What should I be eating if I’m on a ketogenic diet?
If you read my previous post ‘Getting into Ketosis’, you’ll know about the basic 3 principles of a keto diet; Low carbs, high fat and moderate protein. So let’s focus on them one at a time, starting with the most important of them all, low carbs.
REDUCING CARB INTAKE
This, to me, is the number 1 thing you need to do. That means do your very best to avoid the following foods in the list below. It’s quite a handful but just remember it’s best to avoid anything that is high in sugar.
Grains - Rice, Wheat, Corn, Quinoa, Oats, Barley This includes any form of pasta, bread, crackers, bars
All kinds of Beans
Majority of Fruits - Including fruit juice, dried fruits, canned fruits
Starchy Vegetables - Yam, Potatoes, Carrots, Sweet potatoes
Snacks - Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Pastry, Ice Cream, Chocolate, Candy, Honey
Dairy - Low fat or fat-free Yoghurt and Milk, Yakult or Vitagen
Drinks All kinds of Alcoholic beverages (especially beer) - If you really have to drink, go for the low carb options like gin or vodka - Sodas, flavoured water, cordial,
Condiments that are high in sugar
Read the labels!!!!
Always take a look at the food labels before buying or consuming to check on the carbs. What you want to look at the TOTAL number of carbs and not just the sugar content.
The total amount of carbs here is 15g per serving. Sugars (6g) is a part of that 15g. Fibre or dietary fibre is also a part of the carbs and can be deducted from the total carbs. This is because fibre is a carb that your body can’t digest so it doesn’t interfere with your blood sugar levels. As such the net carbs for this item is 15 - 7 = 8g.
So how much carbs can I consume in a day before I get kicked out of ketosis?
There no definite answer to this as each of our body composition is different. Everyone has a different carb limit. In general, you’ll want to target keeping your daily net carb intake to less than 50g a day. The lower the better! However, it is difficult to count carbs as they are hidden everywhere! For example: -
So if dietary fibre is 4g and sugars is 1g, shouldn’t total carbs be 5g? Wrong! Starch is not listed on nutritional labels so we have to factor that in as well. So the total carbs in this case is 37g-4g = 33g net carbs. Basically just make sure you are looking at TOTAL CARBS and not just SUGARS or SUGAR ALCOHOL.
HOW SIAAAAA??? CARBS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!!
I know right? Don’t be too concerned about counting your carbs. I just wanted to share with you the facts behind carbs counting. As long as you know what carbs to avoid I’m sure you’ll be fine. Remember, if it’s sweet then it’s probably not the key to keto.
INCREASING FAT INTAKE
But doesn’t fat make you fat? Hell no! ‘Eating fat makes you fat’ is the biggest fucking lie in the health and fitness industry. Here’s why eating fat, doesn’t make you fat.
When we consume carbs, like bread or rice, the enzymes in your saliva with start to work them, breaking them down into sugar. As result of that sudden surge of sugar, a hormone called insulin is being released in your body. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store available energy in your bloodstream in form of fat tissues. When this surge dies down, you’ll get hungry, which encourages you to eat more. Fats, on the other hand, work differently from carbs.
Fats are not processed in the same way as carbs. Fats cannot be broken down by saliva and they are also not able to be fully digested by stomach acid. Instead, the small intestine, assisted by the liver, helps to break down the fat much later in the digestive process. This means that fat digestion is much slower. Fats also do not cause a spike in insulin levels and the good fats are really important for your body to function properly.
So how much fat do I eat in a day?
The average person requires about 60g-120g of fat per day. If you are new to keto you would probably want to start with consuming around 60g of fat and gradually increase the intake. The great this with fat is that it is extremely satiating. For a person like me who used to eat a lot, I get full after eating 2 avocados or like after eating 6 strips of bacon. Serious! I was shocked at first but that’s what fat for you. It fills you up so you are not gonna feel as hungry. It also doesn’t increase insulin levels which is what we want.
What types of fat should I consume?
Saturated Fat - Red meat - High-fat dairy like butter, ghee, heavy cream, full cream milk - Animal fat like chicken or duck fat, lard, eggs - Plant-based saturated fats like coconut oil, milk and cream, MCT oil
Unsaturated Fat (MUFAs & PUFAs) - Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, - Nuts like pecans, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts - Avocados, olives - Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines
Fats to avoid
Transfat - Packaged processed food like cookies, crackers, biscuits - Fast food - Foods deep fried in vegetable oil like doughnuts, fries
MODERATE PROTEIN INTAKE
In my previous post, I talked about something called gluconeogenesis (GNG), a process where your body creates glucose, or sugar, from no-sugar compounds in your body. So how much protein should I consume in a day?
Use this formula to calculate: -
0.8 x your body weight in pounds = Weight of protein to consume daily in grams
For e.g., 0.8 x 176 pounds = 140.8g of protein/day
And so we go to the next question, “What constitutes to 140.8g of protein?”
Here are some numbers for you: -
8oz (226.8g) of chicken = 62g of protein 8oz (226.8g) of beef = 52g of protein 8oz (226.8g) of fish = 42g of protein
As long as you don’t exceed this amount of protein in a day you’ll be fine. The above numbers are guidelines and it varies from person to person.
DON”T SWEAT IT!!!
The last thing I want you guys to do is to start paying too much attention to all the nutritional information of everything, bringing a weighing scale out to restaurants and measure the weight of your steak. You don’t have to be so exact! Aga aga can liao!! Just remember to eat everything in moderation and keep your carbs as low as possible and you’ll do fine!!!