Let's talk about how to safely achieve the state of ketosis by choosing the right foods. First, it’s important to remember that you need to focus on a healthy, balanced diet—not just enjoy an unthinking, meat-eating frenzy.
CONCERNS WITH KETOSIS
Saturated fats, which are unhealthy fats found most often in animal products, are something you need to watch while on a low-carb diet. It may sound weird to worry about fat when low-carb diets are designed to help you lose fat, but even as your body is losing fat, your arteries can be storing harmful LDL cholesterol. This will impact your circulation and put extra stress on your heart—something no low-carber wants.
Your first goal is to create a diet that helps you better balance your protein, fat and carbohydrate intake. Generally, you want to be between 40 and 60 carbs each day in order to force your body into ketosis. When you focus your proteins on low-fat, lean meats, you can maintain a low-saturated-fat diet of around 15 to 20 grams per day. Because you also want to avoid nitrates and sodium, it’s important to limit your deli meat and prepared foods intake and try to focus on proteins that you prepare yourself.
Now that you have a plan in place for your fat and protein consumption, it’s time to think about your carbs. Forty to 60 carbs a day isn’t much, and it’s not a good idea to allow your cravings to dictate what carbs you eat. Instead, you need to think about the nutrients you can get from carbs and design a menu based on that. Things such as vitamin C, fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and folate are just some of the nutrients you can—and need—to get from carbs.
HEALTH: THE GOAL OF ANY DIET
You may be turning to a low-carb diet to lose weight, but ultimately your goal is to become healthier. While your weight can certainly determine your health, the real key to living a happy, energetic, healthy life is to choose the right kinds of food to fuel the machine you call a body. Blowing your daily carb allowance on sugar or low-fiber bread products may satisfy a craving, but it isn’t the right way to create a healthy body.