Let’s talk about Keto

My first three blog posts talk about shopping, cooking utensils and appliances.

Next, I want to talk about a couple of currently popular diet plans. In my opinion, diets alone may provide health benefits, but they do not provide a sustainable method of losing weight. There are many factors behind weight loss, such as overall health, age, and life style. A ‘diet plan’ it needs to take all of these items into account.

Before going on any weight loss plan, I recommend consulting a doctor first. And this comes from someone who avoids doctors like the plague unless there is absolutely no other choice! But I also know that excess weight over 25 pounds is not healthy. Also, if you don’t enjoy the food allowed on the diet plan you won’t stick with it. Many restrictive diets can get repetitious and joyless. If something is fun, tasty and easy you will be more apt to go the distance.

With that off my chest, let’s look at two of the most popular diet plans currently making the rounds: Keto and Paleo.

Basic information about the Keto Diet:

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. To achieve positive results, this diet has to be very low in carbohydrates, high in dietary fat and include a moderate amount of proteins. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy which helps with weight loss, reduced blood pressure, makes for increased energy and often improves sleep and mood. The ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in blood sugar, insulin levels which is why diabetics and elderly should consult their doctors before trying it. 

Fish and shellfish are very keto-friendly foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium, yet virtually carb-free. However, the carbs in different types of shellfish vary. For instance, while shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs, other types of shellfish do. While these shellfish can still be included on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to account for these carbs when you’re trying to stay within a narrow range.

Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals. Vegetables and other plants contain fiber, which your body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs. Most vegetables contain very few net carbs. However, consuming one serving of “starchy” vegetables like potatoes, yams or beets could put you over your entire carb limit for the day. Cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower have been linked to decreased cancer and heart disease risk.

Cheese there are literally hundreds of different types of cheese. Fortunately, all of them are very low in carbs and high in fat, which makes them a great fit for a ketogenic diet. Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fat that has been linked to fat loss and improvements in the body. Eating cheese regularly may help reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging.

Avocados are high in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral many people may not get enough of. What’s more, a higher potassium intake may help make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier.

Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on a ketogenic diet. Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc. They’re also a great source of high-quality protein, which has been shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet.

Eggs are most versatile foods on the planet. They can be fried, boiled, poached, baked, and scrambled just to name a few ways of preparing them. Eggs have been shown to trigger feelings of fullness and keep blood sugar levels stable, leading to lower calorie intakes for up to 24 hours. You need to eat the entire egg. Most of an egg’s nutrients are found in the yolk. This includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect eye health.

Note: Cholesterol scares in the 1970’s caused a decline in the use of eggs. Although the yolks are high in cholesterol, consuming them doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels in most people. New studies have found that In fact, eggs appear to modify the shape of LDL in a way that reduces the risk of heart disease.

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are taken up directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a rapid source of energy. This makes it well suited for a ketogenic diet. The main fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid, a slightly longer-chain fat. It has been suggested that coconut oil’s mix of MCTs and lauric acid may promote a sustained level of ketosis.

 Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese are healthy, high-protein foods. While they contain some carbs, they can still be included in a ketogenic lifestyle. However, both can also be combined with chopped nuts, cinnamon and optional sugar-free sweetener for a quick and easy keto treat.

Olive Oil provides impressive benefits for your heart. It’s high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been found to decrease heart disease risk factors in many studies. In addition, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants known as phenols. These compounds further protect heart health by decreasing inflammation and improving artery function As a pure fat source, olive oil contains no carbs. It’s an ideal base for salad dressings and healthy mayonnaise.

Nuts and Seeds are healthy, high-fat and low-carb foods. Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression and other chronic diseases.

Berries – Most fruits are too high in carbs to include on a ketogenic diet, but berries are an exception. Berries are low in carbs and high in fiber. These tiny fruits are loaded with antioxidants that have been credited with reducing inflammation and protecting against disease.

Butter and Cream have for a very long time been considered to contribute to heart disease due to their high saturated fat content. In recent years several serious studies have shown that for most people, saturated fat isn’t linked to heart disease. In fact, some studies suggest that moderate consumption of high fat dairy may actually reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Much like other fatty dairy products they are rich in conjugated linoleic acid and may actually promote fat loss.

I could go on but what you need to do is research and ask your doctor about what is and is not allowed for a healthy diet plan for you and your physiology. There is no one stop shopping for your individual weight loss, food shopping of cooking type.

Let’s look at Paleo in the next blog post.

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