit juices are high in carbs and sugars, too.
If you want to enjoy the weight loss benefits of a ketogenic diet, you need to stick to this diet pretty strictly. Any addition of carbs to the diet can stop the ketogenic process. It can take weeks to see benefits from the diet, and the smallest unhealthy addition means you’ll have to start all over again.