The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is based on the concept of a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein program. The goal is to apply this to your meal plan and then watch as the excess weight melts away. It’s a diet that is also noted for supplementary benefits, such as increased performance and a general improvement in health. Various studies have been done on this topic suggesting the same, which is why keto dieting has become such a popular trend within the wellness community.
For the average person, the keto diet is great for losing extra body fat without having to feel hungry. It is also a wonderful option for those dealing with type 2 diabetes as the keto diet may help people control the type 2 diabetes symptoms often caused from inflammation.
With the keto diet, you are going to be building a weight loss program around real, healthy foods. This guide is going to teach you what to eat and how to maximize your chances of success for short term and long term lifestyle changes.
What is The Keto Diet?
In general, the keto diet is all about increasing your fat take and reducing the carbs. You are going to want to cut down on the carbs significantly while still eating a healthy amount of protein. As soon as you cut the carbs, your body is going to end up in a metabolic state known as ketosis. This is when the body starts using fat for energy, which is how you undergo quick fat loss. The term keto refers to ketones in the human body, which are responsible for supplying energy to the body. When the body is looking for a new fuel source, it is going to tap into this when the carbs are cut.
It’s a natural reaction for the body because it needs to get the energy from somewhere. If it is not going to come from the carbs, it is going to get it from the liver, which produces ketones. Due to the ketones coming from fat, this becomes a great fuel source for weight loss. The brain is always going to be after energy, which is why the ketones need to be available. With the keto diet, this is going to be more than possible due to the low carb diet and by sticking to your caloric restrictions per day.
When you are in the middle of a successful ketogenic diet, you are going to have the body powering through ketones and fat throughout the day. This is going to push your insulin levels down, which is further going to speed up the fat loss, making keto diets a sure way to achieve weight loss whether you commit for short term or long term.
It’s important to note, there is another way to increase ketones in your body and that is through fasting all the time. Of course, this may seem logical, but it is not reasonable at all. The average person can’t remain in this state for too long until it starts harming their organs, and nobody is comfortable when they’re hungry all the time. With the keto diet, you are going to end up finding the sweet spot between weight loss and health benefits.
Who Should Avoid the Keto Diet?
In most situations, the keto diet is a wonderful option, and something you can follow closely without a worry. However, certain people should avoid the keto diet. Always seek medical advice before starting a significant lifestyle change.
Issues that may arise from keto diets may affect people that are dealing with high blood pressure, breastfeeding a baby, or using insulin.
The ketogenic diet is a wonderful option for those wanting to lose weight, but it is still one that has questions around it. This is why those taking medications for conditions such as diabetes should get medical advice about customizing a keto diet. This is the only way you can follow the program safely and receive the many health benefits that come from sticking to a low carb diet.
What Should You Eat on a Keto Diet?
There are quite a few options available for those who want to follow the keto diet closely. It’s all about applying the ratio and making sure you are sticking to a low carb diet. Low carb diets can be challenging, but there are many clinical studies that show low carb diets may help with many underlying ailments, such as inflammation.
Since the goal is to get into a state of ketosis, you have to focus on maintaining high fat and and low carb diets. In general, you should be aiming for less than 50g of carbs per 24 hours. Even lower than this is better (i.e. 20-30g)
Foods to Avoid if You Want to Reach Ketosis
- Cooked Pasta
You should also look to avoid foods that have been highly processed. Whole foods are a much better option for this diet.
Another thing the average person tends to do when following the keto diet is to look for low fat foods. Yes, low fat may seem like a good idea for weight loss, but that is not the case at all. You have to move away from these foods because your fat intake has to be high fat, or ketosis won’t happen.
When you are not getting enough carbs during the day, you are going to need the energy to come from somewhere else. This is why natural fats are a must in your diet and can’t be skipped out on.
What to Hydrate With
- Red Wine
For most people, it’s best to stick to water when you are starting diets. It is simple and the results are always going to be healthy.
Otherwise, it is okay to go with a small cup of coffee/tea and use a little bit of milk. Make sure to count what you are drinking when you’re adding in extras.
How Low Should the Carbs Be?
It is okay to say “low carbs,” but what does that really mean? What should you be aiming for when it comes to your net carbs? In general, you want to look to stay around the 20 grams mark or thereabouts to receive the fullest health benefits of the ketogenic diet.
When a person starts on the keto diet, they are going to have a few options in front of them at first. The diet may be difficult at the beginning, but once you figure out how to get creative with adding protein while reducing carbs per day, people are able to enjoy the healthy and clean eating that is required when sticking to ketogenic diets.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
There are several advantages to following the keto diet. This is a diet that takes the good of other low-carb diets and optimizes things to make it easier on the human body for long-term results. Additionally, ketogenic diets may help with lowering the chances of heart disease, can help your body to regulate blood sugar, and often comes suggested through medical advice. Here are the major advantages of trying ketogenic diets:
1) Weight Loss
This is the main advantage that cannot be stressed enough. When your body is a state of ketosis, the weight loss is going to increase rapidly. Your body is going to be burning through fat stores and that is the best way to drop your weight. People have a difficult time avoiding carbs in diets, but if you can manage, you will lose fat very quickly. Remember, you must eat 50 grams of carbs per day, or less, when trying ketogenic diets.
2) Doesn’t Make You Hungry
When a person is following this type of diet, they are not going to want to eat all the time. This is a huge benefit for those who think they are going to be eating all the time. When you don’t have the drive to eat more, it becomes a lot easier to lose weight. When dieting, people often treat themselves and overeat, sending them back down a spiral of unhealthy choices. With keto, you’re restricted to 50 grams of carbs at most per day, or you’ll ruin all of your progress, so many are motivated to not overeat with these diets.
A person that isn’t going to be snacking all the time is going to save quite a bit of money too. It’s a win-win for those on a tight budget.
3) Controls Your Blood Sugar
Various studies have shown the keto diet may help dealing with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can help reverse diabetes since the blood-sugar levels begin to drop and stay maintained at a low level. When this happens, you don’t need medications to do it artificially for you, which may help with other ailments as well.
The keto diet is a powerful option that is often used by patients that are diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease.
When it comes to the term reversal, it’s also important to realize it means there is an improvement in a person’s condition and how they feel. The symptoms start going away and the blood-sugar levels get to a reasonable level where medication isn’t required.
4) Better Health Reports
Several benefits come along with the keto diet when it comes to your medical reports. You are going to start to see a change in various numbers including your LDL, HDL, and blood pressure, which in high levels can be an early indicator of heart disease. This is essential in making sure you don’t end up dealing with heart disease at a young age, and it may help you to avoid other unwanted issues.
5) Increased Mental Energy
When you are following this type of diet, you are going to start to notice a shift in your ability to focus and remember things. This is common when a person is following a ketogenic diet regularly.
When the body is in a state of ketosis, it becomes a lot easier to focus. Your body is going to be burning through ketones, which are a lot different from traditional glucose. This gives your body more of an opportunity to optimize itself mentally while also burning unwanted fat.
Since the ketones are being produced, you are also going to have them heading to the brain. This is wonderful since you are going to have more to work with, which results in better concentration levels over the long-term.
6) Improved Digestive System
A person that has been dealing with digestive issues is going to notice a positive change too. You are not going to be dealing with traditional IBS systems such as gas, cramps, and/or pain. This is a major advantage people seek when it comes to their IBS, and this is something that not all diets can target.
7) Higher Endurance Levels
Being able to increase your endurance is great for all walks of life. You are going to have more energy to do things, whether it’s working out or simply walking from place to place.
The body is going to have a lot more energy to work with when it comes to your ketones and that is essential for your endurance levels too. Plus, your body is going to get used to the ketogenic diet and that is when it will slowly adjust to what is going on, especially as the weight drops.
8) Good for Epilepsy
There have been studies that show this is a good diet when it comes to dealing with epilepsy. It is a diet that has been around for a long time to help children that are suffering from this medical condition, but it also does a good job for adults.
Being able to go through with this diet and apply it to your life is one of those things that could help reduce the requirement of anti-epileptic drugs. In some cases, you may not need them at all depending on how well the diet works.
Additional Ketogenic Diet Benefits
This is a diet that is going to be great for several reasons, including improving your skin’s quality (i.e. less acne) and helping with migraines. It is also known for doing wonders for those suffering from regular heartburn or PCOS.
Since your diet is going to be optimized, you are going to start to notice these benefits quickly upon starting your ketogenic diet as long as you are sticking to it strictly.
While the ketogenic diet is not a cure for everything, it is something that is going to push you in the right direction by helping you to manage your blood sugar and other health components.
How to Optimize Your Body for Ketosis
When it is time to think about ketosis, you will have to focus on the changes that need to be made. Some are important and others that are not.
1) Cut Carbs to 20 Grams
This is going to be a good starting point for your diet. The 20 grams or less rule is an easy one to follow and it is going to be the most important one for the keto diet. Some people say 50, but it’ll take you much longer to enter ketosis with that many grams of carbs, even if paired properly with fat and protein. If you are not hitting 20 grams of carbs, you are not following the diet correctly. When you are doing this, it is okay to ignore fiber and eat as much as you want because that doesn’t matter. In some cases, fiber is beneficial for your metabolic rate, and it can help you burn fat by making you feel fuller longer.
2) Eat 1.2 Grams of Protein Per Kg
The amount of protein you eat is imperative for a proper ketogenic diet. Since the goal of this diet is to remain within the “moderate” range for protein intake, it’s best to look at consuming 1.2 grams per Kg of body weight. This means a person that is 70 kgs would want to eat 1.2 grams x 70 = 84 grams of protein per day. It is a simple calculation that isn’t going to take a long time to figure out. Of course, you can adjust his number based on what works best for you and keeps you full. If necessary, you can increase this number to 1.7 grams of protein per kg.
Some people worry about protein foods turning into glucose, but that is rare. It is not something that is going to happen commonly and is generally based on individual factors. Remember, if you are not getting enough protein throughout the day, it is going to have an impact on your bones and muscles over time. Look to stay within the listing range at all times, especially regarding fat and protein. Protein is important especially if you’re working out. You can even get your protein through supplements, although natural is always better.
3) Don’t Snack
This is a common mistake that is made because snacking is easy when you are watching TV or sitting around. Instead, you want to eat proper meals and focus on achieving ketosis. This is how you are going to improve your metabolic rate and increase your weight loss.
Of course, ketogenic diet snacks are a possibility, but you have to know what you are consuming. This cannot be a way out of eating proper meals because those are still the foundation of your diet plan.
4) Intermittent Fasting
This is a solution that isn’t mandatory, but it is one people use on the ketogenic diet. The idea is to skip breakfast and then find an 8-hour window during the day to eat in while still working towards keto. The rest of the 16 hours are going to be spent fasting.
The idea is to increase your ketone levels by eating during a set period.
5) Increase Your Exercise
Exercising is great because you can burn through more energy, even while naturally burning energy on a ketogenic diet. Exercise is going to increase your ketone levels, which is never a bad thing for weight loss. It is not a mandatory thing on the keto diet, but it is something to think about when it comes to your stress levels and heart health.
6) Sleep Well
Getting enough sleep throughout the day is a must. You have to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep within 24 hours. Otherwise, you are going to hit a point where the body is being deprived and that is when things go haywire.
You will notice it becomes impossible to lose weight and your stress hormones go through the roof. This is a huge negative for the ketogenic diet and something a person has to account for right away.
7) Don’t Use Expensive Supplements
Keto supplements are unnecessary and aren’t going to push you towards magical results. Follow the diet plan and make sure you are eating the right foods. This is more than enough to see the desired results. When you stick to the ketogenic diet, it absolutely works.
Key Tips for the Keto
Here are seven things to consider when committing to the ketogenic diet:
With breakfast, you are going to want to go with a breakfast that is tailored to the diet. This can include a variety of foods including things such as bacon and eggs. Of course, if you are someone that doesn’t like to eat breakfast in the morning, you don’t have to. The ketogenic diet doesn’t require you to eat at certain times, but instead it requires you to eat a certain way.
It is commonly assumed breakfast is a must for people, but that is not the case. You are allowed to skip this meal and go with a cup of coffee if that is what works best for you. Just be sure to follow the ketogenic diet closely throughout the day.
2) Eating the Right Fat
It’s also recommended to get your fat through the right sources. Just because you are going to need an increase in fats, doesn’t mean it should come from the wrong source. Fat from meat or oil is different than fat from products like cake or sweets. If you want to burn body fat, you need to be eating the right fats.
Something as simple as olive oil is going to provide enough fats for you to meet the ratio that you are going for. Olive oil is a great, healthy oil, but be sure to measure it out. Although it’s natural and healthy, olive oil is high in calories, which may not benefit the goals of your diet.
3) Eating Out
If you are thinking about eating out, the ketogenic diet can’t be ignored. You still have to avoid starch-based foods and only look for natural fat sources such as butter.
4) Ignore Marketing Gimmicks
These are common across the world these days. Businesses try to fool you with words such as “low carb” on the label when they are nothing more than refined foods that have been processed in a factory.
Things such as candy, pasta, chocolates are not something you want to have in your diet.
Side Effects of the Ketogenic Diet
Any type of change that is going to impact your metabolic rate will lead to side effects. This is natural as the body tends to get set in its ways, which means any sudden change will be met with certain side effects. For most people, this tends to happen between days 2-5 before things settle down and the body becomes accustomed to what is happening.
During this period, there is going to be a set of symptoms that pop up such as fatigue, cramping, headaches, and/or heart palpitations. It’s important to note, these are not going to last for a long time and you can try to ease these by being aware of them.
The best option for those who want to reduce the impact of these side effects is to do things slowly. This means a transition into the keto diet rather than jumping in headfirst. This will allow the body an opportunity to get used to what is going on over a few weeks. While this may not lead to faster results, it is going to ensure the process is easier on you and doesn’t become intolerable.
It’s best to cut down on certain things such as starches and sugars immediately. This is going to be a big enough change to start cutting down on weight. In most cases, just something as simple as this is going to help cut water weight and bring down the pounds on the scale. Of course, this is just the beginning, but it is a great psychological boost.
What is the Keto Flu?
This is a term that is used for symptoms a person experiences when they are beginning the keto diet. This keto flu is all about symptoms such as slight nausea, headaches, fatigue, irritability, brain fog, and dizziness.
The reason this happens has to do with the lack of carb-rich foods in the diet. The body gets used to retaining water, and as soon as you cut those foods out, you lose the water. This has an impact on the body, which can also cause things such as an increase in urination.
Let the body adapt and continue to drink water so you can power through the keto flu if it happens.
The ketogenic diet has many overall health benefits, and it can help achieve dramatic weight loss goals by targeting the fat burning process. With the ketogenic diet, it’s important to follow it closely each day or you will backtrack on the progress that you made. With this in mind, just stick to your required protien, get enough healthy fat, and eat less than 20 grams of carbs per day. The ketogenic diet is a sure way to lose stubborn fat, and you will be feeling clean and looking lean in no time.