All About Keto-friendly Eating
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has skyrocketed in popularity over the past couple of years. Its history dates back to 1923 when it was first used as a treatment for epilepsy. The diet was prescribed by a physician, and patients were carefully monitored by a dietitian to ensure that they followed a very specific “macronutrient ratio” (70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrates).
Today, the keto diet is commonly used for weight loss. While modifications exist with slightly tweaked macronutrient ratios, the diet’s high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb core remains the same. Recommendations typically involve eating 65%-90% fat, 15%-30% protein and less than 10% carbohydrates per day.
How the Keto Diet Works
Eating a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet encourages the body to convert fatty acids into ketones in the liver. Elevated levels of ketones in the blood trigger a metabolic state known as ketosis. When the body is in ketosis, it burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, resulting in weight loss.
Did you know that one sign of ketosis is, unfortunately, bad breath? This is because ketones leave the body through breath and urine. Tip: Be sure to brush your teeth often and keep sugar-free mints or gum on hand. Some keto followers also report reduced appetite, increased mental clarity, increased energy and weight loss. The only way to really determine if you’re in ketosis is to measure ketone levels by taking a blood, urine or breath test - all of which can be done at home (test prices vary).
Note that some people will require higher percentages of fat to trigger ketosis; others can achieve ketosis with a 65% fat diet. It’s advised to consult with a Registered Dietitian and/or healthcare provider for personalized nutrition recommendations.
Getting Started on the Keto Diet
First, you’ll need to determine the macronutrient ratio that’s right for you. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to speak to a Registered Dietitian or your healthcare provider before starting any diet. Books, websites and apps are available for guidance and can help you plan and track your diet when you’re ready to begin. Be sure that the information is coming from a reliable source.
Great news: Low-carb veggies, including leafy greens, lettuce, celery, mushrooms and zucchini, are allowed on the keto diet. Starchy plant-based foods such as corn, beans and potatoes should be limited.
For protein, choose high-quality meats such as grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild salmon. Watch out for processed meats, such as cured bacon or deli slices, that may contain added sugar. For fat, load up on butter, ghee, heavy cream and olive oil, which are all considered top-quality keto fats.
Minimize the amount of processed and carb-heavy foods such breads, pastas, fruit juices, rice and beer.
Keto-friendly Snacks: Luckily, snack ideas are just about endless for keto dieters. Feel free to graze on low-carb cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, roasted almonds, sunflower seeds and pork rinds.
Keto-friendly Meals: Need a keto diet-friendly lunch in a hurry? Try a BBLT (bacon, brie, lettuce, tomato) wrap. Simply layer bacon, sliced brie, sliced tomato, mayo and black pepper on romaine lettuce – then roll and eat. For dinner, toss some spiralized, steamed veggie noodles (zucchini noodles, aka zoodles, are great) with butter, sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Top with a grilled salmon fillet or grilled shrimp, toasted sesame seeds and a dash of black pepper.
Safety Considerations for Keto Dieters
For some people, the level of saturated fat in the keto diet may not be recommended, and cholesterol levels may need to be checked often to monitor heart health. Discuss your diet plans with your Registered Dietitian and/or healthcare provider.
And remember, Kroger’s specialty diet page is a one-stop shop for your keto-friendly recipes and grocery needs.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.