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We all know that cereals are carbs, right? And that carbs are the enemy of ketosis. But can you eat granola on keto?
What is the keto diet?
Keto is short for ketogenic. The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that may help you lose weight and benefit your health.
How does the keto diet work?
As the name suggests, the aim of the keto diet is to put your body in ketosis. A metabolic state that enables the body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy, ketosis is said to reduce blood sugar and regulate insulin levels. In ketosis, your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, yet normally the metabolism relies on glucose for energy. Limiting intake of carbs reduces the availability of glucose, causing the metabolic pathways to shift direction and burn fat for energy instead.
The principles behind keto are not quite as simple as just reducing carbs. Successful ketosis relies on a ratio of macronutrients that will not only be slightly different for each individual but will also alter over time and according to changing variables. Measuring the macronutrients of carbs, protein and fat ensures optimal calorie intake but also affects the equilibrium of ketosis. You can start your keto diet on a certain ratio but from there it is all about observation and fine-tuning.
The standard ratio for keto is 10% carbs, 20% protein, 70% fat. Guidelines recommend levels between: 5-10% carbs, 15-30% protein, 60-75% fat.
Although foods are generally classed in groups according to the main macronutrient, most (if not all) foods contain a proportion of each. So, when calculating, the entire macronutrient composition must be taken into account.
How many carbs per day on keto?
To get from a percentage to a usable measurement, such as grams, you need to do some calculations based on your overall daily calorie target. You also need to know that carbs provide 4 kcal energy per gram.
For instance, on 2000 kcal a day, 10% carbohydrate would be 200 kcals. Divide 200 by 4 and you get a carb goal of 50g per day. When calculating carbs, you need to use the figure for net carbs, as oppose to total carbs. The numbers for net carbs do not include fibre, as this is not absorbed by the body and therefore provides no energy. On the other hand, the numbers for total carbs include the grams of fibre.
Healthy fats for keto
A successful keto diet is as much about quality as it is quantity. A diet based around whole natural foods, with a focus on nutrient density and macronutrients is as important on keto as any other eating plan.
Whilst saturated fats are accepted as vital sources of nutrients, there are a wide range of plant-based fats that support overall health. Nuts and seeds, and their derivative oils, as well as coconut oil and olive oil are all healthy fats for a keto diet.
How much protein on keto?
It can be easy to get too much protein on a keto diet. When you eat too much protein it may inhibit ketosis as the body can convert amino acids (the building blocks of protein) into glucose. As protein releases the same amount of energy as carbohydrates, the calculation for optimal intake is the same. Again, nuts and seeds are recommended sources on the keto diet. A pretty much perfect food, they are low in carbohydrate, and high in protein as well as healthy fats.
Did you know that almonds are one of the most versatile nuts for a keto diet?
Breakfast is hard enough when you are gluten-free, but low-carb? A potential minefield.
Nutritionally speaking, the best foods for a healthy breakfast are believed to be grains, dairy and fruit, and the benefits of cereal and milk are widely accepted. Eggs are the go-to ingredient for a keto breakfast, closely followed by pork products such as bacon and sausages. But what if you want a keto breakfast with no eggs? What if you are mindful of saturated fat and excess protein? Not to mention sodium. It’s an Atkins nightmare all over again. And then there is time. Or not. Very few people can manage to cook, let alone eat, a hot meaty breakfast before heading out the door in the early morning. Sure, where there’s a will there’s a way but that’s why breakfast cereal was invented yeah? Convenient, crunchy, and easy on the digestion.
Breakfast cereal is generally made from grains. Aka cereals. Aka carbs. Which of course are a big nay-nay for the fat-burning bod.
What cereal can you eat on the keto diet?
Some breakfast cereals are lower in carbs than others yet will still use up your entire weekly carb allowance in one glorious bowl. The market has got wiser as far as individual dietary preferences are concerned and the available range is far wider than it once was. You do need to check your labels carefully though. Grain-free is your best bet, but may come with whopping amounts of sugar. Better still would be a breakfast cereal labelled keto. Imagine that 😉
Can you eat granola on keto?
The short answer is pretty much no. But keto granola does exist. Based on nuts and seeds, with a handful of healthy fat thrown in, keto granola is just the thing for a cold and crunchy keto breakfast. Check out our article ‘muesli vs granola’ for a comparison of the two.
Can you have milk on a keto diet?
But what about the milk? It is that combo of cold cold milk and crunchiness that makes granola such a lovely thing. Can you have milk on a keto diet?
Dairy milk, from cows or goats, might be chock full of nutrients including protein and fats, but they also come with a moderately high amount of carbs. One cup of cows milk has 12g net carbs. Goats milk has marginally less.
And it is not just dairy. Many alternative milks come with a ton of carbs too. Oat milk (unsurprisingly) has 17g net carbs per cup. Rice milk is even higher at 21g.
Also unsurprisingly, almond milk is THE milk of choice for keto, with just 1g of carbs per cup. Yay. If you make your own almond milk it tastes better and has no sweeteners of fillers that you didn’t put there yourself.
What about keto-friendly fruit?
A bowl of granola needs a bit of fruit, but unfortunately this is also a keto minefield. Our advice is to go for berries, some of the lowest carb fruit around. At between 6-9g carbs in half a cup of raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries, they certainly aren’t for everyday but make an excellent nutrient boost to breakfast a few times a week.
Watch out for our keto granola coming soon…
This Article was reproduced with permission from Opera Food’s article:- “Can you eat granola on keto?” dated 22nd June 21