The Ketogenic Diet: A Beginner’s Guide to Keto
If you are active online, I’m sure that you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet by now. It’s the diet that everyone, from celebrities to your Facebook friends, is talking about.
Nearly everyone I know who has tried it raves about it.
From their perspective, it not only helps them shed those extra pounds, but it also helps to improve their mood and makes their bodies feel so much better.
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But, what exactly is the ketogenic diet, and what do you have to do to get these amazing results?
The simple explanation- it is a low carb, high-fat diet. Reducing your carb intake and increasing the number of healthy fats that you eat results in your body going into ketosis.
I know, it sounds awfully complex, but it really isn’t. Here’s what it means: ketosis happens when you have a decreased amount of glucose in your body (which is a result of your low carb intake).
Instead of using glucose as fuel, your body needs to find another source of fuel.
This is where fat comes in. Your body starts to attack the fat and use that as fuel instead.
When it does this, it also produces something called ketones (which are made from the breakdown of fats in the liver). When these ketones are produced in your bloodstream and start circulating through your body, your body accepts these as fuel and turns your body into a lean, mean, fat destroying machine.
During this process, you still need to eat some carbs, but how do you know how many carbs your body needs?
I’ve done a bit of research, and when you are beginning the keto diet, it is recommended that you consume 30-50 grams of carbs each day. Once your body gets used to this decrease in carb intake, you can cut back to 20-25 grams of carbs per day.
We suggest you eat under 20-25 grams of net carbohydrates per day if you’re trying keto for weight loss.
So, what can you eat and drink on a keto diet? As with most diets (and just because it’s good for you), you should make sure to drink plenty of water. Your body will need to stay hydrated, and water can help keep you feeling full so that you don’t have the urge to snack all day.
Here are some
- Meat – pretty much any type of meat (red meat, pork, fish, etc.) is acceptable to eat on a ketogenic diet.
- Vegetables- Not all vegetables are good for a keto diet. Stick with leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.), broccoli, cauliflower and other low carb veggies.
- Dairy- Choose dairy that is high in fat like whole eggs, heavy cream, and full-fat milk and cheeses.
- Fruit- Avocados (which are delicious and high in healthy fats) and berries
- Nuts/seeds- Almonds, walnuts and chia seeds
This isn’t a complete list by any means, but I wanted to give you an idea of some of the delicious foods that you CAN eat on the keto diet.
FOODS TO AVOID WHILE ON A KETO DIET
Avoid these high-carb foods
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what to eat on a ketogenic diet. Make sure that you read and re-read through the list of acceptable foods to build a mental image around what type of meals you will want to eat.
If you’re still unsure about any products or food items that might not be keto friendly, don’t worry too much. Below, you’ll find a list of things that you should always be on the lookout for.
- Sugar. It’s typically found in soda, juice, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. Anything that’s processed and sweet you can think of most likely contains sugar. Avoid sugar at all costs.
- Grains. Any wheat products (bread or buns), pasta, cereal, cakes, pastries, rice, corn, and beer should be avoided. This includes whole grains like wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.
- Starch. Avoid vegetables (like potatoes and yams) and other things like oats, muesli, etc. Some root vegetables are okay in moderation – be sure to read the section on vegetables.
- Trans Fats. Margarine or any other spreadable replacement butter should be avoided as they contain hydrogenated fats (bad for us).
- Fruit. Avoid any large fruits (apples, oranges, bananas) as they’re extremely high in sugar. Some berries can be consumed in moderation – be sure to read the section on fruits.
- Alcohol. Sorry, kids. No booze allowed on the keto diet.
- Low-fat foods. These tend to be much higher in carbs and sugar than full-fat versions. Make sure you read the package to make sure a mistake isn’t made.
In general, the more “real” the food, the better it is for you. While some processed foods are acceptable, many are not.
4 Important Things To Remember On A Keto Diet
A keto diet is pretty simple, and most people see results fairly quickly.
But there are a few things to remember that can help make sure you get the most out of your keto diet. (These tips will also help you avoid ‘keto flu’ – the lack of energy that some people experience in the first 3-5 days of a keto diet.) Headaches, fatigue, upset stomach are a few of the symptom of the keto flu. Once your body gets used to the changes, these feelings will go away and you should start seeing some results in the way your body looks and feels.
- Drink Plenty of Water.
- Get Plenty of Sodium.
- Eat Enough.
- Eat Enough Fat.
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There are also different stages or degrees of the ketogenic diet. Once your body gets used to ketosis, you may want to do a quick Google search to read up on them. (These versions of the ketogenic diet are a bit more hardcore and aren’t for the faint of heart.)
Have you tried the ketogenic diet? If so, I’d love to know if it worked for you! Feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org!