Keto Meal Plan
Roundabout Meal Prep Keto Meal Plan
By Courtney Rayppy, RD
Low carb diets and meal plans are nothing new and yet, a number of people who have tested and experimented with this higher fat diet and have found success and results in regards to weight loss, athletic performance and even improvements in medical conditions such as insulin resistance and epilepsy. (1) One of the first and most well-known lower carbohydrate commercialized diets was none other than the “Atkins Diet” which became popular in the 1970’s. Interestingly enough, there are records documenting experiments with low-carbohydrate diets on human test subjects that date as far back to the late 1800’s. Throughout history, biochemists continue to find interest in understanding the amazing reactions that occur and can be manipulated in the human body. Every few years or so, a new diet trend emerges and brings with it the promise for results like weight loss, clear skin, better athletic performance and improvements in energy and focus. Unfortunately, many of these said claims hold little to no weight in the real world setting and often results in failure for many people who give the diet a try. Far too often, many new and trendy diets are not well-sustained because of the many dietary restrictions that make the up the diet. Today, the ketogenic diet is an “upgraded” version of the Atkin’s Diet being that it is low in carbohydrates and higher in other macronutrients. While some people may follow a keto diet for medical reasons, more and more people are interested in the diet for weight loss or management. How exactly can a keto diet help you lose weight? Let’s talk about it.
What exactly is a keto diet?
Simply put, traditional keto is a dietary eating approach in which 60-75% of your daily calories comes from dietary fat sources, 15-30% come from protein and the remanding 5-10% come from carbohydrates. The term “keto” comes from the medical term “ketosis” which is a metabolic state in the body where energy taken from fats and protein is being converted into “ketone bodies.” These specially-made structures yield more energy and are able to be used by the brain, whereas fat and protein in their broken down form cannot. Why might someone benefit from being on a keto diet? People who may struggle with maintaining normal blood sugar levels, like people with Type 2 Diabetes, can often find some success controlling their blood sugar with a reduction in overall carbohydrate consumption. For others, ketosis and lower carb diets have been associated with weight loss, especially if they are prone to overeating high starchy foods which can lead to excess calorie intake. More recently, many athletes are experimenting with ketogenic diets to see how it might affect their performance, specifically for powerlifting and strongman training. Some more recent studies have found that some powerlifters who cycled through a ketogenic diet actually improved their one rep maximum lifts. (2,3) While these claims are enticing in nature, the diet itself can be drastically misinterpreted as one that is full of junk food and high in saturated fat which drastically increases risks for health complications like heart disease, obesity, liver problems, cancers and many other very serious diseases.
Is keto unhealthy?
This is where things get tricky. An unbalanced, extremely restrictive diet can definitely cause some complications regardless of whether it’s low carb, vegan, paleo or any other type of eating preference. In general, being in a state of ketosis is not so much “unhealthy” as it is a pathophysiological state that your body needs to go into in order to provide your brain, cells and muscles with sufficient energy. Our cells and our brain love to use carbohydrates as its primary energy source and when there isn’t any to be used, it needs to find another way to get energy, thus turning to other sources like proteins and fats. Fats offer 9 calories for every gram, which is about double the amount of calories you get from protein and carbohydrates. Dietary fat also takes the longest to digest in the body which can be beneficial for people who struggle with feeling “full” after snacks and meals. Because your body is designed to use carbohydrates as its primary fuel source, it’s no surprise that the body might need some adjusting if you decide to change its fuel too fast. Our recommendation? Start out by slowly reducing your carbohydrate intake every few days to allow for your body to get used to it. It’s also important to note that carbohydrates are a great energy source and if you eliminate them from your diet altogether, it’s very likely that you might experience fatigue, lethargy and “brain fog” for a few days. (4)
What is a “bad” keto diet?
When it comes to dietary fat, it’s important to note that there are different types of fats that exist in nature that have different effects on the body. Food choices like heavily processed animal products, fast food, convenience-style selections, while high in fat content, are also heavily processed and preserved with additional ingredients and sodium which has been associated with adverse health effects on the body. Whole food fat sources like nuts, avocados, oils, fatty fish and minimally processed meats are better for the body in regards to the naturally occurring micronutrients that already exist in the food. Any diet that is excessively high in fats, sodium, processed sugars, alcohol and preservatives can increase risks for the health complications listed above. Because the ketogenic diet is high in fat, far too often people assume they can eat heaps of high-fat animal products, butters and oils when in reality, that simply is not the case, nor is it recommended by health care professionals.
Can keto be done while keeping nutrition in mind?
Yes! Roundabout Meal Prep’s keto meal plan is overseen by Registered Dietitian Shanti Wolfe who developed the “right” way to do a keto diet without compromising your nutrition and health. It is currently recommended by healthcare practitioners, such as medical doctors and dietitians, that if you are interested in trying a new diet, you should always seek out professional advice. Because our plan is overseen and designed by Shanti, you can ensure that the plan is one that is taking your nutrition and health into consideration. In a traditional keto diet, many people are missing out on vital micronutrients and fiber due to the fact that they typically come from dietary carbohydrate sources. Fortunately, an assortment of micronutrient-rich, low carbohydrate vegetables can still be included in a balanced keto diet if it’s something you have been wanting to try. The veggies used in the keto meal plan offer the nutrition that is often missing from traditional keto diets alone which makes the meals far more balanced.
When it comes to adopting new eating patterns and changing dietary preferences, my personal opinion is one that suggests that nutrition is never just “black or white” and is often different for many people depending on a variety of lifestyle and genetic factors. While the ketogenic diet may be restrictive and is certainly not for everyone, there is something to be said for the many people who have tried the diet with professional supervision and have found success. Staying hydrated and drinking enough water is another important consideration to keep in mind while on a keto diet because as your body uses “stored energy” in the form of glycogen, it is very likely you may experience a few days or weeks of weight loss coming from fluid losses. If you or someone you know is interested in adopting this dietary eating plan, it is important to remember that the quality of your food sources should not be thrown out the window. Sticking to whole food choices while also getting your fiber and micronutrients in with each meal is highly recommended in order to reap the most nutritional benefits. The keto plan offered at Roundabout Meal Prep provides you with lower-carbohydrate options without compromising important key players in nutrition such as micronutrients, quality protein and fiber.
- Nelson MT, Kavalek M, Gannon R, Galpin AJ “A Case for and Against Ketogenic Diets in Athletes” Strength & Cond J: 2017
- Burke LM, Angus DJ, Cox GR, Cummings NK, Febbraio MA, Gawthorn K, Hawley JA, Minehan M, Martin DT, Hargreaves M. “Effect of fat adaptation and carbohydrate restoration on metabolism and performance during prolonged cycling.” J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000