Pros and Cons of a Ketogenic Diet

ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?  Let’s start at the beginning. What is a ketogenic diet?  it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?  You eat more fat to lose weight and be healthy.

But there are many studies that show this can be the case.  Perhaps all the conventional wisdom we’ve been fed over the years is questionable.

On a ketogenic diet, you cut down on refined carbs and replace them with high- quality ”good” fats. No more cookies and cakes, baked potatoes or fries.  Not quite the diet I had in mind.  We’d all prefer a diet where we eat what we want to and magically the weight just falls off.

Amazingly,  when you’re on a keto diet, the weight does just magically fall off. But you have to eat the right foods. The point of the low carb diets is to get your body into a state called ketosis.

What’s that, you might ask?

Ketosis is when your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat instead of carbs for energy. It also turns fat into something called ketones in the liver, which can supply more energy to your brain.

I don’t know about your brain, but mine could sure do with an energy boost.

The main benefits of the keto diet are controlling blood sugar and lowering insulin levels, which in turn have a slew of health benefits.

How does a Keto Diet work?

There are several versions of the keto diet, so you can find the one that works best for your lifestyle.

The Standard Ketogenic Diet: The Zone Diet fits into this category.  Fat provides 75% of your calorie intake, 30% comes from protein, and only 5% from carbs.  So your plate would look something like this – a small amount of grilled chicken or fish the size of your palm, most of the meal is low-card veges and salad, fat from butter, cheese, good oils or an avocado, and a tiny amount of regular carbs – half a slice of toast or one tiny bite of a dessert. Sugar is verboten. That’s the real hurdle you have to cross.

The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: This version alternates periods of high-carb intake with the regular keto diet. So you’d do 5 ketogenic days, then 2 high-carb days. Personally, I don’t see the point.  You just get going on the keto thing and then eat carbs for two days. That makes no sense to me.

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet: If you hit the gym for workouts, then this one is for you. You can eat more carbs when you work out.

The High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: Much the same of the standard keto diet, but you get to eat more protein – 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

The Keto Diet No-No List

baked goods keto diet

Here’s what you can’t eat. Don’t faint just yet, there are lots of yummy things on the other list.

  • Keep walking right past the bakery.  No white bread, whole-wheat bread, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and rolls.
  • No candy or sugar.  That means ice cream, candy, and all the natural syrups and sugars like maple, agave, or coconut sugar.
  • Anything that’s been sweetened. That includes tea, coffee, soda, almond milk,  sports drinks.
  • Forget those romantic dinners at Italian restaurants. Pasta, spaghetti, and noodles are not allowed.
  • No grains at all. Wheat, rice, oats, breakfast cereals and tortillas.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas, and pumpkin.
  • Beans and legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans.
  • Fruit: Citrus, grapes, bananas, and pineapple.
  • High-carb sauces: Barbecue sauce, sugary salad dressings, and dipping sauces.
  • Certain alcoholic beverages: Beer and sugary mixed drinks.

The Good Stuff

keto diet vegetable salads

  • Meat
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Natural Fat – butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
  • Vegetables that grow above the ground – especially leafy green items
  • High-fat dairy products – cheese and cream.  Milk, not so much. (it has a high sugar content)
  • Nuts – but in moderation, as they can have a higher carb count than you realize
  • Berries – again in moderation, and eat them with a high-fat source like cream
  • Water. As much as you like
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Bone Broth

Keto Diet Recipes

pecan truffles

If you simply can’t imagine yourself giving up desserts, relax.  There is a Keto dessert recipe book – yes, a whole book of delicious desserts and scrumptious snacks you can eat. My current craze is a mixture of almond butter, coconut oil, and lime juice. And I just love the pecan truffles.  I’m planning to try a lemon-lime poppyseed cheesecake made with creme fraiche soon  It sounds perfect for me.

There are even recipes for making pizza. So even though at first glance it looks like a radical diet, you can still eat most of the foods you like, just in a different format.  And you’ll reap the benefits in a healthier body.

Give it a try.

If you want to find out more about how to do the ketogenic diet, watch Dr. Eric Berg’s videos

 

 

 

 

 

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