The ketogenic diet is what I have been following for many years now to reverse my pre-diabetes, let me tell you how you can start a keto diet.
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.
Keep on reading to learn how to start the keto diet.
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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.
Ketosis is this metabolic state in which the body gets its energy from stored fats instead of the sugar you eat.
In your normal state, digestion breaks down sugars into glucose that can then be consumed by your muscles, organs, and brain.
In ketosis, there is not enough glucose available in the bloodstream, so your body turns to another mode of energy production.
The liver transforms the fat stored all over the body into ketones that your muscles can then use for fuel.
Ketones are molecules that are produced by your liver when you are in ketosis.
They are essentially a different form of fuel for your muscles.
Your muscles and organ will always favor glucose, if it is available, over ketone. Because glucose is more efficient.
However, if the supply of glucose is low, most muscles and organs can consume ketones instead.
Ketones are what people measure to know if they are in ketosis or not.
After you have reduced your carbs intakes, it will take your body two to four days to get into ketosis. That’s how long it takes for the body to consume most of its blood glucose, glycogen, and other glucose storage!
Once you are in ketosis, the body actively turns fat into energy which means that if you can maintain this state for long enough, you lose weight!
This is a common misconception. The body can store both fat and glucose (from carbs) as fat. But your body will only be in fat-storage mode if the concentration of glucose in your blood is high.
When you are in ketosis, your blood sugar level is too low for the body to consider storing fat. Therefore, all the fat you are eating is either consumed or evacuated.
Before wondering how to begin a low carb diet, it is important to check whether it’s appropriate for you.
I am not the one that can answer this question! What is certain is that the ketogenic diet is not for everyone. There are limited risks – as with any diet, really. But it is a diet that can be challenging, in particular in the first week.
So, I will always recommend that you talk to your doctor or dietician before starting your keto journey. They would be able to assess any particular risk factor you might have.
For example, if you take insulin or other diabetes treatments, the keto diet is not recommended. It is the same for people taking medication for high blood pressure or breastfeeding women.
It is also not recommended if there is a history of colon cancer in your family as the keto diet limits the intake of fiber.
The ketogenic diet is widely known as one of the most reliable ways of losing weight. But there are some other benefits as well.
There are many factors that contribute to how much weight you can lose on Keto and how fast it will happen, including:
But whatever the parameters, the Keto diet is a very efficient way to lose weight. The study linked below shows an average weight loss of 15kg after 9 weeks in women and 20kg for men.
One of the reasons it works so well is because most people doing Keto don’t feel hungry.
Therefore, there your mind is not telling you to stop. So is a diet that is one of the easiest to follow.
The Keto diet has also proven to be an efficient diet for some other conditions.
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.
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.
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
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.
Now, what can you eat in each food group?
To simplify your shopping, use the keto grocery list below.
This ultimate low-carb food list gives you a great idea of 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.
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.
Knowing how to read nutrition labels is critical when following the keto diet. However, it is not that complicated.
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
A Low-Carb 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.
Check out my 14-day keto meal plan, they are made to get you as low as 17g of net carbs per day and contain many delicious, easy low-carb recipes and full meal prep instructions!
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:
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:
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!
While the keto diet has many positive effects, it does have a few not so joyous side effects. Let me tell you how to mitigate them!
The Keto Flu is a combination of symptoms that generally happen in the first week after cutting carbs. These symptoms are similar to what you get with the flu, hence its name.
They include nausea, constipation, headache, weakness, cramps, dizziness, etc. All of it is due to your body adapting to the lack of carbs. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce their effect and duration.
As your digestive system adapts to processing a lot more fat and a lot less carb, you might feel constipated.
To fight this, make sure to drink plenty of liquids and that you make recipes that are high in fiber. Yes, more fiber means more carbs, but remember that what matters is the net carbs (carb – fiber).
Heart palpitations are one of the potential side effects of the keto diet. In the vast majority of cases, you don’t have to worry, it is most likely that you are slightly dehydrated and that your electrolytes are low. Drink plenty and replace your electrolytes!
The change in macro-nutrients that you consume because of your new diet might lead to some hair loss. This might be due to the body trying to save energy for other functions.
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