Discover how to start a ketogenic diet (KETO diet).
What is the ketogenic diet or says keto? Here you will find all the information you need to start your journey to health, wellness, and weight loss.
You’ll also get a boost of energy by eating more of the delicious foods you love. Ready for the ketogenic? So here’s how to start your keto diet and get the best health you can get!
We’ll teach you how to embrace a delicious new way to eat while on a ketogenic diet that is high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and loaded with generous amounts of protein. You will learn everything.
Health benefits, dos, and don’ts, and how to stock up on supplies at the grocery store. How to simplify your shopping, planning your meals, etc.
It will help you get started on your keto diet and ensure long-term success once you achieve the desired results!
You’ve probably heard of high protein diets for years. You know that in general, most people are successful in losing weight by limiting their intake of complex carbohydrates and sugars while increasing their protein. But the term “keto” is probably new to you.
“Keto” is short for “ketosis,” denoting the perfectly natural metabolic state reached by the body when it begins to use stored fat for energy rather than glucose (sugar).
In a typical high-carbohydrate diet, excess sugars from sweets, high-sugar fruits, pasta, and high-starch foods like bread and cereals break down into glucose. The body uses this glucose for energy.
But if you eliminate or reduce foods that break down into sugars, the body chooses to burn excess fat instead.
Ketosis is the metabolic state when fat stores in the body are converted into energy. Once the body is in ketosis, there is a build-up of natural acids called ketones.
Weight loss and improving overall health are the results of the body burning fat instead of sugars – the goal of the keto diet!
By eating a diet high in healthy fats and consistent protein, and cutting back on carbohydrates and sugar, your body will reach the state of ketosis, turning fat into energy.
You will lose weight by eating meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, butter, and many vegetables.
While the trend towards eating low-carb diets may seem fairly recent, the ketogenic diet has been around for almost a century.
Created as a method of combating epilepsy in children in the 1920s, researchers noted a link between the keto diet and improved behavior as well as increased seizure control.
Over time, this method of consumption has become a popular option in one form or another for fighting high cholesterol, controlling blood sugar and insulin resistance, lowering blood pressure, increasing energy, and losing weight…
As with any new diet or exercise program, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start.
Be aware that results vary from individual to individual. Once you’ve determined that the keto diet is right for you, your first step will be to eliminate all processed foods from your diet.
Choosing the keto diet means simplifying the foods you eat and the ingredients in them. Processed foods include “any food that has been… altered in any way before it was eaten”.
For example, any packaged, cooked, canned, frozen, or “fortified” food. It means saying goodbye to chips, crackers, sugary snacks, refined oils, knockoffs, “low fat” and fast foods. You will also need to buy only high-quality meats so, no more intensively farmed chicken or beef.
Once you get used to the idea that your meals will be whole foods, you will find that shopping is simplified and cooking is easier.
You will not consume less food, you will consume simpler foods that are foods in their natural state. The keto diet is not about limiting calorie intake.
You will probably be consuming more calories than you are used to. But these will be in the form of fats, nuts, cheeses, fatty dairy products, and red meats.
For example, when dinner consisted of lasagna with layers of processed pasta, high sugar tomato sauce, and a small amount of meat, now you are going to eat a delicious steak, asparagus, and zucchini sautéed in coconut oil. and a salad of bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and bacon.
Your meals will include chicken, pork, beef, bacon, eggs, nuts, an assortment of cheeses, and rich leafy greens. Low-fat diets are a thing of the past. Your body needs fat to burn for you to lose fat!
If you’ve been yoyoing for years, eating foods that are low in fat and labeled “diet” or “low-fat” without seeing results, the keto diet is for you.
If you are a person suffering from high cholesterol, hypertension, celiac disease, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and low energy, the keto diet may be the solution you have been looking for…
Many people think of the keto diet as the “meaty” diet, which means you eat meat morning, noon, and night. Although you eat more protein and fewer carbs, it’s probably more accurate to call the keto diet “fat”.
You will eat more fat than you are used to. Around 75% of your daily calories will come from healthy fat, 15-20% protein on the keto diet. Fat is your fuel!
Your sources of fat will be foods like butter, bacon, high-fat cream, coconut, and other oils, salad dressings, cheese, and high-fat yogurt. The protein you eat will be secondary but necessary to help you stay in ketosis and burn fat.
While your new way of eating includes up to 80% of your calorie intake from healthy fats and 15% from protein, that means the remaining calories will come from carbohydrates.
But what kind of carbohydrates? You guessed it: vegetables. While you’ll be avoiding starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and carrots, you’ll be eating a lot of leafy greens.
Green leafy vegetables are spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, kale, and cabbage. Hearty options like asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower, and spaghetti squash also do the trick.
While some foods (like whole yogurt) contain trace amounts of carbohydrate (it should be counted nonetheless), the majority of carbohydrates come from vegetables.
You can start your day with a green smoothie that is high in antioxidants, fiber, and fried eggs.
For lunch, pair a green salad with leafy vegetables, avocado, olives, blue cheese, and grilled salmon.
Sauté zucchini and asparagus in coconut oil and grill a steak for dinner. Your meals will be balanced, healthy, and filling, and the fiber in vegetables is crucial for overall health.
Even if it is true that you will no longer consume food and sweets, that is to say, that there will be no more sugar in all its forms (cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.), there are natural sweeteners and fruits that won’t impact your blood sugar and ketosis goals.
Natural sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit are great, as are berries, cocoa, and carob powders.
Adding a handful of berries and cocoa powder to a green smoothie is a delicious breakfast!
And if you want an after-dinner dessert, try fresh berries with homemade sweetened stevia whipped cream.
The easiest way to categorize foods on the keto diet is to group them by color: green, yellow, and red. You can eat green foods as much as you want.
Yellow foods are the ones that you should limit or eat in moderation so that you can achieve and maintain a state of ketosis.
Red foods will prevent you from reaching ketosis and therefore should be eliminated.
▪ Healthy fats from oils: (coconut, avocado, macadamia, olive, sesame, fish, nut, and seed oil).
▪ Other healthy fats: bacon, bacon fat, tallow, duck, goose, and chicken fat. Butter, clarified butter/ghee, polyunsaturated omega-3s (best in oily fish and seafood).
▪ Foods high in fat: macadamia nuts, avocados, olives, walnuts.
▪ Cold cuts: beef, lamb, mutton, venison, pork, chicken, hen, turkey.
▪ Wild-caught fish and seafood.
▪ Non-starchy vegetables: leafy green vegetables, kale, kohlrabi, radish, celery, asparagus, cucumber, summer squash (zucchini, zucchini, etc.)
▪ Condiments: Mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, pickles, fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.)
▪ Vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, nori, kombu, okra, bean sprouts, sweet peas, field beans, artichokes, water chestnuts.
▪ Solanaceae: Mushrooms, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers.
▪ Root vegetables: Leeks, onions, garlic, squash, zucchini, celeriac, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes.
▪ Processed and intensively farmed foods: meats, dairy products, eggs, cheeses.
▪ Fruits: berries, coconut, rhubarb, watermelon, cantaloupe, melons, dried fruits, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, mandarins), pitted fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, etc.), apples, kiwis, pears, figs.
▪ Nuts and seeds
▪ Processed Foods: Anything with Carrageenan, MSG (Glutamate), Sulphites
▪ Sweet foods and candies: table sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, sweetened or diet soft drinks, light, diet foods and artificial sweeteners (including those advertised as “low or no in carbohydrates’)
▪ Cereals: wheat, barley, rice, buckwheat, wheat, rye, corn, millet, quinoa, Bulgarian, pasta, bread, pizza crust
▪ Intensive farm animals: poultry and pork
▪ Fruits and juices high in sugar: bananas, papayas, mangoes, pineapples, mandarins, grapes, oranges, dried fruits (including dates and raisins)
The amount of carbohydrates you should eat on the keto diet is less than 20 grams per day. But it also depends on your results and the level of carbohydrate consumption to keep you in ketosis.
You will calculate the “net carbs” of the foods you eat. Net carbs are the number of grams of carbs minus the number of grams of fiber.
Although fiber is a carbohydrate, your body does not process or metabolize it. Therefore, you will not be counting grams of fiber in “carbohydrates”. They are important for overall health and aid digestion, keeping you regular.
Each individual will determine their carbohydrate limit. Factors that may affect your results are the general level of physical activity, body fat percentage, current weight, and goal.
The simple answer is yes. You CAN drink alcohol on the ketogenic diet, but you will need to be aware of the carbs you are going to be consuming.
One light beer can contain 6.6g of net carbs, while another can contain 18.8g! Drinking beer will mean counting your carbs for this pleasure.
Most glasses of wine (150ml, not the full glass) contain 0-4g of carbohydrate. Pure spirits often have 0 carbs, but you need to be careful with your mixers. A gin-tonic contains 16 g of carbohydrates!
Vodka with carbonated water and lime does not contain carbohydrates. The same goes for tequila, brandy, and whiskey.
Avoid anything sweet. Flavored wines or spirits like Smirnoff Ice “beer” usually contain a day’s worth of carbohydrates!
Ketosis is the metabolic state your body reaches when it begins to burn fat instead of glucose for energy.
As these fats are burned, a buildup of acids called ketones is used as the primary source of energy. This state of ketosis is the goal of the keto diet.
There are several ways to tell if your body has reached a state of ketosis or if it has excess ketone acids.
The most reliable and recognizable signs of ketosis can be detected in your breath, urine, and blood.
Acetone is a ketonic acid produced and released by your body. Acetone is released in your urine and breath, which means you may notice that your breath has a distinct “metallic” odor, especially at the start of the keto diet.
You can measure acetone in your breath using an acetone breath analyzer. But don’t worry, bad breath won’t last forever and can easily be corrected with sugar-free, carb-free gum.
When ketones are released in your urine, they can be detected with specially designed test strips. These are inexpensive products that you can find at most drugstores.
To measure the ketone levels in your bloodstream, you will need to purchase a test kit (also available at most drugstores).
You will need to prick your finger and then place a drop of blood on a test strip that measures your level of ketosis.
While testing your blood concentration is the most accurate way to tell if you are in ketosis, these test kits are more expensive, so you will likely prefer urine strips. Up to you!
Making a drastic dietary change will often lead to side effects. If you are starting the keto diet and notice some of these side effects, don’t worry! You can reverse them by making adjustments to your diet.
Very low blood sugar is also called “hypoglycemia”, which is when the blood sugar levels in your blood drop below normal. The symptoms of low blood sugar change from person to person.
Typical signs are a feeling of sweat, extreme hunger, dizziness or lightheadedness, apparent pallor, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of weakness.
Hypoglycemia can occur when you start to eat a diet high in fat. During the early stages of the keto diet, your body takes a little time to adjust.
To avoid blood sugar loss on the keto diet, be sure to stay hydrated and eat frequently about every three hours.
It might also help to drink broths that are high in protein. Eating foods rich in minerals like seaweed and other vegetables will also help regulate blood sugar.
If staying hydrated, eating frequently, and consuming foods rich in minerals is not effective in fighting hypoglycemia, taking a magnesium supplement between meals may be the solution.
The most commonly reported side effect when switching to a ketogenic diet is keto flu. Symptoms reported include fatigue, runny nose, headache, and nausea.
These symptoms are associated with hypoglycemia. You can remedy this side effect in the short term by being careful to eat often and increase your mineral intake.
When you eliminate carbohydrates and sugar from your diet, you get rid of addictive substances.
Your body and brain have become accustomed to the ups and downs of blood sugar, particularly because of the soothing hormones (dopamine) produced by your brain when you eat these foods.
By eliminating sugar and carbohydrates, you are preventing your body and brain from consuming substances that they want to recover.
Combined with low blood sugar, your cravings can be intense. As long as you continue to eat frequently while keeping your blood sugar levels normalized, you can overcome these cravings quickly, without satisfying them.
It is normal to feel a little weak, especially during the first few days or weeks of the keto diet. This is usually a symptom of hypoglycemia.
These are just the temporary effects of your body adapting to its new source of energy.
Not only will this phase pass quickly, but you will likely find that you have a lot more energy on the keto diet. There will be no ups and downs in blood sugar.
As your hormones adjust to your new sources of energy, cortisol levels tend to fluctuate. This leads to changes in the production of melatonin.
Since melatonin is the “sleep” hormone, your sleep patterns may be disrupted.
In addition to staying hydrated and controlling hypoglycemia, one method of preventing insomnia is to supplement your diet with herbal adaptogens.
One side effect that you might experience during the early stages of the keto diet is in your elimination habits.
This is mainly due to fluctuations in insulin levels. When they drop, the body transforms the glycogen present in the liver.
This causes the liver to give up salt stores and release more water into the urinary system. When your body releases sodium stores, it loses essential electrolytes.
It is good to get rid of excess fluid and water. But be sure to stay hydrated and replace any salt you lose. You can do this with electrolyte drinks or by increasing your sodium intake.
In addition to needing to urinate more often, you may experience constipation. It’s a sure sign that you are missing something.
Either not drinking enough liquid, not taking mineral supplements, not having enough fiber in the form of vegetables.
Although the keto diet is high in fat/protein, it is important to eat vegetables as the main source of carbohydrates.
You should never approach dieting as a temporary thing as it leads to yo-yo dieting and frustrating ups and downs.
Not to mention the mental and emotional consequences of dieting. The keto diet requires a commitment to lifestyle changes.
It is unhealthy to eat a diet high in fat and protein one day and then follow a sweet, high carbohydrate diet the next.
These extremes will shock your body and lead to weight gain and adverse effects on your health.
So, before you start, make sure you are ready to embark on this lifestyle. That you are ready to let go of your attachments to candy and high carbohydrate snacks.
The good news is that once you start the keto diet, you will see physical results fast. Then you will notice a decrease in your urge to snack and eat carbohydrates.
By committing to the keto diet, you will benefit from improved health, energy, and weight loss. Once you’ve achieved your overall health goals, you may find that you can gradually add more carbohydrates.
All of these should come in the form of healthy food choices, like more types of fruits and vegetables.
Each person will find the right balance to maintain their success. Then, they will enjoy eating hearty, tasty, nutritious, and delicious meals.
Sometimes it is difficult to start a new diet on your own. We recommend starting with just 4 weeks of the ketogenic diet.
Four weeks is enough to see results and feel like you’re on a keto diet without putting too much strain on your lifestyle.
You can buy and plan your keto diet individually, or you can hire a keto coach to look after and guide you. There are even 28-day organized ‘keto challenges’ on social media!
So think carefully and after making your decision… Go for it!