Introducing the Keto Diet: An Easy Guide for Beginners

If you’re looking to lose weight and want to try a plan that contains delicious food, the keto diet may be for you.

 

keto diet meal

What is Keto Diet?

 

A keto diet is essentially a low carb diet in which the body turns fat into ketones to use for energy. This helps to increase fat burning and reduce your appetite.
When you consume a food high in carbohydrates, your body produces insulin and glucose. Glucose is the preferred source of energy as its easy for your body to convert. The production of insulin occurs as it takes glucose around the body in the bloodstream.
As glucose is the primary source for energy, your body stores fat as its not required elsewhere. So, when you eat a high carb diet, your body tends to store more fat. When you lower your carbohydrate intake, your body enters a phase called ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process which helps the body to survive when food consumption is low. During this phase, ketones are produced via the breakdown of fats in the liver.

By eating a keto diet, your body is forced into a state of ketosis. This means that ketones instead of glucose becomes the primary source of energy instead. This leads to many benefits, including weight loss and better blood sugar control.Want to know the signs of ketosis – look out for these 6 signs.


Keto Diet: The Benefits

keto diet weight loss
Being on a keto diet offers numerous health benefits. Many people can benefit from consuming a low carb diet. Here are some benefits that a keto diet provides.

Weight Loss

As the keto diet uses your stored fat as an energy source, your body loses weight. This is because your insulin levels drop when you’re on the keto diet so your body’s fat burning abilities vastly increase. Enjoying a tasty diet can really help you to shed the pounds.

 

Increased Energy

As your body is using a better energy source during ketosis, you’ll feel more energized. Consuming more fat also leaves us feeling fuller for longer.

 

Controlled Blood Sugar

Consuming a keto diet naturally lowers your blood sugar levels. Research studies have revealed that a keto diet is an effective way to prevent or manage diabetes in comparison to low calorie diets. If you’re a diabetic, consider a keto diet to control your health – just make sure you talk to your doctor beforehand.

 

Insulin Resistance

Research has revealed that a keto diet helps to lower insulin levels. If left unmanaged, insulin resistance may lead to type II diabetes. Therefore, all people can take advantage of insulin optimization on a keto diet by consuming foods high in omega 3 fats.

 

Enhanced Mental Focus

A keto diet is excellent for enhancing your mental focus. The brain uses ketones as a fuel source. Also, when you lower your intake of carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels do not spike, so your concentration is improved.

 

Treatment for Epilepsy

A keto diet has been used for decades to treat epilepsy, especially in children. One main advantage of having a keto diet if epileptic is that few medications can be used. This is because a keto diet offers excellent epilepsy control.

 

Improved Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Consuming a keto diet helps to decrease bad cholesterollevels to improve cardiovascular health. Low carbohydrate diets have also shown to improve blood pressure. As blood pressure can be associated with excess weight, the weight loss aspect of a keto diet is also highly beneficial.

 

Treatment for Acne

Switching to a keto diet help to improve your skin. Eating a low carb diet helps to reduce inflammation and skin lesions. Studies have also shown that there is a link between a high carbohydrate diet and acne. If you plan on undertaking a low carb diet, you may want to limit your intake of dairy.


What Do I Eat on A Keto Diet?

If you want to enter a phase of ketosis quickly, a diet of less than 15g of carbohydrates per day will do the trick. If you plan on eating a keto diet gradually, you can be less restrictive while still limiting your carbohydrates.
keto diet meat
On a keto diet, your carbohydrates should come from nuts, dairy and vegetables.

What you should eat

Meat – beef, fish, lamb, chicken, eggs

Dairy – high fat cheese, yoghurt, cream, butter

Leafy greens – kale, spinach etc

Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower

Berries and avocado – blackberries, raspberries

Nuts and seeds – walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds

Low carb sweeteners – stevia etc

Alternative fats – salad dressing, coconut oil


What not to eat

Refined carbohydrates – bread, cereal, pasta

Potatoes or yams

Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas

Beans, legumes

Sugar – maples syrup, honey etc


A keto diet should be high in fat and low in carbs with a moderate amount of protein. Generally, 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
For a keto diet, between 20-30g of net carbohydrates is suggested. However, if you’re undertaking a keto diet to lose weight, take note of your total carb consumption and net carbs.
What are net carbs?

These are the total of dietary carbs minus fiber you consume. Ideally, your net carbs should be around 25g or less.Check out these delicious keto snack recipes that are super quick and easy to make.


Are You In Ketosis?

To reach ketosis, simply follow these steps.

Restrict Your Carb Consumption

While you can focus on both net carbs and total carb consumption, limiting your overall consumption of carbohydrates is the best step to start. Remember, around 20-30g of carbs is recommended on a keto diet.

 

Moderate Your Protein Intake

Eating too much protein may result in lower levels of ketosis. It’s best to moderate your protein levels – 0.6 – 0.8g of protein per pound lean body mass is ideal if you’re on a keto diet for weight loss.

 

Don’t Worry About Your Fat Intake

Fat is the main source of energy during ketosis.

 

Drink Lots of Water

Water will keep you hydrated during the day, flush out toxins and help with any hunger pangs.

 

Limit Your Snacking

If you’re hungry, try snacking on a few nuts or cheeses.

 

Exercise

Doing 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day will help with weight loss and blood sugar levels. You may notice a performance drop when you first start a keto diet as your body begins to adapt. However, the only time you may notice a drop thereafter, is when you require a burst of action. If you’re planning an intense workout, you can eat 25-50g of carbs around 30 minutes before you train.


The Side Effects of A Keto Diet

keto diet energy
It is unlikely that the majority of people will suffer from ketoacidosis – this is when ketone production in the body is too high. The only exception to this is someone with type I diabetes in which insulin levels are extremely low. However, this type of diabetes is rare.
Many people confuse keto with a high fat, high sugar diet, which of course is very unhealthy. A keto diet has been shown to be more effective than a low-calorie diet. Before you start any diet plan, its best to consult your doctor beforehand.
There are a few side effects of a keto diet. Normally, in the first week or two, people have reported a lack of energy. This occurs as your body has to adapt to dealing with a lack of glucose and an increase in fats. As your body enters a ketosis state, you will naturally use up the last of your glucose levels for energy and begin to use fats. This means the
glycogen in your muscles is diminished, leading to fatigue.
Other people have experienced headaches, dizziness and mood swings. These are normally a result of your electrolytes being flushed out of your body. Staying hydrated and keeping sodium levels up will help.
Some new keto diet users experience the keto flu – lack of energy, headache, grogginess, nausea or cramps. Again, this usually occurs because the keto diet tends to make you urinate more, leading to a loss of electrolytes and water. Your body also needs to create enzymes to transition it from using glucose for energy to using fat for energy. If you find your symptoms tough, try transitioning to a keto diet slowly by gradually reducing your carb intake over a longer period of time.
Once you’ve increased your water intake and replaced electrolytes, your symptoms should subside. Once your body has adapted to a keto diet, you should find your energy levels returning.

Main Side Effects

Cramps

This is normally a sign of a lack of minerals in the body. Increasing your water and salt levels will help. A magnesium supplement can also help with cramps.

 

Constipation

Dehydration is the main cause of feeling constipated. To alleviate this, increase your water intake. Eating high fiber vegetables can also help.


Less Common Side Effects
 

Hair Loss

Hair loss on a keto diet is rare and is most likely temporary. If you find you’re suffering from hair loss, try not to restrict your calories and ensure you’re getting at least eight hours sleep per night.

 

Increased Cholesterol

This is normally due to increased levels of good cholesterol, which is a good thing as it lowers your risk of heart disease.

 

Indigestion

Some people may notice increased heartburn and indigestion when switching to a keto diet. However, this usually subsides once your body adapts to ketosis. If it continues, try reducing your fat intake.

 

Rash

A few people struggle with itching when they first start a keto diet. There is no real reasoning behind this, but this could occur from acetone which is excreted via sweat. If you’re exercising, try showering straight after and wearing clothes that absorb sweat better.

If you’re interested in starting a keto diet, making a meal plan and tracking what you eat is the best way to go. Whether you want to lose weight or feel healthier, going keto is highly recommended for optimal results.
keto diet: an easy guide for beginners
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