The ketogenic diet is now on everyone’s lips. It is a type of diet followed mainly by sportsmen or in any case by those who practice physical activity at a competitive level, since it involves the intake of mainly protein and fat foods, in order to develop lean muscle mass and lose up to 3 kg per week. Many, athletes and non-athletes, have already experienced its beneficial and positive effects, so let’s see together what the ketogenic diet is and how it works, with an attached sample menu.

Watch Video: Rules of the keto diet

Basic rules of the ketogenic diet

One of the cardinal principles of the diet provided by the ketogenic diet is to keep caloric intake to a minimum and instead promote fat and, in a moderate way, protein intake. When following a ketogenic diet, in fact, it is generally advisable to keep the level of carbohydrates below 50 grams per day, although there are variants that allow both to further increase and decrease the daily intake. In this way, fats replace most of the carbohydrates, thus providing approximately 75% of your total caloric intake, proteins, on the other hand, should provide 20% of your energy needs and finally, carbohydrates would be limited to 5%. The reduction of the latter is necessary to “force” the body to rely on fats instead of glucose to obtain the necessary energy and to function regularly – all this mechanism is part of a process called ketosis, reachable after a few days of the diet. While it is in this phase of ketosis, our body makes use of the so-called ketone bodies, ie molecules produced by the liver and obtained from fats in the absence of glucose, as a kind of alternative energy source. Although fat is often kept at a distance by those following a standard diet, research shows that ketogenic is an absolutely safe and effective diet for weight loss, certainly even more so than many low-fat diets. In addition, the ketogenic diet reduces appetite and increases satiety, which is especially helpful when trying to lose weight.

 

Food plan of the ketogenic diet

Switching from a more traditional diet to that described by the ketogenic diet may seem difficult, but in reality, it should not be at all, since in this case, the focus is mainly on reducing carbohydrates and increasing fat and protein during the daily in order to maintain a perennial and constant state of ketosis. While some individuals can achieve the latter only by reducing carbohydrates to less than 20 grams per day, others manage to get there much more easily and with a definitely higher intake. Generally, however, the lower the caloric intake, the easier it is for the body to remain in this state of ketosis, that’s why you absolutely must stick to the list of foods considered “positive” in a ketogenic diet.

 

Foods Recommended During the Ketogenic Diet

While following a diet like the one provided by the ketogenic diet, meals and snacks should all focus on the following foods:
• Eggs: Pasteurized ones are the best choice.
• Poultry: especially chicken and turkey.
• Fatty FishFish varieties such as salmon or tuna are indispensable due to their abundance in omega-3 acids. Shrimp, mackerel, and herring are also consumable sources of protein during the keto diet.
• Meat: Grass-fed meat (from grazing animals), venison, pork. Red meat is preferable because it tends to have a higher lipid intake than the others, as well as abundant in myoglobin – a globular protein whose function is to reversibly bind oxygen.
• Dairy products and fatty cheeses: yogurt, butter, mozzarella, goat cheese, etc.
• Olives, nuts, and seeds: On a keto diet, it can be difficult to find foods that you can use as a snack, but usually you go for pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and olives.
• “Good” fats: coconut oil, olive oil, and seed oil.
• Avocado: avocado can have excellent use during the diet
• Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers.
• Condiments: Salt, pepper, lemon juice, spices, and herbs.

 

Foods to Avoid During the Ketogenic Diet

As already stated, carbohydrate intake must be minimal if the goal is to induce the body into a state of ketosis. Here are the foods that should at least be limited:
• Bread, pasta, and derivatives: no white or wholemeal bread, no savory snacks or biscuits or pasta. Rice is also not recommended, as it is low in fiber and high in starch (another form of carbohydrate).
• Sweets and foods that are too sugary: ice cream, candies, maple syrup.
• Soft drinks with sweeteners: juices, soda, energy drinks.
• Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and peas.
• Beans and legumes: black beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
• Fruit: no grapes, bananas, and pineapples. The fruit is both a source of fiber and sugar, but since fruit is high in carbohydrates, it is generally not used on a ketogenic diet. Some, however, consume a relatively minimal dose of berries (such as raspberry), but still remain in a state of ketosis.
• High-calorie sauces: BBQ sauce, overly sugary toppings, and sauces like mayonnaise and ketchup.
• Certain alcoholic beverages: beer and mixed drinks are out of the question.
Make sure you make healthy choices for your body by staying away from processed foods and “bad” fats. The following foods should be totally avoided: margarine, vegetable oils such as corn, fast foods, processed meats such as hot dogs, foods that contain artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners such as aspartame.

Drinks on a ketogenic diet
Sugar can be found in a huge variety of drinks, such as iced tea, soda, fruit juices and coffee drinks. While following a ketogenic diet, in addition to high-calorie foods, drinks with a high intake of carbohydrates should also be eliminated. Not surprisingly, the abuse of too sugary drinks is often linked to various health problems, such as obesity or an increased risk of diabetes. Fortunately, however, there are some alternatives you can consider. The category of drinks that can be consumed during a ketogenic diet includes:
• Water: a little obvious, but water remains the best choice when it comes to hydration, not to mention that you should consume at least eight glasses a day. Sparkling water, then, can be considered as a replacement for the classic carbonated drink. If you want to add a little extra flavor, try fresh mint or lemon zest to put in water. Despite the fact that alcohol has to be consumed on a limited basis, indulging in some vodka or tequila with tonic water is allowed on special occasions.
• Coffee and tea without sugar: coffee is allowed, as long as it is sugar-free, as is tea, especially green tea, which is delicious and has many benefits for the health of the body.

Simple menu of the keto diet

Below you will find an example menu of the ketogenic diet, always bearing in mind that a certain type of diet must always be agreed upon with your doctor/dietician.

 

Monday

Breakfast: whole milk with 4 rusks

Snack: 10 grams of walnuts

Lunch: boiled cod with vegetables of your choice and half an apple

Snack: low- fat cheese

Dinner: grilled chicken breast with broccoli

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: low-fat yogurt with one and a half tablespoons of oat bran

Snack: 10 grams of almonds

Lunch: two hard-boiled eggs with a side of grilled aubergines

Snack: 2/3 slices of turkey breast

Dinner: natural tuna with a side of salad

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: green tea with pumpkin seeds

Snack: low-fat yogurt

Lunch: low-fat grilled hamburger with salad

Snack: dried fruit to taste

Dinner: mackerel with a side of boiled green beans and cherry tomatoes

 

Thursday

Breakfast: whole milk or green tea

Snack: a piece of parmesan

Lunch: octopus salad

Snack: low-fat white yogurt

Dinner: grilled turkey with a side of tomatoes on the salad

 

Friday

Breakfast: orange juice and dried fruit

Snack: a handful of almonds

Lunch: marinated anchovies and grilled vegetables

Snack: whole yogurt

Dinner: mackerel with a side of boiled artichokes.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: whole yogurt with a dark chocolate square

Snack: almonds with green tea

Lunch: low-fat cottage cheese and tomato salad

Snack: a sandwich with lean turkey meat

Dinner: fillet of horse with vegetables of your choice

Sunday

Breakfast: semi-skimmed milk and a sandwich with raw ham

Snack: a piece of parmesan

Lunch: veal with a vegetable garnish of your choice and half an apple

Snack: low-fat white yogurt

Dinner: protein food of your choice between meat, cold cuts, fish.

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