When it comes to maintaining good health, one of the most important things we can do is watch what we eat, avoid junk foods and consume healthy foods daily. It sounds simple enough, but there are many diet plans out there to choose from.
One diet plan that is getting a lot of attention lately is the ketogenic diet (or keto diet). The keto diet is a diet that consists of eating little to no carbohydrates.
The question is though, does it help with weight loss and is the keto diet good for you?
The average person gets their energy from carbs, but when on a ketogenic diet, our bodies are forced to find another energy source. That energy comes from ketones, which is produced by the liver.
How the Keto Diet Works
Every time we eat foods high in carbs, our bodies produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is our primary source of fuel, and can be easily converted into energy. In order to process this glucose, the body produces insulin, transporting it throughout our bodies.
This is perfectly normal, but there’s one problem: the unused glucose is stored in the body as fat. Over time, these fats stores can grow, possibly leading to a variety of health issues, including weight gain and obesity.
This is where keto diets come into play. The human body can get energy from two sources: carbohydrates and stored fat.
By eating less carbs and following a keto diet, the body has no choice but to use that stored fat for energy. But just keep in mind that you can’t eat an unlimited number of calories. Overeating on the keto diet will still cause weight gain, just like it will on any other diet.
Benefits of Keto Diets
When our bodies stop using glucose as its primary source of energy, it runs on ketones. These ketones become the top fuel source when carbs aren’t available. Keto diets are believed to have many benefits. Here are just a few:
Lower Blood Sugar
Every time we eat, the body produces glucose and insulin. Insulin levels can spike, giving us a surge of energy, then drop just as quickly.
This can cause us to suddenly have low energy levels and “crash.” (We often experience the crash when we eat foods or beverages high in sugar.)
By using that stored fat for energy, blood sugar levels can remain constant, and eventually decrease. This may be beneficial for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
If the body is using stored fat for energy, this could be an excellent way to lose those excess pounds naturally.
By training the body to use stored fat for energy, athletes may be able to keep their energy levels higher over longer periods of time. This can help improve their performance levels and decrease the risk of bonking.
Eliminate Afternoon Slumps
Many office workers experience the dreaded “afternoon slump,” where they need a jolt of energy to make it through the day. By using stored fat for energy, a person can stabilize energy levels, keeping them energized and ready to go.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Studies are ongoing, but many believe ketosis is the key to fighting cancer. Why? Because many cancer cells use glucose as fuel.
Top Keto Diet Foods
Here are the top foods to eat and avoid while on a ketogenic diet:
Foods To Eat:
Grass Fed and Wild Animal Sources:
Beef, Egg’s, Fish, Chicken, Game
Olive oil, Omega 3’s, Coconut Oil, Butter, Lard
Leafy greens, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onions, Squash, Artichokes
Coffee, Tea, Water
Herbs and Spices
Cinnamon, Ginger, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper
Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha
Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Almonds, Flaxseed, Pumpkin Seeds,
Foods to Avoid
Non-Organic, Farm Raised Meat Sources:
Farm Raised Beef, Pork, Chicken and Fish
Sugar and Sweets:
Ice Cream, Cake, Sugary Drinks, Cookies, Donuts
Wheat, Rye, Oats, Corn, Barley, Millet, etc.
Pizza, Fast Foods, Foods Containing MSG, Sulphites,
Low-Fat, Zero-Fat Products
Consume Raw, Full Milk Only (In Moderation)
Sunflower, Cottonseed, Soybean, Margarine, Corn Oil
Pineapple, Mango, Banana, Papaya, Grapes, Fruit Juices, Raisins
Is Keto For Me?
The jury is still out on keto diets.
For some, they believe the problem with keto is that you need to cut out most fruit and veggies because of the carb content. This means you’re missing a lot of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals).
The truth is that you don’t need to cut out ALL fruits and vegetables – you just need to focus on the ones that give you maximum nutrients with less carbs such as berries and leafy greens.
Another issue is that a lot of foods high in fiber are higher carb foods, so that might be a problem. Eating a low fiber diet might make you feel hungrier and might also impact your bowel movements. So it’s important to make sure that you’re eating enough fiber if you choose the keto diet.
Sample Keto Meal Plan
For those looking to try keto, but want to ensure they’re getting the nutrients their body needs, here’s a sample meal plan:
Breakfast: Farm Raised Bacon and Eggs
1. Fry bacon in pan until crispy
2. Fry eggs in bacon grease
3. Cut cherry tomatoes, and sauté tomatoes and spinach in pan
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Lunch: Caesar Salad
- 1/2 lb (220g) chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 5 oz (100-150g) bacon
- ½ Romaine lettuce
- 2 oz. (50g) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ lemon, zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped filets of anchovies
- Salt and pepper
1.Mix the ingredients for the dressing with a whisk or blender. Set aside in the refrigerator.
2.Preheat oven to 400°F (200[Symbol]C). Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish.
3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter on top. Bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 min or until fully cooked.
4.Fry the bacon until crisp. Shred the lettuce and place as a base on two plates. Place sliced chicken and the crispy, crumbled bacon on top.
5. Add dressing and parmesan cheese.
Dinner: Keto Ribeye Steak with Oven-Roasted Vegetables
- 1/2 lb. (220g) broccoli
- 1 whole garlic
- 5 oz. (140g) cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme or dried oregano or dried basil
- 1/2 lb. (220g) ribeye steak
- Salt and pepper
- Anchovy butter
1. Make the anchovy butter. Finely chop the anchovy fillets and mix them with butter (at room temperature), lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F / 230[Symbol]C. (Allow meat to reach room temperature before cooking it.) Separate the garlic into cloves and the broccoli into florets.
2.2. Grease a large roasting pan and place all the vegetables in a single layer. Season and drizzle olive oil on top. Give it a stir to coat and then place the roasting pan in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Brush the meat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fry quickly on high heat in a frying pan.
4. Remove pan from the oven and make room for the meat amongst the vegetables.
5. Lower the heat to 400°F / 200[Symbol]C and place pan back in the oven for a few minutes or up to 10 or 15, depending on how you like your meat – rare, medium or well-done.
6. Remove from the oven and place a small amount of anchovy butter on each piece of meat. Serve straight away.
The ketogenic diet has many benefits and can help with weight loss. You just need to make sure that you’re not excluding fruit and veggies, and that you’re eating enough fiber!
I don’t think that there is one “perfect” diet – many of them have their benefits and drawbacks. The best diet for you is the one that you actually enjoy and can stick to long term.
Is the keto diet is good for you? You won’t know until you try it! (If you have any health issues, please consult your doctor before trying a new diet).
I just wanted some advice on wether boxing is a good sport for overall fitness but it won’t cause any bulking in my arms and legs.
Ps. The work your doing is fabulous.
Thanks for reaching out! :)
Boxing is great, especially for toning upper body without bulking but just make sure your boxing classes don’t include lots of squats.
I’ve been on keto diet for 3 years though I’m not as strict about carbs as before. I still enjoy the occasional rice and starchy root vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin etc. Does your lean legs program have less effect if I still choose to eat a keto diet? Also I eat one meal a day. Have been for the last 1 year. I am very lean and muscular on my upper body but my legs still have saddle bags and excess fat! My legs have a combination of fat and muscle and I am interested to lean them out !
Hi lovely, Rachael’s meal plan is actually low carb so it would be a good fit for you since you follow the keto diet ?
And when it comes to excess body fat, since you’ve mentioned that you eat one meal a day it is possible that you slowed down your metabolism a bit. That might be the reason why you’re having trouble losing that bit of extra body fat. I know it may sound counterintuitive but if you eat more (while staying at a slight calorie deficit), you should lose fat faster. Also, Rachael’s program includes bodyweight resistance training which will help you raise your metabolism and make the fat loss process easier.
Hope this was helpful! xx
Hi, I was wondering if homemade pizza was off the list. In my pizza, I make dough in a maker with raw ingredients (flour, water, olive oil, salt, yeast), once done I spread it out on a pan, add sauce, add shredded cheese, and some pepperoni and/or sliced onions. I also only have two or three pieces, which are about a two by two square. Also, I don’t have this often, maybe once a month
I think it’s ok to have a pizza once a month, it won’t make much of a difference. You can also check out this recipe that fits the keto diet a little better. I hope you enjoy it! :) xx
Hi, I’ve studied human nutrition and this post covers none of the big dangers with the keto diet, you may want to look into it a little more as I’m short on time right now but bottom line is the keto diet is fatel if followed for a prolonged time due to the fact with such small carbohydrate intake your liver is getting stripped of ketones with will cause liver failure not to mention your brain can only run on carbohydrates as far as we know, so it eventually leads to brain issues and initially overall organ failure. Personally I would not suggest the keto diet to anyone I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for saying this by people, but I charge you all the look into the truth of the diet for yourselves.
I’ve seen some people get great results on keto diet, but maybe it’s not that healthy long term.
Please provide us with more reliable resources when you have the time :) xx
I have been on Keto (averaging 0-20 grams of Carbs per day) for the past year and have lost around 2 Stone. Although now I have found myself skinny fat and cannot seem to lose the excess fat around my hips although I have reduced my calories and stayed on the Keto diet! I average around 4 HIIT workouts a week.
Do you think doing more resistance training and upping my carbs would help with this problem?
I think we all respond differently to the keto diet which is high in fat so I suggest eliminating most or all animal fats from your diet.
We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program!
The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:
Lean Legs Program
Hi Rachael! You’re the best <3. Thanks so much for your take on keto as I requested in the email – would be interested in hearing how the lineup fares with your books and program. Anytime you have stories of folks who've done your program with keto, would be great to get a post on how it all went, if they had to tweak anything, challenges, joys and so on!
Also wanna mention that keto is practically sort of easy (less food options so makes life SO much simpler, less hunger pangs, less cravings etc once over the first few days of terribleness haha) but intellectually can be a challenge – so much measuring and weighing to get the macros just right, esp for those who are not so sure of how much carbs/protein/fat are actually in all the foods they eat! Can easily mess up the precise ratio that's needed for it to work, so some measuring and weighing initially is important before we get accustomed to eyeballing it.
Also – note for people trying it – ELECTROLYTES!!! So important esp in the beginning (helps avoid keto flu) and most people miss this fact. Robb Wolf stresses it in his online KetoMasterclass course. Oh and fermented foods – goes without saying – lifesaving for gut issues.
LOVE and thank you!!
Hi lovely, thanks so much for your tips! And glad you enjoyed the blog post :D My eBook is definitely not keto. It is low carb (20-25%) for the first 4 weeks, and then carbs increase. If anyone ever tells me about completing the eBook on the keto diet, I’ll be sure to let you know! xx