If you haven’t been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the Keto diet and its health and weight loss benefits. This diet is similar to low carb diets such as the Atkin’s and Paleo diet, and has generated just as much interest. But what exactly is the Keto diet?
In this blog, we break down the complex information around the Keto diet into bite-sized pieces, so you can determine—with the help of your doctor—if it’s right for you. You’ll also learn how our favourite protein, lamb, can play an important part in this diet!
What is the Keto Diet?
A Ketogenic (“Keto”) diet is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. In a Keto diet, you replace carbohydrates (which is converted into glucose, aka sugar) with fat as an alternative energy source for your body.
A standard Ketogenic diet contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbohydrates.* When we drastically reduce the amount of carbs we consume, we force our body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis is when our body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. Our liver turns fat into ketones, a source of fuel.
*Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are called macronutrients, the three big nutrients we get from our daily food intake.
What Do I Eat and What Do I Avoid Eating on a Keto Diet?
The Keto diet is about replacing carbohydrates with fat. But we’re not talking about eating unhealthy fats here. The Keto diet encourages people to eat whole and unprocessed foods. Let’s take a look at what you should and shouldn’t eat on Keto.
Foods that are high in fat, but low in carbs such as:
- Meat: Red and white meat, particularly fatty meat, including lamb, beef products like steak, chicken, turkey, pork products such as bacon and ham, offal.
- Fish: Look for fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
- Eggs: Choose eggs that are organic or come from free-range animals.
- Dairy: Butter, cream, cheese, etc. Again, look for products that are unprocessed.
- Vegetables: Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Veggies will be where you get most of your carbs and fiber.
- Avocados are recommended as one of the few fruits to eat on a Keto diet because they contain healthy fats.
- Nuts and seeds
- Oils: Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil.
Foods that are processed, starchy, and high in carbohydrates such as:
- Grains: Bread, cereal, pasta, rice, crackers, bagels, corn, etc.
- Sugars: Candy, soda, juice, ice cream, etc.
- Fruits: Most fruits are high in carbs and fructose.
- High-carb veggies: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beans, legumes, peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
- “Low-fat”/diet foods: These are often heavily processed with high sugar content.
- Unhealthy fats: Mayonnaise, processed vegetable oils, etc.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
Okay, so the Keto diet can be restrictive. No carbs? What is this life?
However, the Keto diet has many great health benefits for anyone looking to improve their metabolic or overall health. Some of these benefits include:
- Weight loss: Because you’re eating fewer calories while also burning calories in the form of fat, you lose weight. Additionally, the Keto diet helps you feel fuller, longer, and reduces appetite.
- Increases energy and improves mood: A steady supply of ketones instead of glucose for fuel mean less energy slumps. The Keto diet also fuels your brain better than carbs and makes you feel great.
- Lowers risk of diseases: Body fat, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all affected by the Keto diet, leading to a lowered risk of heart disease.
- Treats diseases and conditions: The Keto diet has been found to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in people with Type 2 diabetes, reduce seizures in epileptic patients and improve symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Polycystic ovary syndrome.
Side-Effects of the Keto Diet
As with any major change, your body needs time to adjust. This is why one of the main side effects you may feel at the beginning of the Keto diet is the Keto flu. The Keto flu mimics symptoms of the real flu, including fatigue, headaches, and irritability. This is because you are going through a carbohydrate withdrawal. It is very important to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes, as you will lose a lot of water on the Keto diet.
Keto-Friendly Lamb Recipes
Lamb is a great source of healthy fats and high-quality protein as well as numerous vitamins and minerals. On top of that, it has no carbs! SunGold’s products are perfect for your Keto meal plan. Here’s one of our Keto-friendly, low-carb recipes:
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes (+ 4 hours marinating time) | Serves: 4
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) orange juice*
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) lime juice*
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 tsp (10 mL) packed brown sugar*
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
- 4 SunGold Bone-in Lamb Leg Steaks
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped red onion
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cumin
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, brown sugar, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper; pour over lamb in non-metallic container or in resealable plastic bag. Cover or seal; refrigerate lamb for at least 4 hours or up to 6 hours.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat; grease grate well. Grill steaks, turning once, for about 8 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness.
- Avocado Salsa: Meanwhile, combine avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Serve with steaks.
- Instead of the salsa, serve the lamb simply with avocado – with a squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro if desired.
*Note: Although sugar should be drastically reduced on a Keto diet, that doesn’t mean you must eliminate it altogether. Just make sure it stays below your 5% carbohydrate intake per day.
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