In modern times, we have a much closer handle on our diets and nutrition – something that has come from all of the information and the wealth of resources that we are now exposed to.
Along with this, there have been many dietary breakthroughs that have been shown to aid weight loss, improve health, and ease all manner of chronic conditions in the process.
One such example is the ketogenic diet – one that has become more popular in recent years thanks to numerous factors. But what exactly is the ketogenic diet, and what are the best foods to enjoy as part of it?
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that has many therapeutic uses within society.
Originally beginning life as a form of therapy to ease epilepsy in children, it has since gone on to become a popular diet for many – finding major applications within various forms of sports and athletics, where athletes will often adhere to the diet as a means of maintaining a certain weight.
This is especially true of MMA (mixed martial arts), where fighters are required to meet weight requirements, and maintain it for certain periods of time during competition.
How Does It Work?
The keto diet works based on the normal function of glucose in the body. Regular carbohydrates are converted into glucose within the body, which is then used as a form of energy.
However, when this source of sugar within the body is low or depleted, the body then switches focus to the liver as the main producer of energy – as it naturally converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies.
This causes weight gain to naturally ease, existing weight to diminish, and body fat levels to drop – thus creating a slimmer physique, a healthier level of fat to muscle ratio, and a generally better level of health.
The 11 Best Keto Foods
Now that we know a little more about the ketogenic diet, and the kinds of processes that are involved, it is now time for us to examine the foods a little more closely – examining the high fat, low carb foods that are beneficial for the diet, and the uses that they have.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Fish and shellfish are incredibly keto friendly, and make a great addition to a balanced diet.
Not only are they nearly completely devoid of carbohydrates, but they are also rich in numerous other vitamins and minerals – including B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.
While fish is certainly better than shellfish – due to the latter having a varying level of carbs depending on the species – both are good sources of nutrients, and have numerous benefits for bodily health – including fighting cancer, reducing risk of disease, and improving brain health, something that can set us in good stead for old age.
2. Meat & Poultry
Meat and poultry are the main staple of the ketogenic diet, and make up the base ingredient for much of the meals you can prepare while undertaking it.
Fresh meat and poultry are devoid of carbs, and are rich in B vitamins and minerals. Their main benefit however, is that they are a great source of protein – something that not only keeps you energized, but also full and ready to tackle the day.
Protein also helps to preserve muscle mass – something that is important when consuming low carb, high fat diets like the keto diet.
For the best results, choose quality, fresh, grass fed meat, as these are also high in omega 3 and fatty acids.
Eggs are another staple of the keto diet, and can make a great snack that are both laden with protein, and all the energy you will need to function properly.
An extremely healthy source of protein, eggs have often wrongly got a bad wrap over the years, but are actually great sources of antioxidants, and despite being high in cholesterol, they do not appear to negatively affect the body.
What’s more, they are also good for triggering a hormone in our bodies that makes us feel full – helping us to feel satisfied sooner, and to avoid overeating.
Cheese is another staple of the keto diet, and is one of the main sources of fat that the diet relies on so heavily.
Generally speaking, cheese is low in carbs and high in fat, and there are many different choices to choose from – most of which are keto friendly.
While not all cheeses are great for the diet, there are many varieties that are, including:
- Blue cheese
- Colby jack
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Goat cheese
- Pepper jack
- Swiss cheese
5. Plain Greek Yogurt
Popular as a source of fat, but also as a sweet treat for breakfast or after dinner, plain Greek yogurt is also a great addition to the keto diet, and one that is nutritious and high in protein.
While they contain some carbs, these can be offset by other things, and are great if eaten in moderation.
They have also been shown to decrease our appetites, and make us feel fuller quicker – something that is good for diets like keto where cravings can sometimes strike.
6. Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk
While regular cows milk is a no-go for those on the keto diet, unsweetened plant-based milk is absolutely fine.
These include soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk – all of which are great on their own, as long as they are not containing sugar or added sweeteners.
However, one variety you should avoid is oat milk, as even the unsweetened versions are considered too high in sugar and carbs to be suitable for the keto diet.
7. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are also considered a staple of the diet, and can include numerous different varieties – something that helps to make meals more interesting, and provide you with a wealth of nutrients in the process.
Low in carbs, and a good source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, green leafy vegetables can include:
- Baby spinach
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Swiss chard
Bell peppers, poblano peppers, and hot peppers are all considered to be keto friendly, and can be used in numerous ways to add flavor and spice to cooking.
As well as being low carb, peppers are also good sources of vitamin C – something that is good for avoiding heart disease, aiding iron absorption, decreasing bad cholesterol, and preventing conditions like scurvy.
9.High Fat Vegetables
There are also a number of high fat vegetables that you can consume as part of the keto diet.
These can include avocados and olives, which while both fruit, are widely used in a number of dishes – particularly those from Spain, South America, and the Mediterranean.
High in fiber, low in carbs, and rich in things like oleuropein – an antioxidant – high fat vegetables can be a great way to improve bodily health, jazz up dishes, and make keto more fun.
10. Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also considered a great snack within the keto diet – namely due to their low carb levels, and their high fat content.
Nuts have been shown to reduce cancer risks, prevent heart disease, and ease chronic illnesses, making them a great addition to any diet.
11. Dark Chocolate/Cocoa Powder
Lastly, even those on keto need a treat every so often, which is where dark chocolate and cocoa powder come in.
While bitter and not to everyone’s taste, those who enjoy them can introduce them into a keto diet guilt free. They contain flavanols, which have been shown to have an impact on heart disease, blood pressure, and arterial health.
It’s certainly true that the ketogenic diet has become more popular in recent years – offering those looking to lose weight and improve their health a chance at a solid diet regimen that can yield real results.
So if you are looking for the best high fat, low carb foods, then be sure to give some of these a try!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have learned about the best foods for the ketogenic diet, it is now time to examine some frequently asked questions that you might be interested in.
While not suited for everyone’s needs, ketogenic diets can be a good way for people to improve their health, remedy chronic ailments and conditions, and lose weight.
While there are benefits, the ketogenic diet is not for the faint hearted – proving very tricky for those who have an especially carb-heavy diet beforehand.
While the transition can be hard though, the benefits are often worth the sacrifice.