There are so many reasons why you would have to start a ketogenic diet (abbreviated as the keto diet). A lot of studies have shown that such a diet has great potential to help people reduce weight and improve health. Additionally, the diet has been found to hold many benefits against Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy.
When we talk about a keto diet, we are simply referring to foods with a high concentration of fats, low carbohydrates, and moderate protein. When you start eating such foods, your body develops a habit of burning fat instead of carbs for fuel. In the event, the body is put in a metabolic state called ketosis. This is a state where ketones are produced as the major source of energy for the body in place of glucose.
A good deal of people worldwide is using this kind of diet not only to reduce weight, but also to sleep better, improve their mental focus, and feel more energized. The diet works, but there are things you need to know before getting into it. This guide explains everything you should know to start a keto diet.
This post may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure.
How It Works
When you consume foods rich in carbohydrates, the foods are converted by the body into blood sugar, also called glucose. For this reason, the level of blood sugar rises. This creates a signal that causes the body to release insulin, which transports the sugars to the cells for the production of energy. This sometimes causes a situation known as an insulin spike.
Your body will continue using glucose for energy as long as you continue eating diets with high amounts of carbohydrates. The primary source of energy for your body is also glucose, and when present, the body will turn down to burn off other sources such as fats. The only way to make your body to start burning fats is by getting rid of carbohydrates.
Consuming diets with low carbs ensures that there is little glucose in its stores, which leaves the body with no other choice than to start using fat stores as its main energy source. Fats are therefore burned in place of carbohydrates to produce energy. In this process, fatty acids are turned into ketones with keto diets as its basis.
Amount of Macronutrients You Should Consume on a Keto Diet
There is no particular ratio for the macronutrients that works for every particular person. The ratios differ from one individual to another depending on factors such as health history, mental and physical goals, and activity levels. Below is a general and easy guideline to follow when taking different types of macronutrients.
You need around 5% to 10% of calories from these type of macronutrients to reach ketosis. This is 25g to 50g of carbohydrates if you are taking about 100 to 200 calories per day. Most individuals take approximately 30g of carbs. Moreover, based on your health needs and levels of your activity, you can consume about 80g and still maintain your ketosis. A low-carb diet is a key to achieving your keto goals.
This is a major macronutrient of a keto diet. Like carbohydrates, they do not raise the level of glucose in the blood. Majority of people think that enormous amounts of fats are needed for ketosis to take place. However, this is untrue as it is believed that only 70% to 80% of calories are required. This means that you need to eat around 144g to 177g of fat if you are consuming about 2000 calories daily.
About 10% to 15% of calories are needed from proteins to maintain your ketosis. However, you can eat more or less than this without affecting your ketosis or normal blood sugar. To know the amount of protein to consume in grams, first, you need to calculate your lean body mass. Ideally, you will need over 0.8g of protein per pound of your lean body mass. This is important to prevent some conditions such as loss of muscle.
Foods You Should Eat on a Keto Diet
When following a keto diet, you will enjoy a wide range of delicious foods which include the following.
Seeds, Eggs, Meat, and Nuts – All seafood and meat are okay provided they are not fried or breaded. Ensure to choose the meat you can afford, including organic beef, wild-caught fish, eggs, poultry, and pork. Nuts like almonds and macadamia are advisable.
Dairy – Not all dairy is considered perfect for keto. Ensure your daily is keto-friendly before consumption. These include sour cream, ghee, and butter, fermented dairies such as kefir and yoghurt, soft and hard cheeses, and heavy creams.
Vegetables – You eat vegetables are only low in carbohydrates. These are wonderful sources of micronutrients which prevent you from deficiencies of vitamins when on keto. Consider eating cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbages, and etcetera, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, lettuces like romaine and iceberg, and others such as celery and mushrooms.
Fruits – Low-sugar fruits are the best when on a healthy keto. Such include organic berries like strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and avocadoes, which you can eat as much as you like.
Healthy oils and fats – Plant-based and animal-based oils and fats are considered okay on keto. Some of them include coconut oil, tallow, grass-fed butter, MCT oil, avocado and olive oil, mayonnaise, lard, sesame seed oil, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil.
Foods you Must not Eat On Keto Diet
You must avoid the following food when on a ketogenic diet.
Seed oils since they are usually processed. Examples include peanut oil, corn oil, and grapeseed oil.
Sugars, including desserts, smoothies, ice cream, fruit juice, artificial sweeteners, and soda.
Legumes and beans because they are high in carbs. Examples include black and kidney beans.
Alcohol as the liver will stop processing ketones and start producing ethanol instead.
Starchy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
Grains because they are high-carb foods and usually are processed. You should avoid corns, rice, wheat, whole grains, oats, quinoa, rye, and barley.
High sugar fruits.
Although it is very healthy and safe to consume a keto diet, you might experience some side effects before you fully adapt to the metabolic processes associated with ketosis. Fortunately, you can experience keto flu only for some few days after beginning your diet. Some symptoms include increased hunger, poor mental function, nausea, and decreased performance during exercise.
It is highly recommended to rely on keto if you want to lower the risks of developing heart diseases, acne, brain injuries, polycystic ovary syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and among others. The diet is also known to slow tumour growth hence preventing many types of cancer. It also helps a great deal when you want to achieve your weight loss plans.
We hope our guide helps you with everything you need to know to start a keto diet.
[Don’t miss: 5 Amazing Vitamins and Supplements for Healthy Skin.]