Keto Diet Fundamentals - Everything You Need To Know, And Then Some

What is Keto?

A “Keto diet” is a commonly used term in place of the longer name “ketogenic diet” (being in ketosis).

What is the ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet is defined as one that is high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. By drastically reducing your carb intake, your body learns to use fat for energy instead of glucose (which comes primarily from carbs - some protein can also be converted into glucose).

Is the keto(genic) diet popular? Does it work?

The keto diet has been very popular for years and has helped countless thousands lose weight. This diet has been proven to be very effective in helping with weight loss and weight management. Although best recognized for its weight loss benefits, a keto diet has also been researched for its potential to help with appetite control, blood sugar regulation, improved blood pressure, increased energy, increased mental performance, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, and cancer. As popular as a keto diet might be in helping with weight loss, one should always incorporate exercise into one's routine.

How does it burn fat?

By restricting carbs to 25 – 30 g per day (some individuals can go as high as 50g and stay in ketosis), your body has less glucose available for energy and starts "burning" fat for its energy needs. When the body is burning fat, it releases ketones, which the body and brain readily use for energy. You're in a state of "ketosis" when the body uses ketones for fuel. Ketones are produced in the liver from fat. Although fibre is classified as a carb, it doesn't get absorbed and doesn't increase blood sugar or keep you from going into ketosis. Consuming fibre is not only fine on a keto diet, it's encouraged.

Isn't eating lots of fat bad for us?

For years we've been told - correction - brainwashed to believe that fats are bad and consuming them would increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Although some fats are very unhealthy, like trans fats, or should be consumed in moderation, like animal saturates, others are beneficial and should be consumed more often than they are. These good fats include monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds), polyunsaturates (Omega-3 fats - found in flax, hemp, chia, fish, and plant saturates (MCTs). Although omega-6 fats are essential, they should be consumed in moderation. Most people consume considerably more of this fat than they should.

At one time Health Canada's Food Guide painted all fats with a "bad for you brush" and suggested limiting fats drastically. As the research evolved and inaccurate biases started to disappear, Health Canada adopted a more sensible approach to fats. They now recommend a balanced approach to fat intake and encourage the consumption of more good fats.

What does a typical keto diet look like numbers-wise?

Approximately 75% of your calories should come from fat, 20% from protein (to help maintain lean muscle tissue) and 5% from digestible carbohydrates (aka net carbs). Although fiber is classified as a carb, it doesn't increase blood sugar. In fact, fiber balances blood sugar and should be consumed daily on a keto diet. For more info on fiber, read our Fiber Article.

For example – let's use a simple 2000 calories per day diet

  • 75% as fat calories = 1500 calories / 9 calories per gram = 166 grams per day
  • 20% as protein calories = 400 calories / 4 calories per gram = 100 grams per day
  • 5% as “digestible carbs” = 100 calories / 4 calories per gram = 25 grams per day
  • + all the fiber you can handle (we should be consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day according to Health Canada, The Food Guide and other sources).
  • (we should be consuming 25-25 grams of fibre per day according to Health Canada, The Food Guide and other sources.)

On the keto diet, what kind of fats are best?

Just like not all carbs are the same, not all fats are the same either. Healthy fats, according to the Canada Food Guide, include nuts, seeds, fatty fish (e.g. salmon), and fruits (e.g. olive and avocado oils – yep, they're fruits – bet you thought they were vegetables). Specific to the keto diet, the use of coconut and MCT oils are very popular and for good reason.

(MCT = medium chain triglycerides; triglycerides are a fancy term for fat or fatty acids).

MCT vs Coconut Oil

Which is better; coconut oil or MCT oil?

There are 4 types of fats that fall under the designation medium chain triglycerides. The four fats found in MCTs are:

  1. C6: Caproic acid
  2. C8: Caprylic acid
  3. C10: Capric acid
  4. C12: Lauric acid

For the sake of not going down a confusing rabbit hole, when we're talking about MCTs, we're generally speaking of three types of fats: C8, C10, and C12. The amount of C6 in MCT oil is so extremely low, its typically never listed on a label. Research has shown that MCTs are more ketogenic and provide energy to the body/brain faster than other types of fats. Research suggests that certain MCTs (C8 and C10) are more ketogenic and used more efficiently than C12. For these reasons, MCTs and C8 and C10, in particular, are a preferred choice by many keto diet enthusiasts.

TIP: Use MCT oil to power up the old noggin

The brain uses up more energy than any other human organ! Supplying the brain with energy is critical. Ketones produced from using MCT oil are an efficient form of brain energy that can help give your brain a quick energy boost

Which type of MCT oil is best?

MCT oil comes in many forms. Some MCT oils are 100% pure (100% C8 and C10 combined). Some are 93% pure, and others are 80% and so on. So the first thing to look for is to make sure your oil is 100% C8 and C10 (not 93%, 80% etc.).

What about C12 - why is it being disregarded?

Although C12 is an MCT, and it does have some benefits (strong antimicrobial benefits), it behaves more like a long chain triglyceride (LCT) than a medium chain triglyceride (MCT). From a strict ketogenic diet perspective, you want a "pure" MCT oil. When spending money on pure MCT oil specifically for the keto diet, MCTs made up of C8 and C10 simply work faster. C12 also requires bile for digestion/absorption and isn't as rapidly absorbed and used by the body, and once again, it's not as ketogenic as C8 and C10.

What makes your MCT oil the one I should choose?

  • We've been working with and selling MCT oil for over 20 years now. Not many brands can say that.
  • Our MCT is 100% pure and 100% from coconut.
  • Ours is 100% C8 and C10. No C12 (our MCT Cooking Oil being the only exception. It has 50% C8, 25% C10 and 25% C12).
  • Of all the C8/C10 MCT oils, ours is one of the highest at 70% CB (most others are only 52% - 60%).
  • We are the direct importer of the oil and get it from the farms in the Philippines directly.
  • Our coconuts are sustainably farmed.
  • Coconuts are non-GMO, and ours are grown without pesticides or herbicides
  • We are Canada's largest direct importer/bottler/brand.
  • Bottled in safe food-grade HDPE bottles (not PETE, which MCTs should never be packed in).
  • We've had millions of servings of our MCT oils consumed and our quality is time-tested and second-to-none.

Note: Our MCT oil is so popular we also supply it in bulk 18.9 litre (5 gallon) pails and 190 litre drums to other food, nutraceutical and green industries as well.

How do I use MCT oil?

Use it on salads, in smoothies, shakes and even in coffee. Some just drizzle it onto prepared food. 100% pure MCT Oil (100% C8 and C10) cannot be used for cooking. (We do offer a specialized MCT Cooking Oil that uses a patent-pending process for those times where you need to use it for cooking or even frying eggs while still trying to maximize MCT's benefits). 100% Pure MCT Oil for most of your uses – and MCT Cooking Oil for those specific times when you need to use it in cooking (not for deep frying).

Do I need to refrigerate MCT oil?

Our MCT oil is very stable and does not require refrigeration. Flax, hemp and most other polyunsaturated fats require refrigeration and will go rancid fairly quickly, especially when stored improperly. MCT oil is also flavorless and does not have the coconut flavor that some people don't like. This neutral flavor will not alter the taste of your dish or shake.

Understanding Net Carbs

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fibre. Some might even subtract Sugar Alcohols like erythritol and xylitol because their impact on blood sugar is minimal. To play it safe, some experts suggest subtracting half the sugar alcohol content from the total carbs.

For e.g.

  • Net carbs = total carbs (19g) – fibre (2g) – sugar alcohol (7.5g = half of the sugar alcohol)
  • Therefore, net carbs = 9.5g
Understanding Net Carbs

Disclaimer: The information in this article has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek competent medical advice before making any significant changes to your normal eating pattern.

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