Once you get into ketosis, your next goal is to do your best to stay there. Following are some practices that help keep your blood ketones up and your blood sugar levels and carb intake down. Turn them into habits and before you know it, the keto lifestyle will be second nature.
Focus on Whole, Low-Glycemic Foods
Now that the ketogenic diet is becoming popular, many companies are branding themselves “keto-friendly” in an effort to capitalize on the growing keto community. But don’t let the hype fool you. Even foods that are touted as healthy often have a higher than desirable amount of carbs and sugar or other sweeteners. Take granola bars, for example. Many people consider them a healthy snack choice on a low-carb diet. But many of the toasted oat bars contain even more sugar and total grams of net carbs than a candy bar!
In fact, sugar in its various forms is so integral to our foods that its’ included in even products you wouldn’t think to contain troublesome ingredients, like most flours and starches. Consequently, we recommend getting most of your keto-diet nutrition from whole foods, including healthy fats, protein, and keto-friendly veggies with lots of grams of fiber. This way, you can easily monitor your calorie intake, protein intake, and total grams of carbs and make sure you maintain a state of ketosis.
Besides, eating a diet of mostly whole foods makes things simple; you won’t need to keep an eye out for hidden ingredients that could affect your ability to stay in ketosis. When considering recipes to try and shopping for groceries, aim for whole, low-glycemic foods and ingredients, such as those listed here.
Read Food Labels!
Mints, gum, candy, baked goods, and drinks labeled for a low-carb diet may seem like great ideas, but if you take a look at their ingredients lists, you’ll often find they too contain problem ingredients (i.e., carbs/sugars) that can cause your ketone levels to drop or completely kick you out of ketosis!
The same goes for other food products that you may not even expect to contain sugar or other high-carb ingredients; some broths, spices, condiments, chewing gum, mints, and even sugar alternatives can sneak unexpected carbs into your diet and affect your ability to stay in ketosis and use fat as your primary energy source.
Luckily, all packaged foods feature labels that tell you what you need to know, so be sure to read labels and factor any carbs in the foods you consume into your daily macro calculations. You can learn how to determine whether a food is keto-friendly here.
Test for Food Sensitivities
There is a catch around figuring out keto-friendly foods: the nutritional label doesn’t always tell the full story. Your body is unique, so keto-friendly foods and drinks that are perfectly suitable for others may adversely affect your level of ketosis, or even kick you out of it, if you are sensitive to them. Plus, some low-carb foods contain ingredients that are high-glycemic or can cause blood glucose spikes. For example, many protein powders that claim to be keto contain maltitol (a common sugar alternative that has a higher glycemic index); some people have no trouble consuming it, while it kicks others out of ketosis. This is where testing your individual response to the foods you consume is critical when starting out. You can learn more about ketone testing here and learn more about testing for food sensitivities here.
Keep a Stash of Keto-Friendly Snacks
One of the greatest threats to staying in ketosis is getting off course, and you’re far more likely to do that if you don’t have keto-friendly foods around when you need them. Eating keto-friendly foods helps ensure your body continues ketone production and using fat stores and fat from your diet as your primary fuel source. You can find a list of snacks we recommend here.
The Final Word
Whether you’re following a keto diet for weight loss or fat loss, to steady your insulin levels; to mitigate obesity, epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, or insulin resistance; or for other health benefits, the best way to ensure you stay in fat-burning ketosis is to seriously limit your total carbs. A very low carbohydrate intake promises your body will reach for fats and stay in ketosis in a way that can’t happen when you eat a high-carbohydrate diet. Regardless, it’s important to consult a physician, dietitian, or nutritionist before making dramatic dietary changes.
Need some keto recipes to help you craft meal plans that ensure your daily carbs stay in check on your high-fat diet? Find killer keto recipes here.