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How to Start a Keto Diet for beginners

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Carine Claudepierre - August 19, 2020
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You want to start the keto diet but don’t know where to start?

Follow my easy keto starter kit below to get started the best possible way!

The Keto diet is a diet that promotes the consumption of high-fat but low-carb food. This puts the body in ketosis. Ketosis is a state where the body gets its energy from stored fat instead of getting it from the carbohydrates that are consumed.

Being in ketosis generally has several effects, one of them is a rapid weight loss on most people following the diet. Read on to learn more!

Keto Starter Kit

To get started with keto you need just 3 elements:

  1. A basic understanding of the principles behind the keto diet
  2. Learning what you can and can’t eat so you make the right decisions
  3. Easy recipes with low net carbs to bake your own low-carb meals

Of course, it is very important to seek medical advice before starting the ketogenic diet. It is a great diet that is very effective to lose weight, but it is not for everyone as it might have some side effects.

1. What is the keto diet?

The keto diet, also known as the low-carb high-fat diet (LCHF), consists of reducing the number of carbs while increasing the fat.

In a regular diet, about 55% of the energy comes from carbs, 35% from protein, and 10% from the fat intake. In Keto, it is quite different. Most of the energy intake comes from the fat while carbs only make up about 10%.

This vast reduction of carbs consumed is putting the body in a state called Ketosis. To learn more about Ketosis, Ketones, the health benefits, and the risks of the keto diet, read my detailed article What is the keto diet.

2. What can I eat on Keto?

The Keto diet is all about reducing carbs in favor of fat and to a lesser extent protein. So you need to pick meat, drinks, fruits, and vegetables that are low in carb and if possible high in fat.

a. Knowing your macros

Because the ketogenic diet is all about reducing the intake of carbs and increasing the fat, it is absolutely critical to know what you should be taking.

A regular diet is made of about 55% carbs, 35% protein, and 10% fat but in keto you will be aiming for about 10% carbs, 20% protein, and 70% fat in order be in ketosis.

Keto Diet Macros vs Regular Diet

However, this number of carbs, protein, and fat varies from person to person. Your current build, target, and aspirations will change your macros. You could calculate these macros manually or use my macro calculator for your very own figures.

A 10%-carb macro means that only 10% of your calories will come from carbs.
Note that it is not the same as 10% of the weight of your foods that comes from carbs since the energy density of carbs, protein, and fat is different.

One gram of carbs has 4 calories which is the same as 1g of protein. However, one gram of fat has 9 calories. Therefore when 70% of your energy comes from carb it is actually 50% of the weight of your ingredients that must be fat!

There are different variants of the low-carb diet and you should choose the one that fits your health background. I personally follow a low-carb diet limiting my carbs to 50g per day. Some people don’t count carbs at all and focus on eating low-carb real food.

The low-carb diet variants are

  • Moderate low-carb diet – less than 100g of net carbs per day, about 25% of your daily calorie intake 
  • Low carb diet – less than 50g of net carbs per day, about 12.5% of your daily calorie intake
  • Keto diet – less 20g – 30g net carbs per day, about 5% of your daily calorie intake

b. A typical Keto plate

Your typical keto plate needs to match your macros. You need quite a bit of fat-loaded food. A little protein and very few carbs.

A typical Keto plate

Now, what can you eat in each food group?

c. Keto food list

To simplify your shopping, use the keto food list below.

This ultimate low-carb food list lists all the food you can eat on a daily basis.
It is a very useful keto food list for beginners as it lists all the basics ingredients should have on hands to start a low-carb diet.

KETO GROCERY LIST

d. What should I avoid on Keto?

You need to eliminate all major sources of carbs on keto. If you didn’t you would not be in ketosis anymore.
I also give you some alternatives to fix your craving.

e. How To Read Nutrition Labels

Knowing how to read nutrition labels is critical when following the keto diet. However, it is not that complicated.

  • First of all, always look at the quantity per 100g which makes things easier when comparing products for which the serving size is not always identical. Total Carbohydrates will include all carbs, even fiber. Most of the time the label will give you the amount of sugar too. Which includes natural and added sugar. Then you will have a line with the fiber amount also called dietary fiber.
  • To calculate how many carbs you will have on your plate use this formula:

Net Carbs = (your portion in g / 100) * (Total Carbohydrates per 100g – fiber per 100g) 

As an example, if you have a food label with 10g Carbs, 6g Fiber per 100g and you take 30g of it, your net carbs are: (30/100) * (10-6) = 0.3 * 4 = 1.2g of net carbs

3. Finding easy keto recipes

On a keto diet, you need to follow recipes that are easy to make and that you can trust have low levels of carbohydrates and high levels of fat.

On Sweetashoney, you can filter my hundreds of recipes by meal type (breakfast, meal, snack, etc.) but also by net carbs.

This allows you to find great low-carb recipes that precisely meet your carbs macro!

But if you don’t want to have to count your carbs, it is preferable to opt for a keto meal plan.

a. Keto Meal Plans

A Low-Carb Meal Plan or Keto Meal Plan is a pre-defined list of meals tailored to reach a specific number of net carbs every day.

It is the easiest way of starting the keto diet without having to dive into difficult calculations and measures.

A low-carb diet plan typically lasts for one or two weeks and the good ones have meal preparation instructions.

I have two meal plans offered on Sweetashoney:

  • A keto diet plan for beginners, the 14-day keto meal plan. It is made to get you as low as 17g of net carbs per day and contains many delicious, easy low-carb recipes and full meal prep instructions!
  • A more advanced meal plan, the 14-day intermittent fasting keto meal plan. It is made to help you implement an intermittent fasting method, allowing you to go beyond the keto plateau.

If you want a bit more help, I also have available the 14-day keto meal plan bundled with a keto guide on how to begin the low carb diet. This is ideal to achieve true low-carb success as it contains a vast amount of tips and tricks for low carb beginners.

While cooking keto recipe is as simple as regular cooking, baking is a bit more complicated.

Because you are using different flours, it requires some adjustments to your regular method!

b. How can I become a keto baking superstar?

Most of my recipes are baking recipes. And I know how different baking keto bread of cakes can be! It requires a few adjustments and re-learning some of the baking rules.

Here is what can go wrong with baking keto recipes, mostly because of the use of low-carb flours:

  • Sinking bread
  • Overly moist cakes
  • Fragile dough
  • Sticky dough
  • Blue or purple bread
  • Crumbly bread

There are many ways to fix and troubleshoot such problems.

I have a set of 10 great free printables to help you bake delicious keto recipes! Register here to receive them.

If you want to go even further, check out my Keto Baking Guide ebook along with my Best Ever Keto Recipe Collection. I have books with many bread-like recipes, gluten-free and grain-free cakes, and other low-carb desserts!

c. Am I in Ketosis?

It takes about two days of eating very low-carb to get into ketosis.

And all it takes to get out of ketosis is one high-carb portion of anything. So, it is important to have a way to measure whether or not you are in ketosis.

The best and easiest way is to test your ketone levels. You can do that with any Ketone Test Strips in a matter of minutes.

There are a few other less measurable signs that you are probably in ketosis:

  • Bad breath, due to the presence of acetone
  • Less appetite
  • Some insomnia
  • The first week’s keto flu

Conclusion

The Keto Diet might sound like a complicated and dreadful diet, but it is not.

It is in a way simple math! If it is a diet that works for you, all you have to do is stick to your macros, listen to your body and eat easy, simple low-carb recipes!

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    5 comments
  1. Hi Carine, thanks for all the informative information. I enjoyed following your recipe. Continue to create new receipts and inspire people like myself who enjoys following a healthy life style. I have tried and shared several of your recipes. Keep up the goo job.

    • Thank you ! I am so glad you found my blog and enjoy my recipes I cant wait to read your first review on my recipes. XOXO Carine.

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