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Fried eggs with bacon on the wooden table

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The health and fitness industry is all about innovative and new ways for everyone to achieve their goals. Whether dieting down for a holiday, to fit into a wedding dress or even a fitness competition, there have been a plethora of methods to reach the desired result. One such variation was called the Paleo diet, which reigned supreme as king of the waistline conquests.

However, from as recently as December 2016, more search trends were for the Ketogenic diet than Paleo. The popularity of “keto” as it’s been dubbed has only been growing and it has evolved into a lifestyle that goes beyond simply losing weight; it’s about having more energy, better concentration and so much more.

So how does it work exactly?  The name keto is derived from how the body is fueled by this diet; ketones and fat are used as the energy sources instead of glucose (sugar). Ketones are produced when your body is starved of glucose, as your body breaks down fats for energy. In reality, this means the keto diet is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fats and looks something like this;

70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate (https://www.ruled.me/guide-keto-diet/)

What does a keto diet look like?

Planning ahead is crucial, you can’t simply grab a chocolate bar from the fridge; you need to engage in meal preparation and have a plan to follow. The goal is to get the body into a state of ketosis and the more restrictive you are with carbs, the quicker this will occur. While there are more advanced keto diets such as a vegan ketogenic diet, we’ll go over the basics.

It’s also important to note what the source of carbohydrates is and to that end, the limited carbs will mostly be sourced from vegetables, nuts, and dairy. Refined carbs are to be avoided and they can be defined as;

  • Wheat (bread, pasta, cereal)
  • Starch (potatoes, beans, legumes)
  • Fruit

Fats

Preparing and roasting bacon in a cooking pan until it is crisp

As mentioned above, fats are serving as the bulk of the meal plan. Customize this to your personal preferences, by utilizing sauces, dressings, and butter. It’s important to know the differences between fats, however, as too much of the wrong kind can actually have a negative effect. This link provides a closer look at the following;

  • Saturated Fats. These are good to eat, some examples are butter, ghee, coconut oil, and lard.
  • Monounsaturated Fats. Again, great for the diet. Examples include olive, avocado, and macadamia nut oils.
  • Polyunsaturated Fats.  This is where attention needs to be paid, there is a difference to know. Naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats in animal protein and fatty fish are great for you, and you should eat these. Processed polyunsaturated fats in “heart healthy” margarine spreads are bad for you.
  • Trans Fats. Completely avoid. These are processed fats that are chemically altered (hydrogenated) to improve shelf life. Avoid all hydrogenated fats, such as margarine, as they’re linked to heart disease.

Protein

Hot fried eggs in a pan, close up

Protein is next in the diet and it’s important to keep this at the moderate level of consumption, as too much will actually put your body out of ketosis and increase production of glucose, which is something that is to be avoided in order to stick to this regime. A good tip is to supplement the protein dish with a fatty sauce in order to keep the fat levels high. Keto protein powder is also an option for those that don’t want to spend extra time in the kitchen. Here are some examples of the food to consume;

  • Fish;
  • Shellfish;
  • Whole Eggs;
  • Beef;
  • Pork;
  • Poultry. Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game;
  • Offal/Organ. Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins/nutrients;
  • Other Meat. Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and other wild game. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
  • Bacon and Sausage;
  • Nut Butter. Go for natural, unsweetened nuts and try to stick with fattier versions like almond butter and macadamia nut butter. Legumes (peanuts) are high in omega 6’s so be careful about over-consumption.

Please avoid

French Boulangerie - fresh croissant for sale

To surmise this section, be sure to avoid the following foods. Check also here ;

  • All grains
  • Factory-farmed pork and fish
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Refined fats/oils (e.g. sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, soybean, grape seed, corn oil), trans fats such as margarine.
  • “Low-fat”, “low-carb” and “zero-carb” products (Atkins products, diet soda, and drinks, chewing gums and mints may be high in carbs or contain artificial additives, gluten, etc.)
  • Milk (only small amounts of raw, full-fat milk is allowed).
  • Alcoholic, sweet drinks (beer, sweet wine, cocktails, etc.)
  • Tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, etc.)

With the diet firmly nailed down, all that’s left is exercise. Now, carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel, so it can be difficult to ascertain what the choices are when it comes to exercising whilst on a low-carb, keto diet. Fear not, however, as there are multiple choices when it comes to exercising which include the following ;

  • Aerobic exercise – Which is commonly referred to as cardio exercise and is defined as anything that exceeds three minutes in length. Intensity is low and steady-state cardio is fat burning, which is the perfect compliment for a keto diet.
  • Anaerobic exercise – almost the opposite of aerobic exercise, in that the training is in short burst of energy. Examples include weight training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • Flexibility exercises – Not only are they helpful and essential for stretching your muscles and supporting your joints, better flexibility can assist in keeping you injury free and improving range of motion. Yoga is the prime example of this and there are plenty of variations that will get your heart rate increasing and burning fat.
  • Stability exercises – Designed to help improve alignment by focusing on your core, the added benefit of this is that your control of movement will also increase.

Armed with the information outlined here, it’s clear to see how and why a keto diet is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Essentially, you don’t have to disregard everything you love in your daily food routine and you can still exercise at the same time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you; after all everyone’s body is different!

This post was submitted by William Munir, Chief Marketing Officer of Destine Nutrition, a supplement company specializing in smarter ways to live a healthier and more productive life.

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