There is a reasonable chance that “ketosis” is something you may have heard of but really have no idea what it actually is. Maybe you’ve heard of a ketogenic diet and that’s left you scratching your head somewhat, or think Keto is the latest K-pop sensation from South Korea. If any of the above holds true then now is definitely the time to read on and find out what Keto is all about!
what happens when your body is in ketosis
Ketosis is what the body does to create energy when it doesn’t have carbohydrates to burn. Carbohydrates are the “go-to” energy supply that the digestive system defaults to when it can. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body resorts to its fat resources instead. When the fat is burned, it creates a substance called ketones which can then be used for body fuel. Hence this is where the name Ketosis or Keto comes from.
It is possible to create a state of ketosis in the body by applying a dietary regime that consists of minimal consumption of carbohydrates coupled with a high fat intake. A strictly followed ketogenic diet is promoted by its advocates as being a way to lose weight. Of course, this sounds counter-intuitive to some as for a long time prior to the rise in awareness of the ketogenic diet, the orthodox view was that fat should be avoided if one wanted to lose weight.
Consequently, for those on a ketogenic diet, they look to avoid carbohydrate rich foods like potato, legumes, fruit, grains and sugary foods / drinks. Instead, foods like meat, cheese, eggs, avocado, nuts, olives, and seeds are very much emphasised. Those who achieve ketosis generally consume anywhere between just 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrate a day.
1. The Traditional Ketogenic Diet
Details regarding the specifics behind the traditional ketogenic diet are encompassed in several basic steps.
Reduced Carbs Carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, fruits, breads, pasta, and other forms of starches and sugars are all kept to a bare minimum, not to exceed 50 grams daily.
Maximized Animal Proteins Consumption of various forms of fats and meats are maximized. Fats may include foods such as cheese, butter, peanut butter, milk, cream, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olives, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, and seeds.
Meats may include a large variety of meats to include red meats, bacon, pork, chicken, liver, shrimp, fish, and shellfish.
For a traditional ketogenic book look at the following resource: The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle by Amy Ramos.
2. The Vegetarian Ketogenic Diet (Ketotarian)
With the advent and popularity of Ketogenic diets, derivatives and spin-offs have been created. As a result, the Keto-Vegetarian or Ketotarian diet has emerged. This diet will allow some fish, eggs, cheeses, and meats, but focuses mainly on healthy plant-based fats and non-starchy vegetables. Examples of foods in this alternative Ketotarian diet consist of many foods in the above described categories. However, Ketotarians often struggle to get foods which are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Good examples of high protein and low carbohydrate foods fitting in with the ketogenic concept include eggs, keto-friendly protein powder (such as Isopure Zero Carb, Keto Friendly Protein Powder), low carb meat substitutes (such as seitan, tempeh, and tofu), spinach, broccoli, some cheeses, almonds, and nutritional yeast.
A good resource for the Ketotarian lifestyle is Keto tarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation by Will Cole.
3. The Vegan Ketogenic Diet (Keto Vegan)
A final Spin off I would like to mention of the Ketogenic diet is one that some thought would never come to fruition. It is a combination Ketogenic and Vegan diet. As you might know a traditional vegan diet is amongst the strictest of diets where consumption of meat and all animal products are not permitted. This of course includes no eggs, cheese, or dairy. A Keto Vegan diet as it is called will of course not allow any animal products as previously mentioned but will put emphasis on lower carb higher fat plant-based products as well as nuts and seeds. Good examples of Keto Vegan foods include the following:
Plant protein such as tofu and tempeh.
Nuts and Seeds such as macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds.
Low Carbohydrate Vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and dark leafy green vegetables
Fruit such as avocados, coconut, olives, and berries.
Plant Based Milks such as Almond and Cashew Milk
On a Keto Vegan diet, it should be noted that coffee and tea is fine as well as the use of sugar free sweeteners such as stevia and Erythritol.
Additional Resource on Keto Vegan diet is THE KETO VEGAN: A New Beginners Cookbook Guide for a 100% Healthy Plant-Based Diet Meal Prep with 101 Easy, Fast & Delicious Recipes
So, there we have it, Ketosis and the Ketogenic diet laid out with Vegetarian (Ketotarian), and Vegan (Keto Vegan), spin-offs.