The Ketogenic Diet Food Pyramid
The ketogenic diet food pyramid is quite different from the conventional food pyramid.
In the conventional food pyramid, carbohydrates are at the base of the pyramid taking up the highest percentage of the quantity of food taken in a day. This is followed by fruits and vegetables. After which comes proteins, then fats and oil actually come at the very tip of the pyramid.
The food intake ratio on a ketogenic diet pyramid is as follows:
FATS AND OIL – 75%
LOTS OF HEALTHY FATS
In the ketogenic diet, fat is the main source of energy for the body.
Fats provide satiety, boost metabolism and support the enjoyment of food. It also provides the key macronutrient requirements in the body. The nutritionists agree that it is alright to consume these much natural fats when carbohydrates are reduced.
The best fats you can take are monounsaturated and saturated, including olive oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.
You should limit intake of polyunsaturated fats, including soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. Of course, margarine is never advised, as it is fake and interferes with ketosis.
Fat intake is variable and will depend on your weight loss goals. It is therefore not advisable to eat so much fat that you send your caloric intake through the roof.
Daily Fat Intake Guidelines
These will vary by body size;
- 2 to 3 eggs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 4 to 6 ounces of meat, chicken, seafood, or fish at each meal
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil when cooking or for salad dressings
- ½ an avocado or 10 olives
- 2 ounces of cheese
- 1 to 2 ounces of nuts or seeds
Use coconut and olive oils for pan cooking and stir-frys. Coconut oil is especially important since it contains ketosis boosting MCTs (medium chain triglycerides).
NOTE: Avoid low-fat foods, including reduced fat dairy as they have carbohydrates, and chemical compounds.
PROTEIN – 20%
Protein is both 46% ketogenic and 58% anti-ketogenic. This is because some protein will convert to glucose in the bloodstream and inhibit ketosis. Therefore, intake should be enough to prevent muscle loss, but not so much that will disrupt ketosis.
General Protein Intake Guidelines;
Sedentary lifestyle: 0.69 – 0.8 grams per pound of lean body mass
Mildly active: 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass
Heavy strength training/bodybuilding and exercise: 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass
Lean body mass is typically defined as – body weight minus body fat.
You can use this online lean body mass calculator, to figure out yours.
- Fatty red meats
- Chicken with skin
- Deli Meats
- Fowl (duck, goose, hen, quail)
- Organ meats (tongue, brains, liver, heart, and kidneys)
- Game meats (ostrich, venison, caribou, bison, and elk)
- Nuts, seeds and full-fat dairy in moderation as they do contain some carbs
CARBOHYDRATES – 5%
Most of the carbs should come from non-starchy vegetables. Green, fibrous vegetables are your best choices, though many other low carb vegetables are fine. Remember to always accompany a carb with either a fat or a protein.
The Ketogenic diet only counts Net Carbs as fiber content in food decreases the overall carb content’s ability to impact blood sugars.
Net Carb Formula: Total Carb Count of a Food Minus Fiber Count.
WHEN IN DOUBT, EAT FEWER CARBS AND MORE FAT.
EAT TO SATISFACTION
Eat when hungry until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.
INCREASE SALT INTAKE
A little extra salt can help avoid possible side effects as your body adjusts to ketosis, including headaches, muscle cramps, or weakness that occurs as result of an electrolyte imbalance. Since a low carb diet is naturally diuretic, you don’t have to avoid salt to minimize water retention. Get that salt from 1 to 2 cups of broth daily or soy sauce over food.
Caution: ask your doctor about increasing salt, and if you are being treated for a condition that requires limited sodium intake, like hypertension continue with the medical advice of your doctor.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Water is a natural appetite suppressant and it supports the body’s ability to metabolize fat. Several studies have found that reducing intake of water might cause fat deposits to increase while drinking more reduces them.
Hydration greatly promotes weight loss, so drink lots of fresh water throughout the day. The more active you are the more hydration you will need. If you have difficulty in drinking enough water read this article on how to drink more water daily.
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