Posted on 19 November, 2018

What is Keto?

By Jacob Andreae in Health, Nutrition, Lifestyle What is Keto?

It’s pretty funny that I’m writing this article while at one of my favourite cafes, The Boatshed, eating their iconic meal, the “Fatty Boomba”, with a long black. Pure coincidence. The Fatty Boomba includes bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato, baked beans and hash browns. Pretty much the typical Keto breakfast.

Now, I know I usually claim that I don’t eat breakfast. But today I was starving! And I didn’t choose the Fatty Boomba for the Keto benefits. I just like those foods. And they make me feel good. That’s how all this started. I started eating Keto before I even knew it was a thing. I started paying really close attention to how certain foods made me feel — anywhere from when I first ate them, until 2-3, even as much as 5 days later! And Keto-style foods made me feel good. Really good!

To determine the amount of macronutrients to consume each day, follow these simple guidelines:
Fat: 70%
Protein: 25%
Carbohydrate: 5%

Most simply, the Keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates (the three macronutrients).

The Keto diet was initially developed to treat children with severe epilepsy and its popularity peaked in the 1920’s and ’30's. It produced incredible results but its popularity then diminished with the introduction of anticonvulsant medications. It gathered momentum again in the 1990’s, which triggered scientific interest in the diet. This scientific research began to discover that the diet had many health benefits beyond epileptic seizures, including mental clarity and weight loss.

The classical Keto diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate is not completely eliminated, but it is extremely limited. Starchy fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pumpkin and potato, along with bread, pasta, grains and sugar, are reduced to a point that they practically don’t exist in the diet.

Protein is consumed in moderate amounts and this includes your typical proteins such as poultry, eggs, fish, red meat, beans and lentils.

Fat is dramatically increased for what most people’s diets consist of. Most dietary fat comes nuts, creams, cheeses and butter. And you’ll hear many online health influencers promoting grass-fed. This just means that the cows that provide those creams, cheeses and butter are fed a diet of grass (their natural diet) rather than grain. As we discussed in the carbohydrate section above, grains are out, so consuming food from an animal that has consumed that food wouldn’t completely eliminate it from our diet. Grass-fed meat is also higher in omega-3 (a very healthy fat).

The growing literature supporting the Keto diet has found that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). This is why you’ll hear lots about MCT oils and coconut products. Coconut oil, milk and cream is high in MCTs. MCTs have been found to stimulate metabolism and reduce excess body fat.

How Much Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate Should I Eat?

  • Fat — 70-85% of your total daily calories.
  • Protein — 10-25% of your total daily calories. The general guidelines for protein consumption are 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass. If you weight 70kg, that’s 70 grams of protein. If you’re trying to put on muscle, you could increase this to 2 grams of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass. That’s 140 grams for a 70kg person.
  • Carbohydrates — 4-10% (max) of your total daily calories. This is typically 20-50 grams per day.

If you feel hungry and want more to eat, choose fats. There is no limit to the amount of fat you eat, just that most of your calories (70-85%) come from fats.

Good sources of fat include cream, cheese, butter, avocado, meat and poultry, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, plain Greek yoghurt, nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and seeds such as cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

It’s important to note that most foods are not solely comprised of fat, protein or carbohydrate. Rather, they are a combination of all three, if not two. These foods are classified as such depending on how much of each macronutrient they comprise. Meat, poultry and especially fish for example, are good sources of both fat and protein.

The Keto diet can be tricky and intricate, and as such, it can be confusing. The main take-away is that you keep your carbohydrate intake below 50 grams per day, your protein intake to 1 gram for every kilogram that you weigh, and your fat intake super high.

To determine the amount of macronutrients to consume each day, follow these simple guidelines:
Fat: 70%
Protein: 25%
Carbohydrate: 5%

If you want to know more about the Keto diet, check out this article I wrote previously.

If you were to change one thing about your diet to be “more Keto”, what would it be?

If you have any other questions about the Keto diet, please leave them in the comments section below.

And if you’d like me to plan this for you, join my growing community of health and nutrition-conscious legends here.

[Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash]

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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What is Keto?A quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.