Being in the health and fitness realm, we get a TON of questions about different diets, fads, supplements and every other thing that might help with weight management. Lately, there's been a lot of talk around the Ketogenic Diet (keto). We explored the keto diet by trying it out for a month and seeing how we felt. We're taking to this post to discuss many of the questions we've gotten during our experience (as well as the video above).
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is a high-fat, very low carbohydrate diet (moderate protein intake) which allows the body to produce ketones and in turn, burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
How do you do the keto diet?
The keto diet does not require anything special besides some commitment, planning and time. The ketogenic diet requires eating a lot of fat and very little (almost no) extraneous carbohydrates. While tracking your food is not required, it is helpful for ensuring you are eating enough fat and not too much carbs or protein.
What do you eat on the keto diet?
Fats. Lots of fats. Plus a lot of other delicious foods! The keto diet did not feel as restrictive as we thought it might and we actually enjoyed eating some of the heavier and fattier foods that we normally strayed away from.
We made a handy list of some of the things we ate a lot of:
Utilizing recipes and thinking outside the box a bit helped to make some more variety within this list. Some typical meals included:
Breakfast: Eggs + Bacon + Avocado + Berries (+ coffee with cream) or keto protein pancakes.
Lunch: Beef meatballs + roasted vegetables with cheese or burgers with roasted vegetables
Dinner: Taco bowls with cauliflower rice, meat and lots of veggies + sour cream and guacamole or Cobb Salads with lots of toppings or meatballs and zucchini noodles with a cream sauce.
Desserts: Keto cheesecakes, keto pecan pralines, small piece of very dark chocolate, coconut
Will I lose weight?
Weight loss is a caloric equation. You will (generally) lose weight if you eat less than your burn. It doesn't matter if you eat all natural foods, high carb, vegan or anything else: if you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight.
The amount of calories you can consume is dependent on your activity level ( both your exercise and daily activity), age, height/weight and metabolism, among other things.
If you eat less on the keto diet, then you will lose weight. If you eat at your maintenance calories, you may see body composition changes without losing weight. If you eat more, you will gain weight.
But, won't I eat too much if I'm eating so much fat?
In eating more fat on the keto diet, you're essentially replacing the calories you would normally consume from carbs and protein. Whether you eat 2000 calories of a breakdown of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat (standard fat loss percentages) or 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates (standard keto percentages), you are still eating 2000 calories.
It's actually very hard to overeat on the keto diet as the significant fat and decent protein intake keep you very full.
Can I eat out? Enjoy an alcoholic beverage? Will I lose all my friends?
Yes, occasionally and no.
Eating out on the keto diet was not as difficult as it may seem! While pizza isn't an option, there certainly are many choices. Some of our favorites included getting a burger (minus the bun) with a side salad or veggies, BBQ-type places where we could get smoked/plain meats with sides of vegetables, breakfast joints for omelettes + avocado as a side.
We don't suggest regularly drinking alcohol as part of a fat loss diet but for the occasional beverage, vodka and tequila are "keto friendly" (no alcohol is truly keto friendly). Opt for seltzer + alcohol + lemon/lime or one of our favorites: diet ginger beer, vodka and lime for a very low calorie Moscow Mule.
You can enjoy going out with friends, hanging out at home and all of those social events while on the keto diet. Plan ahead by eating ahead of time if you're going somewhere where food might be tough or bring something you know you can eat.
What were the PROS?
There were so many pros for us that we're going to continue doing a cyclical version of the keto diet for a while.
Bye bye brain fog! Clear and sharp minds.
Never hungry: When we ate enough fat at each meal, we didn't need to have snacks.
More energy! Sustained energy all day long!
Less overall body fatigue/soreness from workouts, etc.
Body composition changes. We did not attempt to lose weight during our challenge but lost some bodyfat and noticed some more muscle definition.
Becoming a fat burning machine!
How about the CONS?
For the females: You have have some issues with your cycle in the first few months of doing keto, despite birth control ( if you're on it). More fat in the diet/ losing some fat = hormonal changes that might wreak havoc for a few weeks or months. Based on some research, this should even out on it's own.
Less convenient: Definitely required some planning for meals and going places.
Might have symptoms of the keto flu in the beginning which include headache, fatigue and overall ill-feeling for a few days while your body gets used to less carbs.
For athletes: If you are an athlete, you might lose a bit of strength.
Some of our favorite recipes:
Some Brands We Used:
Bobs Red Mill Almond Flour
If you have any additional questions, leave a comment or send us a message!
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