Generally, sweet potatoes may seem unsuitable keto diet, considering that they are high in carbohydrates. However, you need not exclude them completely from your keto diet, as long as you account for their calories and carbs and use appropriate cooking techniques.
A keto diet is one of the most popular diets to help you lose weight fast, but this does not come without some restrictions. It calls for some discipline, primarily in the foods you must avoid to attain ketosis. It emphasizes high-fat and medium-protein foods while cutting out on carb-rich foods to train the body to utilize ketones from fats as opposed to glucose. As such, foods such as sweet potatoes may seem off-limits because they pack many calories. Still, you may wonder, do I have to completely eliminate sweet potatoes from my ketogenic diet? Are sweet potatoes keto-friendly? Peer into this article to the answer to this question.
Understanding a keto diet
First things first, let’s explore what a ketogenic diet is before venturing into the nitty-gritty about. Simply put, it is a way of eating that focuses on a low-carb, medium-protein, and high-fat diet. Emphasizing fats and discouraging fats in your body trains it to utilize compounds called ketones in producing energy instead of glucose from carbs. Since protein is quite filling, the diet results in weight loss and lean muscle development within no time, but only when you strictly follow its recommendations to keep off carbs.
A ketogenic diet and ketosis: how do the two relate?
We can never talk about a keto diet without mentioning ketosis. Ketosis refers to a metabolic state in which the body reaches a climax in using fat for energy production, typically when you deprive it of carbs or go hungry for many days. Ketosis can be quite uncomfortable, considering that it comes with many effects, but the positive results you expect from a keto diet are closely dependent on it. It is often characterized by flu-like symptoms, also called the keto flu, bad breath, cramping of leg muscles, decreased athletic performance, dehydration, exhaustion, light-headedness, and increased palpitations. These symptoms prove challenging for many to hold up to, and they consequently give up the diet. However, sticking to the diet even with these uncomfortable signs with a few management techniques finally pays off when you attain your health goals.
Maintaining ketosis needs discipline in your eating patterns
Much of your success depends on how closely you maintain ketosis, which calls for discipline in your eating patterns. To maintain ketosis, you must keep off carb-rich foods to allow the body to continually use fats from the diet and what’s stored in the body for energy. As such, sneaking in many carbohydrates from time to time into your keto diet may throw you in and out of ketosis, lowering your success rate. This is primarily why the keto diet seems so restrictive. However, most keto dieters still take carbs without jeopardizing ketosis. They keep total calories from carbs at 5-10% of the day’s needs, or at 50 g. What’s next, they determine where their body falls in this spectrum and appropriately establish how many calories they can obtain from carbs. You can also do this if you feel that you are missing out on sweet potato benefits but remember that this is a risky process (for ketosis and your weight goals), and you have to be accurate at your mathematics.
Sweet potatoes are starchy foods
Sweet potatoes are often excluded from the keto diet, primarily because they are the starchy type that harbors many carbs. As such, most experts look at them as being risky for ketosis, which they can easily mess up. Consider the number of carbohydrates you can reap from a medium-sized sweet potato;
Now assume that your body requires you to take 50 g of carbs on the highest end to maintain ketosis. This means that taking a medium-sized potato already provides you with 42% of your daily calorie needs. How you view this depends on your personal goals and how easily your body can throw you out and into ketosis. For some, 42% of total calories may not seem much, and they may be willing to allow sweet potatoes to take it. However, if you need very few calories from carbs and your daily carb needs are 35-40 g, it would not be wise to allow sweet potatoes to take an entire 21 g. If you decide to take potatoes anywhere, ensure to break them down into several eating potatoes to allow you to spread your fat intake throughout the day.
Other factors, including preparation methods, also play a role
When choosing whether or not to include sweet potatoes in your keto diet, you must remember that many other factors come in handy and play a role. For instance, how you prepare the sweet potatoes may dramatically increase the total carbohydrates you expend from them. As such, you need to use keto-friendly cooking methods that will not crazily alter total calories from the sweet potatoes. For instance, you can boil the potato whole then serve it with aged cheese, coconut oil, or butter. This way, you will be allowing the body to meet its fat requirement for maintaining ketosis.
Portion sizes matter
Many who take sweet potatoes as part of their keto diet often wonder whether portion sizes matter. The answer to this question is yes; they technically matter. Taking 50 g as the standard for a person’s daily carb needs to maintain ketosis, it would not make sense to puff in a whole 21 g once. Instead, you can distribute it across your meals throughout the day. Remember, you are not eating the potatoes to feel full but to benefit from their potassium and vitamin A contents. As such, dicing the sweet potatoes, frying them, and taking them across the day may go a long way to help you enjoy carbs cautiously without jeopardizing ketosis.
Sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable many keto dieters try to limit because of their high-carb contents. However, it’s not all impossible; you can still enjoy sweet potatoes, but you must account for the calories from their carbs. You need to start by establishing the total carbs your body needs to maintain ketosis and calculate how much sweet potatoes you can enjoy. Keto-friendly cooking methods and spreading the small portions size across the day helps you not jeopardize ketosis.