Many people seeking a healthy lifestyle have decided to incorporate the keto diet into their health routine. This eating style is very beneficial for weight loss and maintenance, as well as helping to overcome some health conditions.
What Is Keto?
Keto is short for the word ketones. Ketones are small “fuel cells” that your body produces to burn for energy. Ketones are derived from fat cells. When your body is burning fat for fuel, it is known as ketogenic burning.
Keto diets are high in protein and fats and low in carbohydrates. Keto diets encourage the elimination of all processed foods and to limit the consumption of artificial sugars as well. The point of the diet is to eat fresh and feel better.
Burning fat for fuel instead of using carbohydrates helps your body stay lean. When your body is burning fat for fuel, it is also working better because your brain is receiving more of the fuel it needs to stay healthy, and your liver does not get clogged with excess fat.
Keto dieting will also reduce your insulin levels and can help overcome insulin resistance. When your body is burning fat instead of carbs/insulin, it will balance out your natural insulin levels to a more manageable level.
Benefits of Keto
One of the first benefits of keto dieting is the increased energy level that you will experience. Many people are amazed at the new level of energy that they have and how it remains steady throughout the day. When you get an energy rush from carbs, it often quickly goes away as the carbs are consumed by the body. This often leads to eating more carbs for energy and eventual weight gain.
The next benefit that many people experience with the keto lifestyle is the balancing of insulin in the body. Many people who are pre-diabetic or have Type 2 diabetes find that their bodies begin to process and produce insulin correctly when they eliminate carbs from their diet. Anyone who is considering keto that has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes will need to carefully monitor their insulin levels so that they do not drop too low if they take medications.
Keto diets also dramatically reduce blood pressure. Between the elimination of processed foods that often contain excessively high amounts of salt and salt products as a preservative, the increase in vegetables and the nutrients from these vegetables help drop blood pressure. If you are managing blood pressure with medication before starting keto, you will need to monitor it carefully with your health care professional to make sure that it does not drop too low.
Another benefit of keto dieting is the overall physical good feeling that you will have. Eliminating processed foods and replacing them with whole foods will give your body more nutrition, and all bodily functions will work better. Your heart, liver, and kidneys will work better because they are adequately nourished and not overworking by having to process large amounts of sugars and chemicals in processed foods.
You will experience an increased energy level, and the energy will be sustained for more extended periods of time. You will also sleep better because your body is well nourished and functioning properly.
Foods to Include and Exclude in Your Keto Life
Following a keto diet is much easier than you may expect. The focus of this diet is on what foods you eat more than counting calories. You are going for higher proteins and lower or zero carb in your food.
Some of the foods that you will use on your keto diet include:
- Lean meats
- Chicken and Turkey
- Vegetables that are grown above ground
- Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, and spinach
- Nuts and nut spreads if they do not contain added sugar
- Natural fats such as olive oil
- Low-fat dairy so that natural sugar content is lower
Foods that you want to avoid:
- Root vegetables like potatoes, yams, rutabagas
- Some fruits like bananas
- Processed foods **
- All grains including rice
** If you take the time to look at the packaging on some frozen vegetables, you can find vegetables that are just flash-frozen without added salts or sugars. However, you must be very careful when selecting these vegetables because many of the name-brand manufacturers will add sugar to their veggies when they freeze them.
Easy Ideas for Keto On-The-Go
Since most people eat at least one meal each day away from their home, it is vital to prepare for keto outside the home. The easiest way to stay on keto while away from the house is to pack your own lunch or snacks.
Great snack ideas include:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Roasted nuts
- Natural peanut butter packs
- Beef jerky that is all-natural
- String cheese packs
- Cubed cheese
If you are going to a restaurant to eat, you can opt for salads that have oil or vinegar-based dressings. A low-fat ranch is also an excellent choice for dressings. You can order meat plates with vegetables other than potatoes. You can also opt for a breakfast platter of eggs and bacon.
Watch for added sugars in any of the dishes you select when eating at a restaurant such as glazes or sauces that may be placed on the meat or vegetables. Fill up at the salad bar with any meal to get the bulk of your calories from vegetables.
Switching to a keto style of eating is good for your health and your overall well-being. It is the perfect addition to any healthy lifestyle, and the benefits outweigh the challenges that may come with switching to fresh foods.
It does take a little adjusting to start preparing all of your own foods and purposefully buying only fresh foods, but it will soon become a habit. You will enjoy the weight loss or weight maintenance that you experience with this type of diet, and the increased energy levels are a bonus.