If you want to start a ketogenic diet, then the beginner’s guide to a keto diet is perfect for you.
The ketogenic diet is known as a fast way to lose weight. In addition, this diet can also boost your brainpower, improve energy and improve your concentration.
However, the keto diet is an extreme way of eating. Many people make mistakes when beginning this diet. Not only because they are unable to lose weight but because they may also endanger their health.
This article will help you start a keto diet plan in 5 simple steps. Just follow them and you may see a better result.
What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has many similarities to the Atkins diet and the low-carb diet.
It is an “extreme diet” that changes the way the cells use energy through dietary adjustments.
In terms of your nutritional intake, the keto diet is quite different from a general diet. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.
Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrates and 10-20% protein.
The reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Due to lack of sugar, your body and brain use fat to produce ketones instead of glucose as the main energy source. [*]
When this happens, your body starts to burn fat.
In addition, a ketogenic diet can cause a significant drop in blood sugar and insulin levels. As a result, you can experience many benefits.
So, how do you use a keto diet to start losing weight?
Here are 5 steps to help you achieve your goals more easily.
The Beginner’s Guide To A Ketogenic Diet:
Step1. Determine whether the ketogenic diet is right for you
As mentioned earlier, the keto diet is an “extreme diet”, so it is not suitable for everyone.
Before making any drastic dietary changes, it is recommended that you consult a doctor or dietitian. Especially if you suffer from diabetes, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, gout or other diseases. Under these circumstances, your physician may think it best that you don’t try a ketogenic diet.
Even healthy adults have some side effects in the early stages of the keto diet. Some of the symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, hair loss, constipation and calf cramps.
Step2. Have a reasonable expectation
Losing weight or weight control can be a lifelong task for obese people.
There are many factors affecting weight, including diet, activity level, genes, diseases, medications, and hormones.
Many people have successfully lost weight when following a ketogenic diet while some others have failed.
Therefore, before you start, you should set a reasonable expectation. You can treat the ketogenic diet as a “possible” tool that can help you lose weight in the short term.
If you find that the results are not good after trying this diet, it only proves that this tool may not be the right one for you.
Step3. Recognize the carbohydrates
Although the ketogenic diet has an approximate nutrient ratio, it varies according to the physical makeup of each individual
For people who are used to eating a high-carbohydrate diet, your body can quickly enter nutritional ketosis (blood ketone levels of 0.5–3.0 mg/dL) by changing their diet [*]. This can happen even without fasting or exercise.
To achieve this state (nutritional ketosis), you must consume a lot of fat and strictly control your carbohydrates intake.
A simpler way is to limit your daily carbs intake to less than 50 grams. This number varies according to an individual’s caloric needs.
How to limit your daily carbohydrate intake below 50 grams?
Carbohydrate-containing foods include grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
The following is a simple method to limit carbs intake:
- Eliminate all grains and fruits in your diet. These foods can easily make you accidentally eat too many carbohydrates.
- Choose leafy vegetables. 3 servings (15 g carbs) a day.
- Choose cheese among dairy products. 2.5 servings (30 g carbs) a day, about 5 slices.
- Pay attention to the added sugars in your diet. For example, sugary drinks, all kinds of sauces and processed foods. These foods must be eliminated when following a ketogenic diet.
Step4. Choose the right ingredients
To achieve nutritional ketosis, in addition to restricting carbohydrates, another key is to increase fat intake by a large amount.
When choosing these fatty ingredients, it is recommended to focus on natural and healthy food sources. Avoid processed foods since they are usually high in added sugar and additives.
- Fat and Oil: grass-fed butter, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, linseed oil, fish oil, avocado and dark chocolate (cocoa >80%)
- Egg and Meat: salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef, pork, chicken and eggs
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and sunflower seeds
Step5. Monitor your ketone level
Nutritional ketosis is the main sign that your body is starting to burn fat.
You can determine whether you have gone into ketosis by following these common signs or symptoms:
- Bad breath: There may be a smell similar to acetone when you breathe.
- Loss of appetite: Because you eat more fat and protein, your appetite will be greatly reduced.
- Insomnia: You may have trouble falling asleep or wake up more often in the middle of the night.
- Short-term brain fog and fatigue: This is because your body is undergoing a conversion from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism.
- Digestive problems: Constipation or diarrhea are common.
- More energy and concentration:
- Continuous weight loss: After entering ketosis, your body begins to burn fat.
However, these signs cannot completely and accurately reflect whether your body has entered ketosis.
The best way to test your ketone level is by using one of these methods.
These 3 ways are: Urine ketone (Acetoacetate), blood ketone (β-hydroxybutyrate) and breath ketones (acetone).
Each of these three methods has advantages and disadvantages.
- Urine ketones: It’s the cheapest and most convenient way. However, it’s also the least accurate. After your body adapts to ketosis, the ketone bodies in the urine may disappear.
- Blood ketones: You need to use a blood ketone meter and ketone test strips to test. It is more expensive and requires taking a drop of blood. However, it is the most accurate method.
- Breath ketones: This method is quite accurate and easy to use.
You can choose the appropriate method to detect whether your body is in a ketosis state according to your own situation. This can also help you track the process of the keto diet and adjust your diet accordingly.
Starting a keto diet plan with these 5 simple steps can help you achieve your goals more easily. I hope you found them helpful.
However, it should be noted that the health risk of a long-term ketogenic diet is currently unclear. Therefore, it is recommended not to exceed 6 consecutive months. You should also consult your dietician or physician when making any drastic changes to your diet.
After you begin seeing good results, it is still necessary to focus on a well-balanced diet. In addition, appropriate exercise and adequate sleep can help you maintain an ideal and healthy weight.