A ketogenic diet is a very low carb diet where you consume fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day. We will help you navigate through the keto diet plan for beginners and teaching you everything you need to get started today.
Most people don’t realize that carbs are not just simple sugars found in fruits and vegetables; they are complex molecules made up of glucose, fructose, galactose, mannitol, sucrose, lactose, maltose, starch, cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, dextrins, raffinose, fructans, and others.
These complex carbs are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. Simple sugars cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, causing insulin spikes. Insulin spikes lead to increased hunger and cravings for sweets.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet And How To Get Started
On a ketogenic diet, you’ll eat mostly fats, moderate amounts of protein, and almost no carbs. Fats provide essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by our bodies, so we must obtain them through food.
Protein provides amino acids that build muscle tissue and repair cells. Carbs supply quick energy, but they also raise blood sugar levels. By eating little to no carbs, you avoid the highs and lows that are often associated with high blood sugar. Instead, you stay at a steady level of energy throughout the day.
People use a ketogenic diet because it helps them control their appetite and reduce their cravings for unhealthy foods. Many people report feeling better after starting a ketogenic diet. Some say they feel more alert and focused, while others notice improved sleep quality.
There are many theories behind why a ketogenic diet works, including the fact that it forces the body to burn stored fat instead of relying on glucose. Another theory suggests that ketones produce chemicals in the brain that improve mood.
There are two types of diets: low-carbohydrate and low-fat. Both work well for losing weight, but the low-carb approach is easier to maintain long-term.
Low-carb diets limit carbohydrate intake to 20–50 grams daily, depending on the individual. On average, people should aim for 30–40 grams of net carbs each day. Net carbs include fiber and sugar alcohols, which do not contribute to blood sugar levels.
To calculate your net carbs, simply subtract total grams of dietary fiber from total grams of carbs. Remember that whole grains count toward your fiber total, but refined grains do not. Total carbs minus fiber equals net carbs.
If you’re interested in trying a ketogenic diet, talk to your doctor first. He or she can recommend a specific program tailored to your lifestyle and goals.
What to Expect During The Ketogenic Diet Transition Period
For most people, carbs are their primary source of energy. But if you cut out carbs completely, your body will start burning through its carbohydrate stores, including those in your muscle cells and liver. These carbohydrates are known as glycogen. Once your glycogen stores are gone, your body starts burning fat instead.
This process, called ketogenesis, happens naturally when you eat very low amounts of carbs. But if you try to do it artificially, you’ll experience unpleasant side effects. You might feel weak, tired, irritable, or lightheaded.
This shift, during which your body burns through its glycogen stores and switches to using ketones, normally lasts only a few days. However, for some, it might last weeks or months.
During this time, your body loses water because it’s breaking down muscle tissue to produce ketones. You’ll lose a lot of water initially, but as your body adjusts to being fueled primarily by fat, you should start losing less water overall.
You’ll also experience increased mental clarity and focus, along with improved athletic performance.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diet
There are six different types of ketogenic diets. They are the traditional ketogenic (4:1), standard ketogenic (SKD), high-protein ketogenic (HPK), cyclical ketogenic (CKD), targeted ketogenic (TKD), Keto 2.0.
Traditional Ketogenic Diet (4:1)
The traditional ketogenic diet (also called the classic ketogenic diet) was developed in the 1920s as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. During the 1970s, researchers discovered this type of diet could help diabetics control their blood sugar levels.
There are many medical conditions that can be treated with a ketogenic diet, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, epilepsy, migraines, polycystic ovary syndrome, multiple sclerosis, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and even weight loss.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
A ketogenic diet typically consists of a low carbohydrate diet. People who want to lose weight quickly often follow this diet.
Typically, when people talk about Keto, they mean the Standard Ketogenic Diet. A SKD is a very low carb diet with the following macros: 55-75% fat; 15-35% protein; 0-10% carbs.
You enter ketosis if you keep your macronutrients within these ranges.
Its ability to reverse Type II Diabetes is one of its biggest advantages. 60 percent of participants in the Virta study reversed their diabetes with supervised SKD after a year.
SKD also improves sleep quality, reduces inflammation, and increases satiety.
Weight loss with the SKD is safe and effective. Discipline and commitment are required, however. The guidelines must be followed closely in order to succeed.
Symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and constipation may occur. Once you reach ketosis, these symptoms usually disappear.
High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPK)
A HPK diet is similar to a keto diet, but it allows consuming more protein. You will be able to eat more meat and seafood this way.
HPK requires some preparation. It will be necessary for you to purchase special foods and supplements. Once you’ve done that, weight loss will be quick for you.
HPK diets come in several versions. There are some that allow even higher protein intakes. Some restrict certain types of fat.
No matter which version you choose, the HPK diet will help you lose weight safely and effectively.
Vegetarians and vegans may want to avoid the high-protein keto diet since it primarily relies on animal proteins.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
You can take a standard keto diet and increase carb consumption during specified periods of time with a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). The process is known as carb cycling. In a typical carb cycling plan, there are one or two high-carb days during the week, followed by low-carb days.
Alternatively, you can carb cycle by eating only one high-carb meal a day (like dinner). The amount of carbohydrates you should consume on a high-carb day can range anywhere from 100 to 500 grams. Make sure you eat less than 20-30 grams of carbs on your regular keto days.
If you eat high-carb, you should reduce your fat calories to balance your energy. During low-carb days, you consume more fat. Make sure you eat the same amount of protein throughout the day. It allows you to enjoy the benefits of a keto diet while eating higher-carb meals.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
Do you find it hard to stay energized on the Keto diet? You might benefit from a Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) if your electrolytes and sleep are in order.
A TKD falls somewhere between a Standard Keto Diet and a Cyclical Keto Diet. It’s okay to eat some carbs, but not too many.
TKD allows you to consume 15-50 grams of fast-absorbing carbs before, during, and after a workout to boost your energy levels. It is possible to get carbs from real foods such as white rice or potatoes, or you can use dextrose (glucose) powder.
It’s important to note that the type of carbohydrate matters. For instance, fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, so it’s not ideal for supplying energy on the TKD. Beans and berries have a low glycemic index and are fast absorbed, so they’re not ideal for this purpose.
Keto dieters who are looking for a way to stay energized may find the TKD useful. Energy can be gained from carbs if you eat the right kind.
Using Keto 2.0, you can enjoy the benefits of ketosis without sacrificing your health. In Keto 2.0, you get all the fat-burning benefits of a ketogenic diet plus the added benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
On Keto 2.0, plants are the main source of your calories. You should consume plenty of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts. Your protein needs can be met largely through fish and eggs, rather than meat. Compared to traditional keto diets, you can enjoy up to 20% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
You may be unable to achieve the fat-burning ketogenic state if you consume more than 10% of your daily energy from carbohydrates.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body uses fat as your primary fuel source. When you eat less than 20-50 grams of carbohydrate per day, your body enters ketosis.
Normally, your body uses glucose (blood sugar) as its key energy supply. Glucose comes from foods containing carbohydrates, including bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, milk, yogurt, cereal, beans, nuts, seeds, and other starchy vegetables.
Your liver stores the excess glucose and releases it as needed to meet your daily energy requirements. When your carb intake is very limited, your liver begins breaking down stored fats for energy.
As your body breaks down fat cells, it creates a compound called ketones, or ketones. These ketones become your body and brain’s main source of energy. During ketosis, your blood contains high levels of ketones.
The ketogenic diet is a special type of diet that forces your body to use fat as its main source of energy. On this diet, you consume fewer than 20-50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day.
On the ketogenic diet, your body converts fat into ketones. Ketones are used as your body’s main source of energy instead of glucose.
In addition to being a healthier alternative to glucose, ketones are easier for your body to metabolize. They produce less waste and cause less inflammation than glucose does.
Because ketones are produced naturally by your body, you don’t require supplements to maintain ketosis.
How Do You Get Into Ketosis?
When you first begin eating low carb, you may experience symptoms like headaches, fatigue, brain fog, constipation, and hunger pangs. These side effects go away after a couple weeks.
There are several ways to get into ketosis. The easiest method is to cut back on carbs while increasing healthy fats.
Some people prefer to fast for 24 hours or even longer. Others opt for intermittent fasting or fasting for shorter periods.
Regardless of which approach you choose, you’ll likely see results within two to four days. Once you’ve reached ketosis, you can continue to follow a keto diet indefinitely.
Benefits of The Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet has been gaining a lot of attention lately as an effective way to lose weight. When following the keto diet, you’ll reduce your intake of sugar and carbohydrates, resulting in fewer spikes and crashes in your blood-sugar levels.
But the ketogenic diet provides more than just weight loss. Here are some of the other benefits of a keto diet:
- Improved brain health: The ketone bodies created when following a ketogenic diet have been shown to fuel the brain and provide a longer lasting source of energy than glucose. This can help improve cognitive function and overall brain health.
- Reduced inflammation: Following the keto diet can result in a decrease in inflammation throughout the body due to the elimination of processed carbs, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
- Reduced risk of disease: Studies have shown that following a ketogenic diet can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer.
- Improved energy levels: Eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in carbs can help provide a steady source of energy. This can help you stay more active and alert throughout the day.
- Weight loss: As mentioned above, weight loss is one of the most commonly cited benefits of the keto diet. With keto, weight loss is real and effective because it helps people reduce their carb intake while increasing their intake of healthy fats.
As you can see, the ketogenic diet offers numerous health benefits. If you’re looking to improve your health and lose weight, then a ketogenic diet may be right for you. Just remember to always consult your doctor before beginning a new diet or exercise program.
Risks of The Keto Diet
When you switch to a keto diet, you significantly reduce your carb intake, typically to fewer than 50 grams per day. This sudden change can be a shock to your system, and you may experience flu-like symptoms.
The keto diet also requires a high intake of animal-based foods, such as eggs, meat, and cheese. Eating too much of these foods can put extra strain on your kidneys and increase your risk of kidney stones.
In addition, the keto diet can cause digestive issues and changes in your gut bacteria. This can lead to stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
Finally, the keto diet can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels due to the lack of carbohydrates. This can cause headaches, weakness, shaking, confusion, and other symptoms.
For all these reasons, it’s important to speak to your doctor before starting a keto diet to make sure it is right for you. Your doctor can also help you to safely transition to the diet and monitor your health while on it.
Who Shouldn’t Do The Keto Diet
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body uses fats instead of carbohydrates as its primary source of fuel. Ketones are produced by the liver during this process. A person experiencing ketosis usually feels energetic and alert, and may experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and dehydration.
A keto diet plan is suitable for anyone who wants to lose weight quickly but it may not be safe for everyone. However, it is not recommended for those who are underweight, diabetic, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have heart conditions.
There are many benefits associated with a keto diet plan. Some of them include improved brain function, increased mental clarity, better sleep quality, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
However, it is not advised for people who are recovering from surgeries or undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Counting Net Carbs
Learning to count net carbs is one of the first steps towards achieving optimal health. This is especially true for those who are following a ketogenic diet.
Net carbs are simply the carbs left over after subtracting fiber from total carbohydrates. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and whole grains.
When counting net carbs, remember that dietary fiber is indigestible carbohydrate. So, while you eat foods high in fiber, you actually absorb fewer net carbs than you think.
Once you’ve figured out your net carbs, you can set up macros for your keto diet. The macronutrient breakdown for a typical keto diet is 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbs.
Remember that you can always adjust your macros to suit your personal preferences.
Eating Healthy Fats On A Ketogenic Diet
Healthy fats are essential for our bodies. They play a key role in keeping us healthy.
Unsaturated fats are considered healthy because they decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are found in plant foods like nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and fish.
Fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil are all excellent sources of healthy fats. So go ahead and add those to your meals!
Best Protein Sources on a Ketogenic Diet
There are two types of diets: keto and low carb. The keto diet focuses on eating lots of fat while limiting carbohydrates. This type of diet is often used to treat epilepsy, diabetes, heart conditions, high cholesterol, obesity, and other health issues.
On the other hand, the low carb diet limits carbohydrate intake while allowing moderate amounts of fats. This type of diet can be used to lose weight, improve athletic performance, and prevent certain diseases.
Both diets require adequate protein consumption. However, the keto diet emphasizes consuming plenty of healthy fats, whereas the low carb diet emphasizes lean proteins.
When following either diet, it’s important to consume enough protein at each meal. Some studies suggest that we need at least 25 grams of protein per meal to adequately stimulate muscle growth.
However, other studies show that we can safely eat up to 50 grams of protein per meal without causing harm. So, it’s safe to say that we can consume anywhere from 15-50 grams of protein per meal.
Now let’s examine the different types of foods that contain protein.
Animal Protein Foods
Meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, and dairy products are all excellent sources of protein. They’re also very filling, so you may not even realize you’ve eaten them until later.
Plant Protein Foods
Nuts, legumes, beans, lentils, peas, and whole grains are all excellent sources of plant protein. They’re also relatively easy to digest, so you may feel full faster.
What exactly is the keto diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. The keto diet aims to force the body into a state of ketosis, in which it has an increased fat burning rate and decreased carbohydrate burning rate.
The keto diet focuses on foods that are high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. This will lead to a change from using glucose as the main source of energy to using fat.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
There are so many benefits to this lifestyle change that it’s difficult to list them all in one article but here are some of the most popular ones:
- Increased weight-loss
- Decreased blood sugar levels
- Decreased risk of diabetes
- Improved mental clarity
- Increased energy levels
- Better sleep
- Decreased body fat, increased lean muscle
- Improved mood
- Decreased pain and inflammation
- Improved overall health
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Reduced heart disease
- Decreased incidence of stroke
- Improved digestive system
- Decreased risk of high cholesterol
- Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke
What are the side effects of the keto diet?
Side effects of the keto diet include constipation, diarrhea, bad breath and headaches. These side effects are often temporary and can be mitigated by drinking more water or adding more fiber to your diet.
How do I properly maintain a keto diet?
It is important to stay hydrated while on the diet to avoid dehydration. When you are thirsty, you should drink lots of water. If the diet’s restrictions cause constipation, it is recommended to increase your fiber intake by adding more vegetables and other low-carbohydrate foods throughout the day. Finally, it is recommended that people get their electrolytes checked and maintain a healthy blood pressure with regular exercise and salt in their diet.
What should I eat on a keto diet?
Some people like to stick with mostly fat and protein while others will eat a wide variety of food including vegetables, nuts, dairy, and whole grains. The general guidelines for a keto diet are: 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbohydrate. However this varies by individual taste preference so it’s good to do your own research and figure out your favorite way to eat.