What is the Keto Diet?
The Ketosis or “keto” diet works on the principle of putting the body into ketosis, meaning the body burns up its own fat stores for energy. This is achieved by decreasing immediate energy sources (carbohydrates) to push the body into using body fat as fuel. A common guideline for the keto diet is “carb is a limit, protein is a must, and fat is a lever” to satiate hunger. Keep in mind that everyone's needs for macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) are different depending on factors such as height, weight, age, activity level, etc. There are many websites and phone apps to help calculate the macros that are appropriate for you. Some people on the keto diet find that their appetite naturally decreases after a while, and may also do intermittent fasting.
Is there anything I need to know before starting Keto?
Many people have had success with weight loss on the keto diet. A few things to be mindful of before starting this way of eating:
Some people experience what is known as the “carb flu” at first due to restricting carbohydrates. Common symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, moodiness, and sometimes heart palpitations.
To manage “carb flu” it is important throughout the diet to supplement with appropriate vitamins and minerals (potassium, sodium, magnesium), drink enough water, and eat an appropriate amount of protein for energy.
Talk with your doctor before starting any diet like keto which significantly limits any of the food groups.
In its purest form, the theory of the Paleo Diet states that if your ancestors didn't eat it, you shouldn't either. On the other hand, some foods that our ancestors did not eat are known to be very nutritious. For example, beans are a great source of numerous nutrients and dairy products can be a great source of calcium and protein.
Some experts urge that a slightly less strict, slightly more modest form of the Paleo Diet should be followed for optimal health. It is up to you as an individual to choose first if you should - and then how to - implement the Paleo Diet in your own life.
Below is a list of foods that are encouraged or discouraged in the Paleo Diet. This list was obtained from the book Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain (Wiley and Sons, New York 2002 pages 104-112).
Lean beef (trimmed of visible fat)
Top sirloin steak
Extra-lean hamburger (no more than 7% fat, extra fat drained off)
Any other lean cut
Lean pork (trimmed of visible fat)
Any other lean cut
Lean poultry (white meat, skin removed)
Game hen breasts
Eggs (limit to six a week)
Chicken (go for the enriched omega 3 variety)
Rabbit meat (any cut)
Goat meat (any cut)
Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken livers
Beef, pork, and lamb tongues
Beef, lamb, and pork marrow
Beef, lamb, and pork “sweetbreads”
New Zealand cervena deer
Any other commercially available fish
All other fruits
Peppers (all kinds)
Squash (all kinds)
Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
Watercress Encouraged Foods
Nuts and Seeds
Foods to be eaten in moderation
Olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseed, and canola oils (use in moderation—4 tablespoons or less a day when weight loss is of primary importance)
Diet sodas (These often contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharine, which may be harmful; you’re better off drinking bottled and mineral waters.)
Wine (two 4-ounce glasses; Note: Don’t buy “cooking wine,” which is loaded with salt.)
Beer (one 12-ounce serving)
Spirits (4 ounces)
Dried fruits (no more than 2 ounces a day, particularly if you are trying to lose weight)
Nuts mixed with dried and fresh fruits (no more than 4 ounces of nuts and 2 ounces of dried fruit a day, particularly if you are trying to lose weight)
Foods you should avoid
All processed foods made with any dairy products
Nonfat dairy creamer
Barley (barley soup, barley bread, and all processed foods made with barley)
Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, corn starch, corn syrup)
Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and all processed foods made with oats)
Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, bas mati rice, rice cakes, Rice flour (all processed foods made with rice)
Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, and all processed foods made with rye)
Wheat (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza, pita bread, flat bread, and all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
Cereal Grainlike Seeds
All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans)
Sugar snap peas
Soybeans and all soybean products, including tofu
Potatoes and all potato products (French fries, potato chips, etc.)
Almost all commercial salad dressings and condiments
Smoked, dried, and salted fish and meat
Virtually all canned meats and fish (unless they are unsalted or unless you soak and drain them)
Chicken and turkey legs
Chicken and turkey skin
Chicken and turkey thighs and wings•
Fatty beef roasts
Fatty cuts of beef
Fatty ground beef
Fatty pork chops
Fatty pork roasts
Leg of lamb
Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices
All sugary soft drinks
Canned, bottled, and freshly squeezed fruit drinks (which lack the fiber of fresh fruit and have a much higher glycemic index)