African keto diet

African keto diet DEFAULT

This South African Doctor Is Fighting to Make Keto the Dietary Standard

Tim Noakes is the outcast bad boy of the dietary world. Noakes — or “Prof” as his evangelists refer to him — believes a low-carb, high-fat diet should be the standard diet of all humanity. And by “standard,” we mean the only diet of humanity.

According to Noakes, not only does turning to this diet cure (yes, cure) diabetes, but it will make you less anxious, less depressed, cause you to lose weight and unshackle you from your blind dependence on bread.

Noakes’ loud, dogmatic approach to spreading the gospel of a low-carb, high-fat diet (and the Twitter wars that lie therein, one of which landed him in a four-year court battle) has earned him an equally devout following. As that following grows, both inside and outside the nutrition world, you’ll find more and more Noakes’ devotees spending their time denouncing any and all positive science about literally any other diet: Any study pimping balanced grains are merely done by “shills” who are only “protecting the industry.” After all, Noakes says, his foundation’s main purpose, right now, is “a fight to the death to combat the way industry is distorting the messaging, trying to say that low-carbohydrate diet will kill you.”

We reached out to Noakes to see why he believes this diet is the way of the future, and his game plan for world domination. And because arguing is fun, especially on the internet, we also ran all his claims by registered dietitian nutritionist Jill Nussinow. Let’s dig in!

A Primal Diet

Noakes is well-versed in the historic implications of his championed diet, which was first proposed in 1862 thanks to an overweight undertaker by the name William Banting. “He was a guy who chronically overweight,” says Noakes. “He’d tried everything — the exercise bit, the low fat bit. He tried everything, and nothing worked. Eventually, this low-carbohydrate diet was prescribed for him, and he lost 40 pounds over a period of about eight months or so. He described his diet, and it became the original diet for obesity.”

In the same way that some populations are allergic to dairy, Noakes adds that certain populations are simply more adept to burning fat than others. No humans, though, should maintain a diet that’s higher than 35 percent carbohydrates, according to Noakes. “Humans evolved as carnivores, and we became dependant on fat. So for most populations, fat was in the diet for two or three million years — to take it out of the diet has been very bad for those of us who were basically fat-burners,” he says.

Noakes adds that if you were to take certain populations that are principally fat burners, rather than carbohydrate burners (“For example, the plains Indians in North America, Australian Aborigines, all the Pacific Islanders,” he explains) and expose them to a diet where carbohydrates make up more than about 35 to 40 percent of the calories, “diabetes and obesity becomes epidemic.”

Noakes uses this anecdote to make the point that a low-carb, high-fat diet isn’t some fad diet, another version of buying a crate of Slim Fast protein shakes. “It’s the original diet that was used for the control of obesity,” he says. “Right up to the end of the Second World War, it was appreciated that carbohydrates caused you to get fat, and if you wanted to lose weight, you should stop eating carbohydrates.”

What the dietitian says: “People have been eating bread for thousands of years,” argues Nussinow. “Maybe what they made it from was different, but people have been eating bread for eons.” Still, Nussinow says the issue today isn’t really about bread — it’s about balanced diet and exercise.

“It’s about how much activity — or lack thereof — people are getting, and that food has become complicated,” says Nussinow. “I look at it this way: 130 years ago, baking a cake took a lot of work. Today, people can get one any day of the week. It’s all the processed food that’s the issue. It doesn’t matter if it’s whole wheat pasta, it’s not the same as eating wheat berries, especially if they’re sprouted or fermented.”

Nussinow — as with many dietitians who dispute Noakes’ claims — argues that when it comes to diets, it’s simply impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution. “We aren’t all the same. We have different microbiomes and need different food to get optimal nutrition for health and energy. If there was one diet that worked for everyone, I would’ve likely discovered it by now and be retired sitting on a beach somewhere,” she concludes.

How Carbs Came to Power

Specifically, Noakes contends, it was in 1977 that the grain industry started pulling the levers on consumption in the name of capitalism. “Industry got involved and they started sending out the message that carbohydrates were healthy. And that changed everything.” Noakes is possibly referring to the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 that subsidized farmers and rewarded them for producing excess crops.

“It all stems right back to 1977, when farmers were encouraged to plant every spare acre under grains, and those dietary guidelines came out, which I emphasize were never based on science,” Noakes says. “We’ve become fat and diabetic thereafter. They completely reversed what people believed, in the sense that we knew carbohydrates make you fat, but we accepted it, and the consequences have been drastic for all of us.”

What the dietitian says: “First off, the Food Pyramid was not released in 1977,” says Nussinow. She’s not wrong, although its prototype, the “Hassle Free Daily Food Guide,” was released by the USDA in 1979, and as Noakes contends, it included the update to cut down on fats while weighing carbohydrates as one of the main four food groups.

But Nussinow argues that the food pyramid wasn’t merely pushed onto the public at the whims of the grain industry: Rather, it was fully checked and accepted by the nutrition industry, too. “The Food Guide Pyramid was a widely recognized nutrition education tool that translated nutritional recommendations into the kinds and amounts of food to eat each day, and the same goes for MyPyramid, which replaced it in 2005.”

One thing Nussinow and Noakes agree on, however, is that the food industry certainly does not have consumers’ best interest at heart. “No matter what way people choose to eat,” says Nussinow, “the main thing is to get rid of the highly processed food — [which is] what the food industry is pushing on people and that they’re buying.”

Explaining the Diet

“A low-carb, high-fat diet is very simple,” says Noakes. “We exclude cereals and grains — that’s the key. Exclude the starch-based foods like potatoes and rice, focus on eating meat, fish, dairy, nuts, vegetables, very minimal fruits. That’s what we promote as our diet, and we tend not to stray from it.” Noakes adds that while leafy vegetables do contain carbs, so long as you’re sticking to just leafy vegetables, you’d be eating less than 100 grams of carbs a day, “which is ideal for most people,” he says. “But if you’ve got type II diabetes like myself, you’d want to get it right down to 25 grams a day.”

Most people think that moving to a low-carb, high-fat diet means they’ll have to eat meat, and lots of it, but that’s not the case, says Noakes, who gets “a little sensitive” at the notion. “I get attacked that I’m promoting a meat-only diet, but that’s not true — that’s a carnivore diet. I do think a carnivore diet has benefits for certain people who are allergic to plants. But for my diet, my fat comes from avocados, coconut oil and dairy produce, particularly cheese. It’s actually quite difficult to get meat that’s got fat on it these days (besides lamb and fatty fish) because they remove the fat from most meat products. But it’s still a great source of other nutrients that you need.”

What the dietitian says: “What I learned in getting my master’s degree in nutrition is that we need carbs, about 40 percent, for your brain to work efficiently,” says Nussinow. “Burning fat isn’t efficient.” Some researchers have gone so far as to suggest carbs even accelerated the evolution of the human brain, although others have poked holes in that theory.

Nussinow says that, regardless of what the brain needs, “Fat has more than twice the calories of carbs, so those calories can add up quickly — for some people it can cause issues. From my own personal experience, I can tell you that I’m not a low-carb eater, nor a high-fat eater, and I’ve maintained my weight for more than 30 years.”

The Benefits

Noakes contends that the more hooked you are on carbs, the more you’ll realize how “sick you are,” after switching to a low-carb, high-fat diet. “What you’re going to notice is you’re going to get a sugar withdrawal,” he says. “So you’ll feel crappy for a week or two, but thereafter, you’ll start to feel more energy. You’re more alert. You don’t have brain fog. You’re less anxious, less depressed, and you start to live in a different view.”

Beyond the mind, Noakes says that in the first two weeks, if you haven’t already lost around four pounds, you’ll start to lose more weight. “By six weeks or two to three months, you’re completely changed,” he adds. “Now you’ve become a fat-burner. Your brain’s adapted to the changes, and you just feel magnificent.”

What the dietitian says:Nussinow sees some legitimacy here, but argues that, again, it’s not so simple. People do need carbs, she says, but it’s the type of carb that matters. “Cut out the CRAP (Carbohydrates Refined And Processed) and your ‘diet’ will improve,” she says. “Eat more vegetables than you think that you need and your health will improve. I’m not sure about the changes and depression, but if your gut isn’t working well, then your brain doesn’t work well. Your gut needs fiber, prebiotics, mainly vegetables to work well, and probiotic food, which is something missing in our modern diets and not so easily replaced with pills.”

The Fight to Change the Global Diet

“We’re fighting against an industry that makes a trillion dollars a year in the sales of foods,” Noakes says. “The sales of cereals and grains and other processed foods is going down. It’s going to be a fight to the death, and we have few resources. So we have to combine and keep getting the message out that what they’re saying isn’t true.”

When asked what his first move would be if made Food Czar of the Universe, Noakes says he’d, “Ban all supermarkets first off, ban all cereals and grains and flour, and get people to eat more of the other produce. And all the sweets and the chocolates — they would have to go as well.”

What the Dietitian Says: Nussinow falls back to the no-diet-fits-all approach. “We don’t all need the same things to survive and thrive. There seem to be seven variations of the gut microbiome and feeding them is different — if you can shift what the gut likes to use to send signals, you can change things up, but we’re far from knowing [how to do this effectively] at this point.”

While Noakes’ low-carb, high-fat diet might work for some, Nussinow makes the distinction that “it’s not the only way,” adding that it’s also important not to generalize grains. “Most people don’t eat whole grains, and if they did, they’d be better off. If people are eating straight flour combined with sugar, it isn’t good.”

Nussinow concludes that, while the Standard American Diet certainly isn’t for everyone, it’s a pretty good diet for a wide swath of people. She adds that David Jenkins — the father of the Glycemic Index — just came out saying that eating a plant-based diet is “the way to go.”

For Noakes and his evangelists, he says they’re merely fighting back against an industry that’s dominated the dietary conversation for decades, in the same way the tobacco industry once influenced scientists and the media. “However much industry tries to fight back … eventually there’s going to be a majority of people that realize the diet is actually fantastic and they feel so much better on it. This scam that a high-fat diet is dangerous will finally be overturned.”

He does, though, concede that without all their cereals, breads, pastas and sweets, “People wouldn’t like living under Czar Noakes. But at least they’d be healthy.”

Quinn Myers

Quinn Myers is a staff writer at MEL. He reports on internet culture, technology, health, masculinity and the communities that flourish within.


African Keto Recipes

closeup image of fried chicken drumsticks

Fried Chicken Drumsticks

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low carb liver and onions recipe

Liver and Onions Recipe

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Instant Pot Boiled Peanuts

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leftover Turkey Stew

Nigerian Turkey Stew

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best foods to eat on Nigerian keto diet

The Best Nigerian Foods for Weight Loss

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Moambe Chicken (Congo Poulet Moambe)

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Fumbwa (Congolese Spinach Stew Recipe)

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African Goat Stew

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heartwarming chicken soup in a bowl

Chicken Pepper Soup

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nigerian edikang ikong soup

Edika Ikong Soup (Nigerian Vegetable Soup)

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white bowl of chicken hearts ready to serve

Chicken Hearts with Mushrooms

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banga soup also known as palm nut soup is a staple in Africa

Banga Soup (Palm Nut Soup)

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The Truth Behind the Keto Diet, the Most Cutting-edge, Fat-burning Performance Meal Plan

With the keto diet, you can get in the best shape of your life, fight cancer, and wipe out diabetes forever. The only wrinkle? It’s not for the faint of heart.

Timothy Noakes, M.D., is an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. While his name may not ring a bell here in the U.S., he’s a full-blown celebrity in his native South Africa and one of the most accomplished exercise physiologists on the planet. You can’t walk by a restaurant in Cape Town that doesn’t offer a “Noakes option”—say, an avocado stuffed with breakfast sausage and eggs, or a double cheeseburger with lettuce sans bun—and evidence of his teachings seems to be everywhere, mostly in the form of the nation’s best-known athletes, including ageless golfing legend Gary Player and eight-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser. In fact, Noakes’ celebrity these days is such that he’s even been pulled into South African presidential politics: To echo the country’s papers of record, “Is President Jacob Zuma’s and his wife’s dramatic weight loss a result of the Noakes Diet?” No one is sure about the president, but his wife, definitely: She’s lost 66 pounds following the Noakes plan.

To high-performing athletes, Noakes preaches that the bedrock tenet of endurance athletic nutrition—that winning performance is best fueled by eating lots of carbohydrates—is simply wrong. Instead, he believes athletes can alter their bodies so that their metabolism burns fat as a primary fuel source, a physiological process known as ketosis, either from stored body fat or from the foods they eat every day. For non-athletes and anyone trying to lose weight or keep it off, Noakes’ advice is that eating a high-fat diet, with few if any refined carbs and as little sugar as possible, will switch on the same fat-burning system and keep your body lean and your weight stable without making you hungry. According to Noakes and a growing number of nutritionists, physiologists, and biohackers, when you’re in a state of ketosis, best attained through a strict “keto diet,” good things happen.

Sometimes, amazingly good things.

Two years ago, LeBron James famously lost 25 pounds and upped his late-game endurance by cutting carbs and sugars from his diet. Tim Ferriss, the author of the Four-Hour self-improvement book series, followed a strict keto diet to cure his Lyme disease, and performs a long multi-day fast every four months as a means, he says, of pushing ketosis further and starving incipient pre-cancerous cells of sugar (more on that later). Last summer, Sami Inkinen, the ultrafit co-founder of real estate juggernaut Trulia, rowed with his wife from California to Hawaii in record time on a keto diet, to promote high-fat eating and raise awareness about the dangers of too much sugar. The Keto Diet, say its ardent supporters, is a natural way to literally reprogram your metabolism and transition to an upgraded operating system. You’ll ultimately feel better and perform better, and your body fat will plummet.

But this sort of “low-carbohydrate, high-fat” (LCHF) keto diet, as Noakes calls it, is still far from mainstream. It takes serious dedication to drop your daily total carb intake to below 50 grams (or 20–30g of net carbs, which are sans fiber), the equivalent of a single cup of brown rice. The USDA Dietary Guidelines were just changed in January to mention the need to limit intake of added sugars and refined carbs like bread, rice, pasta, cookies, and crackers, which spike blood sugar more rapidly than candy. Check the label of nearly any sports drink, and it’s most likely loaded with natural or added sugar. Go to the grocery store today and the labels are awash with the message of “low fat,” “no fat,” or “zero fat.”

Meanwhile, Noakes continues preaching that the right kinds of fats—the ones our bodies evolved to process, like animal fat and butter, olive and coconut oil (but not vegetable oils like corn oil and soybean oil)—are extremely healthy. Noakes titled his 2012 autobiography Challenging Beliefs, and, at age 67, he’s publicly waging a war against carbs and sugar from his Twitter account, @ProfTimNoakes, where he chimes in every few hours and has churned out more than 27,000 tweets since 2012.

Noakes constantly retweets the latest nutrition stories and offers his own food for thought: “Consumption of refined grains, sweets and desserts, sugared drinks, and deep-fried foods = more heart disease” or “Truth wins in the end. But it takes time.”

The healthy ultramarathoner who defied the odds—by becoming diabetic

Noakes’s war on sugar goes back a generation, to when his father developed type-2 diabetes. Type-2 is a disease in which the body gradually loses its ability to regulate blood sugar through the production of the hormone insulin. It’s linked to genetics, but also to diet—particularly sugar and refined carbs—as well as obesity and inactivity. Diabetes experts estimate that the disease speeds up the aging process by roughly a third, damaging the body from the inside out. Too much blood sugar slowly destroys blood vessels, with results ranging from mild—early wrinkling of skin—to catastrophic: heart disease, blindness, stroke, amputations due to poor circulation, and even Alzheimer’s disease (more on that later).

Noakes’ father eventually died from type-2, but because Noakes himself followed a low-fat diet, exercised regularly (he’s run upward of 70 marathons, as well as a handful of ultras), and didn’t smoke, he figured he’d be spared. To be sure, as he got older he put on some weight, and his energy sagged, but he was in good shape.

Regardless, in 2010, Noakes was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Though he didn’t know it yet, a lifetime of well-intentioned carbo- loading for his athletic endeavors had set him up for a fall.

Not long after he got the news, he happened to receive an e-mail about a book title The New Atkins for a New You, and realized he recognized many of the authors’ names on the cover, which belonged to respected exercise experts Stephen Phinney, M.D., Ph.D; Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D.; and Eric Westman, M.D. They argued that the late Dr. Robert Atkins, who famously promoted a low-carb, high-fat diet in the 1980s—and was routinely lampooned for promoting eggs, bacon, and cheese as healthy foods that worked great for weight loss—had been right all along. The professors backed up their position with more than 50 new dietary studies and an action plan for getting lean and maintaining weight loss. Noakes says he learned more about nutrition that year than in his previous 42 years as a doctor.

“I was 222 pounds when I picked up that book,” he tells me. “Today, I’m 178. I’ve achieved my high school weight and my old running times.”

His new way of eating, he says, also cured his migraines and acid reflux. On top of that, it eliminated spikes in blood sugar, kept his appetite in check, and allowed his body to burn its own fat as fuel. After Noakes’ diabetes had reversed course, he wrote about it for Discovery Health News; that triggered a national debate across South Africa, a country plagued by an epidemic of diabetes and its associated conditions. (Blacks and ethnic Indians, who make up much of South Africa’s population, are especially prone to the disease.)

Last year, Noakes published his fourth book, The Real Meal Revolution, which explains why high-fat diets work and how to incorporate them into everyday life. “It’s gone viral,” he says.

How to eat in a post-“bonk” world

Though higher-fat diets go by many names—most recently, the well-known Paleo Diet, as well as the Zone and the South Beach Diet, both of which restrict sugary foods and refined carbs—the Keto Diet has taken the zero-carb and high-fat stance to a whole new level. It’s especially resonated in the biohacker community of Silicon Valley.

From an evolutionary standpoint, ketones—molecules formed by the breakdown of stored fat—are a very important fuel. And ketosis, the process by which the body uses those fuels, is essential for survival.

Here’s how it works: The body—even that of a very lean athlete— stores about 40,000 calories of fat compared with just 2,000 calories of the carbohydrate glycogen. When those carbs have been depleted, the body taps its fat stores for energy. The same is true for athletes who “bonk” during exercise—it’s because they’ve used up all their stored carbs. To go on, they must either eat more carbs (to burn as sugar) or start burning fat. When marathoners break through the so-called “wall” late in a race, they’ve begun to burn fat.

Thanks to Noakes and other Keto Diet supporters, a growing number of athletes today prefer to be in that state at all times. Once they make the switch, they say, not only are their race results and game-day performances better, they report sustained energy, better moods, and clearer thinking.

Switching from foods that cause chronic illness and make you fat to foods that keep you permanently lean and energetic without getting hungry would seem like a no-brainer. But it’s difficult, and most of us don’t really know what ketosis is like. The average American today is what nutritionists call “a sugar burner.” We ingest carbs for breakfast, so our blood sugar goes up quickly then comes crashing down before lunch, when we get our next carb fix. The process happens over and over again without our bodies entering ketosis.

But getting your body to enter full ketosis is no small feat. Imagine forgoing all starchy vegetables, breads, sugary drinks (including fruit juice), pasta—essentially everything that isn’t meat or a non-starchy vegetable. It’s a tall order that only gets taller, because, once you’ve started the process, the body, feeling deprived, undergoes a transition phase often termed the “low-carb flu.” For a few weeks, physical and mental performance—at work, in the gym—dips noticeably and uncomfortably as the body tries to tap its missing fuel source. Not everyone sticks it out.

There’s a shortcut to ketosis, however: fasting. If you don’t eat for many hours, your body will naturally go into fat-burning mode. There are many different fasting protocols to get into ketosis, but the most common is called intermittent fasting, which consists of not eating for 12 to 16 hours.

For instance, one can eat dinner at 8 p.m., skip breakfast the next morning, and eat lunch at noon. Or, like Matt Mattson, Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, you can push it even further: Mattson regularly skips breakfast and lunch altogether. With no blood sugar spikes and crashes, just steady fat burning, he, like most intermittent fasters, feels mentally sharp and experiences little if any sense of deprivation.

Keto diet: the official meal plan of Mars

But if all of this sounds like too much misery for you, consider another reason for adopting the keto diet: Evidence shows that ketosis could not only help stave off Alzheimer’s but also help cure cancer.

A few years ago, Dominic D’Agostino, a Ph.D. and associate professor at University of San Francisco, was trying to solve a big problem for the Navy SEALs. Military divers, he learned, use a device called a rebreather, which is silent and allows for extra-long dives— but, for reasons that are not yet fully understood, makes divers prone to unpredictable, life-threatening oxygen toxicity seizures.

While looking for a way to treat these seizures, D’Agostino stumbled upon the Keto Diet, which also happens to be a proven treatment for a possibly related malady: epileptic seizures in kids. “There are a lot of treatments for epilepsy,” he says, “but the only one we, board-certified neurologists, can say cures the disease is the Keto Diet.”

Why? D’Agostino believes the diet remedies a metabolism imbalance in which brain cells are starved of, or unable to process, glucose, causing the brain to go haywire. Live brain cells are extremely difficult to study (for obvious reasons), but researchers have been able to tease out some clues from the petri dish about why keto diets are good for the brain. Aside from being an energy source, ketones are also important neural signaling molecules and gene transcription facilitators. Ketones also seem to modulate the stress response in neurons and make them more resilient to excitatory nerve transmissions—the kind that can cause seizures. D’Agostino also found that ketones can elevate levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.

Theories aside, when he treated SEALs with a keto diet, their seizures stopped.

But brain diseases aren’t the only illnesses doctors are beginning to think are metabolic rather than purely genetic in origin. Many common types of cancer— esophageal, pancreatic, colon, kidney, thyroid—are associated with obesity and diabetes, and D’Agostino believes he’s on the path to understanding why.

Cancer cells thrive in high-sugar environments because they rely on glycogen (sugar burned for energy) to survive; type-2 diabetes, especially, provides potential cancer cells with a high-sugar environment. (Interestingly, PET scans detect cancer by finding areas in the body with excess glucose compared with normal tissues.) This suggests not only that glycogen may contribute to cancer, but also that it may be cancer’s Achilles’ heel: If cancer cells become compromised when their host is in a ketogenic state, the body’s own immune responses may be able to effectively fight the disease.

“We think the majority of cancers could be metabolically managed through nutritional ketosis, either as a stand-alone pill or an adjunct to standard care,” says D’Agostino, who has published research showing that keto diets can double the lifespan of mice with metastatic cancers. For a more emphatic take: Leading Boston College cancer researcher Thomas Seyfried, M.D., believes that a keto diet is therapeutically even more valuable in fighting cancer than chemo.

Achieving a ketogenic state could get a lot easier in the coming years. D’Agostino believes a ketone supplement will be the breakthrough, making the job of drastically cutting carbs from the diet much easier. His latest creation is KetoCana, which floods the body with ketones and eliminates the symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal.

Meanwhile, military researchers are focused on keto diets as well, believing soldiers could operate optimally on fewer, denser meals. Currently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Defense, and NASA are all running ketogenic experiments. NASA believes the diet will be important in manned missions to Mars because it protects against higher levels of radiation in space by increasing the brain’s resilience to stress. Plus, “the energy density of a keto diet is higher, so you have to carry less weight,” says D’Agostino.

But for evidence of the Keto Diet’s more immediate effects, Noakes brings up South African athlete Bruce Fordyce, 60, who won the country’s biggest ultramarathon, the 56-mile Comrades, a record nine times. He ate high-carb his whole life, eventually putting on weight and becoming insulin resistant. Recently, though, he switched to a high-fat diet—and has regained his former waistline and dramatically improved his marathon times. Little by little, according to Noakes, we’re learning. “This is the single most important health intervention we can make as doctors,” he says. “And as nations.”

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CARNI CHICKEN PASTA//carnivore recipe// carnivore pasta

44 Easy Keto Recipes You’ll Want to Make Right Now


Calling all keto dieters: I’ve compiled this list of my favourite must-try keto recipes, which includes everything from pancakes, coconut pesto and oven baked pork ribs to yummy cheesecake. Net carb counts included for all recipes.


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Soooooo, let’s talk keto.

Keto recipes, and the keto (or ketogenic) diet in general, have skyrocketed in popularity lately. I feel as though the food blog world has exploded with keto recipes – keto this, keto that. I’ve felt a bit behind on the whole keto diet craze, but a friend of mine recently started on a keto diet and asked me if I had any keto recipes to share.

That led to sorting through my blog recipes and asking her: ‘is this keto?’ ‘what about this one?’ (I confess I sometimes struggle to remember the specifics of the keto diet. I asked my friend if plantains were keto. She laughed. I reckon that is a no.)

I dug up quite a few keto recipes from my blog (yaye me – a keto-er without even knowing it) for this post, plus I included a few from fellow food bloggers. I’m quite happy with the results, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Oh, and you’ll be happy to know these recipes are all easy keto recipes – nothing too complex. Sticking to a diet (keto or otherwise) is difficult enough, so the recipes should be simple.

Let’s get on with these 44 Must-Try Keto Recipes.

Keto Breakfasts

Perfect Keto Pancakes {2g net carbs/serving}

These light, crepe-like pancakes are quick and simple to make and are a perfect ketogenic way to start your day.

keto pancakes (low carb pancakes) on a plate with a knife, butter and a grey cloth and toasted coconut

Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole {4g net carbs/serving}

This is a great low carb breakfast casserole that requires almost no effort to make and is packed full of everyday breakfast staples.

One slice of Crockpot Breakfast Casserole served on a white plate with a silver spoon and placed next to a yellow coffee mug

Slow Cooker Low Carb Granola {6g net carbs/serving}

This Low Carb Granola is made in a slow cooker from the best low carb goodies: an assortment of nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, spices, sugar-free maple syrup, and olive oil.

Easy and Delicious slow cooker low carb granola made with mixed nuts, seeds, coconut, cardamom and nutmeg. It is gluten-free and refined sugar free. #lowcarbgranola #sugarfreegranola #crockpotgranola #slowcookergranola #granola #grainfreegranola

Slow Cooker Casserole {3g net carbs/serving}

Prep and start this breakfast casserole the night before so you can easily start your day with a healthy and delicious ketogenic meal.

Top-down view of Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with one slice removed and served on a white plate

Low Carb Pancakes {4g net carbs/serving}

These delicious Low Carb Pancakes are a flavourful combination of almond flour, orange and thyme.

Keto Appetisers & Snacks

7-Ingredient Coconut Pesto {1g net carbs/serving}

7-Ingredient Coconut Pesto is a keto, dairy-free, vegan pesto that uses coconut milk and coconut flakes instead of cheese.

This awesome coconut Pesto is made with just 7 ingredients. It is a gluten free and vegan recipe that is over-the-top delicious. #coconutpesto #veganpesto #pesto #vegan

Crispy Roasted Okra {9g net carbs/serving}

Crispy Roasted Okra is the perfect finger food and only takes a few mins to prepare: a quick trim of the stalk ends of the okra, a coating of vegetable oil and salt (chilli flakes optional), and pop it into the oven.

Easy crispy roasted okra – makes a great snack.

Turkey Meatballs {5g net carbs/serving}

It only takes 5 mins to cook these flavourful and juicy ketogenic turkey meatballs in the Instant Pot.

Air Fryer Meatballs (Turkey Meatballs) on a plate with coloured toothpics

Air Fryer Chicken Wings {1g net carb/serving}

These crispy air fryer chicken wings are so tasty and versatile. The perfect game day snack or a fun family-friendly meal.

A hand dipping one of the Air Fryer Chicken Wings into ranch sauce next to the rest of the chicken wings that are set on white parchment paper

Basil Pesto {6g net carbs/serving}

Homemade Basil Pesto sauce is super easy to make. Dry roast cashews, whiz up the ingredients in a food processor, and add olive oil. Good enough to eat with a spoon.

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings  {0g net carbs/serving}

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are so crave-worthy, no one will miss the chicken. Perfectly suited to serve as a satisfying snack or a healthy side dish.

air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings in a aplate

Bacon Cream Cheese Dip {3g net carbs/serving}

This warm bacon cream cheese dip is a real crowd pleaser, and just the thing to serve up at your game day spread.

Bacon onion cream cheese dip with tortilla being dipped in

Zucchini Dip {2g net carbs/serving}

Made with coconut yoghurt and fresh mint, this keto zucchini dip is light, refreshing and versatile enough to serve all year long.

a vegan dip with sliced pepper on a table

Mexican Garlic Butter Shrimps {0g net carbs/serving}

These Quick Mexican Garlic Butter Shrimps are full of bold flavour and will be ready to serve in just 12 mins.

quick garlic butter chilli shrimps on a plate with lemon, buttered bread and wine

And for even more options, check out this collection of tasty Keto Snacks.

Keto Main Dishes

Instant Pot Chicken Breast {0g net carbs/serving}

This recipe give you flavourful, tender, perfect ketogenic chicken breasts using fresh or frozen chicken. Excellent for meal prep and make-ahead meal solutions.

BBQ Spicy Pulled Pork {0g net carbs/serving}

Learn how to make easy spicy keto pulled pork on the BBQ. Pork shoulder seasoned with a mixture of coriander, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chilli flakes, black pepper, and salt, and cooked to perfection on the BBQ.

How to make spicy pulled pork on the bbq. A fun and easy spring bbq or summer bbq recipe.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken {1g net carbs/serving}

Yeap, you can cook a whole chicken right in the Instant Pot. This ketogenic recipe takes less than 45 mins and gives you a truly moist and flavourful whole chicken.

overhead view of instant pot whole chicken on a platter next to a knife

Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin {2g net carbs/serving}

This keto Instant Pot Tenderloin is infused with delicious Vietnamese flavours. And thanks to the Instant Pot, it is also so quick and easy to make.

closeup of instant pot pork tenderloin cut next to lemons and limes

Air Fryer Salmon {0g net carbs/serving}

This recipe for Air Fryer Salmon give you perfectly-cooked salmon fillets that make an ideal healthy keto lunch or dinner.

The finished Air Fryer Salmon served on a white plate with a green salad

Herb Loaded Beef Burgers {3g net carbs/serving}

Just remove the bun from these tasty herb loaded beef burgers and you have yourself a perfect keto beef recipe.

The herb loaded beef burgers are really tasty and packed full of flavour with parsley, coriander and basil and perfect for a BBQ.

Air Fryer Steak {0g net carbs/serving}

The Air Fryer makes it so easy to cook a juicy, nicely seared ketogenic steak. Serve with delectable herb lemon butter for the perfect celebratory meal.

close of up of air fryer steak sliced on a plate with herb butter

Air Fryer Pork Chops {3g net carbs/serving}

This Air Fryer Pork Chops recipe is keto friendly since it uses a combination of almond flour and Parmesan cheese instead of a traditional breadcrumb mixture. 

One serving of Air Fryer Pork Chops on a white dinner plate served with fresh greens and tomato salad

Oven Baked Ribs West African Style {2g net carbs/serving}

Oven Baked Pork Ribs are heaven on a plate. So many ribs recipes are loaded with high-carb sweeteners, but not these ribs. These Sierra Leone style (salone style) ribs are savory and nearly carb-free.

overhead view of sliced oven baked ribs next to a knife and a head of garlic

Grilled Mackerel Fillets with Green Goddess Dressing {2g net carbs/serving}

This keto recipe combines delicious grilled mackerel fillets (my favourite fish) with a high-fat Green Goddess Dressing.

These grilled mackerel fillets with a green goddess dressing are quick, simple and easy to whip up.

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs {1g net carbs/serving}

These Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are full of flavour, thanks to a delicious blend of Cajun spices, Herbes de Provence and Parmesan cheese. Put a new spin on the usual weeknight keto chicken thighs with this tasty recipe.

2 air fryer chicken thighs on a plate with some salad

Air Fryer Whole Chicken {0g net carbs/serving}

This recipe for Air Fryer Whole Chicken gives you perfectly juicy, tender keto chicken with a delicious crispy skin. Equally perfect for Sunday suppers, quick weeknight dinners, cooking a whole chicken in the air fryer is also a great meal prep solution.

Side view of the finished Air Fryer Whole Chicken sitting on butcher paper and ready to e served

Shrimp Foil Packets with Zucchini {7g net carbs/serving}

These easy make-ahead Shrimp Foil Packets are full of juicy shrimp, quick cook veggies and flavourful spices. With minimal prep and virtually no cleanup, these packets are a great ketogenic meal solution for those hectic weekdays.

Shrimp Foil Pack with a fork

Nutmeg Orange Chicken {1g net carbs/serving}

Nutmeg Orange Chicken is an awesome chicken ketogenic recipe that is roasted in a delicious nutmeg orange sauce.

This simple nutmeg orange chicken recipe is a stunning dish that can be served at any meal. #orangechicken #nutmegchicken #spicyorangechicken #paleorecipe #paleochicken #nutmegorangechicken #orangechickenrecipe #paleo #keto #lowcarb

Crunchy Healthy Turkey Salad {13g net carbs/serving}

This ketogenic turkey salad is a perfect balance of colourful, crunchy and creamy. Plus it requires only a few ingredients and comes together in as little as 10 mins! Perfect for using up leftover turkey throughout the week.

Sheet Pan Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken Breast {5g net carbs/serving}

This delicious one-pan meal of cheese-stuffed chicken breast wrapped in delicious Prosciutto di Parma tastes amazing and comes together so easily. Sheet Pan Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken is a meal that will please everyone at the table.

Finished Proscuitto wrapped chicken and vegetables on a sheet pan and ready to serve

Keto Sides

Herbed Cauliflower Rice {13g net carbs/serving}

Cauliflower Rice is the perfect keto side dish. Easy to make and super versatile, it pairs well with so many main dishes. Prepare this recipe without the tahini  yoghurt for a lower net carb count.

How to make cauliflower couscous recipe @ Recipes From A Pantry

Instant Pot Broccoli {4g net carbs/serving}

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse, and this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli gives you gorgeous green broccoli that is perfectly cooked every time. Serve this Instant Pot Broccoli with all sorts of ketogenic dishes for a truly healthy and satisfying meal.

Bowl of instant pot broccoli on a table

Grilled Broccoli {4g net carbs/serving}

This Grilled Broccoli with garlic, lemon and chilli is healthy, quick to make, tender, slightly spicy and so deliciously charred. This is one side dish that packs a whole lot of flavour in every single bite.

Grilled Broccoli in a bowl seasoned with garlic and chili

Roasted Courgettes {5g net carbs/serving}

This recipe for Roasted Courgettes (Zucchini) is full of flavour and makes a great accompaniment to all sorts of ketogenic dishes.

Simple roasted courgettes make a great side dish. How to roast courgettes. How to roast zucchinis. Zucchini recipe. Courgette recipe.

Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts {6g net carbs/serving}

These deliciously crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts make the perfect keto side dish or snack.

plate full of crispy air fryer brussels sprouts

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts {7g net carbs/serving}

This Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts recipe is healthy, quick, easy and so amazingly tasty. And you can make this ketogenic side dish using  fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts.

a bowl of instant pot brussels sprouts

Keto Soups

Instant Pot Vegetable Soup {16g net carbs/serving}

This quick and easy keto soup is nourishing, satisfying and full of beautiful colour and flavour.

2 bowls of low carb vegetable soup

Curried Tomato Soup {9g net carbs/serving}

Curried Tomato Soup is a flavourful and nutritious meal. Perfect for a quick keto lunch or busy weeknight supper.

a bowl of vegan tomato soup on a table with a spoon

African Pepper Soup {6g net carbs/serving}

It only takes a few everyday ingredients and minimal effort to whip up this popular ketogenic African Pepper Soup.

African Pepper Soup in a pot with lime garnish

Instant Pot Goulash {6g net carbs/serving}

This recipe for Instant Pot Goulash gives you a moist and flavourful Hungarian style beef goulash. A hearty, healthy and delicious meal that can be enjoyed all year round.

bowl of instant pot goulash with a spoon sticking out sitting on white towel

West African Groundnut Spicy Chicken Soup {10g net carbs/serving}

If you like peanuts and chicken, you’ll love the wonderful flavour combination of groundnut soup, an easy West African peanut soup/stew recipe.

closeup of spicy chicken soup showing chicken thighs

Keto Desserts

Low Carb Cheesecake {5g net carbs/serving}

Treat yourself to oh-so-delicious cheesecake without any of the guilt. This Low Carb Cheesecake with Raspberry Jam recipe  is not only low carb, it is also sugar-free and gluten-free.

slice of keto cheesecake with a drizzle of jam

Keto Fat Bombs {2g net carbs/serving}

Chocolate Keto Fat Bombs are a super easy and delicious dessert that involves only 5 ingredients and just 10 mins of prep.

A plate of keto fat bombs on a white plate

Keto Peanut Butter Cookies {2g net carbs/serving}

These 5-ingredient Keto Peanut Butter Cookies are not only deliciously soft and chewy, but super quick and easy to make.

If you are looking for even more delectable ketogenic sweet treats, check out this collection of 17 Unbelievably Good Keto Dessert Recipes.

Keto Diet Food List

If you’ve scratched your head while reading this post and said ‘ket-o-what?’ – it is a ‘low carb, high fat’ diet. A keto diet food list includes foods such as:

  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Oils like coconut and and olive
  • Butter and ghee
  • Low carb vegetables

No grains, and most keto recipes do not include fruit unless it is a small portion of the recipe. (And no plantains, as I learned.)

Enjoy These Ketogenic Recipes

I hope you enjoyed this list of keto recipes. If you would like to see more ketogenic diet recipes, please do let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading my Ketogenic Recipes post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, UK food blog.


Keto diet african


Recently, the ketogenic diet (keto for short) has been in the spotlight as the new diet to try. With that dietitian, Retha Harmse, educates us on the ‘latest craze’ diet.

The keto diet is everywhere; it’s difficult to avoid seeing it on influencers’ Instagram stories; keto options in supermarkets and on restaurant menus; and even friends or relatives speaking about their wonderful results. But, let’s take a closer look at the ketogenic diet.

What it the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate and low to moderate protein diet that changes the body’s metabolism into ketosis. Any diet where fat is metabolised instead of carbohydrate is essentially a ketogenic diet.

Understanding ketosis

During a ‘normal’ or well-balanced diet, the body’s main source of energy is carbohydrates. More specifically, glucose which is the end-product of carbohydrate metabolism/digestion.

But the body is also able to burn fat for energy, and this is utilised in the form of ketones. Ketones are molecules produced by our liver when fat is metabolised; this metabolic switch is called ketosis.

However, the body doesn’t go into ketosis if there is enough carbohydrates available. Consequently, carbohydrates need to be drastically reduced or eliminated to move towards ketones as the primary energy source.

What does it involve?

Generally, on the ketogenic diet, the macronutrient ratio varies within the following ranges:

  • 65 – 80% of calories from fat.
    • Fat-intake is often over 150 grams (double the usual intake of fat).
  • 20 – 25% of calories from protein.
  • 5 – 10% of calories from net carbohydrate.
    • Roughly 20 – 50 grams a day (compared to the recommended daily amount of 200 – 300 grams per day).

What does this mean in non-dietitian language?

The keto diet prescribes high amounts of fat (both animal and plant sources), low-carbohydrate vegetables, nuts, seeds, and modest protein in the form of meat, fish and eggs. It excludes grains, dairy, legumes, soy, most fruits and starchy vegetables.

Meticulous planning

Ketogenic diets require meticulous planning to ensure the liver continues producing a constant supply of ketones to supply the body with energy.

To maintain ketosis, an individual’s diet needs to be precisely planned and tracked daily, as limiting carbohydrates and increasing fat is not the only focus of the ketogenic diet.

It’s also imperative not to consume protein in excess, as proteins can also be broken down to glucose (through a process called gluconeogenesis). This will in turn inhibit the ability for the body to move into ketosis. Also, if carbohydrates are not restricted enough, it might result in ketonuria (ketones in the urine and not used as energy). This is detectable by urinary dipstick analysis.

The history of keto diets

Although ketogenic diets might seem like the new ‘craze’; they are nothing new. Ketogenic diets have been around from the early 1900s, when they were discovered to have an efficacy in the treatment and management of epilepsy in children.

It is still used for this purpose; although more recently these diets have gained popularity for the management of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

However, it’s important to note that the macronutrient ratios and recommendations for the ketogenic diet in the management of paediatric epilepsy are substantially different than those advocated for the management of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

What are the benefits?

In terms of weight loss, evidence suggests quicker initial weight loss. This might be due to the initial use of glycogen stores (glucose stored in the muscle and liver), or reduced energy intake due to increased satiety from eating a large amount of fat and protein.

But long-term differences in weight lost showed no significant difference in comparison to other diets.

As mentioned previously, ketogenic diets have been used for decades to treat epilepsy. But, more recently, research has suggested that they might have a role in treating Type 2 diabetes and inflammatory conditions, such as chronic pain. That been said, there isn’t sufficient evidence just yet to support ketogenic diets for these conditions in terms of its long-term safety and efficacy.

Lastly, research has found that people consuming fewer calories from carbohydrate tend to eat fewer foods high in added sugars, such as soft drinks, doughnuts, etc. Yet, other research has found that the more carbohydrate consumption is restricted, the greater risk there is for poor nutrient intake.

Potential side effects

  • High fat diets, especially when it’s high in saturated fat, increases total cholesterol. More specifically LDL cholesterol which is the “bad” cholesterol.
    • Both total and LDL cholesterol are both biomarkers for poor cardiovascular health.
  • Reduced energy and decrease in performance in activities that use short bursts of power, because ketogenic diets depletes the energy stores in your muscles (glycogen as mentioned previously).
  • Fatigue, general weakness, headaches and sluggishness, or brain fog.
  • Due to the very low fibre intake of ketogenic diets, you may experience constipation, increased risk of digestive problems and microbiota imbalances.
  • Limited fruit, vegetables and grains consumption – thereby limiting nutrient intake that might lead to deficiencies.
    • Nutrients (lack of) of particular concern on the ketogenic diet are calcium, vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
  • Increased oxidation and inflammation in the body.
    • Recent evidence has shown that high fat diets, especially saturated fat, may promote inflammation and lead to the progression of inflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Possible loss of lean muscle mass.
  • Dry mouth, frequent urination, halitosis (bad breath = acidic, fruity odour).

Take-home message

Currently, there is a lack of strong evidence for ketogenic diets, based on their health claims about longevity, gut microbiome and heart health. Diets that are higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein, in fact, have the strongest links to longer lives and happy guts.

There are various probable side effects when following a ketogenic diet, which is why there is a need for ongoing monitoring and consistent assessment by a qualified dietitian.

Overall, unless medically indicated, I do not recommend following a ketogenic diet. Considering fat and carbohydrates, it’s all about balance.

  • The types of fat you include and the quantities you consume does matter.
  • Carbohydrates does form part of a healthy balanced diet.

My tactic is always to look at sustainable changes you can make that doesn’t include elimination of entire food groups.


The keto diet is a low carb diet designed to force your body into burning ketone bodies for fuel rather than sugar from carbohydrates.

The liver produces ketone bodies from fat stores – called ketosis – which is where the diet gets the name. The primary aim during the diet is to keep the body in a state of ketosis so that it begins fueling your day-to-day activity with energy from fat.

Ketosis is a natural state our body goes into when fasted. Once your body depletes the energy stores from carbohydrates, the body switches to ketone bodies as a fuels source. While fasting is the best way to cause ketosis eating a heavy carbohydrate-restricted diet will work as well.

keto ketogenic diet low carb

The principles behind the diet are similar to the banting diet but carbs are even more restricted. Unlike the banting diet, you need to monitor your protein intake carefully.

High level, this is what you would be allowed on the Keto diet:

  • Saturated fats from oils may be consumed in high amounts, as well as smaller amounts of healthy unsaturated fats.
  • Fruits are a no-no – they are rich in carbs but small portions of certain fruits, like berries, are allowed.
  • Restrict carbohydrate-rich vegetables. Opt for leafy green vegetables that grow above ground.
  • Steer clear of large quantities of meat, but low-carb unprocessed meats gets the green light.
  • Fish and other seafood are excellent additions to your menu.

Is the keto diet safe?

There are obvious dangers to cutting out the carbs from fruit and vegetables. You’re going to end up missing out on vitamins and minerals, as well as decrease your fibre intake, which can lead to constipation.

keto ketogenic diet low carb

In addition, like all of the high-fat diets, consuming saturated fats may be linked to an increase in bad cholesterol and heart disease. For now there’s a lot of debate around this issue.

Planning and research is essential

The keto diet is not natural; you’ll need to prepare your refrigerator in advance and plan your meals in advance. The one advantage that the keto diet does have over other diets is that you can test for ketosis.

A few companies sell these keto strips that give you an indication of your concentration of ketone bodies. This means you’ll never be in any doubt about whether your diet is working or what impact cheating has on ketosis.

Many people who try keto also report “keto flu”. This is generally an unpleasant period during which the body is adapting. The dieter may experience symptoms like fatigue, headache, irritability, difficulty focusing (“brain fog”), lack of motivation, dizziness, sugar cravings and nausea.

keto ketogenic diet low carb

This is unpleasant enough for many to throw in the towel on the diet. However, many other users report that their bodies adapt after a few days.

Changing the way your body fuels itself is not a small change and should be undertaken with caution.

Make sure you do the appropriate research. Speak to your doctor before making any permanent changes to your diet and exercise routine.

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Before undertaking any course of treatment, please consult with your healthcare provider.

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