This question perplexes many when they first hear of the ketogenic diet and start to learn and figure out what it is. They hear things like "All the bacon you want" and other logical fallacies which the media projects. This can lead to issues not really understanding how you should be eating on a ketogenic diet.
What can i eat on a ketogenic diet plan? You should be consuming whole foods from plant and animal sources. These should have plenty of saturated and unsaturated fats to help your body start to run on fatty acids. You should be looking to eat mainly green cruciferous vegetables to help add vitamins and minerals in supplementation.
Now that we understand what foods to eat on a ketogenic diet we can look into the reason behind aiming for whole foods and quality fat sources like animals as opposed to, for example, soybean oil.
We can explain why the limit to carbohydrates is typically set at around 20-50 grams and why we want cruciferous vegetables primarily.
The best way to learn and function in a ketogenic diet is to approach it from the whole foods aspect. This means eating broccoli from the stalk, aiming to have less processing and less removed.
This is not something many Americans are used to anymore, you should be looking for food not contained in plastic with a "nutrition label" affixed to it.
In a grocery store this means sticking to the outside of the shop, the inside aisles are loaded with pure junk foods and carbohydrate filled zombie foods.
For long term success I would limit my trips into this area until a few months in as you will be amazed how less tempting it all is after you have been removed from it.
You need to ensure you are choosing meats and fats from very good sources. This will help keep you healthy and keep you from getting sick. For proteins you want to ensure you try to get your meats from grass fed and grass finished suppliers like ButcherBox along with try to find local farmers to support in this. I understand budget concerns and I would say it is better and more filling to eat 3 oz of grass fed steak versus 6 oz of grain fed steak.
I'm going to let Thomas DeLauer speak below on fat quality as to healthy versus bad. Please listen as he explains this concept in a pretty easily digested manner. If you would like me to make an article aimed directly around this please leave a comment below and I'll add it to my list of content to write for you!
This is typically due to the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio of the fat source. This is typically a very high bad ratio on grain fed animals and on manufactured oils like cottonseed, canola and soybean. This is why you should strive to remove them entirely or remove as much as possible from your diet.
These are the things you consume which will make blood tests should issues with markers, in most cases cutting and removing these sources from your diet will immensely improve you blood work and hence please your doctors!
There are 2 main camps on this stance. The Ketogains perspective from gym and exercise says to work on eating lean protein and limiting fat as much as possible, typically in a range from 50-75g.
The other side is that you eat as much normal meats and fatty cuts instead. Both of these can show results and I think it truly depends on each person and their body.
I have seen amazing results online from both sides of this argument, in the end I think it comes down to what you can do for a length of time without it being "burdensome" on you.
The calories in the end matter and you can lose muscle while losing body fat which is why I balance between both of the 2 above.
On workout days I tend to increase my protein and decrease my fat intake, on non-workout days I am more relaxed and open myself up to different cuts and preparations on my foods which may include more fats but never over my daily caloric needs.
Most will find over time they start to have a carb creep on their food intake. They add more heavy cream, more sauces and over time this can add up. Another source is running off the information on nutrition labels, these are allowed to be sometimes up to 20% off and it is legally ok.
This means that if it lists 10 grams of carbs it could in theory, contain 11 or 12 grams. This sounds small but added up over a day and boom 50 grams eaten instead of 25.
Also they are allowed on food labels to round up or down on any value, so those sugar free tic-tacs are actually damaging your success as they are typically .5 grams per tic-tac but the company can round that down to 0.
Net carbs was a mathematical fallacy used first for measuring impact of whole plant foods which has slowly been taken over to sell "low carb" garbage. It allows food manufacturers to remove any "fiber" from the carbohydrate count which helps sell products.
There are many fibers which still impact your blood sugar and insulin response, as low carbohydrate diets flourished companies have found more and more loopholes to lower this number they list on the package.
This doesn't mean it will have less impact on you and in many cases will cause fat loss and weight loss to halt or to start gaining again.
I would recommend NOT following the net carbohydrate approach except in evaluation of veggies, this will allow you to add more vegetables into your diet as most green cruciferous vegetables contain a large amount of fiber which is natural and processed different in our body from the processed fiber added to foods in processed products.
For many who have issues with their blood sugars and insulin response the lower the carbohydrate intake is managed the easier time they will have losing weight. Many people can consume more than 20 grams of carbohydrates and stay in a ketotic state without issue, this is highly variable based on each person.
I would suggest staying at 20 grams of net carbs, that is only removing fiber count from green veggies from the carbohydrate count. I would say you should stay at this level for at least the first 60-90 days while you get more adapted to the lessened carbohydrate intake.
After this time frame you can add in some vegetable sources of carbohydrates if you feel you need them, this doesn't mean carbohydrates from junk sources like bars and similar foods, I would suggest avoiding other high carbohydrate foods due to the fast spike. Vegetables have a long releasing slow spike in glucose and hence insulin.
The ketogenic diet isn't a "miracle" where you can eat all the food you want and still lose body fat and weight. Your body has built in methods to handle when over-consumption occurs. These methods include storing the extra calories for when they may be needed as body fat. This was and is a survival mechanism which has had our species thrive where others disappeared.
Let me get this straight as I have heard it many times.
I don't count calories, I count my macros...Numerous Ketogenic Dieters
Get it through your skulls that macro-nutrients and calories are the same thing, one is just a smaller multiple managed categorization of the other. If you are counting your macros, you are in fact counting calories whether you understand that or not.
When you eat under the amount of calories required for your body to function your system begins the process to access the storage of fat. This is to start the process of converting the body fat into fatty acids for use as energy.
This process can be lengthy and can take up to 2 days in most cases. This process is called ketosis, and this is why the ketogenic diet can be so powerful in body fat loss.
If you are running consistently in a ketotic state you are allowing your body to attune itself to the process of utilizing stored fat sources as energy. When you consume food your body will start to process and utilize that as a fuel in the place of stored body fat.
This is why intermittent fasting and keto are typically paired well together as you want to limit your intake of foods. This is why most ketogenic dieters will aim for no snacks and 1-3 meals per day.
The longer they eat this way the longer a time in-between meals you can go as your body isn't starving as it has free access to the stored energy.
I hope I have helped fill in some missing details on what you should eat on a ketogenic diet. I hope that you appreciate the YouTube videos as I include the ones I think carry a quality to them that will help explain parts of my article.
If you love them or hate them please leave me a comment as I want to ensure what I give you fits and is helpful to reaching your goals!
I was searching around by my house to find quality grass fed beef along with heritage pork as I love the taste. Unfortunately farmers markets failed me and I found ButcherBox.
It is now almost 3 years later and I still receive my ButcherBox monthly and I get a mix of all three items but have added bacon and sausage into each additionally to give me a strong pork option that is from heritage hogs.