A Beginner’s Guide To The Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a weight loss program that has been around since the Victorian era. First discovered by funeral director William Banting in 1860, the diet did not get its recognition until 1920 when the practice was applied to treat epileptic patients. Since then, keto has gained popularity, with people swearing by it and its ability to transform lives.

There are tons of diets on the market, from Atkins and the South Beach diet to Weight Watchers and raw food diets. With a large selection of options, finding a suitable one can feel like a daunting task, especially if you have been struggling to lose weight for some time. This beginner’s guide to the keto diet is filled with vital information to assist you on your weight loss journey and to help you learn to prepare your ideal keto diet plan

 

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a high fat, high protein, and low-carb diet. As with other low-carb diets, it requires you to cut down on your carb and instead up your fat intake. Doing so will put your body in ketosis, a metabolic state that occurs when your body no longer relies on carbohydrates for fuel. Instead, it will begin to burn fat, creating ketones, a chemical produced by your liver when breaking down fat. That is essentially what promotes weight loss. 

 

How long does it take to enter ketosis?

It generally takes 2-4 days for your body to adjust to the changes and enter ketosis. But for some people, the process can take longer, lasting up to ten days depending on your metabolism. Insulin resistance also affects how fast your body goes into ketosis. 

 

The keto flu and how it affects you?

Entering ketosis will shock your body, which will cause you to experience the keto flu, a collection of symptoms that resembles the normal flu. A range of emotions will hit you during the time, causing you to experience fatigue, nausea, headache, or body aches, sometimes at the same time. The flu generally lasts for up to a week but can, in some rare cases, continue for a month. 


Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash

 

What to eat on keto?

It is recommended that your keto meal plan consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs. You have to watch what you eat and minimize the number of cheat days at all costs to ensure that you don’t get kicked out of ketosis. Leafy vegetables are your friends here and what you should turn to for when in need of carbs. But if you absolutely must eat something else, try to stick to food with low net carbs. Knowing what to eat on a daily basis canwill also help you tackle your keto food list.

  • Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. Other seafood, including shrimp, clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid should be consumed minimally as they are high in net carbs. 
  • Meat – beef, lamb, pork, and poultry
  • Cheese – unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, brie, or manchego
  • Eggs – pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
  • Butter and Cream – grass-fed butter and heavy cream
  • Healthy oils – coconut oil, avocado oil, and virgin olive oil
  • Low Carb Vegetables -such as tomatoes, green vegetables, cauliflower, eggplant, and peppers
  • Avocados – whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
  • Nuts and Seeds – chia seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Condiments – salt, pepper, herbs, and spices

 

What to avoid on a keto diet?

  • Sugary food – cookies, cakes, soda, ice cream, sweets, etc.
  • Starchy food – porridge, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc.
  • Beverages – sports drinks, cocktails, lemonade, etc. (high in sugar)
  • Legumes – kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas, etc. (high in carbs)
  • Vegetables – sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, etc. (high in carbs)
  • Fruits – mango, peaches, pineapples, etc. (high in sugar and carbs)
  • Low-Fat Dairy Products

 

Different types of ketogenic diets?

The keto diet is made up of a range of different diets. While most people go for the standard variation, knowing about the different options can be helpful to ensure you commit to one that is perfect for you.

Standard ketogenic diet (SKD)

Macronutrient ratio: 75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs

This is the most common form of keto, consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and a low-carb diet. If you’re looking to jump on this kind, you’ll have to plan your food around fat, which you can get from avocado, fish, meats, and even cream, although the latter should be consumed in moderation.

As you increase your fat intake, you’ll have to cut down on your carb consumption, sticking to 50 grams. You can get that from two medium bakers sweet potatoes, one ¾ cup oatmeal, or even two slices of whole wheat bread.


The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is best suitable for athletes. Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

 

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): 

Macronutrient ratio: 65-70% fat, 20% protein, 10-15% carbs

Similar to the standard keto diet, but it allows you to consume more carbs. This form of the keto diet is, not surprisingly, popular amongst athletes and highly active individuals who need a surplus of carbs before and after a workout. They’re able to increase their carb intake as the additional carbs are quickly burned off.

High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)

Macronutrient ratio: 60-65% fat, 30% protein, 5-10% carb

If you’re on a high-protein keto diet, it means that you’re eating 120 grams of protein per day, which you can get from fish, poultry, and meat. And while you’re increasing your protein consumption, you would still need to eat the same foods that you would on a standard keto diet, such as non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats. The high-protein keto diet is another suitable diet form for highly active individuals as you need protein to provide amino acids to assist in muscle growth.

Cyclical keto diet (CKD)

Macronutrient ratio: 75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs on keto days; 25% fat, 25% protein and 50% carbs on off days.

The cyclical keto diet is a combination of the standard keto diet and a form of carb cycling. Being on it, you’ll commit to a high-carb diet for one to two non-consecutive days per week, followed by the standard keto diet on the remaining days. On your high-carb days, you will increase your carb consumption from 5-10 percent to 55-75 percent. The jump might sound high, but keep in mind that you’ll go back to a strict low-carb diet the rest of the week. As your carb and fat consumption changes throughout the week, you’ll notice that your protein intake remains the same. 

 


Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

 

What are the benefits of the keto diet?

It’s no secret that the keto diet can transform your health in various ways as it has a range of benefits, such as:

  • Weight Loss – the keto diet has proved to help promote weight loss by reducing appetite and altering your metabolism without leaving you to experience hunger.
  • Blood pressure – Incorporating a low-carb diet can seriously reduce blood pressure by fueling your body with nutritious foods.
  • Blood sugar Studies show that those suffering from type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance can benefit from the keto diet by reducing carb consumption.
  • Diabetes – metabolic syndrome is a medical term for a collection of conditions associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure (hypertension). Going on a low-carb diet such as a keto can drastically improve your health, and in some cases, eliminate the conditions entirely. 
  • Epilepsy – The diet was originally used to treat epilepsy patients and has proven to be effective for children suffering from the condition. According to Cleveland Clinic, 40 to 50 percent of children on the keto diet decrease their seizures by 50 percent. 

 

What is the downside of the keto diet?

Like any other diet, keto comes with its range of cons, including:

  • Difficulty to sustain – Starting a new diet is never an easy task and requires discipline. Keto is no different, and can for some, be difficult to sustain in the long run.
  • Nutrition deficiency – Being the restricted diet it is, being on the keto diet means that you won’t receive certain vitamins, fibers, and minerals, which you would normally get from whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Food obsession – Being on a diet means decreasing your calorie intake, which forces you to keep an extra look at your food consumption. While the practice is great for weight loss, it can put you in a position where you constantly micromanage your food intake. That, in its turn, can make you start focusing too much on numbers as opposed to listening to your body.

 

Working Out On Keto Diet: What You Should Know

Being on the keto diet puts your body in a ketosis stage where the fat is utilized for energy as opposed to running on carbohydrates. The diet has a range of health benefits and is often praised for boosting energy, improving PCOS symptoms, and lowering blood sugar in diabetics. But can working out at home, outside or in the gym affect your keto diet? 

Going to the gym and working out for the first time can feel intimidating. After all, you are entering a new world where your physical strength will be put to the test. But incorporating training into your daily routine, alongside a solid keto diet plan, is a powerful way to improve your mental and physical health.

Training will not only help you keep the pounds off but will also assist you in maintaining the desired physique by building lean muscles. But what happens to your body when you combine the keto diet with strength training?

 

 

WILL I GET THE KETO FLU?

The keto flu is not the actual flu but does have similar symptoms, hence the name. You will experience it at the beginning of your keto journey when your body starts to adjust to the internal changes.

And while you’re bound to feel it, the intensity level will vary. As your body goes into a state of shock, you will experience a range of emotions, including fatigue, nausea, headache, or body aches, sometimes at the same time. Unfortunately, the unpleasant feeling will return when you first start working out on keto.

With carbs no longer being your fuel source, your body will need time to adapt to the changes. Fuel your body with the right nutrients to ensure it heals correctly after a workout. The flu generally lasts for up to a week but can in some rare cases, continue for a month.

 

YOU WILL STRUGGLE TO FIND THE MOTIVATION TO TRAIN 

When your body is experiencing the keto flu, going back to the gym and working out may not be a priority. But unless your body is in such a weak state where you absolutely have to rest, you should continue to train to help it adapt to the changes. If you’re on medication that you believe can affect your training ability, consult with your doctor before starting your workout.

 

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

 

BOOSTING YOUR PERFORMANCE WITH CARDIO WILL BE CHALLENGING

A change of diet will affect your gym workouts. Cardio workouts, particularly high-intensity interval training (HIIT), all require quick bursts of energy. With less stamina, you will find yourself getting tired faster. Instead of going straight for the HIIT sessions, ease yourself in by switching to low-intensity workouts like yoga and jogs before going back to your usual routine.

Before running to your nearest gym, make sure you’re not operating on an empty stomach. Have a filling keto breakfast or lunch or some keto snacks before your workout. The best way to stay prepared is by planning ahead. Meal prep days before to create a keto diet plan that consists of a range of keto recipes.

 

PROTEIN IS EVERYTHING

While high fats and low-carb keto foods are essential parts of the diet, protein is what will prevent you from losing muscle mass. If you’re planning on being a frequent gym visitor, you will need to consume enough to maintain muscle mass. However, too much protein can also have a negative effect if you’re trying to lose weight. When you consume too much protein in a short period, it can turn into glucose, which can kick your body out of ketosis.

 

UP YOUR CARB INTAKE IF NECESSARY

According to a Harvard research study, your carb intake on a keto diet should be between 20 to 50 grams per day. But if you’re highly active and take part in high-intensity sports, consider increasing it and balancing it with your workout time.

 

Common keto terms and words, What do they all mean?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been used for certain medical conditions (like epilepsy) as well as by people just looking to improve their health. The keto diet has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now one of the most Googled diets. But all the different wording and keto terms can make a person feel a little intimidated!  Learn the key keto lingo here

In this blog post, we will discuss 27 common keto terms that people may not be familiar with. These definitions will help prepare you for your new lifestyle!

Disclaimer:  This post has been reviewed by a nutritionist, but is for informational purposes only.  It does not constitute individual medical or nutrition advice.  Always consult your doctor or dietitian for questions about your diet.

 

Some high fat foods on a table with scrabble letters that say keto diet.

 

1. Ketogenic diet: The ketogenic (keto) diet is classified as a high-fat diet with moderate protein and very low carbohydrates. Roughly 70% to 80% of daily calories come from fat sources, while 15% to 20% comes from protein and only about 5-10% comes from carbohydrates. Typically, that’s no more than 50 grams of total carbs or 20 grams of net carbs – and sometimes less.

2. Standard Keto Diet (SKD): This is the most common type of keto diet, with macro ranges as described above.

3. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): Usually considered a less restrictive version, the targeted keto diet allows for more than 50 grams of carbs – but only in the time frame before physical activity, to help you achieve a more energized workout.

4. High Protein Keto Diet (HPKD): This keto diet is similar to SKD as far as carb intake, but shifts the fat and protein macros a bit. This typically falls around 60-65% fat, 30% protein, and 5-10% carbs. This may be helpful for bodybuilders or other athletes looking to optimize muscle mass.

5. Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD): This ketogenic diet variation allows for more carbohydrates periodically. Usually, you would follow a keto diet for 5-6 days, then have 1-2 days where you allow yourself higher carb consumption.

6. Clean Keto: Clean keto prioritizes nutrient-dense whole foods to meet daily macronutrient ranges. Such foods consist of vegetables, grass-finished meat, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, and healthy oils.

The primary goal of clean keto is to get the most nutrients as possible and minimize processed foods. For this reason, most that follow the clean keto approach stick to healthy homemade meals and tend to stay clear of fast foods or regular eating at restaurants. They take care in the selection of their food, it’s origin and the impact that it has on the environment as well as its sustainability.

7. Dirty Keto: Dirty keto prioritizes the adherence of daily macronutrient and carb counts in order to remain in a state of ketosis, with a lesser focus on how those limits have been met. For example, processed foods or fast foods can often be included on dirty keto, so long as the individual keeps their fat intake high and their carb intake low.

A note on clean vs. dirty keto:  We do not subscribe to a philosophy of clean keto or dirty keto. We believe that most foods should be nutrient-dense, but we also believe that ketosis is a metabolic state so there is flexibility in what is consumed as long as you stay in that metabolic state.  There’s room for keto treats!  Essentially, our philosophy falls in the middle.

8. Ketosis: When someone eats an average American’s amount of carbs for one day – about 200 grams for many people – their body converts it into glucose. This is used for fuel, but extra calories of carbohydrate (or any macronutrient for that matter) are stored as fat. On the flip side, if you’re following keto and eating no more than 50 total grams or 20 net grams of carbohydrates per day (and sometimes even less), your body is forced to use fat for fuel instead of glucose.  This is called ketosis and is what you’re aiming for.

9. Ketone bodies: Ketones are produced by the liver from fatty acids when there is not enough glucose for energy. The body can utilize these ketones as an alternative fuel source for the brain.

10. Ketone testing strips: Ketone testing strips measure whether there are ketones present in the urine, so people know if their diet is working.

11. Keto flu: Keto flu is usually characterized by uncomfortable symptoms that can sometimes occur during early stages of ketosis. This can occur to those just starting the diet, or if you kicked yourself out of ketosis with a higher carb day and are trying to get back into it. You may experience flu-like symptoms that are actually caused by the adjustment your body is making as it switches fuel sources from carbs to fat.

Possible symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, irritability, or muscle cramps. It usually goes away with time, but you can alleviate keto flu symptoms by drinking lots of electrolyte-rich fluids and backing off strenuous exercise for a day or two.

12. Ketoacidosis: Sometimes people get these confused – ketoacidosis is a different condition than ketosis. Ketoacidosis can occur in type 1 diabetes, and refers to very high levels of ketones that cause the blood to become acidic.  This is a dangerous and life-threatening condition.

Ketosis as a part of a ketogenic diet in a healthy individual (without accompanying medical conditions) generally does not lead to ketoacidosis.  However, there have been some rare occurrences, like in this case study and this one, among individuals without diabetes who were following a very low carb diet.  While this is very rare, it’s always smart to monitor how your body is feeling, and contact your doctor if you experience symptoms like thirstiness, dry skin, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or confusion.

13. Total carbs: The total number of carbs in a food product, which includes starch, fiber, sugars, and sugar alcohols.

14. Net carbs: Net carbs are the number of grams of total carbohydrates in a food minus the grams of fiber and grams of erythritol (sugar alcohol) and/or allulose (a special type of sugar). Neither erythritol or allulose have a meaningful impact on blood sugar levels, so they can be subtracted from total carbs.

For example, if a keto snack product contains 8 grams of total carbs, but has 5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of erythritol – it would only contain 1 net carb. It’s thought that net carbs may be a more accurate way of measuring the impact of foods on blood sugar but is not always a perfect measurement.

Also, remember that not all sugar alcohols have the same impact on blood sugar. For example, maltitol or sorbitol are have more of an impact on blood sugar, so it’s often recommended that only half of those types of sugar alcohol be subtracted out to determine net carbs.

15. Carb Threshold: The carb threshold is the number of carbs you can eat each day before the body moves out of ketosis and into carb-based energy. It’s different for everyone. Some people may need to stick to just 15 grams of net carbs per day, while others may be able to still stay in ketosis at 25 grams of net carbs per day.

16. Fat Adapted: This term is often used in the athletic community, and means the body has adjusted to burning fat over glycogen during moderate aerobic exercise. Note that a keto diet will always impair performance in a short distance, sprint-focused events though, as stored glycogen provides much of the energy for shorter, intense events.

17. Fat bomb: A keto dessert that’s often made of a high fat base (like cream cheese, butter, nut butter, or coconut oil) along with flavorful add-ins and a keto-friendly sweetener like stevia or erythritol.

18. MCT oil: These oils are made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT oil is processed differently than other fats, and may help support cognitive function and metabolism while providing long-lasting energy. Note that too much MCT oil can cause gastrointestinal upset.

19. Fast: Some people choose to engage in a fast as part of their keto diet. A fast is when you do not eat any food or drink caloric beverages for a certain period of time. This can range from around 12 hours up to several days. Do not undertake a fast without your doctor’s approval.

20. Intermittent Fasting (IF): While a fast may be a one-time thing, intermittent fasting is usually a pattern of dieting in which people eat within a shorter time period than they usually would.

There are several styles, such as a 16:8 daily protocol (16 hours fast and 8-hour eating window) or a 5:2 weekly protocol (normal eating 5 days per week and significantly restricted eating of 500-600 calories on the other 2 days). Some people choose to do intermittent fasting in conjunction with the keto diet, but it is not an original part of the keto diet.

21. LCHF (low carb high fat): This keto term is an abbreviation often used to describe recipes or the diet itself.

22. NSV (non-scale victory): Many people embarking on a diet may not be looking for weight loss, but maybe looking for other health improvements. They can still celebrate NSVs even if they don’t lose any pounds – like when they sleep more soundly or notice that their blood pressure has improved.

23. Erythritol: Erythritol is sugar alcohol that is often used as a keto sweetener because it has fewer calories than regular table sugar and does not raise blood glucose levels.

24. Allulose: Allulose is a unique sugar that keto dieters often use in place of sugar because it is thought to not have an impact on blood sugar.

25. Exogenous ketones: These are ketones that come from an outside source, such as a special drink or supplement. Keep in mind, exogenous ketones shouldn’t be used as a quick fix and don’t replace the keto diet for driving your body into a fat-burning state.

26. Macros: Short for macronutrients, this refers to three classes of nutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Many people on keto diets track of their food intake and make sure they are getting the right balance of macros.

27. Bulletproof Coffee: This is a drink that keto dieters often have in the morning. It consists of coffee, butter or ghee (clarified butter), and MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides). It’s a way for those on the keto diet to get extra fats first thing in the morning but is certainly not a necessity.

 

MORE YUMMY KETO COOKING INFORMATION TO READ AND RECIPES TO TRY

We also have 70+ keto breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack recipes to choose from. Yummy Keto Cooking – Keto Recipes

All of our recipes or keto meal ideas are delicious, once you have tried them you’ll want to make them again and again. By mixing or swapping carb-heavy ingredients with a keto alternative, you can enjoy some of your favorite cuisines without feeling like you’re missing out.

 

SHARE:  WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE KETO RECIPE?  IF YOU GOT A CHANCE TO MAKE ONE OF OUR OWN KETO RECIPES, WHAT’D YOU THINK?



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