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Basics of a ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is more demanding than any other diet.
This is because your body requires specific conditions to start ketosis. The most important part is the restriction of carbohydrates, but for many, the limitation of protein comes as a surprise – mainly due to the lack of carbohydrates in the food, the body begins converting protein into carbohydrates in the liver. Protein usually comes naturally from the ketogenic diet’s sources, so the rule of thumb is to eat less protein than you would eat on a regular diet (less than you think you need).
I tried to make this version of the ketogenic diet as easy as possible for every beginner. Even though my primary recommendation would be for everyone to measure the amount of food they eat and strive towards the optimal macronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, fat) ratios, this version is for everyone, even for those who, in the beginning, don’t feel like getting into the details. Note, however, that the possibility of making mistakes is also more significant.
These are the sources of fat. Since 75-80% of calories on a ketogenic diet come from fat, you can eat these without needing to weigh them based on your mood. Your body will tell you when you overeat these. It is worth reducing if the weight is still not going down after an extended period. However, this happens rarely because our body is effective at recognizing the right amount of fat.
● Mayonnaise, fatty, no added carbs.
● Oils (e.g., olive, coconut, MCT)
● Seeds, nuts (also ground almonds, peanut butter)
● Double cream
● Butter, organic
● Cocoa butter
● Margarine (not light cheap kinds of margarine if you want to use this, but, e.g., oil-butter mixture)
● Sour cream
● Coconut cream
● Soy cream, almond cream (not so fatty but cheerful due to the low carbohydrate content)
The following list contains so-called fatty proteins. They are a source of protein with a relatively large amount of fat, but not as much as the fat sources above. You can eat fatty proteins in every meal (unless you eat low-fat protein sources).
● Minced meat
● Bologna sausage, salami, chorizo
● Fatty ham
● Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel)
● Cheese (full-fat +25%)
● Chicken bacon
● Kebab meat
The following list is of low-fat protein sources. One needs to be more careful with these because they contain mostly protein and not much fat/carbs. Eat low-fat protein sources carefully, not more often than one meal a day (unless you are working out hard), and even then, accompaniment with fat. If you like to eat only the fatty protein sources, you do not necessarily have to use anything from this list. You can quickly go over your daily protein limit with those and prevent ketosis.
● Low-fat chicken, turkey, pork, beef
● Fat-free cottage cheese
● Tuna in water
● Egg white
● Tofu (less than 2 carbs)
● Quorn (less than 2 carbs)
● Tempeh (less than 2 carbs)
● Anamma (less than 2 carbs)
In the pictured above are recommended vegetables on the top, below are vegetables to avoid.
Low-carb vegetables are important on a ketogenic diet because of their intestinal function as a source of fiber and protective nutrients. You have a 20-25 g of carb limit per day; most of your carbs should come from vegetables (and the rest from, e.g., cream, cocoa powder, nuts, etc.).
Eat at least 500 grams or 18 oz, or the amount of about 4-6 times your fists (depending on how big your hands are) different kinds of low-carb plants per day.
We classify as “low-carb veggies” the vegetables that contain less than 5 grams of carbohydrate/100 grams of raw weight. Salads are always safe; carrots are borderline. Surprisingly, carbohydrates come quickly from onions; one garlic clove contains about 5 g!
● brussels sprout
● salads and herbs
● long green beans
Other. In this section are foods you can eat thoughtfully and relatively freely without substantially affecting the composition of macronutrients. With these, anyone rarely breaks their ketosis.
● Cocoa powder (basic, without added sugar)
● Almond/soy milk unsweetened
● Sauerkraut (preferably “Russian,” less than 2 g/100 g carbs)
● Russian pickles (max 3 small ones from the jar)
● Sugar-free throat lozenges (moderately, affects blood sugar, especially if sweetened with maltitol)
● Salad ingredients: kale, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, lettuce, celery, herbs. Few will overeat these and use them freely.
● Spices and spice mixes, BEWARE of added sugar.
● Seasoning sauces and salad dressings that you think will come in less than 2g of carbs/serving. (Recommended carb limit for salad dressings is 10g/100g)
● Sugar-free juice soup (prefer ones sweetened with stevia or sugar alcohols).
● Turkish/Greek/Russian 10-17% yogurt
DO NOT EAT THESE
● Wheat, rye, oats, barley products, bread, and porridges, even gluten-free
● Crispbreads, learn later keto seed-crispbread
● Buckwheat, rice, quinoa, and other carbohydrate grits
● Sweet treats, such as candies, ice cream, biscuits, cakes
● Crisps, popcorn
● Product breaded in wheat flour
● Soups thicken with cornstarch
● Potato, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip
● fruits, in the beginning also berries to a large extent
● Milk, sour milk, low-fat dairy products such as fat-free milk curd
Avoiding alcohol entirely for at least the first 4-8 weeks would be better. But if “is a must,” then favor carb-free drinks, such as
● light sider or long drink
● whiskey, cognac, brandy
● dry red wine
● very dry white wine
Do not drink:
● ordinary sider, long drink
● sweeter vine
Sweeteners are much better at satisfying cravings than sugar. Prefer more natural sweeteners.
● Erythritol, a.k.a. carb sugar
● Okay, in smaller amounts – xylitol
● Do not use (small amounts are okay) – aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, maltitol, dextrose
● Do not use and Beware: dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, saccharin, fructose
Water is the best fluid. Low-calorie drinks are also good options, such as amino acid and electrolyte drinks. Sometimes it is okay to indulge in artificially sweetened drinks like Coca-Cola Zero or similar (however, do not make this a daily habit).
Do not refuel fluids with calorie-containing beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, and others.
You can eat once or 7 times a day. The important thing is to eat to the same rhythm every single day. Sources of carbohydrates are intelligent to schedule around physical activity, which is much less likely to negatively affect ketosis. What is your natural feeding rhythm? Follow it even on ketogenic.
More extended fasting periods are also suitable for ketogenic because the diet effectively keeps the hunger at bay. For example, eating every day between 8am and 4pm and fasting from 4pm to the next morning is a popular type of fasting. This is called “intermittent fasting,” and it brings its own boost to fat burning, but it is not mandatory. Try and test, but always strive for regularity!