The ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to offer numerous health benefits. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it begins to burn fat for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates. This metabolic state has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
This is an eating plan in which up to 80 percent of the total daily calories are supposed to come from fat, so it is going to be the main nutrient you focus on most. But not all sources of fat are equally healthy.
Unsaturated fats are generally healthier choices than saturated fats. Even though both are considered keto-friendly, saturated fats can raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, while unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol levels, per the American Heart Association, and have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy.
Olive oil is a staple in the keto diet due to its high monounsaturated fat content. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. Olive oil is also a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
In addition to its health benefits, olive oil is also extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and marinades to sautéed vegetables and grilled meats. One tablespoon offers 119 calories and 13.5 g of fat, only 2 g of which are saturated fat.
Balsamic vinegar is another delicious and healthy ingredient that is often incorporated into the keto diet. Balsamic vinegar is made from fermented grapes and has a rich, slightly sweet flavor.
It is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Balsamic vinegar is also low in carbs, making it a great choice for the keto diet. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, marinades, and sauces, or it can be drizzled over vegetables or meats as a flavorful finishing touch.
Incorporating olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a keto diet can not only add flavor and variety to meals, but it can also provide numerous health benefits. Ready to try some keto-friendly recipes? Check out these recipes from the Saratoga Test Kitchen:
- Baked Mediterranean Salmon
- Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
- Zuchinni Carpaccio
- Grilled Salmon with Balsamic and Rosemary Marinade
- Grilled Radicchio and Romaine with Shaved Pecorino
- Espresso Harissa Marinated Ribs with Jalapeño Slaw