What do the olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet, the meat-heavy South Beach diet, and a healthy vegan diet loaded with nuts and seeds have in common? Among other things, they all contain rich amounts of dietary fat. In case you missed the memo, current science shows that for decades, we were completely wrong about dietary fat. In fact, just last month, a groundbreaking study found that high carbohydrate consumption — not high fat consumption — was linked to health issues.
Do a quick Internet search about the most popular theories of the day, and you’re likely to come across the ketogenic diet. Here’s everything you need to know about the keto diet, as it’s affectionately known, and why you might consider making it a part of your lifestyle. You’ll also learn about why Vital Proteins’ collagen is one of the most keto-friendly additions you can make to your diet.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is extremely low in carbohydrates, allows for moderate protein intake, and is comprised largely of dietary fat. Generally speaking, it’s a diet that’s made up of 5 to 10 percent carbs, no more than 20 percent protein, and 60 to 80 percent fat.
As you can imagine, that protein limitation means that this diet isn’t all about meat. That’s what makes it different from other low-carb diets. Instead, a large portion of fat comes from non-meat sources, such as olive oil, avocados, eggs, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives, ghee, organic butter and lard. Non-starchy veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli also play a major role in the ketogenic diet.
Meanwhile, with carbs being so limited, consumption of grains and fruits is brought down to an absolute minimum (that is, with the exception of special occasions, you really don’t eat them at all).
The argument behind the ketogenic diet is that when the body is deprived of carbohydrates, it switches from glucose-burning mode to fat-burning mode, of which ketones are a product. Ketones are then used for energy. As a result of having few carbohydrates to burn, the body burns through its fat stores, leading to fat loss. Even after an individual has reached a healthy weight, the body continues to burn fat as a fuel source, switching to glucose only when necessary, which keeps weight stable and may result in some health benefits.
What Are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?
According to proponents of the diet, eating keto may help regulate blood sugar and promote a healthy insulin response. This is really important, as we’re learning that more and more health maladies may be related to problems with insulin.
That’s not the only reason people opt for a high-fat diet. When the body switches into fat-burning mode, it is likely that people eating keto will experience a major decrease in body fat.
Decreased brain fog is another benefit that’s often reported with the keto diet. Ketones tend to be a fantastic fuel source for the brain, which leads many doctors to believe that the keto diet may promote cognitive function and aid in maintaining memory and brain health.
Collagen and Keto
Gut health is also a hot topic in the keto world. Because the keto diet doesn’t doesn’t provide for any consumption of gluten or grains, it can be a great option for people sensitive to these foods. While some proponents utilize full-fat dairy on a ketogenic diet, others opt for fat sources such as olive oil and coconut oil instead, making this diet appropriate for people avoiding dairy for digestive reasons.
Collagen is an amazing protein to include in a ketogenic diet. Collagen is a protein found in the skin, bones and cartilage, and it can promote the healthy maintenance of these cells in our own bodies. People eating keto will usually opt to include the skin, bones and cartilage in their meat sources, and they often drink bone broth — a rich source of collagen — to further promote gut function. This makes collagen a natural component of a ketogenic diet.
However, you can also add collagen into your ketogenic diet in the form of collagen peptides. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptidesare sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine from Brazil. Other products in Vital Proteins’ lineup include Beef Gelatin, which can be used to create thick, delicious soups and stews, and Marine Collagen, which is suitable for pescatarians.
Meanwhile, Vital Proteins Bone Broth and Beef Liver are fantastic additions to a ketogenic diet. Proponents of the diet often advocate for consuming bone broth and organ meats like liver (which is rich in essential nutrients such as Vitamin A).
Keto Resources and Meal Ideas
If you’re interested in learning more about keto, there is a plethora of information at your fingertips. Some of the most well-known books about keto include:
- Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore
- Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter
- The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
- Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
As for meal ideas to get you started, here are a few of our favorite whole foods-based, keto-friendly meal ideas.
- A breakfast milkshake made with coconut milk, avocado, sugar-free almond butter, and mild-flavored greens like spinach or arugula.
- Eggs cooked in organic butter and served with avocado and spinach.
- Breakfast salmon topped with an egg and served with macadamia nuts.
- A hearty salad made with your favorite veggies, topped with sardines or salmon, and drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Beef stew made with grass-fed beef, broccoli, cauliflower, beef gelatin and onion.
- A lunch omelette made with salmon, eggs, greens and organic mayonnaise.
- The meat of your choice cooked in organic ghee, grass-fed lard or organic butter, served with broccoli (or any other green veggie of your choice) drizzled with olive oil.
- A casserole loaded with veggies, eggs and pasture-raised cheese (if you tolerate dairy). We particularly love the idea of a Mediterranean-style casserole with artichoke, spinach, olives, eggs and feta.