The keto diet is not just another foodie craze – it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Chances are, you have heard of the keto diet, but do not understand all of the potential benefits it can provide. We’re here to break it down for you:
What is the Keto Diet?
Keto dieting involves drastically reducing carb intake and replacing the calories with fat. This switch puts your body in a metabolic state that is called ketosis. In ketosis, your body is unusually efficient at burning fat to produce energy. Keto diets can cause reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels and cause weight loss.
Types of Keto Diets
Standard keto diet (SKD): Very low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat. Typically 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat.
Cyclical keto diet (CKD): Periods of higher-carb refeeds. Typically 5 keto days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted keto diet (TKD): Designed to add carbs around workouts.
High-protein keto diet: Includes more protein than the SKD. Typically 5% cars, 35% protein, and 60% fat.
Only SKD and high-protein keto diet have been studied for health benefits. CKD and TKD are advanced methods that are generally guided by nutritionists for bodybuilders or professional athletes.
Research has shown that the keto diet is superior to low-fat diets in achieving weight loss. One of the best parts of keto dieting is that it is filling, so you can lose the weight without significantly reducing your food intake. Weight loss on keto diets has been shown to be 2-3 times that on low-fat diets.
Keto dieting is also good for diabetes/prediabetes. The keto diet allows you to lose excess fat, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. One study even showed that the keto diet improves insulin sensitivity by 75%. Many people on keto diets have been able to reduce or stop taking diabetes medicine completely.
Additional Health Benefits
The keto diet originated to treat neurological diseases, such as epilepsy. Studies have now shown a wide-range of health benefits:
Heart Disease – Keto diets reduce body fat, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Cancer – Keto diets are currently being used to slow tumor growth in cancer patients.
Alzheimer’s – Keto diets reduce symptoms and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Epilepsy – Keto diets have been shown to cause massive reduction in seizure activity in children.
Parkinson’s – One study found that keto diets helped improve Parkinson’s symptoms.
Polycystic ovary syndrome – Keto diets reduce insulin levels, which may help reduce symptoms of POS.
Brain injuries – One study in animals found that keto diets can reduce concussions and help speed recovery from brain injuries.
Acne – Lower insulin levels and less sugar and processed food intake improve acne.
Foods to Avoid
Any high-carb foods should be limited. Also avoid the following:
- Sugary foods – soda, fruit juices, cakes, candy, etc.
- Grains – wheat products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Fruit – all fruit except small portions of berries
- Beans & legumes – peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Root vegetables – potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat or diet products – highly processed and high in carbs
- Condiments and sauces – often contain high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats
- Unhealthy fats – processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol – high in carbs, can throw you out of ketosis
Foods to Eat
You should base the majority of your diet around these foods:
- Meat – red meat, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, etc.
- Fatty fish – salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel
- Eggs – specifically pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
- Butter & cream
- Cheese – unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue, mozzarella)
- Nuts & seeds – almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, chia, etc.
- Healthy oils – extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
- Avocados – whole avocados or fresh guacamole
- Low-carb veggies – most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
- Condiments – salt, pepper, herbs, and spices
As with any diet, keto only works if you are consistent and stick with it. It can be a great way to improve your health, but should always be discussed with a doctor prior to starting. Our favorite thing about keto diets is that they allow you to eat great quantities of Carnivore Club’s artisan cured meats. It’s the perfect reason to fill up on salamis and prosciuttos, as if we needed another reason.