Healthy Version of the Keto Diet

the Keto Diet

The keto diet was originally developed in 1920 to treat epilepsy. It became popular as a weight loss tool in the 1990s, and now it’s a buzzword you can see on everything from tortillas to ice cream.

Traditional keto diets require you to get 60 to 75% of your calories from fat, and 15 to 30% from protein. The goal is to force your body into a state of ketosis, which means it can’t use carbohydrates for energy, so it breaks down your fat stores for fuel. This process also creates ketone bodies, which give you energy. Generally, people who follow ketogenic diets are trying to lose weight or control their diabetes.

While some keto followers are willing to eat bacon or luncheon meat (both high in saturated fats) as long as they hit their carb allowance, most people who want to maintain a healthy weight want to limit their intake of processed and red meats, which have been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and cancer. They’d rather focus on eating more fish, lean poultry and other protein sources, as well as whole grains, legumes and fruits.

Healthy Version of the Keto Diet

This is where a healthy version of the keto diet comes in, says Kelly Kennedy, RDN, a registered dietitian at Everyday Health. She says “the healthy version of keto focuses on eating more naturally lean proteins, heart-healthy unsaturated fats and plenty of plant-based foods rich in nutrients.”

It also limits the amount of carbohydrates you eat, keeping your net carbs at around 50 grams per day. Kennedy recommends including foods like avocados, low-carb berries and nuts in your meal plans to avoid missing out on important nutrients. She says skimping on water can contribute to a common problem among keto dieters—constipation, so make sure you drink plenty of fluids. And since the keto diet is more likely to cause electrolyte deficiencies, she suggests adding a daily dose of potassium, magnesium and sodium supplements to your routine.

Another way to make your keto diet healthier is to add in intermittent fasting, which can speed up the metabolism and help you burn more fat. Just don’t mistake it for a starvation plan; instead, choose the best times of day to eat and when not to eat.

The traditional ketogenic diet is characterized by its extremely low carbohydrate intake, typically comprising 5-10% of total daily calories, with moderate protein consumption and high fat intake. This macronutrient distribution induces a state of ketosis, wherein the body relies on fat stores for fuel instead of carbohydrates. While this metabolic shift can lead to rapid weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity, it may also pose risks such as nutrient deficiencies, constipation, and increased cholesterol levels.

A healthy version of the keto diet can be hard to do if you’re a beginner, so it might be a good idea to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist who has experience helping patients adopt new eating habits. The Mayo Clinic Diet offers a free 4-week meal plan that keeps your net carbs at about 50 grams per day, while also offering fiber-rich foods to keep your gut and heart happy and healthy. Enter your email below to get instant access to a sample menu. You can unsubscribe any time.

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