The Ketogenic diet
The ketogenic or simply the keto diet is a weight loss program focused on increasing fat intake while lowering carbohydrate consumption. To better summarize, it consists of a diet that includes 75% coming from fats, 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbohydrates.
The concept of the ketogenic diet is to induce a metabolic process called ketosis to promote weight loss. Under ketosis, the body converts stored into ketones which the body uses as fuel.
The body primarily uses carbohydrates as its energy source. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose under glycolysis. Glucose, in turn, is used to synthesized pyruvate—the fuel form of glucose.
A high-calorie diet, especially those that contain high carbohydrates, delays the utilization of fats for energy usage. This process results in fats being stored in the abdominal section. Continuous consumption leads to stored fats being unused and piling of additional fats in the body. Thus, it leads to weight gain and the formation of belly fats.
High carbohydrate diets may lead to medical conditions such as diabetes and heart complications. It may also cause obesity which may lead to other medical conditions like high blood pressure, liver disease, and increased risk of stroke.
It’s shown that aside from its weight loss inducing effect, the ketogenic diet may also provide other health benefits such as lower blood pressure level, improved good cholesterol level, and may help in treating metabolic syndrome.
Foods to avoid on keto
Nutrients considered as carbohydrates are sugar, dietary fiber, and starch. Carbohydrates from these nutrients are converted into glucose by the liver. It’s then used to synthesize pyruvate to be used as energy by the body.
For the body to convert stored fats into ketones, we need to induce ketosis first. This occurs when the body uses ketones for energy instead of pyruvate. Thus, for this metabolic process to take place we need to start lowering our carbohydrate intake.
Essentially, to maintain ketosis you’ll only have to continue with the reduced carbohydrate intake.
Below are some of the foods to avoid on keto to keep you under ketosis.
1. Sugars and food products with high levels of sugar
Sugars are types of carbohydrates that can kick you out of ketosis if eaten over the daily requirement of 50 grams. You may still consume them as long as you monitor your sugar intake and shouldn’t go over the aforementioned daily requirement. But if possible, you may want to eliminate sugar to effectively stimulate ketosis.
Also, refrain from eating sweets like candies, donuts, cookies, ice creams, and carbonated drinks.
2. Starchy vegetables
Vegetables are healthy and advised for consumption by most diet programs. However, not all of them may be keto-friendly. In particular, starchy vegetables aren’t suitable for a ketogenic diet because it contains high amounts of carbohydrates.
The primary rule used in identifying whether a vegetable is starchy or not is through its source. It means that if the vegetable is above-ground, it’s non-starchy. Examples are artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, and eggplants.
On the other, a vegetable is considered as starchy when they’re harvested under-ground—also referred to as root vegetables or tubers. Some examples of starchy vegetables are potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.
Fruits are immensely healthy and jam-packed with vitamins and minerals. However, some fruits are restricted in a ketogenic diet because of fructose. This compound is a carbohydrate that can compromise your keto goals if eaten excessively.
Avocados are the only fruit generally allowed for consumption during a ketogenic diet. Small portions of berries are also okay for intake.
Because of the calorie restriction required by most diet programs, a nutrient imbalance is inevitable that may lead to side effects. For the ketogenic diet, one particular health problem that may arise is constipation which is due to insufficient dietary fiber present in the body. In this case, moderate consumption of certain fruits like citric fruits and watermelon is appropriate.
4. Grains and wheat products
Grains like quinoa, brown rice, and refined rice are abundant in starch. Although a good source of dietary fibers, it’s considered not keto-friendly and advised not to be taken if you’re under the diet program.
All wheat products are also restricted. Examples include cereals, bread, pasta, and noodles.
5. Legumes and beans
Beans and legumes are loaded with carbohydrates but you may take small portions and still maintain ketosis. However, be sure to monitor your intake so as not to compromise your keto goals. If you’re including small portions of beans into your diet, some types of beans suggested for consumption are Lima and white kidney beans.
Soaking beans before you eat them is also a great way to eliminate anti-nutrients like lectins and phytates. Soaking them for 8 to 24 hours optimizes all the vitamins and minerals available to you.
6. Low-fat food products
Food products that are advertised as low-fats are highly processed. They also tend to contain high levels of carbohydrates.
Also, the ketogenic diet aims to increase fat intake to promote stimulation of ketosis. Thus, it may be counterintuitive to consume products that are low on fats.
7. Alcoholic beverages
Although not all alcoholic beverages are generally considered as bad to your health, alcohol isn’t keto-friendly because of high carbohydrate content. For example, beer is primarily made from hops or wheat while wine is produced from fermented fruits.
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet, but not all types of fats are considered keto-friendly. There are three main types of fats, which include unsaturated, saturated, and trans-fats. Unsaturated fats, also known as “good” fats, are keto-friendly and need to be eaten in high amounts. An example includes fish, avocados, and olive oil. Saturated fats like lean meat and lard are for moderate consumption. Lastly, trans-fats are completely restricted under the keto-diet. They’re also referred to as “bad” fats because their regular consumption can lead to a medical condition such as high blood pressure and diseases. Examples of bad fats are shortening and margarine.
9. Sugar-free food products
As mentioned earlier, sugars are carbohydrates, and we should avoid or at least reduce their consumption to keep us under ketosis. Thus, you may be wondering, why avoid sugar-free foods? The main reason is it still contains carbohydrates in the form of sugar alcohols which is present in highly processed foods.
10. Certain types of sauces
Condiments are generally salty and contain no calories at all. However, it’s still advisable to check the packaging label especially if you’re not familiar with the brand.
Most sauces are characterized by its sweetness and starchiness, thus, it’s advisable to avoid them altogether. Examples include ketchup, barbeque sauce, and siracha.