You will want to check labels for carbohydrate intake and make sure to take serving size into consideration. Eat when you are hungry and stop when hunger subsides.
We discussed the 3 types of a Ketogenic diet within the introduction. We are going to focus on the MCT oil Ketogenic diet as we like the idea of including more phytonutrients in our diet with the higher carbohydrate intake. This type of ketogenic diet includes the use of medium chain triglycerides. Supplementing with MCT oil allows the individual to achieve a higher level of ketosis but at the same time allows for more carbohydrates in the diet. The ratio for this option is 73% fat, 10% protein, and 17% carbohydrates.
Generally speaking for a 2000-calorie diet, this translates to about 162 grams fat, 85 grams carbohydrate, and 50 grams protein. The protein amount on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. This is because the amino acids in the protein we consume can be converted to glucose which is what we are trying to avoid. We do need enough protein to maintain lean body mass but that will still result in ketosis.
Foods to avoid
There are really no foods that must be eliminated like with the paleolithic or elimination diets. Certain foods just make achieving optimal ratios nearly impossible so you will want to avoid foods with a high carbohydrate count. Some foods to avoid are fairly obvious such as foods high in starches and sugars including bread, cereal, pasta, rice, frozen treats, candy, milk chocolate, and cookies.
Sugars come in many hidden forms and you will need to be particularly careful when choosing condiments, salad dressings, sauces, and beverages. Artificial sweeteners should also be avoided because they will increase cravings for carbohydrates. Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, fruit juices, and agave can also boost carbohydrate content of a meal so please use in moderation.
white potatoes, sweet potatoes, & corn include high fructose corn syrup. Beets and carrots are 2 vegetables to pay close attention to, but really shouldn’t be an issue. All other vegetables are allowed on the MCT version of the keto diet. We don’t really believe cutting out vegetables is an ideal way to improve health.
Legumes such as peas, beans and lentils can have a elevated carbohydrate count and therefore are not usually included in a ketogenic diet.
Refined and whole grains should be avoided as they have a high carbohydrate load. Anything made from grains or grain flour such as breads, cereals, pastas, and baked goods would be included. This also includes beer because it’s essentially liquid bread. Quinoa will also most likely have to be avoided but double check nutritional values for your meals.
Foods to include
Again, it’s all about the ratio of the macronutrients which allow the body to stay in nutritional ketosis. As long as you continue with the ratio, for the MCT oil version of keto, all foods are allowed. The ratio is 73% fat, 10% protein, and 17% carbohydrates. Foods that will help you achieve this ratio include higher fat and lower carbohydrate options.
Meats, Poultry, and Seafood
Grass fed options usually have a better fatty acid profile. Antibiotic free and hormone free are preferred. Canned and processed meats usually have hidden sugars. Look for eggs with a high omega 3 content. Choose breakfast meats with a carbohydrate count below 3 per serving.
With the MCT version of the keto diet, we are less concerned about removing vegetables from out diet as long as we stick with the ratios. We highly recommend consuming 2 cups of green leafy vegetables daily in addition to 1 cup of other vegetables. Keep in mind that the average person needs about 50 servings of fruits and vegetables a week and we are limiting the consumption of fruit on the ketogenic diet.
Omega 3 vs 6
Fish with best fatty acid profile
- Wild Alaskan salmon
- Albacore tuna
- Lake trout
Nuts and seeds with best profile
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
These are numerous in the standard American diet. They’re in refined vegetable oils, majority of snack foods, cookies, crackers, sweets, and most processed foods. Best to use in moderation or in equal parts to omega 3’s.
Fats and Oils
- Monounsaturated oil: Extra virgin olive oil
- Polyunsaturated oil: (use in moderation) safflower, canola, borage, primrose, avocado, walnut, sesame, flaxseed, pumpkin.
- Grass feed meats
- Organ meats
- Organic butter
- Coconut oil
Check labels with dairy products as they are surprising loaded with carbohydrates. Dairy is added to many keto recipes as it’s loaded with fats, but just be careful to double check carbohydrate content.