Ketogenic Diet for Beginners – A Guide to Getting Started on Keto
Following a keto diet can help you lose weight as well as combat a variety of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer.
For those unfamiliar with the keto diet, it may sound strange that a diet high in fat can actually burn off fat instead of contributing to it on the body.
However, the keto diet isn’t just another fad. Ketosis and weight loss have been studied extensively and the results are in the facts.
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What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet that’s categorized as having a very low carb intake coupled with high fat to force the body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Once in ketosis, your body will begin to burn fat for energy.
Keto dieters typically follow the Standard Ketogenic Diet or SKD, which consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs, though the carb count will vary from person to person depending on their daily nutritional requirements.
Another popular ketogenic diet besides SKD is the high-protein ketogenic diet. It includes more protein at 35% while keeping carbs at 5% and decreasing fat to 60% intake.
The other two ketogenic diets – Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) and Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – are typically reserved for bodybuilders and athletes.
How Do You Know If You’re In Ketosis?
Testing for ketones in the body is the only way to know if you’re in a state of metabolic ketosis.
You can test for ketones in your blood, urine, and breath, but a blood test is typically the most accurate.
1.5-3.0 mmol/L is the optimal ketone range for losing weight. Less than 1.5 mmol/L would not give you the best results and any more than 3.0 mmol/L are not necessary and may be dangerous.
To test ketones in the blood, you can purchase a readily available testing kit on Amazon.
However, not everyone is privy to pricking their fingers so urine strips are another option. Urine strips are more cost-friendly, but are not as accurate as blood tests.
And finally, there are testing kits that analyze your breath for ketones, but they’re by far the most inaccurate and can be rather expensive, so I don’t recommend testing for ketones this way.
What Can and What Can’t You Eat on the Keto Diet?
Foods high in sugar, or carbs need to be limited so that you may achieve ketosis.
Foods to avoid:
- Grains and pasta
- Most fruits
- Root vegetables
- Certain sauces like ketchup, which is high in sugar
- Processed sugary foods: soda, candy, smoothies, juice, ice cream, cake, etc.
On the other hand, you’ll want your meals to consist of foods like:
- Protein: Chicken, steak, pork, fish, eggs, etc.
- Dairy products: Butter, milk, cheeses
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils
- Low carb, high fat fruits like avocados
- Low carb vegetables
Sample 7 Day Meal Plan for the Keto Diet
To help you get started on the keto diet, here’s a sample 7 day meal plan you can follow.
Notice: Be sure to discuss with your doctor before starting any new diet regimen to make sure it’s right for you.
Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and avocado toast with low carb bread
Lunch: Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder shake
Snack: Keto chips
Dinner: Chicken and broccoli topped with a cheese sauce
Breakfast: Keto smoothie
Lunch: Fresh greens salad with chicken and low carb dressing
Snack: Keto crackers with hummus or other low carb dip/spread
Dinner: Salmon with asparagus seasoned with lemon pepper
Breakfast: Keto breakfast muffin
Lunch: Chicken salad with low carb bread
Snack: Veggie platter and hummus
Dinner: Pork chops with cauliflower rice
Breakfast: Breakfast keto casserole
Lunch: Zucchini noodle soup
Snack: Keto candy
Dinner: Spaghetti zucchini noodles and meatballs
Lunch: DIY Lunchables – deli meat, cheese, and nuts
Snack: Stuffed avocado
Dinner: Steak and eggs
Breakfast: Keto breakfast cereal
Lunch: Cauliflower casserole
Snack: Low carb popsicle
Dinner: Pork chops with avocado spread and salad
Breakfast: Omelet with vegetables and avocado
Lunch: Chicken or beef stir-fry with vegetables
Snack: Low carb cupcake
Dinner: Keto pizza
As you can see, these are easy recipes with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
You can also save a lot of time and money by meal prepping.
While you don’t need to shop for a lot of new ingredients, here are some things to help you excel on the keto diet.
The following sweeteners do not have an effect on your blood sugar and can be eaten on the keto diet:
What low carb sweeteners you choose mostly comes down to preference. Some recipes may call for one over the other, but with most recipes, sweeteners are interchangeable.
2. Cauliflower – Cauliflower can be made into low carb pizza crusts, faux rice, and even mac and cheese. Go ahead and stock up on this awesome veggie!
3. Keto protein powder – A good low carb keto protein powder is not so much a necessity, but more of a nice keto ingredient to have around the house.
I highly recommend Perfect Keto Chocolate protein powder. You can add it to smoothies, shakes, and even keto desserts for a rich chocolatey flavor.
It’s also mixed with MCT oil, an added bonus for keto dieters.
4. MCT oil – MCT or medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fat found in certain foods.
MCT oil promotes weight loss and can help you reach ketosis faster, while acting as a source of energy that your brain can use.
The keto flu, or carb flu, is a collection of symptoms that occur when you start a ketogenic diet.
It’s essentially withdrawal from the lack of carb intake, but tends to go away in a few days. However in some people it can take up to a week or more.
Symptoms include but are not limited to fatigue, mental cloudiness, increased hunger, sleep problems, nausea, and digestive issues.
Here are 6 ways you can lessen the effects of keto flu:
1. Slowly decrease your carb intake over the course of a few weeks instead of all at once.
2. Increase the amount of salt and electrolytes in your body to offset the effects of keto flu.
3. Stay hydrated.
4. Get enough sleep.
5. Stick with light exercise in the beginning.
6. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables like leafy greens.
Undergoing the keto flu may make you want to give up on the keto diet, but just know that it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re on your way towards ketosis and that it won’t last forever.
However, if your keto flu symptoms last for more than two weeks or it’s disrupting your ability to function normally, consult your doctor immediately.
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