Sunday, August 6, 2017

What is Keto?

This is a two part post (possibly more!). 

As I've been losing weight, people keep asking me about keto. In this post I will discuss what keto is. In my next post, I will explain how I adapt keto to fit my life.

Note: There are some affiliate links. I set up an Amazon Affiliate program to help raise money for my trip to the Yosemite Half Marathon. If you buy from Amazon through my link, I will get a small commission.

Ketogenic diet summarized:

  1. Very low carb (5%)
  2. Moderate protein (25%)
  3. Very high healthy fats (70%)
"Ketogenic" diet means that the body changes its fuel source from carbs to fats, creating ketones.  The keto diet was originally created (over 100 years ago!) to fight off epilepsy (and it is still used for that). 

There are some rules for keto that seem counter-intuitive--especially for serial dieters:
  • No calorie counting
  • No measuring
  • Eat lots of bacon
  • Eat fat to lose fat
  • Fruits are high carbs and thus are off limits.

So, what can you eat on a keto diet?

Carbs should be limited to under 20 per day (no more than 7-10 per meal).  Some people say count all carbs. Others say count net carbs (after you've subtracted the dietary fiber).  One thing most people agree on is an avocado (17 total carbs--2 net carbs) are acceptable.
Foods to enjoy:
  • Meats--fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.  If you can afford grass-fed or cage free, it's better. But buy what you can afford.
  • Leafy greens--kale, spinach, etc.
  • Above ground veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc)
  • High fat dairy--hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter (never low fat!!)
  • Nuts and seeds--macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc
  • Avacados, some berries
  • Sweeteners--stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, Swerve
  • Other fats: coconut oil, high fat salad dressings, saturated fats
Foods to avoid:
  • Refined carbohydrates:
    • Wheat (bread, pasta, cereals)
    • Starch (potatoes, beans, legumes)
    • Fruit
  • Grains
    • Wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar
    • Honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Tubers
    • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc
Here is a detailed list of what you can and cannot eat from

Just as there are many varieties of Christians, there are many varieties of keto followers.
  • Some count all carbs, and others count net carbs.
  • Some say IIFYM ("if it fits your macros") which means eat whatever you want as long as you don't go over your allowed carbs, and others say eat only "real" food.
  • Some say eat only organic, grass-fed, cage-free, non-GMO foods, and others say buy what you can afford.
  • Some enter everything into a macro calculator, and others estimate.
In my next post, I will share how I make keto work for me.  If you have specific questions, let me know and I'll try to find the answers.

Want more information?
The best sources of information I've found are:

The Ketovangelist (website, Facebook groups, and podcasts
Low Carb Journey, Cooking Keto with Kristie (Facebook group; cookbook, YouTube channel) has a getting started guide, recipes, and meal plans
Diet Doctor has a good information page and lots of recipes.

Here is a brand new keto ice cream recipe book. I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard amazing things about the recipes. I need to get an ice cream maker1  

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