If you’re looking to lose weight, manage your diabetes with lifestyle and diet choices or make some overall health changes starting with your diet, you may have heard about the ketogenic diet.
– What is a ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, very low-carb diet. This diet generates the production of ketone bodies which pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source.
– What is ketosis? The ketogenic diet causes the body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones” which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The source of fuel and energy for the brain is glucose. Ketones are an alternative fuel for the brain, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. Ketones are produced if very few carbs and only moderate amounts of protein are eaten. On the keto diet, glucose levels are exhausted and the body is prompted to give the brain energy through an alternative method, ketones. The body takes stored fat through the liver and produces ketones which is then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. When the body produces ketones, it is called ketosis. Exhausting the body of glucose on a ketogenic diet forces the body to run entirely on fat which burns stored fat more rapidly.
– Ketogenic benefits:
- Weight Loss
- Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
- Control blood sugar
- Mental focus
- Increased physical endurance/energy
- Lessen stomach problems
- Clear acne
- And more!
Dining Out on the Keto Diet
1. Look up the menu! The best practice for dining out keto is to look up the menu ahead of time. Plan ahead in order to determine what meal options on the menu will fit into your macronutrients for that day. Better yet, track your foods on the Track Food tab before you go out to confirm that your macros are set for the evening. Reminder: your caloric intake should be 5-10% carbohydrates, 20-25% protein, and 70% or more fat.
Here is a helpful infographic on the correct macronutrient (macro) ratios for a ketogenic diet.
2. Keep in mind which foods you CAN eat:
– Foods to eat:
- Low-carb vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Other fats including coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
- Fatty fish
- High-fat dairy including hard cheeses, high-fat cream, butter
- Avocado and berries
- Condiments: use salt, pepper and fresh herbs and spices.
– Foods to avoid:
- Low-fat and diet products (including sugar-free foods)
- Condiments and sauces
- Unhealthy fat: processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
- Grains or starches
- All forms of sugar
- Tubers – potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
3. Order meat or fish and veggies. It is not very hard to eat keto-approved foods while dining out. Most resturants offer some kind of meat or fish dish. Order grilled steak or baked salmon, for example and replace any high-carb side dishes with extra vegetables such as steamed broccoli or a side salad. If you are eating out for breakfast, omelets with bacon or other egg-based dishes are perfect on the keto diet! You can always order a grilled chicken sandwich or hamburger and ask for no bun or ask for romaine lettuce as the bun.
4. Navigating the salad-bar. The salad-bar seems like a healthy choice, but there are also numerous ingredients that could make “slipping up” on the keto diet much easier than you think. Follow these tips to avoid the extra calories/carbs:
– A lot of leafy greens! Get all the lettuce, spinach, and kale you can find.
– Pile on the FRESH veggies (broccoli, cucumbers, green peppers).
– Fats. Add on the high-fat ingredients like cheese, bacon bits, and olive oil available at salad bars.
– For dressing, create your own dressing with vinegar (or lemon), olive oil, and cracked pepper rather than using the dressings provided which likely contain sugar (extra carbs) or fat-free oils.