Carbs Fats Proteins | Carbs on Keto | Fats on Keto | Proteins on Keto | Total Carbs or Net Carbs |
Everyone has a different tolerance level when in comes to carbs on the keto diet and so it might take a little experimentation at the start to find the right level for you. Asa general rule you should be aiming to eat no more than 50 grams of total carbohydrates a day with 20 – 30 of those being net carbs.
So what does total carbs or net carbs mean and how do you work it out? Basically net carbs are just the total carbs but minus the fibre content. There are two different types of fibre – Soluble and Insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre has no calories and will pass straight through you where as soluble fibre has a few calories, it won’t raise your glucose level, therefore not kicking you out of ketosis.
Important nutrients – Remember, not all carbs are bad. How quickly a carbohydrate is broken down into the bloodstream is your body’s food glycaemic index. Carbs that should be consumed in very small quantities or not at all on keto are; potatoes, rice, sugar and cereal products. Your good carbs on keto should come from vegetables, salad and a small amount of certain fruits.
Vegetables – very important on a low carb, high fat diet as they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the best and low carb veg to eat are;
All types of cabbage, green salad, spinach, cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, courgettes, peppers, aubergines, cauliflower, onions ( some will say no to onions ) Spring and leeks are best, and mushrooms. Try to stay away from root vegetables such as carrots and beets as they are higher in carbs. But make sure you take advantage of the high fat content of Avocados. Try them hot, cold or even blitzed in a juice or cold coffee. They are super important and of high benefit to those on a LCHF diet. Also remember, frozen veg is great for those on a lower budget and just as good.
Fruit – You would think that all fruit is obviously good for you and contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Well yes they do, but on the keto or any LCHF diet, there are some that you should eat over others. As a rule, the sweeter a fruit tastes, the less suitable it is for the keto diet. Fruits to avoid are apples, pears, bananas, oranges. Good fruits for keto are berries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, ( strawberries in small portion ) and frozen berries are a really nice addition to some keto desserts. Quinces and citrus fruits are also low in sugar.
Flours – It’s time to start and stock up and practice with alternative flours and recipes. Yes you will be giving up bread, pasta, and pancakes, but, almond flour and coconut flour will be two of your staples when it comes to making keto alternatives of these. There are also a number of other nut flours such as pumpkin and ground linseed.
There are lots of carbohydrates in foods and sauces where you would not expect. This is especially true in things like ready made sauces, dips and gravies, yoghurts and juice drinks. Also, any foods that have a coating of especially such as breadcrumbs such as fish. Sausages ( there are some low carb sausages such as the Heck brand UK ) and shop bought meatballs.
You will see lots of keto recipes that contain garlic. And yes it can be used and is great in keto sauces, but just be carful when counting your macros as garlic and also onions are higher in content. If you using any processed foods, get into the habit of checking the label. And remember, Net carbs is the Total carbs minus the fibre.
Eggs and salad are a big part of keto. And many of us love an egg mayonnaise. This is fine, but if you are using a shop bought mayonnaise you will find some have significantly higher carbs than others. Obviously you can also make your own mayo if you have the inclination. When buying prepared foods such as dressings, and sauces, sugar is often added as a flavour enhancer. The more processed a food, the more sugar and starch it is likely to have. Always look for foods with less ingredients.
Nuts – Nuts are a great source of protein and are quick and easy for snacks and when on the go. But nuts are also naturally high in calories and so you need to keep an eye on the amount you consume. Nuts that are good on the keto diet include Macadamia as they high fat and low carb. Brazil nuts and almonds are also good while walnuts should be eaten in moderation. Nuts to avoid are cashews and honey, sugar coated peanuts.
The types of fats that we eat are hugely important. Fats that have been stigmatised over the years as being very bad for us are now ideal for the keto and low carb diets. For a long time fat has taken the blame for many health conditions such as heart disease. But in recent years it has now come to light that much of the research into these fats was mis-interpreted. It was thought that the way to reduce cholesterol was to reduce fat intake and to prevent heart attacks. HDL cholesterol which is very important to us reduces when trying to lower levels this way.
It’s obvious to think that to lose weight we need to eat less fat because just 1 gram of fat contains more than double the calories of protein and carbs. But we also know that fat helps us feel full and the same amount of carbs will find you feeling hungrier sooner. Using fat as a filler on keto will help keep your carbs lower, between 20-30 grams a day.
Unsaturated Fats – These are important for our metabolism and beneficial for our health. They include Omega 3 ( fatty fish, sea food and grass fed beef ) Other sources of Omega 3 are sausages, bacon and dairy products such as butter from pasture reared cows. It is important to get the right balance between highre Omaga 3 fats and lower Omega 6 fats.
Omega 6 fatty Acids – Often found in oils such as rapeseed and sunflower as well as margarines. Avoid these! When these are heated they create unhealthy artificial trans fats which are associated with heart disease and high cholesterol. Naturally occurring trans fats are in grass fed beef and dairy.
Saturated Fatty Acids – Have a bad reputation. They are chemically stable, barley change when heated and are said to have a negative effect on our cholesterol levels. However, with a LCHF 9 Low carb, high fat ) diet these effects can be avoided. This is because they are quickly broken down by your body to produce energy. This means animal products with saturated fats, such as lard, bacon and butter, can be used safely on Keto.
Healthy cooking fats – Try to use oils high in saturated fats such as chicken goose and duck fat. You can also use clarified butter and Ghee which is popular in many keto recipes and coconut oil.