keto diet

What is the keto diet? ketogenic diet menu

The keto diet promises all-day energy, weight loss, and focus. Here’s what you need to know about the ketogenic diet, and how to get started. My free Keto Diet menu plans (also Atkins, and Low Carb Diet friendly) do all of the hard work for you! These Keto Diet Menu Plans include not only nutrition …

Okay, what is keto?

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb eating plan designed to force the body into ketosis, a metabolic state that burns fat for energy. Once in ketosis, the body creates organic compounds called ketones to help create energy lost from those missing carbs. As the body adjusts to running on ketones by burning fat for energy, it’s common to experience weight loss. This is the crux of keto’s popularity: Many people see results. Still, it’s important to note that much of this can be attributed to water weight shed from depleting carb stores, which can easily fluctuate. Despite these benefits, undergoing a seriously restrictive diet like keto shouldn’t be taken lightly.

What “keto” means

The keto in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it allows the body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones». This is an alternative fuel source for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.

Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar).

The liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain.

The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones.

On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.

When the body produces ketones, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but nobody can fast forever.

A keto diet, on the other hand, can be eaten indefinitely and also results in ketosis. It has many of the benefits of fasting – including weight loss – without having to fast.

Who should NOT do a ketogenic diet?

There are controversies and myths about a keto diet, but for most people, it appears to be very safe. There are, however, three groups that often require special consideration:

  • Do you take medication for diabetes, e.g. insulin?
  • Do you take medication for high blood pressure?
  • Do you breastfeed?

The Potential Benefits and Risks of the Keto Diet

Before you dive in, it’s key to know the possible benefits and risks of keto.

There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.

But for people with diabetes, one big concern is you’re eating a lot of fat on keto, and that fat may be saturated, which is unhealthy when eaten in excess. (The much higher total fat intake is also a challenge among keto beginners.)

Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.

The Keto Diet Menu for Beginners

If you’re beginning a ketogenic (or keto) diet, it’s important to understand how to build your meals so you eat a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. This beginner keto meal plan is your easy-start guide.

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Some of you may be new to low carb eating, and whether you are following Atkins, Keto, or another low carb plan, there are a few basic things you should know.

If you talk to keto aficionados, you’ll find many save leftovers from dinner for the next day’s lunch. Cook once, eat twice—your keto diet menu for lunch is solved. If you don’t like leftovers or if you’re craving something different for lunch, the mid-day meal can be as simple as a scoop of chicken salad. Or, hit the salad bar at a local grocery store and top a bowl of greens with some good-fat goodies. You can also try one of these simple keto lunches:

  • Salad with chicken, eggs, avocado, nuts, cheese with olive oil and vinegar or another favorite dressing
  • Rollups of lean, thinly-sliced deli meat wrapped around cheese and bell peppers or pickles
  • Tuna salad or egg salad, made with rich olive oil mayonnaise Soup without pasta or beans
  • Cauliflower rice bowl with a grilled protein, cheese, dressing, olives, and nuts

Read More About The best ketogenic diet book

Keto diet menu:

Day 1 of a keto diet

what is the keto
what is the keto

Courtesy Mary Weidner, strongrfastr.com

Breakfast: Keto Pancakes with Keto Coffee (8 ounces of organic coffee with 1 to 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter or coconut oil); 2g net carbs. Read why adding butter to your coffee could help you lose weight.)

Lunch: Skin-on baked chicken thighs with loaded broccoli (broccoli topped with sour cream, bacon, and cheddar cheese); 2g net carbs

Dinner: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry; 10g net carbs

Snack: Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese; 1g net carb per serving

Snack: ¼ cup almonds; 3.5g net carbs

Total net carbs: 18.5 grams net carbs

While there are delicious-looking ketogenic recipes and meal plans online, experts like Weaver warn that you’ll want to avoid relying too much on artificial sweeteners and unhealthy foods for your keto diet menu. Make sure your grocery list includes healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil.

Day 2 of a keto diet

what is the keto
what is the keto

Courtesy Dr. Josh Axe, draxe.com

Breakfast: Veggie Omelet Recipe with Keto Coffee (makes 2 omelets); 7.5g net carbs

Lunch: Baked Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Bacon with spinach salad; 6g net carbs

Dinner: Roasted salmon with lemon-butter sauce and 1 cup roasted broccoli; 4.5g net carb

Snack: Mozzarella string cheese; 1g net carb

Snack: 2 hard-boiled eggs with a sprinkle of smoked sea salt; 0.5g net carb

Total net carbs: 19.5 grams net carbs

If you can’t fathom the idea of creating a new breakfast or lunch every day of the week, just have a favorite again. This might be one of the easiest ways to stay keto compliant during hectic weekdays.

“It’s okay to repeat foods, but one should strive for a variety of foods as often as possible to capitalize on the unique nutritional profile—the vitamins and minerals—of each,” says Paul Salter, MS, RD, founder of Fit in Your Dress and nutrition editor for bodybuilding.com.

Day 3 of a keto diet

what is keto
what is keto

Courtesy Savory Tooth, savorytooth.com

Breakfast: Two fried eggs, two strips of organic nitrate-free bacon, and half an avocado; 2.5g net carbs

Lunch: Spinach Frittata with Prosciutto and Peppers with spinach salad; 6g net carbs

Dinner: Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats with Meat; 8g net carbs

Snack: Texas BBQ Pork Rinds; 1g net carbs

Snack: Keto Peanut Butter Cups; 2g net carbs

Total net carbs: 19.5g net carbs

Craving garlic bread with your spaghetti squash lasagna boats? Keep in mind how quickly carbs can kick you out of ketosis. One piece of bread, and you’ll have consumed enough carbs for your body to no longer rely on burning fat stores.

“On the ketogenic diet, you must avoid carbohydrates,” Weaver says. “This means no bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies. Also, you should completely give up food and beverages containing sugar—ice cream, cake, puddings, soda, and other sweet drinks.”

Day 4 of a keto diet

what is keto
what is keto

Courtesy Dr. Josh Axe, draxe.com

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 Country-Style Chicken Sausage Breakfast Patties; 2.5g net carbs

Lunch: Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup; 4g net carbs

Dinner: Lamb Burgers with sliced avocados and mayonnaise and Turkey Bacon Brussels Sprouts; 15g net carbs

Snack: Classic Meat Sticks; 2g net carbs

Snack: Colby Jack string cheese; 1g net carbs

Total net carbs: 24.5g net carbs

Don’t stick to chicken and steak just because you’re comfortable cooking them. Make dinner time the place where you can try new meats and recipes that increase your keto recipe resources. “At lunch and dinner, you can be creative and experiment,” Weaver says. “Just focus on cooking meat—pork, chicken, lamb, beef, or seafood. Meat is rich in iron and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Use only organic oils, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.”

Day 5 of a keto diet

what is keto
what is keto

Courtesy Savory Tooth, savorytooth.com

Breakfast: Ham steak with soft-boiled eggs; 2.5g net carbs

Lunch: Tuna Salad with 1/2 cup cucumber slices; 6g net carbs

Dinner: Instant Pot Creamy Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach with 1 cup sautéed zoodles; 10g net carbs

Snack: 1 package chili-garlic olives; 0g net carbs

Snack: Ham-Cream Cheese Pickle Roll-Ups; 2g net carbs per serving

Total net carbs: 20.5g net carbs

Dislike fish? It’s important to get a variety of healthy fats, including omega-3s, when you’re on the keto diet. These seven non-fish foods serve up heart-healthy omegas, too.

Day 6 of a keto diet

what is keto

Courtesy Savory Tooth, savorytooth.com

Breakfast: 2 Low-Carb Biscuits with Almond Flour and Keto Coffee; 4g net carbs

Lunch: 6 chicken meatballs simmered in low-carb marinara sauce; 8g net carbs

Dinner: Easy Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef; 5g net carbs

Snack: Cheese Ball with Cream Cheese, Bacon, and Green Onion (2 servings) with four 4-inch celery sticks; 3.5g net carbs

Snack: 1 ounce of dry-roasted salted peanuts; 3g net carbs

Total net carbs: 23.5 g net carbs

Tomatoes and tomato-based products have more carbs than you might think, which is why many marinara sauces are off limits for the keto eater. However, some store-bought marinara sauces are below four grams of carb per 1/2-cup serving, which makes it A-OK for a keto dinner. Be sure to read the labels, and avoid any sauce with added sugar.

Day 7 of a keto diet

keto menu
keto menu

Courtesy Dr. Josh Axe, draxe.com

Breakfast: 1/2 cup raspberries with 4 tablespoons unsweetened heavy cream, whipped; 4g net carbs

Lunch: Lemon Chicken Piccata with Capers with Creamed Spinach; 11.5g net carbs

Dinner: Grilled pork chops with Buffalo Cauliflower and ranch dressing; 6g net carbs

Snack: Smokehouse Gouda Cheese Snack Bites; 1g net carbs

Snack: Avocado Deviled Eggs; 1g net carbs

Total net carbs: 23.5 g net carbs

Keep low-carb, high-fat dipping sauces, such as salad dressings and flavored mayonnaise, handy when you’re eating. They’re an easy way to boost your total fat—the second most important nutrient to track after net carb totals—and they add flavor and creamy satisfaction to many proteins and dinners, from grilled pork chops to lamb burgers.

Post Author: Dr Perlo

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