What is the ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is high in good fats (75% of calories), moderate in protein (20%) and very low in carbs (5%).
Ideally, ketogenic meals aim for a ratio of 3:1 ─ for low-carb/high-fat meals a ratio of 1.5:1. The ketogenic ratio refers to the proportion of fats relative to a combined carbohydrate and protein ratio.
What is nutritional ketosis?
Nutritional ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which the body adapts to burning fat and ketones rather than carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Nutritional ketosis can be achieved and maintained by following the ketogenic diet.
Ketones are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy. This process takes place when carbohydrate consumption is low. The body looks for an alternate source of fuel ─ in this case, the source is ketones.
What are benefits of the keto diet?
The ketogenic way of eating can help support weight-loss and body-composition goals as part of a lifestyle which includes regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and optimal nutrition.
Here are 10 tips for following the keto diet in a healthy and successful way:
- Stay hydrated ─ not with sweetened soda or juices but with plenty of water. Add wedges of lemon or lime for taste. Unflavored seltzer, sparkling water, and herbal teas are good, too. If possible, measure ounces of water according to body weight. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds would consume 130 ounces of water each day (about 4 quarts).
- Get your electrolytes. Make sure the body is getting sufficient electrolytes each day, especially sodium. Also make sure to consume potassium, calcium, and low-dose magnesium. If there are no cardio issues due to salt, consider regularly consuming a salty broth. Liberally sprinkling pink Himalayan sea salt on each meal is another option.
- Use MCT oil liberally. MCT oil is important because it can help the body stay in ketosis. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are quickly absorbed by the body and can serve as an immediate fuel source. MCT oil can be in oil or powder form. The powdered form is often mixed with water while the oil form is often added to coffee or tea, as well as to soup and broth. For those new to MCT oil, we recommend starting with half of the recommended serving and drinking it slowly until your body gets used to digesting it. It may take a few days to work up to a full serving.
- Eat non-starchy vegetables. Low-carb vegetables include: artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce (Romaine or other dark lettuce), onions, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini.
- Exercise! Get regular high-intensity or aerobic exercise (15-20 minutes a day).
- Keep protein levels moderate. Don’t overdo protein because the body will turn excess amino acids into glucose and you could be knocked out of ketosis.
- Lower stress. Try to reduce stress levels as much as possible. Stress boosts levels of certain hormones (like adrenaline) that elevate blood-sugar levels.
- Get enough sleep. Not getting sufficient sleep also boosts stress hormone levels and increases blood sugar. Try to get 7 hours ─ or more ─ of sleep each night.
- Choose the right carbs. Small amounts of non-glycemic fruits and a handful of berries are okay. If cycling in carbs, choose a sweet potato with grass-fed butter and your favorite spice.
- Eat the right fats. The body needs more good fats like marine omega-3 fatty acids, omega-9s from olive oil, and butter from grass-fed cows. These fats are also good for the brain, skin, cells, energy levels, and joints.