The 411 on a Low-Carb Diet for Weight Loss

The ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular for our waistlines here at Konscious Keto in recent years. It has been used to shed the pounds for about a century effectively, for many others.

However, some run into setbacks or find the dietary approach unsustainable. But no worries, we'll share some best practices below to help you get started on a low-carb ketogenic diet, while avoiding some common missteps.

Why a Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss?

We can lose weight short-term on many diets, even a meat-only diet, but cutting out the carbs and sugar and relying solely on healthy fats, protein, low glycemic fruits, and veggies is often more realistic for sustainable weight loss long-term.

People find low-carb diets beneficial for several reasons, and rapid weight loss tops the list of coveted side effects of the dietary plan. However, composing the right mix of foods on the menu is vital.

There are many health benefits to running on ketones or fat for fuel, but let's face it: a rapid change on the scale after the first week on keto gives a definite incentive to continue living a low-carb lifestyle.

It may seem like a daunting task to eliminate all refined sugars, starch, and high-glycemic fruits and veggies from your diet, but there are so many options to choose from on the keto diet to keep you satisfied, so no need to fret.

Here are some ideal food options to enjoy on a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet:

Fats & Protein:

  • Grass-fed beef (preferably 80/20)
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Poultry (preferably dark meat)
  • Avocado
  • Cold-pressed oils (e.g., coconut MCT oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil)
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Pasture-raised eggs

Vegetables:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Brussel's sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Bok choy
  • Watercress
  • Spring mix (fresh dark leafy greens)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Sauerkraut

Fruits:

  • Berries (e.g., blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • Avocado

Dairy:

  • Heavy Cream (organic)
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Cheeses (organic)

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Pili nuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts

What You Should Not Do for Low Carb Diet Weight Loss

As we mentioned, some people run into snags on a ketogenic diet, and it's usually due to making a few common mistakes. Here are some surefire ways to experience a bout of the keto flu, or some other symptoms, if you start keto on the wrong proverbial foot, and how to avoid them.

Too Few Quality Carbs

Highly-processed and packaged foods and carbs are not advised on a ketogenic diet, as they are often calorie dense but devoid of adequate nutrition. So, concentrate your carb intake around eating an abundance of dark leafy greens, and veggies like asparagus that are abundant in vitamins and also help the body flush out water weight.

Also, eating foods like avocado is excellent in several ways—helping us get lots of healthy fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, and nutrients in one perfect pod.

Stick to eating the low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds, to ensure you consume an adequate amount of quality carbs and benefit from their mineral and vitamin content, also.

Too Little Protein  

A keto diet does advise eating a moderate amount of protein, with healthy fats acting as the diet's original pillar, but consuming enough high-quality protein throughout the day still matters.

There are lots of animal or plant-based proteins to enjoy on a keto diet. Mix and match from the many options mentioned above, and even consider adding a quality keto-friendly meal replacement, like Keto Activate, to keep protein intake in an ideal range to support muscle recovery and function.

Here are some additional and ideal keto-friendly sources of protein:

  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella
  • Hemp, chia, and flaxseeds
  • Nuts (almonds, pili nuts, etc.)
  • Turkey
  • Cured meats (e.g., salami, beef jerky, etc.)

Too Little Fat  

We get it, the mindset change needed to understand that fat is good for you can take a minute. But once you accept your new freedom, as you embrace healthy fats in your diet, you'll find yourself enjoying delicious and decadent foods while still losing weight.

Getting enough healthy fat in your diet is as easy as adding a generous amount of avocado and olives to a substantial salad, on a bed of dark leafy greens—drizzled with some quality extra virgin olive oil.

Also, low-carb foods like grass-fed butter and 80/20 beef, or pasture-raised eggs are all handy ingredients to have available, so mealtime's a breeze.

Furthermore, feel free to add a dose of MCT oil into your keto coffee for a premium form of fat that's quickly converted to ketones, for an instant boost of energy.

Here are some additional and ideal keto-friendly sources of healthy fat:

  • Bacon
  • Bacon fat/lard
  • Duck fat
  • Avocado oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Cream cheese
  • Double cream
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel

The huge array of meat, fish, dairy, as well as nuts and seeds, that fit within a low-carb, high-fat dietary plan, make it easy to keep things interesting while experiencing accelerated fat loss, as well as cognitive and energy improvements on keto.

Consider some of the fatty options we've shared above and explore different and tasty ways to support metabolic ketosis—and enjoy every bite along the way.

What to Eat for Low Carb Diet Weight Loss

Eating a meal plan that's void of refined sugars and carbs is always the goal for anyone following a ketogenic diet. However, in addition to restricting sugars and carbs, it's also essential to create a caloric deficit, to facilitate fat loss.

A ketogenic diet can certainly help with faster fat loss, but the plan is not a free-for-all and caloric intake, and expenditure for that matter, still play a vital role in any successful weight-loss journey.

Sticking to whole, organic, low-glycemic foods and ensuring that you get an adequate amount of fat will aid in creating an ideal experience on keto.

Focus on eating delicious, fatty, omega-3-rich foods full of healthy fat and protein like a wild-caught filet of seared salmon, and you’re sure to stay satisfied throughout the day.

Also, dressings and sauces are an excellent way to bump up quality fat intake. Have fun experimenting with different recipes, and you'll soon identify some favorites that you'll keep as staples along your journey.

Here are some more ideal keto-friendly foods to eat for weight loss:

  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Bone broth (e.g., beef, chicken, lamb, etc.)
  • Palm oil
  • Rib-eye steak

Avoid These on a Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss

Believe it or not, some foods once championed by the food industry, like margarine that contain problematic elements like trans fats, are inadvisable on keto—or any diet for that matter.

Also, specific highly processed or modified vegetable oils like canola, soybean, corn, or sunflower oil, are thought to pose a higher risk for metabolic or hormonal disruption and can lead to many issues, including difficulty losing weight.

Here are some foods to avoid on a ketogenic diet:

  • Margarine (and all forms of trans fat)
  • Packaged, highly-processed foods
  • Artificial sweeteners (Sweet N' Low, Equal, Splenda, etc.)
  • High-glycemic fruits and vegetables (pineapple or potatoes, etc.)
  • Hydrogenated oils (safflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, etc.)

Instead of the oils mentioned above, or those like corn or cottonseed oil, that are all thought to pose health risks, opt for healthy saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils that promote health like MCT oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil.

Here are some additional and healthier oils to choose on a ketogenic diet:

  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Palm oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Sesame oil

All these oils are rich in fatty acids and aid in the proper function of the heart, as well as contributing to overall health. Look for organic dressings and sauces made with these oils, or create your fresh mixes at home, and you'll be sure to consume enough fat macros to satisfy your daily target.

Supplementing on a Low-Carb Diet for Weight Loss

The use of supplements to fill nutritional gaps or act as complete meal replacements, can prove handy in today's busy times. The key is to source options with clean ingredients to make sure you're getting the optimal nutrition you expect.

Quality ketone supplements like Keto Activate, or meal replacements like our decadent and low-carb Keto Shake (chocolate, banana, or vanilla), can fill a nutritional void in a hurry when you need to nourish yourself without the fuss. 

Check out our recent article for more detailed tips and best practices we'd follow if we were starting keto again for the first time, a fool-proof guide to begin keto without suffering from the common pitfalls associated with transitioning to ketosis, here.

Food is our first line of defense to ensure adequate nutrition, but supplements can play a role in a well-crafted ketogenic regimen. See what works while you experiment with different foods and products as you continue along your wellness journey.

Here's a sample of what you could eat in a day to lose weight on a ketogenic diet:

  • Breakfast: Keto coffee or Keto Shake (banana, chocolate, or vanilla) + 1 tbsp MCT oil; eggs & cheese with a side of bacon and a few slices of avocado.
  • Lunch: A huge salad with cucumbers, red bell peppers, and mushrooms sautéed in ghee, with a base of dark leafy greens—like delicate watercress or a spring mix lettuce medley—topped with some butter-seared salmon, and a keto-friendly dressing for a little extra added fat.
  • Dinner: Get the family involved and put together some low-carb kabobs——kids love making them! Go with cubes of grass-fed beef, jumbo shrimp, onions, and bell peppers. Marinate and grill your ingredients along with a side of asparagus for a no-fuss meal that will please even the picky eaters in your brood.
  • Beverages: Although adding grass-fed butter to coffee and shakes is synonymous with eating a ketogenic diet, your best beverage choice on keto is water—and lots of it!

Remember, we deplete our glycogen stores when we remove sugar and most carbs from our diet, and this triggers the release of more bodily fluid and water weight.

In addition to H2O, mineral-rich bone broth and sugar-free seltzers are excellent low-carb beverage options that you can sip with confidence as they won't impact nutritional ketosis.

Coffee and tea are also staples for many following a ketogenic diet. Enjoy either freely, but watch those heavy cream macros if you're looking to hit a low-caloric target to facilitate weight loss.

The options above are a sample of the delicious foods and beverages endorsed on a ketogenic diet, rest assured that the outlook is bright when living a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle.

Summary

Many fall into fads and suffer from following outdated dietary advice (e.g., fat makes you fat, lifting heavy weights makes you bulky, etc.). Fortunately, a lot of the adverse symptoms some experience when becoming fat-adapted can be prevented, or the effects lessened, by following a few essential tips mentioned above.

Although you'll want to set a caloric ceiling to achieve a deficit if the goal is weight loss, concentrate on making sure that the calories you do eat are primarily comprised of healthy fats, proteins, and other forms of dense nutrition.

Be sure to include some of your favorite keto-friendly food options to your weekly meal plan, and you'll soon see the scale inching down and energy ramping up—thanks to increased ketone bodies and a tapered appetite.  

Keto is a unique approach for anyone looking to lose weight, and the eating style is flexible enough to accommodate everyone from the pregnant or breastfeeding mom to the professional athlete.

Give some thought to your current health needs and see whether a standard, cyclical, or high-protein version of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet will suit you best. Check out our post providing a detailed 7-day keto meal plan for weight loss to get started by setting yourself up for success in the kitchen, here.

Lastly, adjust as you go to support your lifestyle needs. We extend a warm welcome to you eating more intuitively, with less focus on counting every morsel of food you eat. It’s time to get reacquainted with your natural levels of hunger while adjusting to living in the therapeutic state of metabolic ketosis—enjoy the process.

Sources

  1. Dupuis, N., & Auvin, S., (2016). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Ketogenic Diet. Oxford Medicine Online. doi:10.1093/med/9780190497996.003.0017
  2. Seppa, N., (2009). Body & Brain: Go against the grains, diet study suggests: Low-carb beats low-fat in weight loss, cholesterol. Science News, 174(4), 9-9. doi:10.1002/scin.2008.5591740408
  3. Sperling, M. R., & Nei, M. (2004). The Ketogenic Diet in Adults. Epilepsy and the Ketogenic Diet, 103-109. doi:10.1007/978-1-59259-808-3_7
  4. Vranceanu, M., (2017). Long term effects of a ketogenic diet with Mav Ketofast pro supplements in obese postmenopausal women. International Journal of Growth and Development, 1(1), 33. doi:10.25081/ijgd.2017.v1i1.34

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