Exploring the keto diet: foods, benefits, risks and tips

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The ketogenic, or “keto,” diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that has been gaining popularity in recent years.

The diet operates on the principle of drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

This dietary alteration forces the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, wherein the body burns fat rather than carbohydrates for fuel.

What Foods Are Included In the Keto Diet?

On the keto diet, the bulk of your caloric intake comes from fats, with a moderate portion from protein and a very limited amount from carbohydrates. Approved foods for the keto diet include:

  • Meats such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and lamb
  • Seafood including salmon, tuna, trout, and shrimp
  • Low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini
  • High-fat dairy products like cheese, butter, and heavy cream
  • Nuts and seeds including almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds
  • Healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados

What Foods Are Excluded From the Keto Diet?

The keto diet restricts high-carb foods, which include:

  • Grains like bread, pasta, and rice
  • Sugars including candy, soda, and pastries
  • Most fruits, although small amounts of berries can be allowed in moderation
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and peas
  • Most processed foods, which often contain added sugars

Top Keto-Friendly Foods

Ten of the most keto-friendly foods are:

  1. Avocado
  2. Cheese
  3. Eggs
  4. Nuts and seeds
  5. Meat and poultry
  6. Fish and seafood
  7. Low-carb vegetables
  8. Olive oil
  9. Coconut oil
  10. Dark chocolate (in moderation)

The First Week of Keto

During the initial week of the keto diet, focus on consuming high-fat, low-carb foods like meats, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, and low-carb vegetables.

It is also crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to closely track carbohydrate intake.

Keto Diet Duration

How long you stay on a keto diet varies and depends on your health goals. Some people use the diet for several weeks or months as a jump-start to weight loss or improving insulin sensitivity, while others adopt it as a long-term lifestyle for overall health.

The diet isn’t suitable for everyone, especially those with specific medical conditions, so consulting with a healthcare professional before starting is recommended.

Keto and Cholesterol

The keto diet can raise cholesterol levels in some people, particularly LDL or “bad” cholesterol. However, it may also lead to an increase in HDL or “good” cholesterol.

The diet’s impact on cholesterol levels can vary greatly depending on an individual’s genetic makeup and other factors, so it’s important to regularly monitor cholesterol levels and make dietary or medicinal adjustments as necessary under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

In conclusion, the keto diet, a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, has gained popularity for its potential benefits in weight loss, blood sugar control, and more.

However, the diet may not be beneficial for everyone. It’s important to assess the potential benefits and risks before starting and to seek professional medical advice.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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