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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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