So, you have decided to take the plunge and start the Keto Diet! Congrats!! Are you ready to love what you see in the mirror? Are you ready to shed those long overdue extra pounds or belly flab?
Lets do this 🙂
The Ketogenic diet is less of a diet than a lifestyle change.
The rules for the keto diet are fairly simple to follow but do need to be followed in order to guarantee success on this diet.
The main reason is really to adjust your body into using fat for fuel and burning up all that fat, turning you into a lean and energetic self.
With this step by step guide guide, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to begin the keto diet, understand it, and stick to it.
You will be even better equipped to keep up your keto diet for a long time to come and make the lifestyle change necessary to make a difference.
Restrict your carbohydrate intake. Cut out all grains, breads, and wheat. Its ok to ween yourself for the first few days but note that until you have restricted your carb intake greatly, your body will not start to shed or burn fat.
The main point of the keto diet is to get your body off of glucose energy altogether, so monitor your carb intake carefully. Your goal is to stick beneath 15g in carbs.
Make sure that the carbs you do eat have other benefits – for example, vegetables are packed with fiber and vitamins. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are another good choice. There are hidden carbs in lots of foods so look carefully at those ingredients.
Restrict some of your protein intake as well. Say wha?? Yes, sorry. While proteins aren’t the main target of restriction in a keto diet, protein can actually be converted into small amounts of glucose and can reduce your ketosis rate.
If your aim is to lose weight on the keto diet, switch to 0.6-0.8g of protein per pound of your lean body mass. Small amounts of meat and fatty fish are ideal.
Diets in general have led many of us to believe that fat is horrible for the body, but not only is that far from true, fat is also your main source of energy on a keto diet. 70-80% of your food consumption should consist of fat and saturated fat.
If not, you’ll be starving yourself, and starvation is never an optimal way to lose weight and is bad for both your health and your metabolism.
Eggs, Fish, fish oil, Nuts, Red meat, Butter, Ghee, Lard, Cream, flaxseed and chia seeds are easy choices. Check out a complete list of Ketogenic Diet Foods.
Start increasing how much water you drink. You’ll want to down at least a gallon a day, especially in the beginning and as you start the keto diet it can make you feel like you constantly have a dry mouth.
This will definitely make you need to use the bathroom a lot in those first few weeks. Avoid long meetings, being on airplanes, trains, buses, and very busy locations where getting to the restroom can be a challenge. This may seem funny, but its no joke trust me, I speak from experience!!
Water is incredibly important for hydration, overall health, and controlling hunger levels as you go about your day.
Cut back on excess snacks. Spikes of insulin occur when you munch unhealthy snacks during the day and can negatively impact your weight loss progress. That 3pm need for a Starbucks caramel frapachino is a no go, so are those sugar ridden snack bars in the office cabinet.
The keto diet is a filling one and should not give you hunger pangs or leave you feeling unsatisfied. If you keep feeling hungry, try breaking up your three big meals into four or five smaller ones, spaced out at regular intervals throughout the day.
If you feel very small hunger pangs or just feel peckish, drink tea or water and see if that helps. Keto fat bombs can also help if you are need of more fats and desperate to satisfy a craving.
This one is more optional, but incredibly helpful: make sure you consume lots of leafy greens.
These vegetables – like spinach, watercress, arugula, kale, and many, many more – are full of nutrients and vitamins, provide a source of fiber, healthy saturated fats, and keep you full for long periods of time. This will also help to make sure you are more regular.
Be well aware of what foods are good for the keto diet and which foods should be avoided. Here is a handy list for you to follow below.
Keto Diet foods
Foods to Eat Lots of
• Unprocessed and Organic meats
• Fish and seafood
• Vegetables, especially leafy greens, low-carb veggies, and veggies that grow above ground
• High fat dairy
• High fat sauces and dressings
• Dark chocolate (70% and above) in moderation
• Low sugar and low carb alcohol in moderation
• And of course, lots of water
Foods to avoid
• All carbs, grains, and starchy foods
• Most fruits
• Sugary foods like donuts and milk chocolate
• Root vegetables and tubers
• Most alcohol (Yes, you actually can have some though!)
• Low fat food
• “Sugar free” diet foods, which usually contain artificial sweeteners
• Unhealthy fat
How Healthy Fats Work on the Keto Diet
Above are essentially all the basic steps to keep in mind when you start the keto diet. But carrying out those steps can take some trial and error and may be difficult to figure out at first. For example, you may be wondering how to eat healthy fats, how to stay full without carbs or protein, and how to eat out safely while sticking to the diet.
Allow us to walk you through this process.
In order to healthily up your fat intake, begin by searching for full-fat products. You’ll want to stop buying low fat dairy products and basically eliminate all “light” versions of foods from your grocery list.
No more low fat yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, nut butter, or anything else. By going back to full fat versions of these products, you are reintroducing healthy fats into your diet.
Other sources of healthy fat include avocados, eggs, nuts, salmon, sardines, and fatty cuts of meat. Keep in mind that some of these fat sources are healthier than others and plan accordingly.
An easy way to sneak fat into most of your meals is in the way you cook them. Use fats like butter, animal fat and various kinds of oil (such as coconut, olive, walnut, almond, macadamia, sesame, or avocado oil) to cook your foods.
These different kinds of fats can also be used to add a variety of interesting and delicious flavors to your meals.
You can also add fats to your food by mixing it in to your meals. Top foods with high fat dressings, oils, mayonnaise, gravy, cream, nuts, and different kinds of cheese.
Mix good fats like cream, ghee, coconut oil, and full fat milk into your coffees or teas. Of course, this isn’t to say to go overboard with fats, as that can throw your diet into disarray. Just be aware that it is surprisingly easy to add fats to your food in case you aren’t meeting your daily requirements!
Eat More Fats!
Still not quite meeting your fat quota? You can occasionally use small portion snacks as ways to reach the needed amount of nutrition per day. Just be sure not to eat them unless you’re already hungry!
Throw in a handful of nuts, an egg or two, or munch on some cheese for a bite to eat when your tummy starts rumbling between meals, or make a high fat, low sugar, low carb treat.
So are you now ready to start the keto diet?? Still need a bit more info to make a fully informed decision? No problem. Keep reading about the pros and cons to help you understand even more.
Keto Diet Pros
1. The usage of body fat as a source of energy leads to weight loss.
2. Less glucose and sugar intake means lower blood sugar.
3. You are likely to experience sharper focus and higher mental capacities because lower carb intake and lower blood sugar mean fewer insulin spikes.
4. Your hunger levels are likely to decrease, curbing cravings and snacking.
5. A keto diet can improve digestion and calm the stomach.
6. You will also likely feel an increase in energy.
7. A keto diet can improve physical endurance.
8. The keto diet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
9. The diet lowers the chances of insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity, and it can be beneficial for those with diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes.
10. Your acne may clear up and your skin may appear clearer and healthier in general.
11. There are endless amounts of diseases and conditions that can be helped by the keto diet. We’ll dive into more detail about how ketosis can help health in a future installment. For now, here’s a list of some conditions that the diet has been known to helpnrelieve the symptoms of.
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Liver Disease
- Brain injuries
- Arthritis or Inflammatory conditions
Keto Diet Cons
1. It can be difficult to keep up the diet. Keeping such a low percentage of carbs in your diet can be a challenge for some, as carbs are often the easiest and cheapest forms of foods to get.
2. When consuming your high fat meals, you have to be careful to make sure that you are consuming healthy fats. Highly saturated animal fats aren’t exactly the healthiest kinds, and sometimes a high intake of them can completely derail weight loss progress and have adverse effects on the body.
3. You may find yourself consuming less fiber. Fiber is a very important part of any diet, and not consuming enough can cause constipation and other problems. You will have to find sources of fiber that aren’t carb-based.
4. You may find it difficult to maintain or add muscle mass. Due to less protein consumption, and coupled weight loss you are experiencing, you may find yourself losing muscle mass. While you can make changes to your diet to mitigate this and continue to work out to build muscle, this can be a hurdle to overcome.
5. The keto diet may not be the best option for athletes and those who train heavily. However, you can opt for different variations of the keto diet that can supplement your training.
6. Your body will undergo an adjustment period of a couple weeks where you may experience several side effects know as the keto flu. Note that most side effects last crop up in the first two weeks of a ketogenic diet and will slowly cease as your body adapts to being in a state of ketosis.
7. Pregnant women should avoid the keto diet until their doctor clears them. Being in a state of ketosis for too long while pregnant has been associated with development problems for the baby which could affect brain development or increase the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
8. Individuals who take Insulin, Sulphonylureas, or Glinides may want to avoid the keto diet. Some of these medications can increase the risk of hypos and so it is very important that you speak with your doctor to take precautions against hypos before you start a ketogenic diet.
So by now you should have a pretty good understanding of whether or not you should start the keto diet and change your lifestyle.
If you are serious about getting this right I highly recommend you purchase a blood glucose and ketone monitor.
Measure both your ketones and your blood sugar first thing in the morning before eating anything. The ideal measurements you’re looking for are:
Ketones – between 0.5 and 3mmol/l
Blood Glucose – lower than 4.4mmol/l (under 80 mg/dl)
Armed with your new knowledge, you are now ready to start the keto diet! Keep these tips and ideas in mind on your journey and you’re sure to find success with ketosis.