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What is the Keto diet?

A ketogenic diet primarily consists of high fats, moderate proteins, and very low carbohydrates. Russel Wilder first used the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy in 1921. He also coined the term "ketogenic diet." For almost a decade, the ketogenic diet enjoyed a place in the medical world as a therapeutic diet for pediatric epilepsy and was widely used until its popularity ceased with the introduction of antiepileptic agents. The resurgence of the ketogenic diet as a rapid weight loss formula is a relatively new concept that has shown to be quite effective, at least in the short run.

How does the Keto diet work?

The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. Breaking down fats for energy leads the body into a state of ketosis. It takes about three weeks of carbohydrate elimination for your body to transition into ketosis. 

Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires that you reduce carbohydrates to fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs).
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

Why follow the Keto diet?

The results of the Keto diet vary according to each individual. It’s important to note that each person may respond better to the keto diet versus others, and there is no one-size-fits-all. 

PROS

Some people have reported the following positive outcomes with the Keto Diet. 

  • Weight Loss: A ketogenic diet may help you lose more weight in the first 3 to 6 months than some other diets. This may be because it takes more calories to change fat into energy than it does to change carbs into energy. 
  • Health Benefits: Results can vary widely by individual, but decreasing insulin can be helpful for those suffering from acne, diabetes, and some cancers due to a reduction in sugar intake. If you have diabetes, particularly type 1, too many ketones in your blood can make you sick. So it’s very important to work with your doctor on any changes in your diet.

CONS

Staying on the ketogenic diet long-term can have an adverse effect on health, including an increased risk of the following health problems:

  • Kidney Stones
  • Excess Protein in the Blood
  • Mineral & Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Build-up of Fat in the Liver

The keto diet can cause adverse side effects that many people know as keto flu. These adverse effects may include:

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • headaches
  • low tolerance for exercise

These symptoms are especially common at the beginning of the diet as the body adjusts to its new energy source.

Who should avoid a Keto diet?

Some populations should avoid the keto diet, including:

  • People with diabetes who are insulin-dependent
  • People who have eating disorders
  • Those with kidney disease or pancreatitis
  • Women during pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you want to follow a keto diet, make sure to consult your medical professional first.

Keto Do’s & Don’ts

Here’s a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

  • Sugary Foods: soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.
  • Grains or Starches: wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
  • Fruit: all fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries
  • Beans or Legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root Vegetables & Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
  • Low Fat or Diet Products: low-fat mayonnaise, salad dressings, and condiments
  • Some Condiments or Sauces: barbecue sauce, honey mustard, teriyaki sauce, ketchup, etc.
  • Unhealthy Fats: processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, mixed drinks
  • Sugar-Free Diet Foods: sugar-free candies, syrups, puddings, sweeteners, desserts, etc.

You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:

  • Meat: red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey
  • Fatty Fish: salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
  • Eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
  • Butter & Cream: grass-fed butter and heavy cream
  • Cheese: unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella
  • Nuts & Seeds: almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Healthy Oils: extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil
  • Avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
  • Low Carb Veggies: green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Condiments: salt, pepper, herbs, and spices.

It’s best to base your diet mostly on whole, single-ingredient foods.

How to make Keto easier?

  • Advise a keto coach and expert

Enlist support! Working one-on-one with a wellness coach or dietician can help you stay on track. By connecting with a professional, you may see stronger results because a pro can assist you with accountability and motivation on a daily or weekly basis. You can chat with our Mint Basil experts to get personalized advice anytime. 

  • Use apps

If you want accountability, motivation, and keto resources in the privacy of your own home (which may feel more comfortable to some) or on-demand on your device at all times, downloading a keto app may help you stay on track. 

  • Choose the right recipes and resources

Thanks to the internet, finding hundreds of keto-friendly recipes just got a lot easier. You can find several easy-to-make Keto recipes right here on Mint Basil Market’s blog, prepared just for you by our certified nutritionists and health experts.

  • Get organized

Because keto may involve more advanced meal planning than you're used to (thanks to the dietary restrictions involved), it's essential to get organized for each day or week. Once you have your weekly recipes outlined and selected you can start to do some serious meal prep, which will help you stay on top of your game. Make sure to create a shopping list once you've identified your meals, as it will streamline grocery shopping. Prepping foods -- steaming vegetables, making tuna salad, or shredding chicken in advance -- can help make mealtimes a snap. 

On keto, you can have your keto cake and eat it too! Make sure to consult a professional first so they can follow up on your progress and keep you going in the right direction.

Don’t forget to check our wide selection of special Keto food and snacks, vetted by experts just for you!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Mint Basil Market team.

March 02, 2022 — Mint Basil Market

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