Blog/What is the Ketogenic Diet?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
Recently, many of my clients have been asking about the Ketogenic diet and how it works to promote health. The Ketogenic diet was first founded in the 1920’s as a treatment for epilepsy and has now been shown to promote weight loss, improve blood sugar control, protect the brain and fight cancer. Diet followers also report fewer cravings, reduced appetite, rapid weight loss (especially at the beginning). This diet is a fat-based diet, both from animal and plant sources, which includes non-starchy vegetables and a moderate amount of protein, while avoiding poor quality carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches. Typically those who follow the Ketogenic diet consume between 20-50g of net carbohydrates per day.
When you cut down the amount of carbohydrates you consume, your body switches over from burning glucose (carbs) to burning fat. Normally, with a carbohydrate rich diet, our blood sugar rises which then signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a fat storing hormone, thus when too much is in the blood (from excess carbohydrate intake), you will store excess energy as fat. The beauty of a low carb diet, is that minimal insulin is released and your body actually burns your unwanted body fat. With a diet of 20-50g of carbohydrate per day, your body goes into what is known as ketosis and you become a fat burning machine.
What Can I Eat?
- Fats and Oils: olive, coconut, sesame, walnut, avocado, flaxseed, beef tallow, chicken fat, bacon fat, mayonnaise (made from olive oil).
- Fats in the flesh of meat and fish
- Nuts and Seeds: macadamia, walnuts, coconuts, pecans, brazil nuts, almonds. Nut and seed flours are okay in small amounts.
- Dairy: whole milk, whole-fat cheese, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, whole ricotta, buttermilk, sour cream, whipping cream.
- Meats: beef, pork, lamb, buffalo
- Poultry: chicken, beef, turkey, duck
- Fish and shellfish
- Tofu and tempeh
- Cheese, yogurt, nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens including: kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, mustard greens. Cruciferous vegetables including: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, tomato, onions, garlic, asparagus, cucumber
What to Avoid:
- Grains and bread products
- Most fruits: berries are okay in small quantities
- Foods that grow below ground- potatoes, carrots, turnips or other root vegetables
- Low-fat products
- Processed foods
For those interested, Nutre will be soon offering a line of Ketogenic Friendly meals! Keep an eye on our site for more details and jump on the fat burning wagon!
Jessica Gloss is a practicing Registered Dietitian and Director of Nutrition at Nutre. She has been in working in clinical nutrition and within the food industry for 10 years and has a passion for helping people find the joy in healthy eating.