Eating for the Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate diet. On this unique diet, not only is muscle gained and fat lost (supposedly the most important aspects of a diet), energy levels are elevated and appetites are suppressed. The problem most people have with the "Ketogenic Diet" is their lack of knowledge concerning what food combinations or nutritional supplements can be ingested to induce this anabolic state of ketosis. The following is a list of naturally occurring food combinations and bio-engineered food supplements that will take the guesswork out of building a hard, ripped, physique.

Quality of Food

When assessing each specific meal in a ketogenic dietary regimen, a protein and a fat source must be specifically chosen. Most naturally occurring foods that contain proteins and/or fats also contain small quantities of carbohydrates (e.g. egg yolks, cashew nuts, and peanut butter all contain protein, fats and some carbohydrates); therefore, due to the extremely small carbohydrate presence (in the ketogenic diet plan) it becomes irrelevant to insert specifically chosen carbohydrate rich foods (such as rice, potatoes, and pastas).

First, choose a protein source from the following list: Chicken breast, hamburger meat, salmon, swordfish, turkey breast, tuna fish, and whole eggs. Next, choose foods that contain essential fats (fats that serve to meet all the daily fat requirements). The essential fats are as follows:

1) Cholesterol-Laden Fats: Although we are taught to avoid these fats at all costs, cholesterol (found only in animal fats) is a necessary constituent in the synthesis of all steroidal hormones in the body (i.e. testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, cortisone, and aldosterone to name a few).

2) True Essential Fats: The human body must daily ingest two specific fats: linoleic acid and linolenic acid (found in flaxseed oil, primrose oil, and borage oil), without which they will fail to build and repair muscle tissue.

3) Polyunsaturated and Mono-unsaturated Fats: These fats are also known as the "good" fats because their ingestion is linked to low serum cholesterol levels and lower incidence of heart disease. Examples of these fats can be found in nuts, plant oils, and fish fats.

The following is a list of dietary sources of fat (remember to pick fats from all three categories to gain a well rounded fat profile): Cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts, egg yolks, olive oil, flaxseed oil, chopped meat, swordfish, and salmon.

Quantity of Food

The next question is, "What quantities of each food grouping should I be eating?" To simplify matters (the only truly accurate way to assess each individual's unique amounts of food per meal is to set up a private dietary consultation) I will estimate food quantities as follows: Men weighing 170-250 lbs should consume approximately 6 meals per day with 8 oz (1/2 lb) of a protein source and enough additional calories per meal coming from a fat source (eg. 1/2 cup cashew nuts, 3 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter). Men weighing less than 170 lbs and women weighing from 100 lbs-190 lbs should consume approximately 5 meals per day with 6 oz of a protein source and enough additional calories per meal coming from a fat source (e.g. 1/4 cup cashew nuts, 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter).

NOTE: These quantities are only recommendations.

Food Supplements

New to the market are food supplements that cater to the "ketogenic diet" (high protein, moderate fat, low carbs). The first food bars to hit the market that attempted to mirror the tenets espoused by the ketogenic diet were the BALANCE BAR and Worldwide Nutrition's PURE PROTEIN BAR. These bars contained high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, but they contained too many carbohydrates for me to qualify them as true ketogenic food supplements. Another bar on the market is a line of bio-engineered foods produced by the supplement giant MET-Rx. Their ANABOLIC DRIVE SERIES features a new food bar named, KETOPRO (hinting at its high protein (32 grams), moderate fat (8 grams), and low sugar. These bars, together with MET-Rx's new ketogenic meal replacement shakes, will provide a convenient alternative to the preparation of whole foods.

Hopefully, some of the mystery and confusion concerning the "ketogenic diet" has been dispelled and perhaps some of the more daring individuals who read this will give it a try (give your brain approximately one week to acclimate itself to the burning ketone bodies, instead of glucose).

About the Author

Dave Palumbo earned his B.S. in Biology/Biochemistry at Franklin and Marshall College. He also completed three years of medical school. He is the author and founder of S.M.A.R.T. Personal Training course and a MET-Rx endorsed athlete.


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