For beginners, when starting a new diet, it is always essential to understand the basics of the diet - its impact on your body, allowed foods, and foods to avoid. It might also be advised to speak with your doctor to assess if the particular diet is suitable for your individual needs and health goals.
Keto Diet For Beginners
The buzz around the keto diet is real, but is it right for you?
If you're new to keto, in this article you'll find out what the keto diet is, its advantages and potential risks, foods to eat (or avoid!) on this ultra-low-carb diet, and discover if it can work for you. We're also happy to share our tips that might help you in your keto journey.
Our beginner's guide explains everything you need to know about this high-fat diet and how it can improve the quality of your life and your health.
What Is A Keto Diet?
A keto diet, also known as a ketogenic diet, is a low-carb diet that focuses on consuming high amounts of fat and keeping carbohydrates to the minimum.
The goal of this diet is to enter a state of ketosis, where the body begins to burn fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This is achieved by drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake. By doing so, the body is forced into a metabolic state where the liver produces ketones to be used as energy.
The keto diet has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential to aid in weight loss. By limiting carbohydrate intake, the body is pushed to burn stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.
Having said that, it is important to follow a balanced and healthy meal plan to ensure proper nutrition and avoid potential health risks associated with excessive amounts of fat in the diet. We'll get into more detail about the benefits and risks of this diet in a moment, so stay tuned!
Types Of Keto Diet
When you start exploring the keto diet, you'll soon notice that there are different iterations of the keto diet. To make it easier for you to grasp the differences, here's a quick overview of the most common types of the Keto diet:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
|A very low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. It typically contains 70-75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and about 5 to 10 percent carbs.
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD)
|Refers to carb backloading, with up to a couple of days per week when you increase the intake of clean carbs, such as five ketogenic days followed by two higher carb days. Typically, applicable to athletes to help them recover after workouts and improve their performance.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
|Similar to a standard ketogenic diet, except that carbohydrates are consumed around intense workout times. This diet is also popular among athletes as it's said to improve performance and fitness gains.
High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)
|As the name suggests this iteration of the keto diet includes a larger intake of proteins, with a ratio of 35% protein, 60% fat, and 5% carbs. It's considered a good option for those willing to lose weight.
Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD)
A very restricted diet with a very low daily calorie intake (under 800 kcal/day), 90% calories gained from fat, and only 10% from carbs and protein. It's said to induce significant weight loss and improve health conditions in patients with obesity and diabetes.
|The ratio of dietary fats, proteins, and carbs matches that of the regular Keto diet, but with this diet, the source of the macronutrients is not that important. It means that you can also allow yourself some nasty processed foods.
|Focuses on whole, nutrient-dense foods, with more emphasis on food quality. No McDonald's, honey!
Benefits And Risks Related To The Keto Diet
Confused about the benefits of a ketogenic diet? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
What Are The Benefits Of The Keto Diet?
The keto diet has gained popularity for its potential health benefits.
The primary benefit of the keto diet is weight loss, as it puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, the body burns fat for energy instead of relying on glucose from carbohydrates. It's one of the main reasons why more and more people transition to the keto diet. There are lots of inspiring examples of people having lost as much as 130+ pounds thanks to the keto diet. Based on publicly available evidence, the keto diet is definitely worth giving a try if you want your body fat to go.
Following a ketogenic diet can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, making it a potential therapy for patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, the keto diet has been shown to provide cognitive benefits, such as the reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases and improved cognitive function.
What Are The Risks and Disadvantages Of The Keto Diet?
No diet comes with its risks. Just like with any other diet, it is essential to ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced, as a lack of essential nutrients can lead to deficiencies and health complications.
The keto diet is contraindicated for those with fat metabolism disorders, porphyria, and some other health conditions, therefore make sure to consult your GP prior to transitioning to the keto diet if you have any acute health conditions or chronic diseases that might be impacted by the change in diet.
You should also take into consideration that the transition to a keto diet can also cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, constipation, and cramps. A typical side-effect of starting the keto diet is the so-called Keto flu (more on this in a moment). These are typically temporary, however, they can impact your performance at work, your energy levels, and your mood.
Overall, the keto diet can be a beneficial way to improve health and manage weight, but it is crucial to approach it safely and with appropriate medical supervision if needed.
What Is Keto Flu?
Two to seven days into the keto diet, you might experience such symptoms as irritability, headache, nausea, foggy brain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and constipation, acetone odor in your breath (the list is not all-inclusive). The group of symptoms is called the Keto flu.
It doesn't happen to everyone, though you should be aware of its existence. This is a somewhat common reaction that is not going to last forever and it doesn't mean that you have to discontinue the ketogenic diet. It only means that your body is accommodating to the new lifestyle and it may take some time.
The keto flu is basically your body's reaction to entering ketosis. You've drastically reduced your carb intake, which formed a significant part of your daily nutrition. It doesn't go unnoticed, of course.
When not on keto, your body burns carbohydrates for energy. The keto diet activates the fat-burning process in your body, and it might be confusing at first. When run out of stored glucose, the body starts burning fatty acids for energy. This metabolic process is called ketosis.
To help you with keto flu symptoms, make sure to consume plenty of water, eat more quality fats, and get some rest. Don't quit the party just yet, the best is yet to come!
What To Eat On A Keto Diet?
Wondering what is allowed on the keto diet and what isn't? We're here to help you sort this out.
Foods to avoid on keto
Starting A Ketogenic Diet
Now, you've explored all the different iterations of the keto diet and are blown away by its promising advantages. What's next? Where do you start?
It might be overwhelming at first, let's be honest. When I started keto, I had been a week on a vegan diet. After the extremely restrictive vegan diet, keto seemed like a blessing. I could finally eat meat, REAL cheese, and cream. BUT I had to let go of my love - rice, sushi, pizza, and home-baked bread.
We all have some kind of routine when it comes to our meal plan. There is a standard range of items that we tend to have for breakfast, dinner, and lunch, week after week, with minor adjustments. And breaking this routine is not an easy mission at all. When you've no bread to put your daily ham or cheese on, it's frustrating.
Tips for starting a keto diet
Having gone through this experience, I'll share some tips that might help you in your keto journey from zero to hero.
- Transition slowly. Especially if you can't afford to skip work and have some extra rest days when the keto flu knocks on your door. Drop one or two keto-non-friendly ingredients at a time and get used to the keto lifestyle.
- Have a weekly keto meal plan at hand. Actually, it works with any type of diet, and it's super useful when starting a new adventure. If you spend half an hour once a week brainstorming your meal ideas and drafting a meal plan for the week ahead, it will save a lot of your nerves and time in the coming days. You won't have to stand helplessly in front of your fridge wondering what to put on your plate.
- "Save" your favorite recipes. Starting a ketogenic diet doesn't mean you have to tear your favorite recipes in pieces just because there are a couple of ingredients that are not keto-friendly. Think of alternatives and get creative. You can still have your favorite stir-fry if you replace regular rice with homemade cauliflower rice. Or you could keep those juicy tortillas on your meal plan if you learn to make keto tortillas at home. Make a list of the foods that you think (!) you cannot live without and come up with alternatives or adjustments that would allow you to keep those items on your menu.
- Join a keto community or mailing list. You don't have to create everything from scratch. You're not the only one on the keto diet, and there are plenty of keto recipes out there waiting for you to try them out. It might even turn out that your favorite recipes are yet to be discovered!
- Set milestones. At the end of the day, it's only a new experience. You don't have to promise yourself that you will stick to the keto diet plan for the rest of your life. Try it out. See how it feels. Your body will tell.
- Print out a list of keto-friendly foods. You'll learn them by heart in a short while, but in the beginning, it's very helpful.
- Ensure you have natural sugar alternatives at hand to avoid using regular sugar, honey, or other sweeteners that are not allowed on keto.
Keto meal ideas
- Chicken & Mushroom Julienne
- Keto-Friendly Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Easy & Creamy Tomato Soup
- No-bake Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake
- Mini Tarts with Plum Jam and Cream Cheese
- Dark Keto Chocolate
- Ground Beef Kebabs
- Turkey Goulash with Mushrooms
- Creamy Pork Medallions with Blue Cheese
Quite a bucket of information, isn't it? You might need some time to reflect on what the ketogenic diet may bring into your life and if it's the right thing for you.
Once you're ready to start a keto diet, we'll be here to support you with delicious keto recipes, meal plans, and keto tips to help you embrace this low-carb and high-fat diet and achieve your goals.