Low Carb Fruits and Vegetables for the Ketogenic Diet
Say what?! Yes, although we only consume a very small percentage of our calories from carbs, it is absolutely vital that they come from fibre-rich, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. A common mistake made by people first trying the ketogenic diet is that they don’t eat enough fibre, and we know that fibre is vital for normal bowel movement and fibre is absolutely essential for gut health!
In order to really appreciate the importance of dietary fibre, we need to understand the role of the gut. The gut ‘is home to several groups of bacteria that are vital for regulating immunity and inflammation’ and this vital gut bacteria is dependent upon our intake of dietary fibre from nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. Our gut bacteria breaks down these complex carbohydrates: ‘The gut’s beneficial bacteria use the fibre we eat as fuel to promote their own growth.’
Prebiotics are also found in fibre-rich foods and feed the gut bacteria. The gut bacteria uses prebiotics to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and these ‘SCFAS activate a signaling pathway that tells the brain that the body has gotten enough food.’ So, if you are in a fibre deficit, your body will think it is starving and try to extract the maximum amount of calories from your food, which can cause weight gain. (Source: The Brain Grain Whole Life Plan Dr David Perlmutter).
Eat plenty of fibre and you will have happy gut bacteria, a strong immune system, reduced inflammation and a healthy body and mind! Now, who always told you to eat your greens?
Low Carb Vegetables
Be sure to consume plenty of leafy green vegetables, herbs and low carb fruits such as: Spinach, Kale, Broccolli, Chard, Bok Choi, Cabbage, Celery, Watercress, Lettuce, Aubergines, Courgettes, Spring Onion, Cauliflower and Avocado.
Ensure that you consume enough potassium as you lose sodium and potassium due to the diuretic effect the ketogenic diet. Make sure you stay hydrated and drink more water than usual. By increasing your intake of dried herbs, such as basil, oregano and saffron and eating more avocados and cocoa powder you can naturally replenish your potassium reserves. FYI avocados tend to become a staple on the keto diet!
Low Carb Fruits
The good news is that there are some absolutely delicious fruits that are congruent with the ketogenic diet. However, you can only eat these fruits in moderation, otherwise they will spike your blood sugar levels up and kick you out of ketosis. Thank heavens for berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are very low carb–especially raspberries. They have about 6-9g of carbs per 100g which is just perfect for getting some vital nutrients and vitamins whilst satisfying any fruit cravings you might have.
carby vegetables to avoid
Even though all vegetables are high in micronutrients, their sugar values take them off the keto diet.
Potatoes and other root vegetables are incredibly high in carbohydrates and these will kick you out of ketosis.
They can be fine for carb cycling but we will discuss cycling the keto diet in another post. Root vegetables rank extremely high on the glucose index (this measures the speed at which food’s sugar impacts your blood sugar levels, consequently causing a spike in insulin production). Did you know that white potatoes have a GI ranking of 98, whereas table sugar has a GI ranking of 66!
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