Achieving Ketosis: The Science Behind Keto Foods
When most of us think about going on a diet, we might think of having a salad every day, or not being able to eat the foods we want in order to achieve weight loss. However, this doesn’t have to be the case!
Weight loss can be done in a healthy way without any crazy diet fads. Ketogenic diets, or keto has risen massively in popularity, with more and more people adopting this diet. It has a range of benefits and allows you to fuel your body with healthy, nutritious foods.
To find out more about what keto really is, and if it’s right for you, keep on reading!
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
The basic principle of the keto diet is essentially to reduce your intake of carbohydrates and replace them with healthy fats and protein. By replacing your carbohydrate intake with fats, your body is put into a metabolic state called ‘ketosis’.
There are a range of different ketogenic diets out there, and the general idea remains the same. In a standard ketogenic diet, you would typically find:
- 70% fat
- 20% protein
- 10% carbohydrates
Everyone’s reasons for choosing a keto diet are different, however the main goal that can be achieved through this diet is to burn fat by cutting out carbs! This diet forces your body to use a different type of fuel instead of relying on carbohydrates.
How Is Keto Beneficial?
People may take on a ketogenic diet for a range of different reasons, and there are a range of benefits that come with choosing to try keto!
- Good for weight loss - Known for boosting metabolism and reducing your appetite, ketogenic diets are good for weight loss. However, it’s important to still eat an appropriate amount, and it’s recommended that you only take on a diet like this for a maximum of 6 months. Subjecting your body to a state of ketosis for extended periods of time can be harmful.
- Heart health - By eating an influx of healthy fats instead of carbohydrates, keto can reduce your cholesterol and help you avoid complications associated with your heart.
- PCOS Symptoms - Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that many people struggle with. Research has found that a ketogenic diet can help with some of the symptoms associated with PCOS such as skin problems and weight gain.
- Reduced Blood Sugar & Blood Pressure - Low-carb diets and ketogenic diets are extremely helpful to people with high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. These diets lower blood sugar and glucose which can reduce your risk of other complications.
Can Anyone Do Keto?
In a simple answer, yes! Anyone can try the keto diet and for those who may be overweight or diabetic, keto can be an effective way of improving your metabolism, losing weight and reducing your blood sugar levels.
It’s important to be careful when trying out any new diets, and eating a healthy amount of calories is vital to keeping your body well fueled. If you have problems regarding your gallbladder, pancreas, liver or thyroid problems, ketogenic diets are not recommended because they can be more harmful than beneficial in these cases.
Another important thing to remember if you are trying the keto diet, is that your body is not used to being in a state of ketosis and will take some time to adjust to its new fuel source. Many people struggle with this initially, as cutting out carbohydrates can leave you feeling lethargic, dizzy, or give you mood swings as it adjusts. This is sometimes called the ‘keto flu’ and is simply your body adjusting to the dietary change.
To really understand why keto works, we have to look at things a little more scientifically. Our bodies use the glucose that comes from carbohydrate foods when we are eating standard diets. However, the ketogenic diet removes this primary source of energy and without glucose, our bodies enter a state of ketosis. This means that our bodies are burning fats rather than carbohydrates to give us energy, which is how the fat loss process happens during a ketogenic diet.
While putting your body into ketosis has a range of health benefits, it’s important to stay safe while dieting. It is not recommended for anyone to stay in ketosis for longer than 6 months, or as a forever diet. You can gradually introduce carbohydrates back into your diet in small amounts over time and find your optimum carbohydrate range. The trick to maintaining your weight loss is to find the perfect carbohydrate range. You can also prioritise protein in your diet to help you increase your intake of lean meats.
Introducing carbs back into your diet will definitely benefit you, however these are some key foods to avoid post-keto:
- Microwave dinners
- Sugary snacks (cookies, donuts, cakes)
- Sugary cereals
- Processed meats (bacon/hotdogs)
- Frozen pizzas
What Can I Eat On A Keto Diet?
The keto diet is centred around nutrient-dense foods, non-starchy vegetables and natural fats. Changing your diet to incorporate all of these food groups can seem challenging at first, so we’ve created a list of keto-friendly foods to help you get inspired.
Fruits And Vegetables
- Berries are low in carbohydrates and high in fibre, helping to reduce inflammation
- Avocados are a renowned super food and they are rich in healthy fats. You can add them to breakfasts, lunches, dinners or enjoy as a snack!
- Broccoli and cauliflower are great vegetables to include in your diet if you’re trying out keto, as they are low in calories and carbs but very nutritious
- Bell peppers can be enjoyed raw on a salad or roasted in the oven and they make a healthy addition to many meals
- Spinach is another superfood, and for good reason. It helps with a range of physical problems and has anti-inflammatory properties too.
High Protein Low Carb Foods
- Fatty fish and other seafood is excellent for getting healthy fats and a good source of protein. Omega 3 fats found in fish are extremely beneficial for heart problems and strokes.
- Lean proteins such as chicken, eggs and pork can be great to include in your diet too
- Charcuterie meats like salami, prosciutto and pepperoni get the green light when it comes to keto
- Red meats such as steaks or ground beef are good sources of protein (however these can be a little more expensive to have regularly)
- Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein, healthy fats and you can enjoy it on sweet or savoury dishes!
- Soft and hard cheeses also get the green light when it comes to keto diets
- Butters, creams and other dairy products are generally okay to eat on a keto diet, in moderation
Miscellaneous Foods To Try
- Foods like nuts and seeds can be a good source of healthy fats, and a great little snack in between meals
- Dark chocolate and cocoa powder have antioxidants which can reduce your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease
- Healthy oils such as coconut oil or olive oil, in moderation, are also associated with a lower risk of heart complications
Finding delicious meals while you’re on your ketosis journey doesn't need to be difficult. Modern life can be busy and finding the time to prepare fresh meals everyday can be hard, which is why our range of weight loss meals is perfect for you!
Here at Calorie Watchers, we have curated the perfect range of slim meals for you to enjoy. With zero carbs, zero sugar and zero fat, our slim meal kits are completely keto friendly. We’ve even got gluten free and plant based options so that our range of meals can cater to everyone’s needs.
For further information about our slimming meals and how they could work for you, feel free to contact us today! Our team will be happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for and answer any questions you may have.