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What to Eat and What To Avoid on The Ketosis (Keto) Diet

Last week we discussed what a ketogenic, or Keto, diet was, and how it related to other low-carbohydrate diets. The key difference is that in a keto diet, there is more reliance on lipids, or fats, for providing energy rather than carbohydrates or protein.

A natural question regarding this approach is: are not fats bad for our hearts, our vessels, and for retaining fat on our bodies? While it is true that fatty deposits can cause atherosclerosis and heart disease, as well as be deposited as fat stores, the state of ketogenesis is designed to break down these fats through a process called lipolysis (lipo = fat, lysis = break down) and use the breakdown products (called ketone bodies, or ketones), for energy! Therefore, less fat is available to deposit in your vessels, your heart, and your love handles. That being said, no one should go overboard with either fat intake, since any excess over your energy needs will be stored in your body, or protein, which in excess can damage your kidneys.

So how do you stay in the state of ketogenesis? The basic idea is to limit your total carbohydrate intake per day to less than 50 grams, and ideally less than 20 grams. The following are my favorite choices from various food categories:

Meats: fish, which is rich in healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, particularly salmon, and lean meats such as turkey, lean cut ham, or chicken. You need not search for animal meats with lots of saturated fats, most will have enough fatty content to help meet your energy needs.

Vegetables: many vegetables are rich in carbohydrates. The more green they are, the less carbohydrate-rich. They can still carry many healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Good choices are asparagus, broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, and lettuce.

Fruits: fruits have long been considered a mainstay of a healthy diet. Fruits, however, are often heavy in sugars. Avocado, however, is a great choice as a source of fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins. Other good fruits, in moderation, are raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

Nuts: go with pecans, Brazil nuts, and peanuts

Milk: almond milk is a great substitute for animal milk

Oils: olive oil for cooking or in salads will provide healthier, unsaturated fats

Published on May 28, 2019 by Dr. Shawn Tsuda, FACS

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