When sizing yourself up for a new change of diet, it’s important to know exactly how it is best to be followed for the best results and why. Following the Ketogenic diet will be a massive change for many who decide to give it a go, so today we are going to go in depth with the most common questions that I am asked about the topic, “What can I eat on a Keto diet?”
It’s not so much about what you can eat with this diet, it is more a case of what you can’t eat. What you can’t eat, quite simply is carbohydrates. Generally speaking, carbohydrates can be either simple sugars or complex starchy carbohydrates so eating carbohydrates is almost the same as eating straight sugar out of the jar. Is that something that you would do??
Too many hands went up just then……
Can We Eat ANY Carbs?
Following the Keto diet you should be aiming for no more than a 50g of carbohydrates per day and total of 20-30g net carbs per day. To calculate the net carb you take the total amount of carbs in a food and minus the fiber.
Example: Tomato – 4.8g carbs – 1.5g fiber = 3.3 Net carbs
I find it very easy to work out the total carbs I’m consuming by using a dietary app, such as ‘MyFitnessPal’ that can calculate it for you, but try to make any carb intake come from non-starchy vegetables, nuts and avocado.
Once you get used to the diet, you shouldn’t need to use the app so much, as you will grow accustomed to your new diet and it will become second nature.
High Carb Foods To Avoid
- Breads and grains
- Breakfast cereal
- Some fruits – Many fruits are high carb. The average banana has 27g Carb with 3g fiber.
- Starchy vegetables – These include potato, corn, peas, beans, lentils.
- Fruit Juice – very high in sugar
- “Low Fat” & Fat Free” Products – Usually are higher in carbs than full fat options.
- Chips & Crackers – Lower carb options are available
- Milk – Is OK in small amounts, like added to coffee. A cup of milk (250ml) is usually around 12-13 carb
- “Gluten-free products” – Quite often higher in carbs than their glutenous counterparts
- Beer!! – Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!….. don’t worry, there are some good low-carb options out there. Most spirits are 0 carb as long as you don’t add a high sugar mixer.
- Various honey and sugar types
I realize this may seem like quite a big list, but there are many substitutes for these items, which are still tasty and better for you.
Read Your Labels
Before you buy ANYTHING at the supermarket check the carbohydrate content on the nutritional label. Try to aim for foods as low in carbs as you can. This can be a bit time-consuming in the beginning, but it is very important, as your main aim is to keep your body in ketosis, where your body is burning fat, not carbs.
You will be surprised at the amount of carbs that are in foods that are labeled “low carb’ or “low sugar.” It can be very deceiving.
The Importance Of Protein
Consuming plenty of protein is very important on a Keto diet as it is the most satiating macronutrient, which is the reason why you will feel less hungry on the diet. Less hunger, leads to less eating. Less eating, leads to weight loss and better health.
The average adult will need to consume around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (LBM) and that usually works out to be around 65-80g, however, to get the precise amount for your own needs, you may need to do some maths.
1. First calculate your fat percentage using the calculator above.
2. Take you fat percentage and work out the amount of fat that equates to and take that away from your total weight.
(own weight) 123kg x (own fat percentage) 24% = 29.52kgs
123kg – 29.52kg = 93.48kg LBM
Now take this number (in kg) and multiply 0.8
93.48 x 0.8 = 74.8g of protein
As you can see, the total ended up in the average range.
The recommended protein range can also depend on your physical exertions as well. If you live a less active life with less physical activity you can multiply your LBM x 0.5 or if you are an athlete x 1.0 to be more accurate for your needs.
With all those calculations, now is the time I tell you that you shouldn’t worry too much about going over your recommended protein range. The amount of protein to kick you out of ketosis and cause the body to begin to generate glucose (gluconeogenesis) is a very high amount.
I’ve still been researching in this area, but from what I can gather thus far is you can still consume 200-300g of protein and still be in ketosis.
No More Maths Please!
If you need to rest your brain a bit from all that maths, here’s a cute picture of a puppy…..
Protein Rich Foods
- Cured meats – Salami, Prosciutto, Pepperoni
- Hotdogs & sausages – without the bread!
- Some cheeses – Mozzarella, Parmesan, cheddar
- Some seeds – Hemp, pumpkin, chia
Chewing The Fat
Fat is the primary nutrient of the Keto diet but you need to make sure you are eating the right healthy fats or else you may do yourself more harm than good.
Avoid all processed polyunsaturated fats and trans fats that are found in margarine and refined vegetable oils as these can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol.
Healthy Fats To Eat
- Nuts & Seeds – macadamia, pecans, almonds, walnuts etc
- Monounsaturated fats – avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, almond oil
- Saturated fats – Lard, ghee, duck fat, tallow, butter, coconut oil
- Egg yolks
- Fatty fish – Salmon, tuna, herring, anchovies
- Mayonnaise & tartare
- MCT oil
Keto For Better Health
The Keto diet may seem quite restrictive to some as it cuts out many foods that most of us have grown up with, such as bread, pasta and potatoes, but there is so much that you CAN eat.
There will certainly be an adjustment period in the beginning but as you begin to shift in ketosis and learn more about the foods that keep you there, it will become second nature and you won’t want to go back to eating carbs again.
You will find the cravings you once had will disappear and you will not need to eat as much food to feel satisfied. You will lose weight and your overall health will improve. The Keto diet is proven to bring great health benefits to many, if followed correctly. I can say that it has done a lot for me and my weight in the recent months. It is definitely worth the consideration.