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The Science Behind MCT Oil, and When to Avoid It

MCT coconut oil concept - coconuts, butter and oil on wood background, copy space

There are numerous low-carbohydrate diets currently in vogue; the Mediterranean Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet, and others. All restrict the intake of grains, starchy vegetables, refined sugar, and fruits. But while there are a number of similarities, when it comes to macronutrients, that’s where things start to diverge. Some low-carb The ratio of macronutrients then diverge some featuring high fat, others higher in protein.

The Ketogenic Diet (sometimes referred to simply as “Keto”) is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high-fat way of eating. Conversely, the standard western diet, characterized by its high intake of red meat, potatoes, processed foods, refined grains, and high-sugar drinks is comprised of 50% – 65% or more carbohydrates. This eating pattern is largely responsible for the high rates of obesity, both in adults and children in the U.S. today.

Keto has emerged as an effective method to counter this obesity epidemic, while also providing additional health benefits.

The macronutrient ratio in most Ketogenic Diets is approximately 65% fat, 25 – 30% protein, and 5 – 10% from carbohydrates. Obviously, this is a dramatic departure from most of today’s U.S. diets. The concept of the Ketosis Diet is to so severely restrict the amount of glucose available (through the elimination of carbohydrates) that the body will start to burn fat for energy and produce ketones. Once ketones in the body reach a certain level, you enter a state of ketosis.

The Keto Diet has become very popular, spawning an entire industry of Keto programs and products. We’ll delve into one of those products, MCT Oils, in detail in this article. Once the body enters a state of ketosis, weight loss can be achieved rapidly as the body is burning fat for fuel. Other benefits of ketosis include improved insulin resistance, and reduced risk of cardiac disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. Additionally, the Keto Diet has been used extensively since the 1920’s in the treatment of seizures and epilepsy in children.

One reason the Ketogenic Diet is so popular is that the higher ratio of fats and moderate protein provide a greater feeling of satiety, allowing one to go longer without eating. As a result, many Keto dieters also practice intermittent fasting, which can speed the onset of Ketosis and result in fast weight loss without the dangers of starvation.

Liquid coconut MCT oil in round glass bowl with wooden spoon and bottles. Health Benefits of MCT Oil. Triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid.

The Science of Ketosis

Nutritional Ketosis, induced by the Ketogenic Diet, is a state in which your body is efficiently burning fat for energy rather than glucoseFrom a scientific viewpoint, this is determined by the percentage of ketones in the bloodstream, stated as mM (millomolar) per DL (deciliter) of blood. At .05mM you enter ketosis, the optimal range is 1.5 mM – 3.0mM, and one really doesn’t want to exceed the upper range of 3.0mM.

This definition begs a couple of questions:

  1. How does the body achieve a nutritional state of ketosis?
  2. How do I know when I’ve achieved ketosis?

Through carb restriction on the Keto Diet, you have reduced glucose to a level that requires the body to adjust its metabolism. This process may take several days. No longer able to produce glucose, the body turns to its second choice of fuel for energy: fats. As a part of this conversion process, the body breaks down stored fat into fatty acids and glycerol. Although the cells of the body can use fatty acids and glycerol for energy, the brain cannot.

The alternate source of energy produced to supply the brain is ketones. Fatty acids are converted to ketones in the liver through the process of ketogenesis, while the glycerol is converted to sugar through gluconeogenesis. Through ketogenesis, a ketone body called acetoacetate is produced. These ketone bodies are further segregated into BHB, (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) and Acetone. Over time the body begins to utilize BHB as its preferred source of energy. That’s when you have achieved ketosis.

Although there are tests to determine if you are in ketosis, and the level to which you are in ketosis, let’s first discuss signs you should observe to let you know you’ve arrived. Unfortunately, the first indicators that you’ve achieved ketosis are not exactly pleasant: moodiness, lethargy, headaches, and bad breath, almost as if you are becoming ill. Congratulations, you have the “keto flu”. The good news is that the “flu” is normally brief and can be eased by increasing water, electrolytes and fat consumption.

The more scientific approaches to determine Ketosis include blood tests to determine ketone levels, urine ketone test strips, and breath acetone meters.

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MCT Oils, (Medium Chain Triglycerides) and the Keto Diet

Much like Atkins in the 60’s, the Keto Diet has inspired entrepreneurs and manufacturers to create products to supplement the program. Today there are meal replacements, powdered shakes, bars, collagen protein, exogenous ketones, BHP salts, diet aids (pills), low-carb bread, low-carb chocolate snacks, and even Fat Bombs, all designed to make the diet more convenient and easier to adhere to, some promising faster entry, or faster return into ketosis.

Right at the top of this list, and one of the most efficacious products is MCT Oils, (from Medium-Chain Triglycerides). But, just what is a triglyceride, and what makes one medium-chained? And, more importantly, what does MCT Oil do?

What is a Medium-Chain Triglyceride?

Let’s start with a definition of a triglyceride and perhaps we can then decipher the length of its chain? Triglycerides are a type of fat that comes from the foods we eat, such as butter, oils, and other fats. They are the most common type of fat found in our bodies, a result of excess caloric intake. They are stored in fat cells and later released when energy is required.

Triglycerides are composed primarily of fatty acids and are named after the length of their fatty acid chains. MCTs may also be referred to as MCFA’s (Medium-Chain Fatty Acids). Most fats in our diet are made of long-chain fatty acids, Omega-3’s contain from 13 – 21 carbon atoms. And so, a triglyceride with a fatty acid carbon chain of only 6 to 12 atoms is known as a “medium-chain triglyceride!” Riddle solved, right?

How MCTs are Digested

What makes MCTs unique is that they are metabolized differently than long-chain fatty acids found in most other foods. Typically, fats are absorbed by intestinal cells, placed inside chylomicrons which transport them to the lymphatic system to be circulated to the liver and adipose tissue throughout the body. These lipids with long-chain fatty acids are more easily stored. MCTs however, go straight to the liver meaning they are absorbed much faster. Once in the liver, MCTs can be used for instant energy, or they can be converted to ketones. And, remember, the brain uses ketones as it’s only alternative, and perhaps preferred, source of energy.

Let’s look at the four different MCTs; Caproic Acid – (C6), Caprylic Acid – (C8), Capric Acid – (C10), and Lauric Acid – (12). Each of the first three, the “Capr Acids,” go straight to the liver as mentioned above. In fact, the shorter the chain, the better the absorption and faster availability of energy. Lauric Acid, however, is routed through the stomach and the small intestine, does not go directly to the liver, and is a slower burning fuel source.

Interestingly enough, Lauric Acid is a prominent ingredient across several major brands of MCT Oils. Ostensibly, the Lauric Acid is included to provide an extended energy curve. Further, Lauric Acid is a source material of monolaurin, a potent nutrient not found in a normal diet, but naturally occurring in human breast milk.

How MCT Oils are Made

What is an MCT Oil and how is it made? In the context of this article, MCT Oils are dietary supplements manufactured to support your Ketogenic Diet. Unlike coconut oil and palm oil which contain MCTs as a part of their makeup, quality MCT Oils are made predominantly, if not exclusively, of MCTs.

MCT Oils are derived from coconut oil and/or palm kernel oil through a process generally known as fractionation. The process involves isolating or distilling the MCTs, and the fractionation of the different types of MCTs, Caproic, Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, and Lauric Acid, from the base coconut or palm kernel oil. Manufacturers of MCTs produced from coconut oil are quick to point out that products made from palm oil are cheaper and less environmentally friendly, being harvested from native palm forests. We recommend you do your research to ensure any MCT Oil sourced from palm oil is RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified.

A close up of ketogenic food: coconut and coconut butter, avocado. walnuts and macadamia nuts

Where to Find MCT Oils

There are numerous manufacturers and brands in the MCT Oil space. Some of the better-known brands would include;

  • Bulletproof’s Brain Octane (Pure Caprylic Acid) and XCT (Caprylic Acid and Capric Acid)
  • Onnit, derived from 100% Pure Coconut Oil, (Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, and a small amount of Lauric Acid)
  • Garden of Life, sourced from 100% Organic Coconut Oil, (also Caprylic Acid, Capric Acid, and a small amount of Lauric Acid)
  • Now Foods, sourced from Coconut and Palm Kernel Oil, (no further breakdown of MCTs)
  • Perfect KETO, sourced 100% from Coconuts, (Pure Caprylic Acid)
  • Perfect KETO, MCT Oil Powder, 10 grams of MCT Oil with Acacia (no further breakdown of MCTs)

You will find MCTs online at various websites and in brick and mortar specialty retailers such as GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Sprouts and Whole Foods. In fact, MCTs are becoming so popular they are now available in your traditional food stores and even your local Walmart. See examples below of popularly priced, mass market MCT Oils.

  • Nature’s Way, from Coconuts (no further breakdown of MCTs)
  • Jarrow, from Coconuts (MCTs, Caprylic and Capric Acid)

Other Foods High in MCTs

Some people prefer to get their MCTs through food as opposed to Oils. For those individuals, we suggest ordinary coconut oil, palm kernel oil, dairy products such as cheese, butter, (particularly butter from grass-fed cows), milk, and full-fat yogurt.

See below for the ratio of MCTs in these foods:

  • Coconut Oil – 15%
  • Palm Kernel Oil – 7.9%
  • Cheese – 7.3%
  • Butter – 6.8%
  • Milk – 6.9%
  • Yogurt – 6.6%

Benefits of MCT Oils

MCT Oil can offer certain benefits when used properly and in the appropriate dosages. Below we recap several reasons people are using MCT Oil supplements. However, it’s important to note that a great deal of the publicity regarding MCT Oils today is anecdotal. MCTs have been the subject of research and certain clinical trials; however, most of the data to date relates to medium-chain triglycerides, not processed MCT Oils.

  • Many people supplementing with MCT Oil are doing so for body composition purposes, to lose weight and maintain lean muscle.
  • A benefit of MCT Oils as positioned by manufacturers is that they can improve cognition and memory function. Your brain is made up primarily of fatty acids. Given ketones role in providing energy to the brain, this seems a logical conclusion. Initial research, primarily on Alzheimer’s patients, shows promise, however, more clinicals are required before established connections can be proven.
  • Many people rely on MCT Oil for an instant energy boost, to fuel their workouts, and for increased stamina.
  • Additional benefits may include:
    • Lowered cholesterol levels
    • Better blood sugar control
    • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
    • Enhanced immune system
    • Combats harmful bacteria and viruses

Potential Issues with MCT Oils Use

When taken in excessive amounts, MCT Oils may cause certain issues such as gastrointestinal distress, anxiety, mood swings, loss of appetite, and headaches.

Additionally, there is a good deal of confusion surrounding the use of MCT Oils in cooking. Due to its lower smoke point, many prefer not to cook with them. To be safe, solid coconut cooking oil, olive oil, or other cooking oils should be used in its place.

And, keep in mind, the use of MCT Oils means that you’re adding extra fats and calories to your nutrition. Excessive use could stall your weight loss progress.

But perhaps the biggest issue for Ketogenic dieters is that MCT Oils, although useful for supplying an intense boost of energy when needed (such as for workouts or in the morning), they can actually prevent your body from burning your own fat reserves and stall your weight loss goals. At the same time, some Keto practitioners have been known to overdo the MCTs, using it as a crutch to try to return to ketosis after consuming carbs.

Best Ways to Use MCT Oils

With the dangers of incorrect MCT use always present, knowing how to use this powerful keto diet aid is absolutely vital. The primary use of MCT Oil supplementation is in conjunction with the Keto Diet for weight management. The product can be used in several different ways:

  • With coffee, for cognition and energy
  • Taken alone, by the tablespoon, in the morning for mental performance
  • Between meals for fat burning
  • Mixed into protein shakes, smoothies, or meal replacement shakes, to make them more Keto friendly
  • Pre-workout for a boost of energy/endurance
  • As a substitute for conventional oils in salad dressings

But while often effective in the short term, MCT Oils should not be relied upon as quick fixes, or as viable alternatives to the Ketogenic Diet. The truth is that when it comes to achieving fat adaption, there is no miracle potion — it takes time and discipline, and if you take something looks like an easy shortcut, then there’s a good chance that you’re just going to end up lost.

There is more than sufficient evidence to support many of the claims associated with MCT Oils, but for those who are looking for more than just a short-term solution, the straight path is the more reliable one. The good news is that as your body becomes fat adapted, you’ll find that you won’t need supplements to give you the quick bursts of energy that MCT Oils are known for. After all, the main point of the Ketogenic Diet is to train your body to better use the fuel stores it already has (rather than developing dependence on yet another outside source).

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The Fat Bomb Myth: Everything You Need to Know About The Hype

It’s almost impossible to walk into a gym or grocery store and not hear about the keto diet. Unlike other fads, the keto diet has come around and stays around because it actually works!

Crazy For Keto

The keto diet consists of eating calorie appropriate meals that consist of high fat, moderate protein, a little to no carbs. Doing this for a period of time (depending on your metabolism) puts your body into a state of ketosis. Being in ketosis, your body uses ketones as its energy supply instead of sugar or carbs. Ketones are fueled by healthy sources of fat. Thus, the need for high-fat low carb consumption.

Keto boasts to be one of the few diets to actually reduce cravings. Due to a stabilized blood sugar, keto dieters rarely suffer the need to cheat.

Gateway Sweets

But, not all is well in the keto world. “Fat bombs” are a keto trend created to curb the carnivorous sweet tooth. These “treats” are usually natural, high fact, with a moderate amount of sweetness either natural or artificial. However, do fat bombs actually contribute to keto health goals or are they a step backward? Do they affect all ketoers equally? Here is everything they don’t tell you about keto fat bombs.

What is “Fat Bomb”?

the vegan of handmade candy on a wooden background. Fitness sweets. candies without sugar.

Keto fat bomb recipes usually consist of a variety of seeds, nuts, fruit, cocoa powder, natural or artificial sweetener, and a solidifying fat like nut butter or coconut oil. There are also savory fat bomb recipes that include bacon, eggs, and avocado. A fat bomb is referred to by keto dieters as a high-energy snack, treat, or dessert. Some even consume fat bombs as a pre-workout.

The appeal to fat bombs is varying. Some keto dieters use fat bombs as a way to curb sweet cravings, or for a fat-dense snack. However, the keto diet is just about cutting carbs and sugar. Eating clean is a crucial part of being successful at keto. Clean keto eating means understanding the source of your calories and ensuring they are as mineral and vitamin dense as possible while also maintaining your high-fat, low-carb macronutrients to stay in ketosis.

While fat bombs aren’t allowed nutrient dense, they do provide a huge dose of fat that can fuel ketones.

What Fat Bombs Claim to Do

Keto fat bombs are usually 90% fat (or more). The fat commonly comes from dairy or coconut milk. These keto-friendly ingredients appear to make keto bombs suitable for a dessert, snack, or meal replacement. With so much fat in a single fat bomb (hence the name) the calories in a single snack can range from 250-500. Even though a keto dieter strives for high-fat, should a quarter of your calories come from a golf ball sized goodie?

Fat Bomb Ingredient Woes

Beyond the beneficial claims of fat bombs, there are a few reasons why they are hard to support, entirely.

A common misconception about the keto diet is the need to consume a large amount of high-fat foods in order to reach ketosis. In reality, it’s the deprivation of exogenous glucose that encourages your body to burn its own stored fat for energy. Thus, fat bombs tend to focus on increasing your consumption of oil, dairy, and sweeteners that can affect your success on the keto diet. Fat bombs look good on paper but can cripple your ketosis.

Fat Bombs & Fat Loss

Despite some keto dieters claiming they’d fail the diet if it weren’t for their fatty treat, fat bombs have nothing to do with your success on the keto diet. Much of such claims are strictly mental and not at all nutritional.

Success on the keto diet is the result of hormones, specifically leptin, reacting to a lack of blood sugar resulting in the body using stored fat for energy. Fat that is consumed for energy would be used before stored fat. Therefore, the benefits of fat bombs are significantly diminished in terms of fat loss. Because, while you may be sustaining a state of ketosis, you are fueling your ketones with fat bombs as opposed to extra stomach, thigh, or arm fat. Let’s break it down a little further.

 

Leptin and insulin are opposing hormones. One tells the body to store fat, the other tells the body to stop storing fat. While everyone seems so concerned with insulin and insulin resistance, high priority should also be placed on leptin. As with all hormones, the overproduction of it decreases the body’s sensitivity to it. In a body with excess fat, leptin is overused. The impact of leptin resistance is your body not knowing when or how to stop storing fat. This fat can come from coconut oil or frying oil, it wouldn’t matter.

Fat bomb enthusiasts fail to recognize that leptin resistance, though improved when in ketosis, is still a very serious hormonal adaptation that will not be reversed by consuming high amounts of fat.

Focus on Real Food

Replacing a fat bomb with nutritionally dense foods is more effective and sustainable. With the average fat bomb recipe containing 300 calories of fat per serving, your body would benefit more from any of the following:

  • 2 Organic eggs cooked in butter
  • ½ lb of Ground beef with broccoli
  • Fresh Salad with walnuts, berries, and goats cheese

It’s no secret that having variety and color in your diet means you are supplying your body with necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Your fat sources should be just as varying. The ideal source of fat on a keto diet is high-quality, hormone-free animal fats. Recommended types of keto-friendly saturated fats include:

  • Red meat
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Cream
  • Eggs

The fats are packed with vitamins that are necessary when in a state of ketosis. Think beyond fat in order to achieve your keto health goals.

Fat Bombs: The Ugly Truth

Ketogenic diet dessert coconut almonds sugar free chocolate stevia

The reality is that fat bombs are an unnecessary trend in the world of keto dieting. Once you’ve become keto-adapted the idea of snacking is foreign. Most importantly, hunger pains become a rarity. Thus, fasting becomes a regular and more effective part of the keto lifestyle.

Fasting and Keto

Remember our friend, leptin? This fat-blocking hormone is a keto dieter best friend. When in a state of ketosis, this hormone and others (like insulin) are secreted less often. Resulting in fewer to no blood sugar spikes or drops. Thus, the keto diet reduces hunger. If you find yourself not reaching for lunch at noon or needing that evening snack, it’s probably a sign that ketosis is improving your hormonal balance.

Fat bombs promote unnecessary snacking. And, if you are craving a sweet treat, it may mean you aren’t in ketosis any longer. To effectively curb cravings turn to whole foods that are nutritionally diverse as opposed to super fatty. Again, switching the mentality of keto meaning more fat to keto meaning less exogenous glucose. Boiled eggs or a steak salad are a great way to respond to hunger. Wait until it’s an appropriate time for a meal and skip snacking altogether.

If you are keto-adapted, fasting is a great way to boost your ketone production. Fasting also empties your blood and liver of remaining glucose to promote a state of ketosis. If you’re not hungry, don’t be afraid to fast.

Don’t Fall for the Fat Bomb Hype

Handmade chocolates and pieces of dark chocolate on a dark surface.  One of the sweets is broken into two parts to demonstrate the filling.  Close-up.  Macro shot.

There are no quick ways to keto-adapt and suddenly consuming large amounts of fats won’t do it. Stop trying to skip to the front of the line with this one. Your body is going to take its own time anyway.

Success on the keto diet looks different for everyone. But most can expect:

  • Less hunger
  • Fat loss
  • Balanced hormone
  • Accessible muscle gain/maintain
  • Sugar detox
  • Mental clarity
  • Improved concentration

and so much more.

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Accessing these benefits takes time and whole foods, not keto bombs. While a keto bomb won’t entirely wreck your diet, it certainly doesn’t add anything to it. Keep your sources clean and whole and let keto work its magic on your body and overall health. If you want to have fresh keto meals made of regenerative agriculture and organic ingredients, check this menu. We deliver nutritious and delicious keto meals to your door.

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Ketoned Bodies listed as a “Top 75 Keto Diet” blog in 2018!

We are so proud to be featured on Feedspot’s Top 75 Keto Diet Blogs & Websites For Ketogenic Diet Plans & Recipes in 2018!

We at Ketoned Bodies are dedicated to producing and publishing truly valuable content for everyone on the keto diet. We landed in spot 39 this year and we’re looking forward to climbing up the ranks in the years to come.

Thanks again Feedspot; we’ll be seeing you again next August!

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Low-Carb Fast Food: Does it Fit into the Keto Diet?

Beautiful young lady eating a tasty burger at an outdoor cafe. Horizontal Shot.

As anyone on a keto diet will tell you, one of the hardest factors to navigate is eating out.

Eating fast food is not only convenient for those on-the-go, but is an affordable (and sometimes, the only) option for a meal. Plus, for many people eating out plays a huge role in their social life — no one wants to be that “one friend” who shuts down every restaurant suggestion.

But for those who are either fat adapted, or on their way to becoming fat adapted, this poses a difficult question: Are low carb fast foods okay to consume while on the ketogenic diet?

The answer isn’t so simple.

Whether you’ve been on the keto diet for a couple of weeks or for a couple of months, it’s important to educate yourself when it comes to low carb fast foods, which ones are acceptable in a pinch, and what low carb fast foods you should be avoiding like the plague.


See the following articles for more “Keto Guide”

[Keto Guide for a Beginner]

[Keto Information]

[Life Tips for Keto]


Below is our low carb fast food guide for those on the keto diet.

Keto Diet Basics

Those on a keto diet eat foods that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates, along with moderate amounts of protein. Changing the way you eat — replacing carbs with high fats in your diet — helps your body transition to ketosis (a metabolic state).

When your body is in ketosis, it transitions from using glycogen as an energy source. As glycogen (in the form of carbohydrates) is so easily available in the modern diet, most bodies have become very accustomed to relying on the fast-burning fuel for energy. However, the body is actually designed to burn fat for fuel, which is why it stores excess fat for times when carbohydrates aren’t on hand. By effectively eliminating carbs from your diet, you can force your body to overcome glycogen dependence, and instead adapt itself to burn fat — from the food you take in, and from the fat you have stored on your body.

This leads to fast, effective, healthy weight loss. And because your body is learning how to make use of the fuel it’s been storing away, and the fact that fat is a much slower burning fuel than glycogen, Keto is one diet that actually curbs food cravings. The ketogenic diet has also been connected to lower blood sugar levels and increased energy. In addition, researchers suggest that a keto diet can lower your risk of heart disease.

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The Truth About Low Carb Fast Foods and Keto

Although convenient for those in a pinch, generally speaking, fast food is not typically a healthy option. More often than not, the fast food you’re consuming comes in large portions, and is chock-full of sodium, high in calories, and offers negligible nutritional value. After all, the main focus of much fast food is that it tastes good; nutrition is usually a secondary consideration.

Because fast food offers little in the way of nutrients and usually comes from low-quality sources, it doesn’t integrate very well with the keto diet. Even if it fits the high fat, low carb bill, there’s more to effective keto than just hitting your macros. Preparing keto friendly meals at home should always be your first choice when it comes to eating, because you can control what exactly is going into your body and can integrate a more rounded nutritional experience

In addition, once your body is more adapted to the keto diet, you should be able to use intermittent fasting and skip a meal, instead of having to rely on poor-quality, low carb fast foods just to keep from starving.

What if Fast Food is My Only Option?

We get it. Sometimes eating out may be the only option to maintain ketosis. Or you may not be able to fast for a whole meal because you’re not 100 percent fat adapted. Social factors also play a big role, and may make it necessary for you to eat out — such as taking a client to lunch or attending a friend’s birthday dinner.

That said, keto-friendly meals are available at various restaurants, just be sure to do your homework beforehand.

Keto Fast Food Options

Below are 10 national chains and low carb food options for those on the keto diet.

  1. Arby’s — Roast Beef Sandwich (no bun)

At Arby’s, you have a lot of sandwich options that are keto friendly, so long as they’re bunless. Instead of the bun, choose a lettuce wrap, or a side of lettuce.

  1. Chick-fil-A — Grilled Chicken Nuggets (8 count)

Though you should be careful when it comes to sauces, you can enjoy your grilled chicken nuggets with buffalo sauce. The Chick-fil-A cobb salad with grilled chicken and garlic & herb ranch dressing is another option.

  1. Chipotle — Salad Bowl

This salad bowl is easy to order, and you can add meat and certain other low-calorie mix-ins.

  1. Five Guys Burgers — Bacon Cheeseburger (no bun)

Many burgers at Five Guys are fair game, as long as you make sure to go bunless and order the lettuce wrap instead. Watch out for condiments and avoid ketchup, relish and BBQ sauce on your burger.

  1. Jimmy John’s — B.L.T. Unwich

Cleverly named “unwiches,” any of Jimmy John’s sandwiches can be converted to a breadless sandwich, helping you eliminate carbs while still getting the necessary fat and protein. If you’re looking to really cut down on calories, you can order a slim tuna salad unwich or slim 5 salami unwich.

  1. KFC — Grilled Chicken Drumstick & Grilled Chicken Thigh (2 piece)

Grilled chicken is a decent option when looking for low carb foods. As for sides, your best bet is coleslaw or green beans.

  1. McDonald’s — Double Cheeseburger (no bun)

Like Chick-fil-A, you’ll need to be careful with sauces, and order your cheeseburger without ketchup.

  1. Sonic Drive-In — NY Dog (no bun)

Staying on theme, avoid sauces such as ketchup and relish on your hot dog.

  1. Taco Bell — Naked Egg Taco

The naked taco uses a fried egg as the taco shell, but you’ll need to order one with no potatoes. Another keto friendly option is to order their sides, such as a side of grilled chicken, side of beef or a side of lettuce.

  1. Wendy’s — Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad

This salad has the low carb ingredients you want, while leaving you satisfied. Try the salad with an avocado ranch dressing, which is low cal. You can also order their double stack or baconator burger with no bun.

Other Tips

In addition to swapping buns for lettuce and avoiding certain sauces, keep these tips in mind whenever you find yourself having to eat out:

Grab a water cup

Though it may be tempting to grab a sugar-free soda, the keto diet works best when you drink water. You should really be drinking water throughout the day, and not just at your meals, so a little extra hydration is always a good thing.

Double check salad ingredients and dressing before ordering

To the naked eye, salads seem like a no-brainer on a diet, but you’ll need to double check the ingredients to make sure you’re not eating something sugary or high carb. Sometimes the lettuce and spinach are just green coverings for less healthy ingredients

With salad dressing, be sure to order the dressing on the side and choose options such as ranch, oil, caesar or blue cheese. All of these contain the fat you need for the keto diet.

Meat, veggies and cheese should be your staples

When you’re deciding on what to order, pick dishes that have these simple items. Or, look to see if you can order these items as a side and then create a meal out of them.

Do your research before eating out

If you have the luxury of knowing where you’re eating out before heading out, look up the nutritional information online. Most fast food restaurants have this information available on their websites.

On the other hand, if you’re not sure whether an item or meal is keto friendly, it’s best to skip it and find something else.

Lastly, be mindful of portions

Fast food places tend to have larger portions than what you make for yourself at home, so take that into account before you order, and don’t be afraid to leave some of your meal uneaten.

Final Verdict

On the surface, the ketogenic diet is about eating high fat, moderate protein, and extremely low carbs. But there’s more to it than all of that. At its heart, keto is about adopting a nutritionally dense, ecologically conscious lifestyle, and fast food just doesn’t usually qualify. Furthermore, if you find yourself constantly pining for the drive-thru or making excuses to eat fast food, your body probably isn’t fully fat adapted. You’re better off doubling down to get yourself into ketosis, after which you’ll have an easier time leaving the fast food behind you.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a social situation where fast food is the only option, or if you’re not fully fat adapted and can’t fast, there are certain fast food options that are high fat, low carb and have moderate amounts of protein. They often won’t kick you out of ketosis or ruin your progress, but they probably won’t be doing you any favors, either.

If you’re constantly on-the-go or struggling to find filling keto meals, check out our meal menu where our dishes are ready to heat and eat.

At Ketoned Bodies, we ship delicious, healthy keto meals right to your doorstep. See how we’re the best keto meal delivery service in the country!

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17 Easy Keto Lunch Ideas

Finding delicious and easy keto friendly lunches that keep you full and committed to the keto diet can be a challenge. And tracking fat and protein percentages and net carbs can be time consuming enough to make keto meal prep daunting. Thankfully, we’ve taken some time to pull together some easy keto lunch ideas that’ll help you stay full, motivated, and dedicated to the ketogenic diet. With a little bit of planning ahead, keto meal prep can be simple and exciting. Here are 17 keto friendly recipes to help you on your journey to ketosis.


See the following articles for more “Keto Meal Ideas”


1. Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowls

If you’re looking for an unbelievably simple, yet decadent Mexican dish, a Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowl will be right up your alley when it comes to easy keto meals. 5 minutes of prep and a quick 20 minutes of cooking in the Instant Pot make it easy to prep this meal the night before at the drop of a hat. The great thing about this number is that you can cook it very rapidly with your Instant Pot, or just set it in the Crockpot and forget it and it’ll be ready in a few hours. Simply combine chicken, enchilada sauce, chiles, and onions. All that’s left after cooking is to shred the chicken and then add cauliflower rice and the toppings of your choice. These may include cheese, avocado, jalapeño, and sour cream.

2. Keto Salad

The best keto salad is much more than just leafy greens. In fact, an effective keto salad simply uses the greens as a vehicle to deliver other high-fat ingredients to your mouth. This particular keto salad includes dark leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, and broccolini, but also a whole avocado, generous shavings of Emmental cheese, and a high-fat caesar dressing brimming with avocado oil. You’ll find the salad fills you up and gives you plenty of fat. It’s simple to pack the ingredients and then assemble your salad at work. Simply pack up the different ingredients the night before, and you’ll be ready to go.

3. Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

If you’re missing your old friend, Mac and Cheese, then this keto friendly rendition of the classic comfort food is for you. Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese embodies everything you love about Macaroni and Cheese, without the carbs. Swap out the macaroni in favor of cauliflower, and you’re on your way. Start by crisping up the riced cauliflower and minced chives in a skillet and then add to that a cup of table cream, an ounce of whipped cream cheese, and 2 cups of cheddar. Throw it in the oven to broil and you’ll have a keto friendly comfort dish you can easily heat up and have all week.

4. Keto Crab Cakes with Lemon Sour Cream Dip

Keto crab cakes are a delicious, high-fat and low-carb treat that make our list of easy keto lunch ideas. Eggs, garlic powder, dill, spring onions, dijon mustard, and worcestershire sauce pair with cooked crab meat to make the savory patties. Simply cook each cake in coconut oil on a stovetop skillet for about 3 minutes on each side, and your crab cakes are ready to eat. For an irresistible creamy dipping sauce, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and some more dill.

5. Turmeric and Kale Soup with Ground Lamb

Turmeric and Kale SoupIf you’re in the mood for a nice warm soup on a rainy day, this Turmeric and Kale Soup with Ground Lamb is sure to hit the spot. Chock-full of beef bone broth and ground lamb, this hearty soup also contains coconut oil and fresh garlic, and small quantities of turmeric, cilantro, kale, cinnamon, coriander, and ginger. Garnish the soup with a few lemon slices, and you have a flavorful keto friendly soup that not only fills you up, but also boosts your immune system.

6. Keto Crescent Dogs

Keto Crescent Dogs

Perfect for game day, Keto Crescent Dogs are family-friendly, incredibly delicious, and loaded with fat. Think of them like pigs in a blanket, keto style. Create a delicious dough with mozzarella, cream cheese, egg, and almond flour. Cut the dough into strips and wrap each strip around one of your all-beef hot dogs. Throw them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes and pull them out right before opening kickoff for an amazing lunch.

7. Real Texas Chili

If you’re just dying for some piping hot chili, this mouth-watering keto-adapted version of Real Texas Chili will have you begging for more. The dish pairs 100% grass-fed beef with onions, red and green bell peppers and beef stock, and includes rich spices like coriander, paprika, and chili powder. With mixed-in riced cauliflower and Oaxaca cheese, this Chili takes big taste to a whole new level. The best part about this dish, is that Ketoned Bodies will deliver it right to your door.

8. Fried Cabbage With Crispy Bacon

Keto fried cabbage with crispy baconLightning fast prep and cook time make Fried Cabbage With Crispy Bacon a fan favorite from among all the keto lunch ideas we’ve compiled. Simply chop cabbage and bacon into small pieces, fry the bacon in a skillet, and then add in cabbage, butter and seasoning, and voila! Healthy, quick, and bursting with fat and flavor, this dish is sure to satisfy.

9. Beef Fa-Keto Platter

This meal is another Mexican dish that’s simply loaded with flavor. Made with 100% grass-fed tri-tip beef, this meal also includes specially-seasoned cauliflower rice, sautéed onions and peppers, and plenty of Mexican spices. With pico composed of tomatoes, serrano peppers, cilantro, cumin, lime juice, and black pepper, the flavors of this dish jump right out at you.

10. Easy Keto Swedish Meatballs

If you like those scrumptious little meatballs at IKEA, then you’ll love these. This Easy Keto Swedish Meatballs recipe is low-carb, gluten-free, and brimming with fat. These meatballs are perfect for the whole family and their fairly easy to make right at home. Mix ground pork and ground chuck, with an egg and salt and pepper. Instead of bread crumbs, use finely grated zucchini to add texture to the meatballs. Roll them and cook them on the stove top in butter. Next, pour a mixture of chicken broth, mustard, and cream over the top and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. These meatballs go well with cauliflower rice.

11. Keto BLT With Oopsie Bread

Keto BLT with cloud breadCraving a sandwich, but don’t want all the carbs that come with bread? Try a Keto BLT With Oopsie Bread. To make Oopsie Bread, start by separating egg yolks from egg whites. Beat the egg whites with salt until they become very stiff. To the egg yolks, add cream cheese. You can also add psyllium seed husk and baking powder if you’d like. Once the two mixtures are respectively mixed and ready, fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Bake 8 small Oopsies at a time. To make your BLT, fry up some bacon, cut some heirloom tomatoes, fresh lettuce, and basil. Spread some mayo on your Oopsie bread, put together your sandwich, and enjoy!

12. Jerk Pulled Pork Topped With Mango Salsa

The pork is slow-cooked for more than 12 hours, and the mango salsa features mangoes, red peppers, cilantro, lime, garlic, and avocado oil. The meat and salsa sit on a bed of red and green cabbage mixed with bacon, and topped with Oaxaca cheese. If you are craving a scrumptious, vibrant tropical variation of pulled pork, this dish is one you’ll definitely want to try.

13. Keto Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole

Cheese is the name of the game when it comes to this dish. This Keto Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole is loaded with a number of decadent, fatty ingredients including full fat cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese. Pair these wonderful ingredients with bacon, and you’ll be going keto crazy. Incorporate garlic, green onions, and heavy whipping cream to make the dish even more heavenly.

14. Keto Tuna Salad With Boiled Eggs

tuna salad

Fresh and delicious, this Keto Tuna Salad With Boiled Eggs is a great little number to add to your arsenal of keto lunch ideas. Celery, scallions, tuna, lemon, mayo, and mustard are mixed with tuna to make a zingy salad. Hard boiled eggs seasoned with pepper are also included on top of romaine lettuce. The whole thing is then drizzled with olive oil. This all makes for a quick, light, and tasty keto meal.

15. Steamed Mussels With Piri Piri

mussels-with-piri-piri

If you’re looking for a dish with some Latin American flavor, this Steamed Mussels With Piri Piri recipe features a chimichurri-style sauce made with red onions, parsley, red wine vinegar, garlic, jalapeño, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. Steam the mussels in white wine and water and top them with the Piri Piri sauce for a unique high-fat and low carb meal.

16. Cashew Beef and Broccoli

Take your typical Chinese takeout to new keto friendly heights with 100% grass-fed beef seasoned with sea salt, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and garlic. Along with broccoli florets, and beef, this Cashew Beef and Broccoli also includes bacon, cashew sauce, sherry vinegar, almonds, and coconut. Someone from Ketoned Bodies is happy to deliver this dish right to you as part of one of our easy keto meal plans.

17. Low-Carb Keto Steak with Blue Cheese Onion Cream Sauce

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion-Blue Cheese SauceA nice juicy steak is the perfect lunch option to keep you full all day. This Low-Carb Keto Steak With Blue Cheese Onion Cream Sauce will have your mouth watering throughout the whole cooking process. Cook up some Ribeyes in butter until they are medium rare. Next, saute some onions in a generous amount of butter. Reduce them to a simmer and pour in some heavy cream. Melt in some blue cheese. Pour a generous portion of the sauce over the steak when serving.

Wanna Try Organic & Grass-fed Keto Meals?

The ketogenic diet can be incredibly rewarding, but the beginning of your journey can certainly be an adjustment. Planning healthy keto meals can take some extra diligence, but hopefully, the next time lunch meal prep comes around, you’ll have a good place to turn for some easy keto lunch ideas.

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Some of these dishes are available through the Ketoned Bodies’ delivery service. If you are busy to do your keto meal plan by yourself, check out Ketoned Bodies’ organic & sustainably sourced pre-made keto meals that will be shipped to your door. Just heat them up and eat! Also, be sure to check out why our ECO-friendly keto meals are different.