When you’re trying to lose weight or are searching for ways to improve your health, among the most effective diets that you can follow is the keto diet, which has been proven to provide numerous benefits in regards to weight loss and conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re thinking about adhering to this diet, you should be better informed about what this diet entails and what it can do for you.
This keto guide will answer any question you have while also providing you with an in-depth and comprehensive look at one of the most popular and effective diets in the country.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a standard metabolic process that naturally occurs in everyone. While this metabolic state can be difficult to get into, it causes the body to produce ketone bodies from fat, which will then be converted into energy.
In most cases, carbohydrates are used for this purpose. However, getting into the ketosis metabolic state allows the fat to be burned for energy instead, which will provide you with the ability to more rapidly lose weight. In order to get into this metabolic state, it’s important to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates every day. When you significantly reduce the number of carbohydrates in your diet, you should replace them with healthy sources of fat.
This diet is centered entirely around the ketosis process. By achieving this metabolic state, you can burn fat in a much more rapid manner than before.
There are several scenarios where you should avoid attempting this diet or at least ask your doctor if the diet is right for you. For instance, this diet is risky for individuals who take medications for high blood pressure and individuals who take medications for diabetes.
You might also want to avoid this diet if you’re currently breastfeeding.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet refers to a type of diet that’s high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.
Because of how focused this diet is, you’ll need to be aware of the ingredients in every piece of food that you consume. Nearly two dozen studies have been performed in recent years that make it clear that this diet is able to provide numerous health benefits and has very little downsides to it.
By reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing carbs with fat, you’ll be able to place your body into a ketosis state.
Once your body has entered the ketosis state, you’ll begin to burn fat much more efficiently than usual. Some of this fat will also be turned into ketones around the liver, which can be sent to the brain for additional energy.
Along with the boost in ketones that your body benefits from, your insulin and blood sugar levels will be significantly reduced, which will provide you with numerous health benefits.
Before you begin to create one of these diets, it’s important to understand that there are several different types of ketogenic diets to select from:
- Standard Keto Diet
- Cyclical Keto Diet
- High-protein Keto Diet
- Targeted Keto Diet
All of these diets have proven to be effective, which means that the choice you make largely depends on the overall preference for the kinds of food you want to eat. Try and stick to Keto Diet recipes and be sure to choose a type of keto diet to choose from.
Standard Keto Diet
The standard diet involves substantially reducing the number of carbohydrates you eat while also eating a high amount of fat and a moderate amount of protein. When separating these requirements into different percentages, only five percent of your diet should consist of carbs. The remaining 95 percent should be divided into 20 percent protein and 75 percent fat.
Cyclical Keto Diet
As for a cyclical keto diet, this diet focuses on high-carbohydrate refeeds, which means that you’ll want your diet to consist of five days of low carbohydrates and two days of a diet that’s relatively high in carbs. There’s a small possibility that a long-term diet that’s low in carbohydrates can lead to the development of certain medical issues. This diet is aimed at mitigating these metabolic and hormonal risks.
High-Protein Keto Diet
When looking at the high-protein diet, it’s very similar to the standard diet with the one key difference being that it includes more protein. The ratio for carbs, protein, and fat with this diet is set at five percent carbs, 35 percent protein, and 60 percent fat.
Targeted Keto Diet
A targeted ketogenic diet is unique in that it allows you to eat your daily portion of carbs before, during, and following a workout, which allows you to remain in the ketosis state for a lengthy portion of the time.
While each of these four diets has proven to be viable keto diets, it should be noted that only the high-protein and standard diets have been studied extensively. The targeted and cyclical diets are mainly used by athletes or bodybuilders. To learn more about the Keto Diet, check out our collection of the best keto diet books.
Foods to Eat
While this diet isn’t among the most rigid ones available, it does require you to follow relatively strict guidelines for foods you eat and foods you avoid eating while the diet is ongoing. You’ll need to get into the ketosis state, which is why it’s essential that you adhere to this keto guide.
The best meats to include in your diet extend to any:
- Red meat
If you’re thinking about eating fish in the near future, make sure that you select a fatty fish, which includes tuna, mackerel, salmon, and trout.
The eggs that you purchase should be either omega-3 or pastured eggs. The cream or butter that you place on your shopping list should be grass-fed if at all possible.
Among the healthiest foods that you can eat while on this diet include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
Any vegetables that you consume should be very low in carbohydrates, which means that you should only eat vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, onions, and the majority of green vegetables.
When you’re cooking with oils or using an oil as an ingredient in a dish, the best oils to consume with this diet include coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. As for condiments, options like salt, pepper, and a wide variety of spices and herbs are all safe for you to eat while following this diet. The easiest way to adhere to the guidelines that come with the ketogenic diet is to focus primarily on single-ingredient foods, which makes it much easier to avoid accidentally consuming foods that are high in carbs.
Foods to Avoid
It’s exceedingly important that you stay away from certain foods when following this specific diet if you want to effectively get into the ketosis state.
Sugary foods and drinks should be taken out of your diet completely, which includes items like:
- ice cream
- fruit juice
You also need to get rid of most grains and starches, which extends to pasta, rice, cereal, and products that are wheat-based.
While there are some vegetables that pair well with this diet, almost all fruits should be avoided. If you absolutely need to have fruits in your diet, very small portions of strawberries or blackberries are acceptable.
Legumes and beans are relatively high in carbohydrates, which is why it’s important to avoid foods like chickpeas and kidney beans. Many vegetables that are taken from roots should be avoided as well.
Potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes should be heavily reduced in your diet. Even though healthy fats are good for you and will help you get into the ketosis state, you need to stay away from unhealthy fats like mayonnaise or vegetable oils that have been processed. If you regularly consume alcohol, it’s important to understand that alcohol contains a significant amount of carbs. Drinking a can of beer is liable to get you out of the ketosis state.
Finally, it’s recommended that you avoid sugar-free foods that are designed to assist with diets. These foods are usually heavily processed, which can be damaging to your attempts at maintaining the ketosis state.
Weight Loss With Keto Diet
The top benefit that you’re provided with when following the ketogenic diet is weight loss, which is why this is the perfect diet to follow when you want to lose either a small or significant amount of weight. In fact, it’s been proven that the ketogenic diet is much better for weight loss than a standard low-fat diet that’s typically recommended for weight loss.
You also don’t need to track calories with this diet since you’ll be getting into the ketosis state, which makes it much easier to stick with the diet. There are a number of Keto Diet calculators that can help calculate caloric intake so you can stay on track.
Studies have shown that it’s possible to lose twice as much weight in the same period of time as a low-fat diet. Likely the top reason that it’s easy to lose weight with this diet is because of the high amount of protein that you consume throughout.
The low blood-sugar levels and increased ketones in your body also aid with weight loss when you’re on this diet.
Health Benefits Provided With Keto
Along with weight loss, this diet is considered to be highly beneficial for anyone who’s suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes. While you need to speak with your doctor before starting this diet, it’s likely that they will give you the go-ahead. When a person is suffering from diabetes, they will experience many changes in their blood sugar, metabolism, and insulin functions.
The ketogenic diet is specifically designed to help a person lose any extra fat around their body, which is something that’s directly linked to such conditions as the metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Many people who have used this diet while suffering from diabetes have been able to stop using their medications because of improvements to insulin sensitivity.
There are also a range of additional benefits that can be provided when you follow this diet. For instance, this diet has proven to be very effective at helping people who suffer from epilepsy. The ketogenic diet can also reduce your chances of developing heart disease, which occurs with the improvement of such risk factors as blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and body fat. This diet is being used at the moment for the treatment of various cancers because it’s able to slow the growth of tumors.
Some of the other medical conditions that this diet may be able to assist in the treatment of include polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, Parkinson’s disease, and a variety of different brain injuries.
Supplements for Keto Diet
While you don’t need to take any supplements with this diet, there are some supplements that can bolster the health benefits that you receive with this diet.
For instance, you might want to think about taking MCT oil, which you can easily add to yogurt or certain drinks. This supplement can provide you with a boost of energy while also increasing your ketone levels.
You should also consider taking caffeine supplements, which are known to help with fat loss while also increasing performance levels and energy levels.
Another supplement that you can take if you want to increase the ketone levels in your body is an exogenous ketone supplements.
Consider taking creatine supplements as well. This supplement can provide you with numerous health and performance benefits, which can be highly advantageous if you’re exercising on a regular basis while following the ketogenic diet.
The final supplement that you should think about consuming is whey protein, which is easy to add to yogurt or shakes. This will allow you to increase your daily intake of protein if you’re finding it difficult to get the right amount into your diet from the foods that you’re eating.
Potential Side Effects
The main side effect attributed to this diet is constipation, which typically occurs at the beginning of the diet. If you begin to experience irregular bowel movements, there are several things that you can do to make your bowel movements more normal. For instance, you can take magnesium supplements or consume a tablespoon of coconut oil. Make sure that you drink a substantial amount of water while constipated. You should also eat more fiber and focus on reducing the number of nuts that you eat. After a couple of weeks, this shouldn’t be an issue any longer, which means that you can focus entirely on losing weight.
You might also experience a few odd side effects while your body adjusts to the diet, all of which should only last for a few days.
The primary side effects that you’ll experience for these few days include:
- Increase in hunger
- Lack of energy
- Sleep problems
- Issues with digestion
- Inability to exercise at your typical levels
This type of diet also alters the mineral and water balance within your body, which is why you should focus on adding salt to your meals while on this diet.
If you decide to take mineral supplements instead to account for these changes, it’s recommended that you take 300 milligrams of magnesium, 1,000 milligrams of potassium, and 3,000 milligrams of sodium every day in order to get rid of some of these side effects.
At the very start of this diet, you’ll want to eat until you realize that you’re full as opposed to counting calories since this diet causes weight loss without you even needing to restrict your consumption of calories.
Q: How long should it take for me to get into ketosis?
A: Your body will need some time to adjust to your new diet, which is something you should keep in mind if you don’t see immediate results. The time it takes to get into the ketosis state depends on a variety of factors, which includes the types of foods you’re eating as well as your body type. In general, it can take anywhere from 3-7 days for a person to get into ketosis.
Q: Is counting calories necessary?
A: While paying attention to the number of calories you consume with this diet is still important, it’s not quite as essential as it is with a low-fat diet or similar diets. By consuming a large number of proteins and fats, you’ll feel full quicker than you typically do, which should make it easier to avoid consuming too many calories. If you tend to exercise regularly, it’s important that you eat enough calories to make up for the calories you lose when exercising.
Q: How do I keep track of the carbohydrates I consume?
A: If you have a smartphone, there are several mobile apps that allow you to easily track and record the carbohydrates that you consume in a given day. You can also use a simple spreadsheet to calculate the carbs you consume for future reference.
Q: How much weight will I be able to lose?
A: The amount of weight loss with this diet differs from person to person. If you exercise on a regular basis, you’ll be able to lose weight more rapidly than someone who doesn’t. To speed up the process, make sure that you cut out wheat, dairy, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. In the initial stages of your weight loss with this diet, you’ll likely lose numerous pounds in just a few days. However, this is considered to be water weight loss, which occurs primarily because ketosis acts as a diuretic. Once your body adjusts, your weight loss likely won’t be as rapid but will be consistent as long as you follow the diet.
Q: What do I do if I’m not losing weight as intended?
A: There will always come a point in time when you no longer lose weight as quickly as you once did with this diet. No matter the weight loss technique that you use, this stoppage will always occur. However, there are several things that you can do to continue losing weight. For one, make sure that you further decrease your intake of carbs while also increasing your fat intake. Make sure that you don’t consume any gluten or dairy. Be on the lookout for hidden carbs. By following these tips, you should be able to lose weight at a slightly slower rate than before.