The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low carb, high fat diet known to aid in weight loss and improve health. Restricting your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat allows your body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis, your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Following a keto diet typically involves restricting carbs to no more than 5% of your daily diet (around 20-50 grams per day), while also limiting protein intake to no more than 20%. Protein is consumed moderately as it can slow the body’s transition into ketosis. While a standard ketogenic diet is the most researched and recommended, there are four versions to follow depending on your lifestyle:
- Standard ketogenic diet: low carb, moderate protein, and high fat (70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs)
- High protein ketogenic diet: as the name suggests, this method includes an increase in protein: 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs
- Cyclical ketogenic diet: periods of higher carbs days, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days
- Targeted ketogenic diet: this allows you to carbs around workouts
The cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced and primarily used by bodybuilders and athletes. However, all four versions focus mainly on the same foods such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, and healthy oils. See below for a list of foods to consume and avoid on a keto diet:
Foods you should avoid:
- Grains and starches: rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Beans and legumes
- Fruit: most fruit and fruit juices (berries are allowed in small amounts)
- Root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, etc.
- Unhealthy fats
- Some condiments and sauces: ketchup, barbeque sauce, etc.
- Sugary foods: candy, soda, baked goods, etc.
Foods you can consume:
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Leafy greens and above ground vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
- Natural Fats: avocados, nuts, seeds, nut oils
- Dairy: butter, cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Coffee or tea
Zing keto bars contain less than 1g sugar, 3g net carbs, plus healthy fats from nut butters, cocoa butter and mct oil, making them the perfect snack!
If current dietary restrictions require you to avoid foods like eggs, nuts, dairy, or seafood, a ketogenic diet may not be for you. While the keto diet isn’t for everyone, it does have benefits for some. Studies show that consuming a keto diet can reduce seizures for those with epilepsy, improve risk factors for heart disease, and slow the progression of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to consult with a physician or an expert in the field before starting a ketogenic diet to ensure proper nutrition.