The keto diet is not healthy is something we have been hearing ever since the diet gained momentum! However, the rapid weight loss it brings is what keeps keto fans asking for more. But what if we told you there is a way to make your favorite keto diet healthy?
If you’re jumping for joy, just like we did when we discovered this, read on to learn the secret to keeping the keto diet healthy and sane. For those of you about to start your keto journey, here’s what the hype is all about. The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a nutritional approach characterized by low carbohydrate intake, moderate protein consumption, and high fat intake. Like most diets, keto has side effects, but here’s how it can work well for you!
How does the keto diet work?
Well, you only need to go into ketosis once to realize the impact a keto diet can have on your fitness goals. When carbohydrate intake is significantly reduced, the body begins to burn fat for fuel. This process produces ketones in the liver, which serve as an alternative source of energy for the brain and other organs, explains dietician Garima Goyal.
Macronutrients are divided so that 70-75% of daily calories are from fat, 20-25% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. By restricting carbohydrates, the body is forced to break down fat into ketones, which leads to a change in energy use, she adds.
Also Read: Avoid These Keto Diet Mistakes That Keep You From Losing Weight
How to make the keto diet healthy?
A ketogenic diet can be made healthy by focusing on nutrient-dense whole foods and maintaining a well-balanced approach. Goyal gives us some helpful tips to ensure a healthy keto diet.
1. Choose healthy fats
Avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil are perfect keto foods. These fats provide essential nutrients and are heart-healthy.
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2. Add vegetables
Despite the low-carb nature of the keto diet, favor non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers. There are also fruits that you can eat. Click here to learn all about fruits on the keto diet.
3. Quality proteins
Choose high-quality protein sources such as lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Avoid processed meats and opt for organic, grass-fed or wild-caught when possible.
4. Watch your macros
Pay attention to your macronutrient ratios. Although high fat is a key component, it is essential to have the right balance of protein and fat.
5. Stay hydrated
Adequate hydration is key. Drink plenty of water and consider including electrolyte-rich foods or supplements, especially during the initial stages of keto adaptation.
6. Diversity is key
Aim for a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients. Relying on a variety of whole foods will contribute to overall health.
Watch out for this when you’re on the keto diet
Adapting to ketosis can lead to what is known as the keto flu, which is characterized by fatigue, headaches and irritability. So don’t think it’s an easy diet and go slow with it.
The most important thing is to stay hydrated and balance your electrolytes. Due to reduced carbohydrate intake, electrolytes may be low. Consider including foods rich in sodium, potassium, and magnesium in your diet, or use supplements if necessary, says Goyal. Another relevant factor is monitoring protein intake. Although protein is essential, don’t overdo it as it can interfere with ketosis. Make sure your protein intake is moderate and tailored to your specific needs, says Goyal.
In addition, non-starchy vegetables provide essential fiber, promoting digestive health. So be sure to include a variety of vegetables to maintain a balanced nutrient profile. Also, focus on quality fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Balance your fat sources for varied nutrient intake.
Plus, thoughtful meal planning helps you meet your nutritional needs and avoid potential nutrient deficiencies.
Some foods may contain hidden carbohydrates. Be aware of condiments, sauces and processed foods that can add to your carbohydrate intake. Also, monitor your health and well-being regularly. If you experience any side effects or have pre-existing health problems, consult a healthcare professional. Not everyone can do keto. Individual responses to the diet can vary, so consider your unique health needs and consult with a health care professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice, says Goyal.
Sample Healthy Keto Diet Plan
- Scrambled eggs cooked in butter or olive oil or Scrambled tofu cooked with spinach and cherry tomatoes in olive oil
- avocado slices
- Spinach sautéed in olive oil
- Bulletproof Coffee (coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil)
- Grilled chicken breast or salmon or cauliflower rice stir-fried with mixed vegetables
- Broccoli or cauliflower florets with cheese sauce
- Mixed green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
A handful of walnuts or almonds
- Zucchini noodles with pesto sauce and grilled shrimp
- Asparagus spears baked in olive oil
- Caesar salad with bacon and parmesan
Berries such as strawberries or raspberries) with whipped cream or chia seed pudding made with unsweetened almond milk and topped with a few crushed nuts.
- Lemon water during the day
- Herbal tea or black coffee, as desired
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