One of the goals of following a keto diet is to enter ketosis, a metabolic state where your body is using stored fat for energy instead of carbs. The body breaks down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies, which are used as energy in the absence of circulating blood sugar from food.
While reducing carb intake so strictly can be challenging, the list of food items that fit the criteria of a keto diet is quite long:
What foods should I avoid on a keto diet?
A keto diet is different from regular, balanced eating recommendations. Many nutritious foods are sources of carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and yogurt.
On a keto diet, however, carbs from all sources are severely restricted to below 50 grams a day. People on the keto diet often eliminate bread, grains or cereals from their diet and limit even most fruits and vegetables because of their carb content.
For most people, the keto diet requires making significant changes to how they usually eat. The diet requires avoiding all carb-rich foods, including:
- French fries
- Chips, crackers
- Sweetened yogurt
- Ice cream
- Winter squash
- Starchy vegetables
- Most fruits
- Fruit juices
- Added or natural sugars in food and beverages
- Mixers with syrup and juice
- Flavored alcohol
Is a keto diet safe?
Since a keto diet requires eliminating foods that contain important nutrients, it isn’t recommended for people who have:
- Pancreatic disease
- Liver conditions
- Thyroid problems
- Eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
- Gallbladder disease or those who have had their gallbladders removed
- Heart diseases
Short-term health risks of a keto diet include:
- “Keto flu” which causes flu-like symptoms such as upset stomach, dizziness, headache and fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
- Constipation due to low fiber intake
Long-term health risks of a keto diet include:
Should I follow a keto diet?
Although the keto diet is touted to have certain health benefits, including weight loss, it’s best to proceed with caution. Eating a balanced diet of healthy foods from a variety of food groups, along with daily physical activity, may be more beneficial.
So before starting a trendy diet of any kind, consider talking to a registered dietitian for health advice.
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EatRight. What is the Ketogenic Diet? May 15, 2019. https://www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet
Harvard Health Publishing. Should You Try the Keto Diet? October 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet