What to eat on a Ketogenic Diet
What to Eat on a Ketogenic diet and how much should I be eating?
So before we talk about what to eat, let’s talk about how much, in our last video we talked about these magic macros and percentages. Remember I said we should eat the most amount of protein tolerated; the least amount of carbohydrates needed from nutrient dense fibrous vegetables and as much fat needed to cook, for flavor and to satiety nothing more.
What do we recommend for fat loss?
We recommend 1:1 ratio of fat to protein, 1 gram of fat to one gram of protein, that’s hardly a low fat diet, its anything but, the majority of your calories are coming from fat. Trying to achieve these magic macros are not going to help you lose fat, in fact the more fat you eat the less body fat you burn. 1:1 or even less fat for fat loss is our recommendation, so if you can get by with less fat and not be ravenously hungry, then do so. Now as you get into maintenance you start to eat 1 and half and 2 grams of fat to 1 gram of protein. But if fat loss is the goal, there’s no need to go adding fat.
In an interview Stephen Phinney says the following:
A lightly marbled steak, in terms of energy, is about 50-50 protein and fat. A heavily marbled steak is 75 percent of calories from fat and 25 percent from protein. Chicken, with the skin, dark meat’s going to be 50-50 protein and fat, but the white meat is going to be more protein, even with the skin on. So as an energy source, it’s too much protein . . . UNLESS the person is trying to lose weight, and getting fat from their body’s own fat stores. In other words, being on a higher fat diet because they’re getting fat from their body’s stores.
After all, many people, choose a low carb diet for weight loss. For them, a diet that’s moderate in protein may be high in fat because they’re burning their own fat for energy. When you go on a weight loss, ketogentic diet, you can eat less fat on your plate because you’re burning the fat that comes from your inside. It comes from your love handles and hips and so on.
When burning your own body fat, it looks like it’s a high protein diet. But the scales go down because the body’s burning it’s own fat stores. But if that person loses weight and decides to stay on low-carb as a maintenance diet, in order to become weight stable, they need to eat a considerable amount of fat now, in other words, they need to increase their fat intake, which should work fine, because by now, their body should be very efficient at burning fat.”
In the very well documented Low Cab vs Low Fat diet comparison conducted by Jeff Volek, under the title, ‘Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation.’ The low carbers ate a diet of approximately 105 grams of protein, 98 grams of fat, and 45 grams of carbohydrates. Pretty close to a 1:1 ratio if you ask me.
Ok, so 1:1 I think we get that, now how much of each is that? Well let’s start with the most important macronutrient, protein. There is a lot of debate and confusion on this subject; with amounts ranging anywhere from 1 gram or less to upwards of 2 grams per kg of lean mass. We recommend roughly 1.5 grams per kg of lean mass; we feel this is a zone where you’re getting adequate protein to not catabolize lean mass. If you’re very active or trying to build muscle you could certainly increase that amount. However, if one is following a ZC protocol then the recommendation moves up to 2 grams per kg of lean body mass. Now if your diabetic those numbers may not be achievable, you may need to go lower to perhaps 1.5 on ZC or even 1.2 or even 1 gram temporarily on VLC to manage the BG spikes. Over time this will get better as we learn to manage those spikes with meal composition which we will get into a little later. And again if you can tolerate more protein then by all means, you should eat more. Too much protein is not going to be converted to glucose as many people believe, however excess protein leads to excess insulin and therefore will interfere with ketosis. That said, the spike in BG for diabetics happens for a much different reason which we will touch on later. In regards to carbohydrates, if eaten, aim for 20-25 of non-fiber carbs from nutrient dense fibrous veggies or trace amounts from seafood or eggs. Of course your tolerance to carbohydrate will be very individual. We don’t use net carbs since most artificial sweeteners have a glycemic value and must be accounted for.
So what does the ketogenic meal look like?
Well depending on if your VLC, ZC or diabetic the answer is different. Luckily I have experience in all 3, so as a diabetic protein is very challenging to eat because of the glucagon response and lack of proper insulin secretion, shows a spike on your meter, whereas this is not present in a healthy metabolism. So for a diabetic I recommend that you eat to your meter, eat the maximum amount of protein that will allow the smallest spike, I aim for a 20 point spike and a 30 point max, from that meal, a lot of times you can mitigate that number by eating some fibrous veggies or a bit of fat with the meal. I’m not recommending adding copious amounts of fat, just enough to lessen both the BG and insulin spike. You may need to space it out over multiple meals, however the fewer the better. Just keep pushing the threshold in small amounts, healing will happen. However I have found recently that by removing the vegetables of late I have gotten tighter BG control, in fact I went from 30-40 grams per meal to now 100 grams in one meal with about the same spike or less.
So no matter what your situation I have found something to help along the way. Dr Ted Naimen over at burn fat not sugar has this neat little insulin calculator that I use frequently, so you know the insulinogenic value meal, and is based on the work of our friend Marty Kendal over at optimizing nutrition where you can find those wonderful charts and graphs that will help with the meal planning as well.
So for some it might be a 6 or 8 oz. marbled steak, with a cup of steamed broccoli with a bit of butter for flavor or perhaps a small Caesar salad, it could be a 12 oz. ribeye
So what can you eat, well a nice marled steak, or dark meat chicken, maybe some eggs and I like white meat chicken, so you can cook it with a bit of fat but remember leaner cuts are ok too. Lean meats are not taboo, if you’re managing your insulin load and total intake it will be fine. My favorites are eggs, some fish or shrimp, unfortunately pork and beef spike me more than other meats and of course the favorite food of many ketoers is bacon, so I wrap my white meat chicken with bacon. For veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts asparagus leaf lettuce spinach kale, and for our zero carb friends we know that you’re not going to eat plants, I understand, just eat a bigger steak, its more fun. Don’t fear veggies, but don’t eat them if you don’t want, as Stefansson showed us you’re not going to get scurvy and you can certainly be healthy. Just try to keep it simple when starting out. Get your protein first and let the fat come along for the ride with the protein you’re eating and if you want to add a bit of fat to cook or for flavor that’s fine. Keep your fat sources to say, butter, coconut oil and perhaps olive or avocado oil.
Just remember to avoid the franeknfoods and low carb products, if it says net carbs on the label it’s probably not a good thing to eat. Stick with nutrient dense whole foods; mind your macros, in grams not percentages, and if you don’t track you have no way to make adjustments during a stall.
So if you’re driving protein down and fat and adding copious amounts of fat, that’s not the right way to do it. You’re going to struggle at some point and stop losing fat, or worse yet lose muscle. Now if what your doing is working by all means do it as long as your protein is adequate, but the BPC and fat bombs, and all the other added fat, again trying to achieve these magic macro percentages your likely sabotaging your fat loss, so the best advice is to eat a 1:1 fat to protein ratio or a little less fat is ok again unless of course you’re at maintenance, and needing the 2:1 fats to protein.
Remember we should eat the most amount of protein tolerated; the least amount of carbohydrates needed from nutrient dense fibrous vegetables and as much fat needed to cook, for flavor and to satiety nothing more. The more fat you eat the less body fat you burn.
We are all individual as such our journey! Keto saved me and it can save you too!
Thanks for watching and be well!