Unless you’ve been living under Uluru, you’ve probably heard about the ketogenic or keto diet. Numerous celebs, including Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian talked it up last year and you've no doubt seen a multitude of before and after photos floating around. This low-carb, high fat diet is famously touted as the fastest way to drop kilos. It requires a complete diet overhaul but if you’re dedicated, the results can be jaw-dropping. Here’s the lowdown.
1. Keto is short for ketogenic
And what does that mean, exactly? A ketogenic diet relates to ketosis, the metabolic state that eating a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet puts your body into. You’ll have to load up on enough fat for it to make up 60-75 per cent of your diet (that’s a lot) and when your body is running on minimal carbs for energy, your body will switch to ketosis – burning stored fat for fuel – instead.
2. This diet is about maths
Just like yoga, there are many variations of eating keto, and you may have to trial a few to find the one you like best. The simplest one for beginners to try is the Standard Keto Diet (SKD) which typically contains five per cent carbs, 20 per cent protein and 75 per cent fat. Translated into grams, that means around 35g carbs a day (e.g. one banana and two slices of bread) and the rest of your intake will come from meats, eggs, fish, above-ground vegetables and natural fats like butter or olive oil.
3. Sundays will now be meal prep day
Keto requires you to be super organised because there’s no room for cheat meals or grabbing a sandwich at lunch. Spend your Sundays shopping for fresh meat, veggies, avocados and nut butter, boiling eggs, roasting chicken and portioning out cheese. It helps to write a meal plan for the week and there are heaps of great keto recipes online to help.
4. Rethink your snack game
It can take anywhere from two to seven days for your body to go into ketosis and you may get hungry while your body adjusts, so allow for snacks in your meal plan. Fat and protein-based snacks will keep you feeling fuller for longer: try hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, home-made guac or canned fish. Keto-Fit MCT Oil in a coffee (to make bullet-proof) is a great way to boost your fat intake and Keto-Fit Protein Shakes in Chocolate and Vanilla Flavour – which are ultra-low carb and high in protein – make a keto-friendly snack.
5. You might experience side effects
On Keto, you’ll be stripping back carbs which most of us traditionally use to get our energy from and adding in way more fat, so in the beginning keto can make you feel tired, light-headed, nauseous, have IBS-like symptoms or headaches. These symptoms are known as ‘keto flu’ but don’t usually last more than one week, which is when you might start to see the number on the scales go down. If you’re vegan, pregnant or trying to conceive, the keto diet may not be for you, check with your GP first.