Just Because it Says Keto Doesn't Mean it's Good.
There are lots of "magic potions" out there that you'll see being marketed to you for the keto diet. Marketing teams work hard to make it sound like all these products are necessary - shakes, pills, powders, and processed foods labeled keto, etc.
That's totally not true.
The keto diet is a marvelous thing all on its own and when you eat real, whole foods - foods that are low carb and high fat - your body will run very efficiently and effectively. You can do it with just that and not any of these magic potions being sold.
You don’t need to supplement with pills that promise to burn the fat off, you don’t need gummies or powders that say they’ll control your hunger, you don’t need potions that promise to put you in ketosis. All of these things are achieved by eating the proper types of food.
Your body is a marvelous thing and it wants to run efficiently. It will do that if you give it a chance to with a proper diet. You’ll naturally burn fat because that’s what your body uses for fuel if you’re not overloading it with glucose (aka carbs). You won’t feel hungry if you’re eating healthy choices of food because it satisfies that hunger and gives your body the nutrients it’s looking for. And you’ll naturally go into ketosis because you’re reducing your glucose and teaching your body to run on ketones and fat. All of this happens with your food choices - not with magic potions.
There is no magic pill that will fix what we’ve done to our bodies. Proper nutrition is what will fix it.
Don't always trust the keto friendly label!
You'll notice as you grocery shop these days that there are a lot of keto branded food products as well. Not all are bad and I’ve definitely found some that we enjoy but I would caution you to read the labels on these before tossing them in your cart. I have definitely discovered that just because it says keto on the front, it does not mean it is and does not mean it's healthy.
When you're reading the labels always check the carb count and the serving size. Some of the “keto” snacks I’ve picked up and looked at will have 4-6 carbs per serving or more for a pretty small amount. While that might not sound like a lot at face value, if you eat more than the serving size and you’re trying to stay under 20-30 carbs a day, it won’t be long before you’re way over your daily limit by eating a small amount with that many carbs. Especially if this is just a snack and it doesn’t even count for a meal!
Also, look at the ingredients - does it still have added sugar? Is it full of highly processed ingredients? If so you don’t really want to eat that. Sugar is something we’re trying to eliminate so if it has sugar just say no. Likewise, if it has a long ingredient list of all kinds of things you can’t pronounce and you don’t know what they are - probably better to leave it on the shelf. It’s not worth it to feed our bodies all that junk.
One good thing to look for on the label is fiber. If the carbs are fiber then you can subtract those from the total carb count to see what the net carbs are. Fiber isn't absorbed by your body the way other carbs are and it actually aids in digestion so that’s why you can subtract it. It does not get digested and converted to glucose.
Sugar alcohols can also be subtracted as those are also not absorbed into your body the same way. Not all are equal though so you'll want to check to see what types of sweeteners things are made with before buying. Erythritol is one of the best so if you see that it’s sweetened with that then it’s a better choice. Side note… something to think about when purchasing foods with sugar alcohols - those can cause digestive issues when you eat them in higher quantities so you’ll want to make sure you eat them sparingly if you don’t want to be spending extra time in the bathroom or dealing with stomach pain.
Basically you want to make sure you’re always reading labels when you shop.
Don’t just look at what the marketing team wants you to see and assume that they’re being honest and it’s truly healthy and low carb. Do your due diligence and read the nutrition facts and look at the ingredient list. Your body will thank you and your waistline will decrease as you make these good choices.
As I mentioned above, snacks are one of the things you’ll see the most keto branded foods in the stores. One thing to note though - if you’re eating good, healthy meals and providing your body with the right macros you shouldn’t be hungry in between meals and you probably won’t need snacks much.
We all have those times when we are craving something crunchy or something sweet though so if you do need a snack and you’re trying to avoid some of these items that we’ve discussed here, these are a few snack options you can keep handy:
- Pork Rinds
- Celery and nut butter
- Full fat cheeses
- Hard boiled eggs
Another thing I like to eat is mixed nuts but I don’t buy the mixed nuts at the store. Those are usually very heavy on the higher carb nuts and don’t have a good balance of the healthy nuts that have amazing vitamins and nutrients in them.
I also make my own “trail mix” by buying almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and macadamia nuts and dumping them all in a big bag together and mixing them up. You could also add some Lily’s chocolate chips and some unsweetened coconut flakes if you want to give it a little extra flavor. Nuts do have carbs so you don’t want to overeat these but they have fiber and so many nutrients that they’re so good for you. The great thing is a small handful goes a long way and it will still keep a low carb count for your snack.
As for the nut butter I mentioned, almond butter is a great choice but I do enjoy good peanut butter so I use that even though it’s not quite as good for you as almond butter. However I buy the high quality organic peanut butter that only has peanuts and salt as the ingredients. Nothing else. If you look at some of the leading brands of regular peanut butter you’ll see they have a longer list of ingredients - including vegetable oils and sugar. The organic peanut butter doesn’t and is much lower in carbs.
I hope this helps you become a better shopper and helps you learn how to read labels and navigate the items trying to get your attention on the grocery store shelves.
Just remember, if you stick to real, whole food you’re always going to make great choices.