Starting a ketogenic diet can take some adjusting to. You have probably been told all your life that to lose weight, fatty foods like cheese and bacon are the enemy, and that you should be filling yourself up on things like pasta and healthy fruit. When you look at the foods you can and can’t eat on a ketogenic diet, it is as if the world has been turned on its head, and you may even be surprised by the foods that are high in carbs and therefore not a good idea on your weight loss plan. So, as you get started, how do you know what not to eat?
What is a Carbohydrate?
All carbohydrates are actually sugars. This may surprise you, because many foods you think of as carbs are not sweet, but it is true. Sugars themselves are simple carbohydrates, and these are what make up things like fructose, the sugar that makes fruit taste sweet. Starches, and other complex carbohydrates such as those found in bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, and other common high carb foods, are actually made up of chains of sugar molecules. These are broken down in your body by an enzyme called amylase which exists in your stomach, and also your saliva, so your body can digest these carbs as sugars. A good way to test this if you find it hard to get your head around is to chew a piece of bread for a long time. The amylase in your mouth will break down the starch in the bread, and the bread will begin to taste sweet.
What This Means
This basically means that if a food has either sugars or starches in it, it contains carbohydrates which you need to count towards your daily carb allowance on your ketogenic diet. If it contains them in large quantities, you need to avoid that food. This means fruit, starchy or sweet vegetables (starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams and swede, sweet vegetables include peppers and carrots), and all of those starchy foods like rice, bread, pastry, pasta and so on.
The Role of Fiber in a Ketogenic Diet
One type of carbohydrate you can eat is fiber. This is because fiber is not digested by the body, so the glucose from it will never enter your bloodstream. It passes through the body largely unchanged, helping your digestive system move other food through by providing bulk. This is why when you calculate the carbs in something, you can subtract any fiber before you add it to your daily amount.