We all want to be healthy, and for many of us, that means eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats.
Unfortunately, this can make it hard to keep on weight. That’s where the ketogenic diet comes in!
The keto diet is an extremely restrictive but very effective way to lose weight fast.
KETOGENIC DIET FOR BEGINNERS
Beginning keto? Well, first let me tell you what is a keto diet and how it affects weight loss.
A. WHAT IS KETO DIET?
A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that helps you lose weight by making your body burn fat instead of carbs.
The ultimate goal for this type of eating plan is to get the body into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is when your body burns the excess fat it has stored up and converts it into energy or fuel. This process can take weeks, but some people experience benefits within days.
The Keto diet is a low-carb high-fat diet that aids in weight loss.
A ketogenic diet is a way of eating a high amount of fats, a medium amount of proteins, and very low carbs.
What are carbs?
If you are interested in weight loss then carbs are not good for you.
Carbohydrates are macronutrients found in starches, foods with high sugar content, bread, flour, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, and bagels. These foods are so much available and delicious that they can be easily over-consumed.
Carbohydrates break down to glucose which is in turn used by the body to release energy.
What is ketosis?
When carbs are discarded for a long time from our diet then our body enters into a phase called ketosis.
In normal conditions, the body burns glucose for energy. But once our body enters ketosis, then it starts burning fat for energy.
What are ketones?
When in a natural condition, the body uses glucose as its main source of fuel, but while being on a ketogenic diet (deficiency of available glucose) for a long, our body starts breaking down fats for energy and that is when the liver produces a molecule known as ketones to be used as fuel to the body and brain.
Do you want to know the ketones level in your body?
Then order some ketone pee strips (NO, this is not an affiliate link).
This is an important step to start. As a beginner, you need to know what foods are pushing you away from ketosis.
You cannot rely on every recipe you see on the internet which says keto-approved. You have to check whether a certain combination of foods raises or decreases your ketones.
There is also a danger of having a high ketone count known as DKA (Diabetic Keto Acidosis).
Ideally, our ketone level should not go beyond > 1.5
So, it is always good to have a ketone level checked.
How many carbohydrates should you consume while on a keto diet?
Low carb researchers Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney suggested an upper limit of 50 gms of carb for daily intake.
Anything below that level is good for a ketogenic diet.
Aiming for 35 gm of carbs daily should be a good keto way.
How to tell if you are in ketosis?
1. As I mentioned earlier that you can use the keto strips to check if you are in ketosis.
2. The other symptoms can be rapid weight loss (initially it is due to a drop in water weight)
3. Reduced food cravings are another indication.
4. You can also face bad breath or fatigue.
5. A bad headache could also be a symptom. Drink enough water to avoid negative feelings.
B. BENEFITS OF A KETO DIET
The ketogenic diet would not have been trending if it was not a very effective measure.
1. Curb diabetics
Keeping the blood sugar level low and checking on insulin have proved to be effectively curbing diabetics. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients have got very positive effects following a ketogenic diet.
2. Effortless Dieting
Eating more proteins and fats satisfy our hunger pangs.
Following a keto diet will never make you feel hungry as you are already consuming full-filling meals.
3. Leads to a lesser risk of Cataracts
Our eyesight gets affected gradually if we have high blood sugar levels.
A ketogenic diet always tends to lower your blood sugar levels and hence maintains improved eyesight. It even decreases the risk of cataracts due to the same reason.
4. PCOS can be treated with a ketogenic diet
PCOS is a very common problem in women’s health.
Low-carb diets decrease the overall insulin level and hence reduce irregular menstrual periods and improve PCOS condition.
5. Improves Digestion and reduces Bloating
It is well known that potatoes, pasta, and high sugary foods are likely to increase body bloating due to acid reflux. So maintaining a low-carb diet improves these conditions.
Taking out carbohydrates from the diet also helps in digestion and other gastrointestinal problems.
6. Helps to gain Muscles
Muscle gain also comes with fat gain. A ketogenic diet solely promotes muscle gain.
For an endurance athlete, the ketones in the blood lead to a significant performance boost.
Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek have a number of papers published about ketogenic dieting for ultra-endurance athletes.
7. Improves Gall Bladder Health
Gallstones are formed due to a high amount of carbs intake. So keeping a sufficient amount of fat and keeping the carb count low somewhat prevents the formation of gallstones.
8. Lowers Blood pressure
Keto and blood sugar, the Low-carb diets are greatly associated with lowered blood sugar levels.
Since ketogenic diets are designed to reduce carb intake, they lower blood sugar levels effectively.
Lowered blood sugar levels reduce the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
9. Helps fight Obesity
Abdominal Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are effectively reduced while on ketosis.
A large percentage of harmful fat in the abdominal cavity is lost due to low-carb diets.
A ketogenic diet helps to fight obesity and prevent major metabolic problems.
10. Increase in energy levels
You will notice a lack of cravings for carbs and a boost in energy levels within a week of a keto diet.
11. Increases HDL
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol which carries the cholesterol from the body to the liver where it can be reused or excreted. So higher the levels of HDL, the lower is the risk of any heart disease.
HDL can be increased by eating a lot of fats. As fat consumption is the main ingredient of a ketogenic diet, the HDL level tends to increase measurably.
12. Controls LDL
Bad cholesterol or Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) tends to increase the rate of heart disease.
The higher the level of LDL, the higher the chances of heart attacks. Though all the LDL particles are not of the same size. The smaller particles are more harmful.
A low-carb diet for a prolonged period starts turning the smaller particles into larger ones and thus it becomes less harmful.
13. Lowers Triglycerides Level
Triglycerides are the fat molecules in the blood that are a strong heart disease risk factor.
The consumption of sugar and a high-carb diet tends to increase triglyceride levels.
Hence, on the contrary, a low-carb diet tends to eliminate triglycerides by a large percentage.
C. HOW TO START A KETOGENIC DIET FOR BEGINNERS
To start a ketogenic diet all you need is determination and a crystal-clear meal plan.
1. Initially, it will be a bit tough to get accustomed to the new changes in eating habits. So you may take a week before you actually can start the diet. But in the meantime do not start eating high-fat diets along with carbs which is a sure shot way to obesity.
2. You will get ample keto breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes available on the internet. Always be prepared for a weekly meal plan. You can do the meal plans on weekdays and get your grocery shopping on Fridays.
3. While you prepare yourself for high fat and low-carb diet, do not forget to take the protein intake in between. If you feel you are not getting enough proteins then Egg whites are an excellent way.
4. If you are unsure of what amount of protein, fats, and carbs will be good for you then you can use the Keto Calculator. You can use any keto calculator as it is always a good start to knowing your body. Having the calculation metrics will help you to keep focused on your diet plan.
D. KETO DIET FOOD LISTS
Now that you have decided to start with your first ketogenic diet then here go the food lists that you should be aware of.
I also liked this vivid list of keto foods from ruled.me.
You will have 2 sections here. One of the foods to have and the second, food to avoid. Take notice of both.
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Goose fat
- Red Palm Oil
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Whipped Cream
- Brussels sprouts
- Egg Plant
- Green Onion
- Red Cabbage
- Bell Peppers
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sugary Foods
- Milk Chocolates
- Sweet Potatoes
E. HEALTHY KETO SNACKS THAT YOU CAN GULP ANYTIME
Apart from the keto food lists, you can always keep some keto snacks handy.
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Soft pretzels
- 90% Dark chocolates
Here are 8 keto snack recipes that you can carry to gulp between foods and yet be in ketosis.
F. SIDE EFFECTS OF THE KETO DIET
We generally intake a high-carb diet. So, suddenly when we shift to a low-carb diet then it is natural for our body to take some time before we can adapt to this new kinda diet.
There are a few keto side effects that are worth mentioning though they are short-term and will get over in 7-10 days.
1. Drowsiness: A very common side effect of a sudden shift to a low-carb diet is drowsiness.
2. Visiting the toilet frequently: As our body is getting rid of excess water so it is common to have frequent urination.
3. Constipation or Diarrhea: When you start a ketogenic diet then you are likely to face any of the two.
4. Keto flu: Another very common symptom of a keto diet is experiencing some flu-like symptoms.
5. You may experience muscle cramps and lethargy due to the cut in carbs from the diet.
Some of the side effects of a keto diet are also the symptoms that you are doing keto right and entering ketosis.
Check out the signs and symptoms of ketosis to make a clear idea.
Learn thoroughly about ketosis before you enter.
G. KETO SUPPLEMENTS
In a keto diet, we will be cutting off many foods so it is better if we start using some keto supplements to fulfill the gap.
1. The first supplement which I would like to mention is MCT oil.
MCT oil can be added to drinks or salads and it increases the ketones level in our body.
2. Omega 3 supplements give better results on a ketogenic diet. You can have keto-friendly foods like salmon or sardines to increase omega 3 in your daily keto diet.
3. Creatine plays an important role in energy production and muscle contractions. Creatine supplements also aid in weight loss and better performance.
4. Bone broth or electrolyte replenisher helps to retain the electrolyte levels which tend to get lowered due to a low-carb diet on a ketogenic diet.
You can check the details about keto supplements from Healthline.
My Take on Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
There are several interesting lip-smacking keto recipes to start with.
The site Fitness Bash is entirely dedicated to keto and healthy recipes.
Everybody is different so a keto diet results will differ from person to person. Nevertheless, you can always give it a serious try as most people had great results with the ketogenic diet lifestyle.
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