A Quick Guide to Keto
Fans of the keto diet plan claim that it leads to effective and long-term weight loss, without any loss of muscle mass. It is also said to provide sustained and reliable energy levels.
WHAT IS A KETO DIET?
Keto is short for ketosis; a state where the body is burning fat for energy instead of sugar. The goal of the keto diet is to keep the body in a state of ketosis, so that fat is burned effectively.
HOW DOES KETO WORK?
The body has two main sources of energy:
- Glucose – which comes from breaking down carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, pasta, potato and (of course!) sugar, cakes and biscuits.
- Ketones – which come from fats.
The body will always choose to use glucose first, as it is the easiest way for it to access energy. However, when glucose supply is limited, the liver will start to produce ketones – to provide the energy the body needs by breaking down fats. A keto diet is designed to limit carbohydrates, so that the body is forced into ketosis.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF KETO?
Fans of the keto diet plan claim that it leads to effective and long-term weight loss, without any loss of muscle mass. It is also claimed that the state of ketosis provides much more sustained and reliable energy levels, rather than the peaks and troughs often suffered when the body is using glucose for energy.
WHAT DO YOU EAT ON KETO?
- Meat, fish and seafood are all good sources of protein. However, the keto diet does not increase the amount that would normally be eaten.
- Eggs are a great staple of this diet. Eggs are often used to replace bread in omelette wraps, and to make savoury ‘muffins’ which contain no flour.
- Vegetables from above the ground. These are used in abundance to add flavour and variety. They are also used to replace carbs, with options such as cauliflower mash, cauliflower rice and courgette spaghetti.
- Full fat dairy including cream, full fat Greek yogurt and cream; fat is your friend on keto!
- Nuts can be used as a snack. The best options are said to be pecan and macadamia nuts.
WHAT CAN’T YOU EAT ON KETO?
- Carbs. No sugar, cakes, biscuits or simple ‘white’ carbohydrates are allowed. A small amount of complex ‘wholegrain’ carbohydrate is permitted, but it is suggested that total carbohydrate intake Is kept below 100g per day.
- Fruits. A small amount of berries may be eaten, but apart from this fruit is high in simple sugars.
- Vegetables from below the ground, including potato, carrot, sweet potato and parsnips. These all contain a relatively high level of carbohydrate, so are limited on a keto regime.
WHAT TO DRINK ON KETO?
- Water, tea and herbal teas are all good choices. It is important to stay hydrated when following a keto diet.
- Coffee – black or with cream. Many people also add MCT Oil to their coffee to promote ketosis.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MCT OIL IN KETO?
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides; these are the type of fats the body prefers to produce ketones. It is suggested that adding MCT oil to a keto diet will help to promote ketosis and the production of ketones, thus boosting fat burning and energy levels.
MCT Oil is often added to coffee because caffeine stimulates energy production: So, providing caffeine at the same time as the MCT means that the body is more likely to be forced into ketosis – assuming there is no glucose in the system. For this reason, MCT is often taken in the morning, before any food, in a strong cup of coffee.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN MCT OIL:
MCT oil can be produced from coconuts or from palm oil. Palm oil is the cheapest option, but it is not the option preferred by most advocates of the keto diet. Palm oil production is also strongly linked to the destruction of the rainforests.
Therefore, for the maximum potential for your keto regime, look for a 100% coconut sourced MCT – you will also be playing your part in caring for the planet!
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years).
But what is keto, how does it work, and what can you eat? Nutritionist Jenny Logan explains.