While on a ketogenic diet, it is very important to ensure that one eats within the limits of the diet. This is vital for the individual to stay in a state of ketosis.
Getting out of ketosis can be as simple as eating one or two meals that are not recommended in the diet. However, getting back into ketosis is a whole different story. This can often take days or weeks depending on how stringent you become when you resume the diet.
Meals on a ketogenic diet include three basic food types. Here are the:
- fruit or vegetable
- high protein foods
- source of fat
Ketogenic diets inherently involve consuming increased amounts of fat in the diet. They can come in as part of the cooking process or in the form of sauces and dressings.
The best types of fats are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These include both MCT oil and coconut oil. Medium chain triglycerides are easily metabolized to produce ketones. Some other equally good fats for ketosis include:
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Salmon, Shellfish, Trout, Tuna
Monounsaturated and saturated fats
Olive oil, Avocado, Butter, Cheese, Red palm oil, Egg yolks
Non-hydrogenated oils (when cooking)
Coconut oil, Beef tallow, Unhydrogenated bacon
High oleic acid content
Safflower Oils, Sunflower Oils
Other sources of fat:
Chicken skin, Coconut butter, Peanut butter, Meat fat
When shopping for your protein foods, always try to choose grass-fed, organic, and humanely-raised meat and wild-caught seafood. In addition to offering more nutrients, they have not been exposed to added hormones, antibiotics and other potential toxins.
The ketogenic diet accepts virtually any type of meat. There is no discrimination as to the type of cut or preparation.
Beef, Goat, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Venison
Any type of poultry is also allowed by the diet. You can improve the contents of the meal by leaving the skin on. However, breading and batter should not be used in the preparation of poultry as they are generally high in carbohydrates. Apart from that, you can prepare your poultry as you wish.
Chicken, Duck, Game hen, Goose, Ostrich, Partridge, Pheasant, Quail, Squab, Turkey
Seafood is another great source of protein. Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain high amounts of minerals and vitamins to help keep you well nourished and healthy.
Clams, Crab, Lobster, Mussels, Oysters, Shrimps, Scallops, Prawns, Snails
Fish contains good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. You should opt for fish that are wild-caught and also from mercury-free areas.
Ahi, Catfish, Cod, Flounder, Halibut, Herring, Lobster, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Mussels, Salmon, Sardines, Scallops, Snapper, Squid, Swordfish, Trout, Tuna, Walleye
Vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet. When buying vegetables, always opt for organically grown vegetables. In addition, dark leafy vegetables contain the least carbohydrates with good nutritional value.
Arugula, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, endive, garlic, kale, kelp, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, radishes, seaweed, spinach, chard, watercress
Milk and dairy products
These are very essential in a ketogenic diet. Grass-fed and organic sources are more preferable. The full-fat variety is more suitable for the ketogenic diet than the fat-free and low-fat varieties.
Butter, Cheddar, Crème fraîche, Heavy cream, Mozzarella, Sour cream, Cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, Cheeses, Hard cheeses
Moderate amounts of nuts and seeds are allowed on the ketogenic diet. Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, fat and carbohydrates. The total fat, protein and carbohydrate content of the nut varieties should be checked and added to the total daily calorie calculation.
Roasted nuts and seeds are best. Anything that can cause harm or interfere with ketosis in the body has been removed from it through the roasting process.
Nuts should be used primarily as a snack
Almonds, macadamia, and walnuts are some of the best
Some nuts are high in omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation in the body
However, they can prevent some people from achieving their goals. If your weight loss goal is only to use the ketogenic diet, then removing nuts and seeds would be advisable to improve your results.
Almonds, Brazil nuts, Hazelnuts, Pine nuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecan nuts, Pili nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts
Herbs and spices
After a while on the ketogenic diet, the foods can start to get boring. Adding spices to your meals, however, can help spice things up. You can add both fresh and dry spices to your meals and even drinks so that they become more appealing and exciting to the palate.
Spices and fresh herbs are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet that you can eat. Adding spices to your meal not only adds more flavor to meals, but also provides many health benefits for your body.
Spices contain carbs, so make sure to add them to your daily carb intake. Also try to check the labels of premade spice mixes for their exact carb content, as they usually contain added sugars.
Salt also enhances flavors. It is better to choose high quality sea salt instead of traditional table salt. Unprocessed salts such as Celtic or Himalayan sea salt provide you with more than eight trace minerals your body needs to function optimally.
Anise, Annatto, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper, Celery Seed, Chervil, Chilli, Chives, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Dill, Fenugreek, Galangal, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Liquorice, Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard seeds, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Spearmint, Star anise, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla beans
Adding artificial sweeteners to your meals can help curb cravings for carbs and sweets. Sweeteners help many people to be able to adhere to the ketogenic diet.
However, natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and agave raise blood sugar levels, which not only cause inflammation, but can also kick you out of ketosis.
Always opt for the liquid form of sweeteners as they do not contain binders like dextrose and maltodextrin. Dextrose is an anti-caking agent and is a form of sugar. Maltodextrin, on the other hand, is a bulking agent that has a higher glycemic index (110) than table sugar (52).
Here is a list of recommended sweeteners that have little effect on blood sugar.
Allulose, blended sweeteners (Swerve, Lakanto, Sukrin), erythritol, monk fruit, stevia, stevia glycerite (a thick liquid form of stevia), sucralose, xylitol
Using a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet has a diuretic effect on the body. Carbohydrates attract water to them, which causes water retention in the body. However, reducing carbohydrate intake on a ketogenic diet causes significant water loss because less water is retained in the body and more is excreted.
This diuretic effect can easily lead to dehydration. Therefore, you need to drink plenty of water – well beyond the recommended intake of 8 glasses – when following a ketogenic diet. This will help you reduce the risk of bladder pain and urinary tract infections.
Besides water, you can add other types of beverages like coffee and teas to help keep you hydrated throughout the day. These two items do not significantly affect the state of ketosis.
However, added substances like sugar and milk can affect the state of ketosis. Therefore, it would be best to avoid sugar altogether and use full cream or artificial sweeteners with your coffee or tea.
Another way to increase your beverage intake is to juice vegetables by combining varieties of approved vegetable types. You can also use power smoothies or protein shakes instead of a fruit smoothie because fruit contains sugars (fructose) that can kick you out of ketosis.
Below are some additional beverages you can consume to help keep you hydrated:
Unsweetened almond milk, Unsweetened cashew milk, Unsweetened coconut milk, Unsweetened hemp milk, Green tea, Herbal tea, Organic Caffè Americano (espresso with water), Mineral water.