How Does It Work?
When you're on the ketogenic diet, you are in a state similar to fasting – your body is using fat for fuel. Normally your body gets energy from readily available carbohydrates, but on a keto diet, your carb intake is slashed. "When carbs are available, the body will naturally turn to them for energy instead of using dietary fat or stored body fat," explains Pam Nisevich Bede, RD, MS, a dietitian with Abbott.
However, without regular replenishing of carbohydrates, the body begins to break down fat for energy, resulting in the formation of ketones. Ketones can eventually be used by the body for energy.
The move from carb to fat fueling is marked by an adaptation phase. This phase can come with some lethargy and other symptoms as your body adjusts (we discuss this more later) but you'll start to notice weight loss as well as more steady energy and less hunger. "This can be a hard shift for someone who's been fueling with bagels and pasta their entire life, but after three to five weeks, the body adapts," Bede explains.
Related: Sign up for keto quick-start guides and more
What You'll Be Eating
The key to keto is knowing what's in your food. "On a standard diet, most people consume approximately 50-55 percent carbohydrates, 20-25 percent protein and 20-25 percent fat," says Bede. "With a keto diet, the breakdown is approximately 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates." For example, a woman who weighs 150 pounds and is moderately active is recommended to eat 25 grams of carbs (think one medium sized apple!), 86 grams of protein (a little over three 3 oz chicken breasts) and 189 grams of fat (hello, avocados and nuts!) per day on the keto diet.
Interested in a keto meal plan? Check out a full day of recipes here.
A typical keto diet will consist of foods high in protein and healthy fats, including red meat and poultry, fatty fish, non-starchy vegetables, dark, leafy greens, avocado, coconut oil, keto-style coffee, bone broths and of course plenty of water. When you're in a pinch, you can grab a ZonePerfect Keto shake in flavors like White Chocolate Coconut or Butter Coffee. to meet your targets to stay fueled and satiated on the go