Why am I writing about Keto?
We’ve all heard about the keto diet in recent years and it seems to be gaining in popularity daily at the moment, to the point that it is becoming more of a lifestyle than just a diet. Our Instagram feed is full of keto posts and I know a lot of you Kape fans are also into keto living so we wanted to explore more deeply how nuts can help those following a keto plan, whether vegan, vegetarian, or full blown carnivore.
What is the Keto diet?
Most of us eat a diet high in carbohydrates, which is broken down into glucose and used for energy, with the excess being stored in your body as glycogen.
By drastically reducing your carb intake via a keto or ketogenic diet, you can train your body to turn to it’s fat stores for energy.
Keto is short for ketogenic and the keto diet is low carb, high protein and high fat. By reducing carbohydrates, and replacing them with fats, your body enters a state called ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body starts burning fat for fuel instead the usually more readily available carbohydrates.
It usually takes a few days of consuming very little carbs (less than 50g per day) to trigger ketosis. You can tell when it begins to happen and you will probably experience some interesting side effects and not feel that great at first, as your body adjusts.
This process is very much dependent on your unique body composition, taking into account what you last ate, and how much glucose is stored in your body in the form of glycogen.
Fasting and vigorous exercise can decrease the time to reach ketosis but drastically changing your diet and your workout routine (or starting a brand new one) at the same time is not for everyone and always remember to listen to your own body.
Once your body’s glycogen stores are depleted, you begin to enter a metabolic state of ketosis in which your body turns to breaking down fat, as the most readily available store of energy. Fat in your body is typically composed of triglyceride molecules, which are three part fatty acids, and one part glycerol. When fat is metabolised, glycerol is released and then converted into glucose in the liver, giving you that much craved energy.
Another product of your liver breaking down fats are ketones, which you may have heard of. In small quantities, ketones are disposed of by your body via urine. A simple urine dip can test for ketones, therefore confirming if you are in a keto state.
There are several benefits of a ketogenic diet including weight loss through fat burning, a decreased appetite, a reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol and an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol, reduced blood sugar and, rather unintuitively, improved brain function among those with neural disorders. Following a keto diet can also be recommended for diabetes management.
Scientific benefits are great but what does it actually feel like?
Initially, as your body first enters ketosis, the side effects can be pretty unpleasant, but once you make it through that initial phase and your body has adjusted to a keto diet you can expect to feel energised, fuller for longer, clearer headed, as well as leaner and, if you are also following a workout plan, stronger.
Okay so you’re on our website, so you must like nuts, and you’re reading a blog about keto, so I can hear you ask, where do nuts fit into a keto diet??
Well, of course nuts are typically a great source of protein and also rich in good fats, so most nuts are great for a ketogenic diet, but not all nuts were created equal!
Below, I’ve ranked the nuts we use in our products from keto friendly to the Keto Big Kahuna!
Cashew nuts and Sunflower seeds, these have the highest carb content with around 18g per 100g, but they’re both also a great source of protein (18g and 20g respectively) and fats (48g), so firmly in the Keto Friendly category, as long as you keep an eye on your portion sizes!
Pistachios, the green diamond, comes in with only 8g of carbs, 18g of protein and 55g of fats. Great fuel for the Keto Fire!
Hazelnuts and Pecans are next, with 6g of carbs, 14g and 9g of protein, they may not seem like the best choice, but they’re also packed with good fats to Keep you in Ketosis!
Almonds are the king of protein with 21g of the good stuff, they’re also low in carbs with a meagre 5g, and a great source of fats at 50g. Definitely a Keto Hero!
Macadamias are lower in protein at 8g, but they’re also seriously low in carbs (4.8g) and ridiculously high in fuel with 77g of fats. Great for much needed nutrients and fat, macadamias definitely have Keto Kudos!
We’ve saved the best for last as these last two offer the best balance of very low carbs as well as great levels of protein and good fats.
Walnuts and Brazil Nuts both pass the carb check with flying colours with only 3g each, and with 68g of fats and 14g of protein they tie for title of Keto Big Kahuna!