What Is The Keto Diet Good For?
- Intro to the Keto Diet
- What You Can Eat On This Diet
- Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
- What You Can and Can’t Eat
- Easy Meal Ideas On the Keto Diet
- Eating Out on the Keto Diet
Intro to the Keto Diet
Keto diet is one of the newest diets that are related to eating a high-fat and high-protein diet, with restricted carbohydrate intake.
However, it is not just another fad diet, but one that is based around science and a lot of research.
The keto diet, or ketogenic diet, is a diet that tries to get you to reach ketosis.
This is a state where your body is put into a metabolic state, which helps you burn fat for energy.
While you are eating a lot of high-fat foods, they are converted into energy while also burning fat, so you lose weight and get a lot of other benefits as well.
There Are Multiple Types of Keto Diets
One thing many people don’t realize about the ketogenic diet is that there are actually a few different varieties.
While most people are on the standard keto diet, there are also some others you should be aware of.
Here is a short breakdown of what each keto diet includes:
Standard keto diet
– The standard keto diet (SKD) is extremely low-carb and high-fat, while allowing for moderate protein in your diet. Only 5% of your diet should consist of carbohydrates.
Targeted keto diet
-With the targeted keto diet (TKD), you stick to the standard keto diet, except when you are working out, you are allowed to add more carbs.
High protein keto diet
– Some people are put on the high-protein keto diet, where your protein percent goes up to 35%, your fat is slightly lower, and your carbs are still in the 5% range.
Keep in mind when talking about the keto diet, most people are referring to the standard version.
What You Can Eat On This Diet
Naturally, one of the most common questions has to do with what exactly you can eat when you are on the keto diet.
Most low-carb diets are also high-protein, so this is where some people get it wrong.
This is not Atkins or any other low-carb diet.
You are not eating unlimited amounts of meat and cheese on this diet.
Since you need a certain amount of macros – or percentage of protein, carbs, and fat – on this diet, planning is crucial.
In order to feel full, you need to eat as many no-carb and low-carb foods as you can throughout the day.
This means limiting the fruits and vegetables you can consume.
You probably already know the typical low-carb foods like lean meat, cheese, eggs, and some nuts. However, there are also some vegetables that are very low in carbohydrates. They include:
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok choi
- Collard greens
- Green beans
Ketosis Provides a Wide Range of Benefits
Not sure the keto diet is right for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits.
You already know that since it burns fat, weight loss is a major benefit of the diet. However, that’s not all.
The keto diet balances out your hormones, so it can also help with infertility, particularly if you have PCOS.
It can also reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, lower your blood sugar, help with acne, and help to give you more energy.
Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
The keto diet is often seen as a way to lose weight, and while that is a definite benefit, it isn’t the only one.
There are a wide range of advantages to being on the ketogenic diet, from infertility assistance to helping fight cancer.
It Helps Fight Cancer
One of the benefits you might not realize about the ketogenic diet is that it can help you fight cancer.
Many people think about benefits like losing weight, but don’t forget about this very important advantage!
The way keto helps is by reducing your sugar, since you are also reducing your carbohydrates.
When you do this, you are reducing how well the cancer cells can feed off all those extra sugars in your body.
Cancer cells tend to grow much slower when you follow a diet that restricts your carbs and sugar, such as with the keto diet.
You Have a Suppressed Appetite
The keto diet helps you to lose weight and keep it off in a few different ways.
The first way is by helping to suppress your appetite.
When your body goes into ketosis, you crave less sugar, carbs, and food in general, so it helps you to eat less.
While the first week or so might be difficult, as long as you keep up with ketosis every single day, you will soon discover that you can eat smaller meals with plenty of protein and nutrients, but not overeat.
Your cravings start to go away and your appetite overall isn’t as bad.
Keto is Good For Infertility
If you are someone that suffers from infertility as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), then the keto diet can definitely help you.
Through ketosis, your hormones start to regulate and you are actually able to regulate your blood glucose levels.
This allows you to get help with your PCOS and might even cause your body to normalize enough to ovulate on time and have a higher likelihood of getting pregnant.
While the research is still being done, many infertility specialists are already recommending it.
It Can Help With Alzheimer’s Disease
Another major illness that the keto diet can help with is Alzheimer’s disease.
This disease does not have a cure, but doctors often look for different ways to treat the symptoms and slow it down.
With ketosis, you are eating more healthy fats that help provide nutrients to the brain, which can strengthen it and help to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
This is becoming one of the more well known natural treatments for Alzheimer’s.
What You Can and Can’t Eat
One of the most common questions regarding the keto diet is knowing what you can and can’t eat.
This diet is a little more complicated since you are eating a very low-carb diet, but are not eating unlimited amounts of protein like with a traditional low-carb diet.
Here are some things to know about what you can and can’t eat, including some items you can have but in limited quantities.
What You Can Eat Freely
The first category of foods includes high-protein and low or no-carb foods that you can eat almost to an unlimited amount.
You still need to watch your portion sizes and make sure you don’t consume too much protein, but these are still good foods to enjoy while on the keto diet.
The following foods can be enjoyed freely on the keto diet:
Meat that is grass fed – You want to enjoy plenty of meat on the keto diet, but try to include meat and seafood that is wild-caught or grass-fed.
This includes any type of beef, poultry, pork, and fish as long as it was raised humanely without hormones.
Vegetables with no starch – Some vegetables can be enjoyed freely while on the keto diet, but not starchy vegetables.
When they are non-starchy vegetables, they tend to be lower in carbs and appropriate for this type of diet.
This includes most types of leafy greens, radishes, cucumber, asparagus, squash, zucchini, and cauliflower. You can also have plenty of avocado.
Healthy fats – There is nothing wrong with having a lot of fats on the keto diet, but the types of fats do matter.
You don’t want to eat nothing but sweets and fried foods, but healthy fats like seafood and fatty fish, macadamia and olive oils, and saturated fats are completely fine.
Have These in Limited Amounts
There are other vegetables and fruits that you can have on the keto diet, though you need to be careful with the amounts.
These still have low carbs, but more than other veggies mentioned, so watch your quantities and count the total carbs for each meal you plan out.
Have these fruits and veggies, but in limited quantities:
- Root vegetables
You can also enjoy dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, cream, and sour cream, but not the low-fat or fat-free versions.
When you choose something with low fat, it tends to have starch and sugars you can’t have with the keto diet.
You can also have nuts and seeds, including brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and pine nuts.
Easy Meal Ideas On the Keto Diet
When you are aware of the basic list of foods you can and can’t have on the keto diet, it is time to figure out some good meal options.
Here are some meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts to get you started.
For breakfast, it might not seem very appetizing having meat and veggies, but remember those aren’t the only low-carb and high-fat meal options you can have on the keto diet.
You can still have dairy products in limited quantities, so go ahead and enjoy your full-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with nuts and berries in the morning.
You can also add some sweeteners and flavorings like cinnamon and coconut milk.
You may also be able to find low-carb versions of the breakfast standards, such as quiche, biscuits, or protein shakes.
Bacon and eggs or sausage and eggs is another good option for a filling keto breakfast.
For lunch, having a salad is often a good go-to. It is easy to prepare, there are dozens of options, and it is easy to have at home or bring with you to work.
Start with some greens and add a protein source of your choosing.
This can be some cooked chicken, steak strips, or tuna fish.
Add hardboiled eggs and avocado, your choice of oil dressing, and some seasoning lke onion, salt, and lemon juice.
Choose other keto-friendly veggies to add on top, such as cucumber, asparagus, and zucchini.
People tend to have the easiest time with keto dinners because they are similar to the dinners you already enjoy, minus the high-carb sides like rice or pasta.
Instead, you will make your traditional meat main course but combine it with a vegetable side dish instead.
There are meatloaf and meatball recipes that can be made low-carb, or you can go with steak, pork chops, lamb chops, grilled chicken, or grilled fish.
Snacks and Desserts
When it comes to snacks and desserts, you might need to get a little creative, but remember you don’t have to grab traditional snacks.
There is nothing wrong with having a piece of cheese and some fruit or veggies approved by the keto diet, or even making a turkey roll-up with luncheon meat and cheese inside.
Making a big cheese platter with low-carb crackers and some sausage or other meats to top it off is another good option.
Eating Out on the Keto Diet
While you should stay at home and cook as much as possible, there will be moments when this isn’t plausible.
Whether you are eating out at fast food or a sit-down restaurant, you need to make smart choices to remain on the keto diet.
Remove the Bun or Tortilla
An easy way to start eating out and sticking with your keto diet is to order a meat-based dish, but get rid of the tortilla or bun.
The bread or tortilla in any meal is often one of the items that adds the most carbs, in addition to some vegetables.
It is easy to eat your meal without it as long as you have utensils.
You can get a chicken sandwich or cheeseburger, then get rid of the bun and think about the remaining condiments and whether or not they follow with the keto diet.
For things like fajitas, it is easy to eat your chicken and veggies with salsa, and just skip adding the filling into the tortilla.
In fact, this is one of the best options available at Mexican restaurants.
Don’t Eat Pasta or Rice as a Side Dish
When you are going to sit-down restaurants, you also need to be careful with your side dishes.
Many dinner options, even those on the healthy side of the menu, will come with either rice or pasta as a side dish.
These are a big no-no on the keto diet since they add in a lot of carbs you don’t need and that are not included on the menu.
Try to think of other alternatives instead of always having pasta or rice on the side of your main course.
Always Get a Salad or Veggies on the Side
An easy way to substitute these high-carb side dishes is by asking for salad or veggies instead.
Many restaurants are more than willing to give you a side salad instead of the pasta the chicken or fish usually comes with.
If you are going to a fast food restaurant, choose their little side salad along with your grilled chicken sandwich, instead of getting fries.
Tips For Specific Fast Food Restaurants
When you order food at a sit-down restaurant, it tends to be a little easier to stick to a keto diet than if you were to eat fast food.
Fast food offers less options overall and rarely have substitutions.
Here are some ideas for having a low-carb, keto meal from these popular fast food restaurants:
Burger King, McDonald’s and other burger joints – When you go to a burger joint, you have two main options: you can either get a chicken sandwich or an actual cheeseburger.
If you can, try to get a chicken sandwich since they tend to be a little healthier than burgers.
Ask for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of one that is breaded if it is an option, and of course don’t have the bun.
These burger joints also usually have some type of salad, so you can either get a side salad or forego the burger altogether and get a big salad.
Just don’t use the croutons and be careful with the type of dressing you use.
Wendy’s – At Wendy’s, you have many of the same choices, though they do tend to be better with their salad options.
On occasion, you can also choose to get a small cup of chili, but don’t eat the crackers.
While their chili does have some carbs, it is still less than something with breading or having French fries.
Subway – If you can choose a sandwich shop you are probably going to be better off.
This is a good option because you are building the food item yourself, so you have complete control.
Many sandwich shops, like Subway, allow you to create a salad or wrap instead of using a big roll, so that helps you remain on keto.