When it comes to dieting, no one option works for all. Whether you’re trying to lose excess weight, to improve your overall health or mental wellbeing, to support your physical training or for medical reasons, it is essential to pick a diet that’s right for you.
One eating plan that has been around for a long time but has been catapulted into the mainstream in the last few years after being endorsed by A-listers and Hollywood red carpet regulars is the 'keto diet.' This food plan involves reducing carbs and increasing good fats.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about ‘going keto’ and if it’s the right plan for you.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet (to use its full name) involves reducing the number of carbs you eat and replacing it with good fats. Common carbs include bread, pasta, and potatoes whereas keto-friendly fats include avocados, fatty fish, and eggs.
Without the carbs in your body to burn for energy, your body enters a state called ‘ketosis’ which burns fat and makes ‘ketones’ to use for fuel to keep your body going
Different Types of Keto Diet
There are a few variations of 'going keto' around, so you'll also need to decide which keto avenue to explore. Here are a few of the most popular variations, how they work and what they designed to help people accomplish.
1. Standard Keto
If your overall goal is fat loss or to improve your overall health, then the standard ketogenic plan may be the one for you.
The basic rules for this plan are:
- Limit your carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams per day (which should make up 5-10% of your daily calories)
- Eat a moderate amount of protein (15-30% of your daily calories)
- And tuck into a high amount of healthy fat (60-70% of your daily calorie intake).
2. Targeted Keto Diet
Do you work out regularly? Are you trying to maintain a high level of activity? If so, this more advanced approach to keto may be best suited to you.
This plan follows the same guidelines as the standard keto plan, but it also includes eating additional carbs 30-60 minutes before exercising to increase your strength and energy. This additional carb intake shouldn’t affect the body's state of ketosis for long, as the extra carbs will burn off while working out.
3. Cyclical Keto Diet
This version of the keto diet is prefered by those who follow incredibly intense, high-volume workout schedules such as athletes and bodybuilders. The plan involves alternating between sticking to a strict keto plan and high carb days. For example, a week on cyclical would involve eating 20-50g of carbs a day for five days straight, followed by two days of ‘carb-loading’.
Best Ketogenic Diet Foods
Not sure whether you can get on board with the food involved with keto? Here’s a snapshot of a some of the most common foods you’d be able to eat:
Fats: grass-fed butter and ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and avocado oil, egg yolks, seeds, and fatty fish.
Proteins: grass-fed beef, poultry, pork, shellfish, lamb, and eggs
Vegetables: kale, lettuce, bok choy, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
Is Keto Right for me?
As with anything in life, what may work for one person may not work for another. When it comes to dieting, your results will depend on your metabolism, genetics, size, and of course, your lifestyle.
If you think keto fits in well with your overall goals, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started:
- Be prepared! Preparation is key, with any diet, but if you’re used to tucking into carbs every day, it may be a shock to the system! For example, one slice of bread has around 15g of carbs (3/4 of your minimum standard allowance!).
- Get into the habit of planning your meals a week or two in advance, so you don’t find yourself stood at the fridge wondering what you can and can’t eat!
- Beware the ‘keto flu’. While you may have got your head around your new eating plan, your body may need time to adjust. Reducing the number of carbs you consume can result in headaches and feeling dizzy, but this should pass after a week or so.
- If you are cutting out certain fruits, grains, and starchy vegetables, it’s really important you don’t miss out of the vitamins and nutrients usually delivered in these foods.
Any form of keto dieting requires real commitment and plenty of will power and determination! If you are thinking of following this plan long-term, you should seek professional support to ensure the best results and to remain fit and healthy.