The ketogenic diet is the hottest trend in health and fitness these days.
So, you’ve decided to lose weight fast & easy by following a ketogenic diet. Not bad! After all, Keto can help you lose weight, fix a series of health problems, help you build more muscle and can make you feel amazing.
However, the keto diet isn’t the most straightforward to adhere to, especially for beginners. And you want to avoid incorrect food choices and do things right when it comes to going Keto.
The best thing about keto diet is that it is the diet you will enjoy. How? I will come to it later, keep reading. Amid all things, you may still be a little hazy on the details of the keto diet—like what it is, how it works, and exactly how much cheese and butter you get to eat. Don’t worry, I got you covered.
This Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet brings together advice and information on keto in the simplest way possible.
Okay, let’s dive into KETOOOOOOOO.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet (or simply keto diet) is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. It is a way of eating that changes the way your body gets energy from food, and when done properly can lead to a rapid fat loss. High fat?
Yes, because there is a reason you are not losing weight and the problem isn’t fat, it’s sugar.
But, How can you lose weight by consuming more fats?
The Famous Sugar/Fat Dilemma
For years and in a lot of diets we’ve been told to avoid fats and we did too. But still, we find ourselves with a growing obesity epidemic? Why?
Because, when you consume carbs your body converts them into sugar and uses that as fuel. But, when there is more sugar(or carbs) in the body than it can burn, your body stores the extra sugar for long-term storage.
Since your body doesn’t need fat for energy now, very little fat-burning takes place – and you continue to add to your body’s sugar storehouse. And that sugar gets converted to fat for long-term storage. Plus, the natural fat present in the food also gets stored.
And thanks to our high carb diets, the cycle continues and that stored fat never gets used.
Here is a simple video explaining the process:
Your body gets so reliant on the sugar for energy that it can’t go long without a top-up. This is the reason that makes us reach out for a quick candy bar or a glass of soda when we feel we need a burst of energy.
Get rid of those carbs!
Your body needs energy and when you get rid of those carbs and replace it with fats, there is only one source of energy left with the body. That’s right, fat. And to use fat as a fuel, your body needs to dig into its fat storehouse.
This process puts the body into a metabolic state called Ketosis. The ketogenic diet is built around creating ketosis in the body.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural state of the body that helps us survive. When your body enters ketosis, it stops using sugar for fuel and starts using fats to produce ketones which the body uses for energy.
So, by consuming low carbs, moderate protein, and high fat, your body undergoes a transformation from a sugar burning machine to a fat burning machine which helps your body to lose weight on autopilot.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
Getting into Ketosis can bring a host of benefits for just about anyone. After all, keto wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t have benefits. Now, the No. 1 reason why people follow the Keto diet is Weight loss. But there are plenty of other benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet.
By restricting carbohydrates, we remove the biggest stimulator of insulin which decreases insulin levels, increases fat burning, and helps in reducing inflammation, which decreases your total body fat content. Your blood sugar level and blood pressure also decrease which is extremely beneficial when it comes to preventing heart disease.
In fact, some recent studies show that fats are not responsible for heart disease. Sugar is the main enemy but that doesn’t mean you can eat all types of fats as consuming only healthy fats leads to weight loss.
Keto diet also results in increased production of Ketones in the body which leads to better brain function. Keto diets have also been known to help speed up the healing process of any kind of brain injury, most notably, Migraines.
Keto diet results in increased and steady energy levels which helps in reducing hunger pangs people experience on a carb based diet.
The best benefit of the keto diet is that most of the food tastes delicious thereby making it enjoyable and sustainable.
What to eat on a keto diet?
For a keto diet to work, you need to maintain your body in a state Ketosis. For that, you need to make sure your body is using fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. And strictly no sugar! That’s the main and only guideline for eating on Keto diet.
Which means you need to be super aware of your carb count. Because carbohydrates are not only in junk foods but also in some of the healthier foods that you enjoy like fruits. Though there are exceptions like avocado, star fruit, and berries as long as they are consumed in moderation.
Foods to Avoid
- Sugar – Honey, Agave, Maple syrup, Soda, etc.
- Refined Carbs – Bread, Pasta, Cereals etc.
- Fruit – Apples, Bananas, Oranges, etc.
- Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Cereal, etc.
- Tubers – Potato, Yams, etc.
- Legumes- Lentils, Beans, Chickpeas, etc.
- Diet Foods.
- Unhealthy Fats.
- Root vegetables.
Foods to Eat
- Leafy greens – Spinach, Kale.
- Above Ground Vegetables – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Arugula.
- High-fat dairy – Cheeses, high fat cream, Butter, etc.
- Berries (in moderation) – Raspberries, Blackberries etc.
- Nuts and seeds – Walnuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Sunflower seeds, etc.
- Sweeteners – Stevia, Monk Fruit, Allulose, and other low-carb sweeteners >
- Other Fats – Coconut oil, Saturated fats, etc.
- Meats – Fish, Lamb, Poultry, Beef.
To get the complete list of foods you can eat while on keto check out our keto shopping list.
What to drink
As important it is to eat right on Keto, equally important is to drink right. So, what do you drink on a ketogenic diet? Water is the perfect drink, and tea or coffee are also fine but without sugar or sweeteners.
Even a small amount of milk or cream in your tea or coffee is perfectly fine (but beware of caffe latte!). That occasional glass of wine is fine too.
Want to Eat Out?
Will eating out ruin your Keto diet? Well, that depends on what you eat.
You can easily enjoy a night out without ruining your diet if you eat Keto friendly dishes and replace any kind of high carb food with extra vegetables. It’s honestly that simple.
What are macros?
Macros are basically the three key parts of your diet required by our bodies to function: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Getting the right balance between them is a key to being successful on the ketogenic diet.
Since Keto is high-fat diet, the majority of your daily calories will come from fats.
So, a good ratio to aim for is 70% Fats, 25% Protein and 5% Carbohydrates, which means that 70% of your calories will come from fats, 25% from protein, and 5% from carbs.
It’s highly important to keep an eye on your protein consumption during keto as eating too much protein can lead to ‘Gluconeogenesis’.
‘Gluconeogenesis’ is a state where your body starts turning that excess protein into glucose which can push you out of ketosis, slowing down fat loss.
That said, when you first start out with Ketosis, your daily ‘Net Carbs’ should not exceed 20 grams. That said – the lower you keep your carbs intake and glucose levels, the better the overall results.
What Are Net Carbs?
It’s pretty simple!
When you look at the nutrition label, you’ll see total carbohydrates is further breakdown into Fibers and Sugars. And net carbs are your total dietary carbohydrates, minus the total fiber.
Carbs in fiber and sugar cannot be treated equally. As unlike sugar, fiber has no effect on blood sugar levels. So, technically Fiber is a net zero carbohydrate.
That’s why, Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber.
Eg: If you see “Total Carbs = 15g, Fibre = 4g” then 15g – 4g = 11g net carbs.
On keto, you just care about Net Carbs.
Vegetables on a Ketogenic Diet
Vegetables are a little tricky concept on a keto diet because almost all of the vegetables that you consume today contain carbs. Even though they are healthy, high carb can throw your body out of Ketosis.
So it’s important to understand the ones that have a safer number of Net Carbs.
|Spinach (Raw)||1/2 Cup||0.1|
|Lettuce (Romaine)||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Bok Choi||1/2 Cup||0.2|
|Cauliflower (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||0.9|
|Cabbage (Green Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.1|
|Cauliflower (Raw)||1/2 Cup||1.4|
|Collard Greens||1/2 Cup||2|
|Broccoli (Florets)||1/2 Cup||2|
|Kale (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.1|
|Green Beans (Steamed)||1/2 Cup||2.9|
Quick Tip: Even if you a vegetarian or vegan, it’s possible to go on a ketogenic diet. Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. So, make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success.
Side Effects Of Keto Diet
Just like any other diet, Keto diet also has side effects. As your body goes through drastic changes in a short amount of time. Thinking about it, even your current way of eating has side effects.
Listed below are some other common side effects of Keto, most of which occur during the transition phase at the start of your Keto journey. But, there are known ways to combat each of these side effects so you’re in good hands.
The most common cause of constipation is dehydration. The simplest solution is to increase the amount of water you drink every day. Eating fiber-rich vegetables will also usually help.
Though if that’s not enough, then you can add psyllium husk powder to your drinks and meals.
Cramps are a fairly common thing when starting a ketogenic diet, but it’s a pretty minor issue overall. Drink plenty of water and get electrolytes in your diet using salt or an electrolyte supplement. If the problem persists, then you might look into taking a magnesium supplement.
During the transition to Keto, your heart may begin to beat faster and harder. Sounds Scary? Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal and pretty standard during Keto transition.
The palpitations could be due to mild dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance. Just make sure you are drinking enough water and consuming enough salt.
If the problem continues to persist then you may need to add a potassium supplement.
Reduced Physical Performance
Due to your body being still in the transitional phase to fat burning, it loses out on its energy quickly. So, you may see some limitations on your performance when you first begin a keto diet. As your body shifts to using fat for energy, you’ll find that all of your strength and endurance will return to normal.
Getting Started With Keto
So how do you get started with keto?
Getting started with Keto is pretty simple: Just dive in! Here is all that you need to do:
- Calculate your daily macro goals
- Drink enough water
- Understand meal planning and plan your meals so you don’t have missteps
- Get enough sleep
Keto isn’t about missing out on the food you love. Keto is about finding the food you enjoy that is great for your body. This 3-day carb detox diet will give you a great start on the keto diet.
Now, why you will enjoy the keto diet? Because the Keto diet is all about making keto friendly version of the food you love including keto snacks and keto desserts. And the food tastes amazingly delicious. Doubt it?
These tasty keto snacks will clear your doubt. Yes, you can eat them and still lose weight. Isn’t that great?
Become A Fat Burner
Now, Keto diet is not like any regular diet can be difficult to grasp at first.
Probably the toughest part of the keto diet is cutting out carbs. Most people don’t even know how many carbs they consume in a day until they actually cut out carbs from the diet.
Your body is a sugar burner and you need to make it a fat burner to lose weight. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, keto diet is your best friend!
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