The mention of a food pyramid probably gives you a clear mental picture of the sort of image that has proliferated dietary information sources since 1992. The United States Department of Agriculture published it in that year, and you may have numbered among the many who based dietary decisions upon it.
While 2011 saw that food guide replaced by MyPlate, the thought process behind the advice, as well as the recommendations themselves, have not seen much change. The keto food pyramid is significantly different and will help you on the journey to building a personal keto diet.
Purpose of a Keto Diet
In my experience, most people seeking out a keto diet are looking for weight loss, to get in better shape, and to feel better. I first became interested in this kind of diet to help control my weight while maintaining a healthier lifestyle. When in a state of ketosis, which a keto diet helps encourage, the body functions more as a burner of fat than of glucose.
Why Leave the Old Food Pyramid?
Problems abounded with the old food pyramid. Such dietary decisions as a daily serving of an 8 oz hamburger were permitted; these sorts of choices have been linked to the development of heart disease. The undue exertion of political influence that agricultural and food associations have brought to bear on the USDA is another source of problems.
Milk companies are accused, for example, of influencing the USDA into emphasizing colored images for their products. The distinct display of the milk section can be subsequently interpreted as meaning that milk should be a significant part of dairy consumption on a daily basis. Further, milk's inclusion as a separate group implies that it is essential for a healthy diet; this is despite the numerous people who abstain from dairy by choice or because of lactose intolerance.
The fats group, with its tiny collection at the pyramid's peak, is also problematic. If you follow the guide, you can assume that you should avoid fats along with fatty foods; this kind of avoidance can lead to problems with health. Fat is essential to a person's sustainability; unsaturated fats assist in weight loss as well as lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, fats help maintain steady blood sugar, and they help the brain to function.
Another problem lies in the vagueness of the guidelines. The food pyramid's recommendation is for two to three servings as a maximum for protein. You can contrast this to its suggestion of two to four fruit servings, which is given as a minimum.
The book "Eat to Live" suggests that the USDA is heavily influenced by the food industry. This is because any food pyramid based on the available science would contain a foundation of vegetables. So if you cannot trust the USDA food pyramid for the basis of your dietary decisions, what can you trust?
The Keto Diet Food Pyramid
In a keto diet, the food pyramid has three divisions. The base, which by far takes up the most significant portion of the pyramid, consists of fats. Fats take up 70 percent of the calories in a keto diet food pyramid.
The remaining 30 percent of a keto diet's calorie intake consists of protein and carbohydrates. You should consume protein as 25 percent of your calorie count. Carbs are the remaining 5 percent.
The Perfect Keto Food Pyramid offers a slightly different take on the theme. First of all, it is inverted, and its top-heavy nature has been deliberately chosen. The eye gravitates to the top as the more significant part of the diet, which is as follows.
The top of the pyramid is given over to healthy oils and fats. The next category down consists of lean meat, eggs, and fish, while following that are non-starchy vegetables and then vegetables low in carbohydrates. At the bottom are full-fat dairy and then nuts and berries.
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Healthy Fats and Oils
The top layer is healthy oils and fats. To consume the large number of calories called for in this category, pick from the following:
Note the lack of nuts and dairy that is full fat.
Many of the fat sources are rich in protein as well. Because of this, you can check off several macronutrients in those foods. Unfortunately, a misconception abounds that keto eating should be high in both protein and fat; however, unless you choose a high-protein keto diet, only moderate amounts of protein are consumed by this keto diet food pyramid.
Lean Meat, Eggs, and Fish
There are many options for ideal sources of protein, which is the second option down on this keto diet food pyramid. These include:
There are many options for ideal sources of protein, which is the second option down on this keto diet food pyramid. These include:
While the lean nature of these sources of protein do not mean you need to entirely shy away from fattier cuts of meat, such cuts should not be the daily staple for this part of the pyramid.
A healthy balance can be struck that, ideally, includes a mixture of lean and fatty cuts of meat. For cuts of meat that are fatty yet rich in nutrients, look for:
Remember that a keto meal, on average, will feature only three to five ounces of protein.
Carbohydrates: The Pyramid's Peak
Among the more noticeable differences between general food pyramids and a keto food pyramid is that keto food pyramids do not list carbs as pastas, grains, and breads. Instead, on a keto diet, you should look to ingest small amounts of carbohydrates that are contained in such vegetables as cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli.
In fact, many vegetables that fall within the keto pyramid's non-starchy vegetables tier contain very low net carbohydrate numbers. This means that you can achieve plenty of volume while maintaining a good daily macro budget. Remember that keto diets, while low in carbs, still require a small amount of calories to come from carbohydrates in order to achieve ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
The name keto is simply a shortened form of ketosis. High school health and science classes may not have emphatically covered the process of ketosis, so the name of the keto diet may come across as intimidating. It is a simple and normal biological process, however, and nothing to fear.
Ketosis occurs when you eat a diet that is low in carbs. Bodies that do not have sufficient glucose to burn for energy instead burn stored-up fats. Acid molecules called ketones, which are produced by the liver and become the primary source of energy for the body, accumulate within the body as a result.
You should not confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis, although ketosis is a mild form of the condition. Ketoacidosis tends to affect people who have type 1 diabetes; you may have heard of it because it is the leading cause of mortality in diabetics younger than 24 years old. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the combination of dangerously high levels of blood sugar and ketones makes the blood too acidic, impacting the liver and kidneys.
Experts reassure that ketosis, which is simply the presence of ketones, is not, in and of itself, necessarily harmful. When your body is in ketosis, it means that higher than normal levels of ketones are present in your urine or blood.
While not harmful, there is one potential disadvantage to ketosis: it may give you bad breath. When ketones are broken down as a fuel source, acetone is among the byproducts that the body excretes in the breath and urine. The effect may be fruity, but not pleasantly so.
The Keto Diet's Roots
You may be surprised to find that the keto diet is not merely about weight loss; in the 1920s, it was developed as a means for doctors to treat epilepsy patients. The goal of the diet was to control the seizures because ketones seemed to show an anti-electrical impact on the brain, helping to prevent them. Weight loss was only discovered as a side effect of the diet during subsequent studies.
1. Cap your carbs.
The most important factor for reaching ketosis is to consume a very small amount of carbohydrates. The body will, as a default, go first for glucose as the main fuel source. Most cells are capable of using alternative fuel sources, however, such as ketones.
When you have a very low intake of carbs, the stores of glucose are reduced; the liver then converts fatty acids that fat stores release into ketones. You may find that the amount of carb restriction you need for ketosis to occur is highly individualized. A medical professional should be consulted before starting this or any diet.
2. Incorporate coconut oil into your diet.
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This oil can aid you in getting into ketosis. It contains MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, which are fats that are quickly absorbed and transported to the liver; the liver then can use them at once for energy or convert them into ketones.
While this oil type is excellent for the ketosis process, you should introduce it to your diet slowly. Side effects to digestion such as diarrhea or stomach cramping can occur with too rapid an addition of coconut oil. Try beginning with a single teaspoon a day, working up to triple that amount over a week's period of time.
3. Get physical.
Studies that are building in number are finding that there is a positive cycle connecting ketosis and physical activity. Being in ketosis can benefit endurance exercises and other forms of athletic performance, while being more active can, in turn, help you attain the state of ketosis. This effect is often enhanced if you are fasting when you work out.
Exercising depletes your body of its stores of glucose. When these are already low, the liver responds by increasing its ketone production. The muscles then use these as their fuel source.
4. Up your intake of healthy fat.
Ketogenic diets that are undertaken for metabolic health, weight loss, and exercise performance take the bulk of their calories from fat. It is vital to choose sources that are high in quality so as not to sabotage the weight loss process.
5. Try fasting.
Go without eating for several hours to get yourself into ketosis. Many people, without trying, go into a mild ketosis between the dinner and breakfast meals. Intermittent fasting may also be an inducer of ketosis.
6. Eat enough protein.
Achieving ketosis requires the consumption of sufficient protein calories without crossing over into excessive amounts. The classic keto diet restricts both carbs and protein for maximum ketone levels. However, a balance must be struck to consume adequate protein amounts to maintain muscle mass without suppressing ketone production.
Sufficient protein is necessary for the liver to produce new glucose. While I have generally treated glucose like a dirty word, it is a necessary part of a healthy human body. Not all cells can use ketones for fuel; portions of the brain and kidneys, as well as red blood cells, need glucose to function.
7. Test and make adjustments.
For a keto diet to work really well, and for you to achieve the highest level of ketosis, you need to personalize it to your needs. You can do this by testing your ketone levels.
Ketosis can be tested with a breath meter that displays a color indicating both whether ketosis has been reached and high the levels are. It can also be measured using a blood ketone meter that functions rather like a blood glucose meter; the disadvantage of this method is the costly nature of the test strips. Finally, urine can be checked with ketone urine strips that turn various shades depending on the extant level of ketones.
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A keto diet is like a hack of the human body to burn fat and get healthier. It shifts the body into using ketones as an alternative primary fuel source, and ketones come from breaking down fats. The liver breaks down fats to produce ketones when it lacks sufficient glucose to use instead. Following the keto diet food pyramid is the quickest way to ensure a body that is burning ketones instead of glucose.
This pyramid, with its lion's share of healthy fats, a controlled but moderate amount of proteins, and a tightly regulated amount of carbohydrates, will sustain a healthy system with enough energy to fuel body and mind.
Last update on 2020-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API