What is a Keto Diet?
Lots of the produce we sell here at Eversfield Organic is perfect for a keto diet plan. So much so that it’s got its own page and even a pre-selected box named after it. But what is a keto diet? The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat diet which shares similarities to many other popular low carb diets such as Atkins. We thought it was about time explain the types of ketogenic diets, the benefits they may have, which foods to eat and which to avoid as well as the potential side effects of following the diet.
Ketogenic Diet Basics Explained
A keto (short for ketogenic) diet means consuming high-fat, medium-protein and low-carbohydrate foods to force the body to enter ketosis.
“Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel”
- Source: WebMD
Usually, the carbohydrates provided in food are converted into glucose and transported around the body for energy as well as being particularly important for fuelling brain function. When few carbs remain in a diet, the liver begins to convert fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as the energy provider for brain functions.
Historically, this kind of diet was used as a medicinal practice to treat extreme cases of epilepsy in children, however many recent studies claim the diet can help to lose weight and improve health. As mentioned, keto is perhaps most similar to the Atkins diet. Popular a few years back, it stated that if you avoided carbs, you could pretty much eat as much protein and fats as you liked and still lose weight. Both these types of diets replace carbohydrates with fats, allowing the body to enter the metabolic state of ketosis and become very good at burning fat for energy.
These types of diets provide the body with foods that leave them feeling full up, meaning weight loss is possible without having to count calories or track daily intake. This makes them better for long term weight loss and a reduction in bodily fat.
What are the Different Types of Keto Diets?
Many of us regular folk following this kind of diet, for health reasons or to lose weight, will often just go for the standard keto diet of low carbs, moderate protein and high fat. However, there are a few different types of ketogenic diets, such as targeted and high protein variations that are often followed by athletes or bodybuilders. A targeted keto diet may add carbohydrates around workouts and a high protein version will simply add a few more grams of protein to their daily intake. With this in mind, it is still important to carefully measure protein intake as high amounts of protein can end up being converted into glucose and slow the progress of ketosis. In a daily diet of around 2,000 calories, you would be aiming to eat 40 grams of carbohydrates, 75 grams of protein and 165 grams of fat.
What are the Health Benefits of Keto Diets?
Aside from burning unwanted fat cells, ketogenic diets have been found to help a whole host of other health conditions. As mentioned before, the diet originated as a treatment for severe cases of epilepsy in children, and has also been found to help heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Picking the highest quality fats for a keto diet, like those provided by our grass-fed, organic meat, also present health benefits of their own. These types of meats are loaded with anti-inflammatory Omega-3, plus a heap of nutrients from the pasture upon which our animals chomp down on.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Keto Diets?
Like any other drastic changes made to your body, sometimes it can take a while to adapt. Some people making the jump to this kind of diet have mentioned what is occasionally referred to as “keto flu”, producing flu like symptoms. It is thought that these symptoms disappear after a few days. Other symptoms of the diet include poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues and digestive discomfort. If you’re on diabetes medication that causes low blood sugar, you should receive consultation before beginning a keto diet plan. It is worth fully educating yourself about the risk and rewards of the keto diet and you can always talk to a doctor or nutritionist before transitioning to this lifestyle.
What Foods are Good for a Ketogenic Diet?
In order to force the body into ketosis, a large reduction in carbs and increase in healthy fats is required. Such fats can be found in foods like our organic, grass-fed meat, wild fish, organic eggs, nuts and healthy oils. Choosing our Pasture Fed for Life (PFLA) certified cuts of organic meat can take keto diets to another level. Animals that spend their life enjoying delicious, organic pasture develop a higher amount of fat marbling compared with supermarket meat. This higher fat percentage is ideal for low carb, high fat diets such as this one. Find out more about our grass-fed cattle here. Dairy products such as grass-fed butter, heavy cream and a range of cheeses including cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese are also good for this kind of diet. Whilst root vegetables should be avoided, low carb organic vegetables like greens, tomatoes, onions and peppers could definitely be included.
If you’re looking to try a keto diet, you would typically avoid carbohydrate-packed foods like rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes, beans, unhealthy fats and sugary foods, including most fruits (research shows a handful of berries won’t hurt, though). Although it may be painful for some of us, alcohol should be avoided too!
What Other Diets Are There?
If the keto diet doesn’t sound quite like your thing then there are other diets to consider trying. Low-carb diets such as the Atkins or paleo diet are modifications of the keto diet, each also with their own advantages and challenges. There are plenty of plans and resources online that can help you discover these alternative diets. You can also seek advice from a doctor or nutritionist if you have any worries.
All this information may sound a little daunting, so a great place to start when considering a ketogenic diet is to try our ready-made Keto Box. If you’d rather create your own meat box filled with keto-friendly organic food, have a browse of our specially created Keto Collection on our website.