The keto diet has been shown to be wildly effective in many studies, yet it is often attacked as potentially unhealthy. There are many ways, however, to do the keto diet and still eat healthy and whole foods.
Just because you can eat bacon and butter on the diet doesn't mean you have to.
The keto diet is based on a simple principle: control the amount of carbohydrates consumed to put your body into ketosis, which in turn will allow your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Those basic fundamentals have been used in many diets in the past, such as Atkins and low-carb diets that have been encouraged in particular to prevent or treat diabetes. It has been shown to not only help those who are overweight lose a significant amount of weight, but to also improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
As with any diet, be sure to consult a physician before you start.
The core of the keto diet is a maximum number of carbohydrates per day – usually between 20 grams and 40 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus total fiber), and there are many apps that allow you to track this.
The diet primarily consists of low-carb vegetables and fruits, limited grains, dairy, nuts, meats and fats.
Here are a few tips to take the typical keto diet and make it healthier:
- Just because you should have fats doesn't mean you can't be selective about them. Avoid unhealthy fats and focus on healthy fats and whole food choices including coconut oil, walnut oil, avocados, nuts, eggs, whole milk plain Greek yogurt, fish and free range or grass fed meats.
- Keto is not a no carb diet! You can include a limited amount of whole grains in your diet. Just be sure to measure/weigh and portion very carefully. A great way to do this is to add a small amount of grains to a meal that is heavily made of low-carb vegetables. For example, add quinoa to a salad or sprinkle some barley into a cabbage soup.
- The most tempting times to eat bad keto options are when in a rush or on the go. That's because convenience stores and fast food options for keto are extremely limited, and terribly high in bad fats. To avoid this issue, keep healthier keto snacks and meals ready to grab. Meal prep containers can be filled with diced up chicken, cashews, blackberries, and celery and ranch dressing. In your car, keep shelf stable snacks like nuts or have grab snack bags filled with hard boiled eggs, peach slices or cucumbers.