Are you planning to start ketogenic diet but don’t know how to start? Don’t worry, you’re not alone because we’ve been there before. In this short but clear keto diet guide, you will learn and get equipped with firsthand information on keto dieting.
Read this before you start your Keto Diet! Free keto diet guide for all beginners. Download the free ketogenic cookbooks and guide after reading this simply but complete guide on ketogenic diet. In this shortread, you will learn all the basic knowledge that will help you kickstart your keto journey with ease.
Being on Keto diet is awesome but only if you can be able to go through the hurdles. As a starter, there are many things you should be watching out for, and some certain things you will probably experience at the initial stage. As you must know before now, ketosis is a condition where the body produces ketones to be used as fuel in order to reserve glycogen. Thus, being on ketogenic diet propels the body to transition from its normal state into ketosis.
Going through such transition will definitely affect the body in one way or the other because the body is now trying to adapt to a new state. To make it clearer to understand: imagine relocating from your country to another country with a different cultural background. Of course, such change of environment will affect you in various ways. But arguably, you will adapt with time. That’s the same case with your body when you decide to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle.
Common Symptoms Experienced at the Initial Stage of Ketogenic Diet
Some of the common symptoms you will experience include but not limited to mental fogginess, mild digestive issues, decreased physical performance, and skin rashes. Many people get discouraged when they start experiencing some of these temporal problems. I hope you don’t be like them when you encounter one or two issues along the line. Let’s look into some of these issues we listed.
Decreased Strength and Endurance
As your body starts to burn fats instead of carbohydrates, your muscle will also need time to learn how to make immediate use of the fuel since it is used to glucose consumption. For this reason, your muscles will not be efficiently active during the early stage of your keto lifestyle. This will result to loss of strength and decreased activity. Then endurance has to follow suit as you probably will not be able to do all the intense activities you are used to.
All you need to do at this stage is to give your body some time to fully adapt. You may want to check the body again after one week or so. For quick remedy, you may try to consume food with the required level of carbohydrates that allows the body system to absorb its carbohydrates content easily.
Mental and Physical Fogginess
During the first few days of your keto dieting, you may see yourself feeling drunk and unproductive. This is clear sign that that you are really transitioning into fat-burning for fuel. At this stage your neurons are yet to adapt to the state of the body, and thus, causes a decline in your cognitive function. Things will seem to be cloudy and not clear. But as you continue, your body will adapt and you will feel a state of clarity you have never experienced in your life time.
It is important to know that you can hasten this state of mental fogginess by engaging in activities that will facilitate fast consumption of the remaining glucose and reduce glycogen level in the body. These activities include intensive exercises, intermittent fasting, consumption of low carbohydrates vegetables.
Digestive Issues — Constipation and Diarrhea
You may experience either or both issues as you engage in ketogenic diet. There are so many myths surrounding this issue, but all the same this is what happens:
If you have excess water in your body before you start keto dieting, it is a likely occurrence that your body will lose all those excess water as it starts to burn fat. And the easiest way to lose the water fast is through the excretory track, probably through your stool. If the issue continues after about a week, then it means you lack enough fiber in your diet. Start eating foods with good amount of fibre in order to correct the problem.
But then, it can go the other way round. Loss of water is one of the things your body will experience during keto dieting. Coupled with loss of appetite, you are likely going to experience constipation. Drink a lot of water to correct the issue and bring your body to a balance. Then you will never regret being on keto.
This happens to almost everyone on keto diet. So be prepared when it comes. During the early stage of your keto dieting, you are likely to see some rashes on your skin that will itch you from time to time. This can stay up to a week or two, or even more. The most effective and easy way to control it is to drink a lot of water with the support of electrolytes. If necessary, use antiseptics during bath.
All these and more are the common conundrums to encounter during your keto journey. So prepare your mind if you’re a beginner, and never succumb to the challenges.
What Are The Benefits Of Being On Keto Diet?
A lot of people engage in keto diet for many reasons, which include weight loss and fat burn, blood sugar reduction, effective brain function and lots more. As a keto devotee, there are lots of benefits to derive from keto dieting. Some of these benefits include;
A lot of people have subscribed to this idea of weight loss as it has proven for a long time now to be the most effective and healthy means of losing body fat. As the amount of carbohydrates in your body goes down, your system begins to use the stored fat to generate energy for your daily activities.
Thus, as your body fats keep burning, your body weight begins to go down. Arguably, keto diet is the healthiest ways to lose weight.
Blood Sugar Regulation:
Since your body is no longer absorbing a lot of carbohydrates, the sugar level in your blood will decrease. This literally means that keto diet is a good option for diabetes patients.
Your body produces insulin when you consume carbohydrates. Thus, reducing the amount of carbohydrates intake reduces the amount of insulin produced in your body. It is important to note that high insulin level in your body can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Hence, keto diet is a means of preventing diabetes.
Increased Energy And Mental Focus:
Having a reliable source of energy is what the body needs to stay active always. Your body fats is that reliable source of energy. Research has revealed that fat is the most reliable molecule to generate energy. Fatty acid is widely known as a brain food as it helps to nourish the brain and keep is effective. Keto diet enables you to generate more fatty acid than usual.
General Health Improvement:
Experience and history have shown that keto diet has a lot to offer for overall wellbeing. It helps to improve and regulate cholesterol level, blood pressure, epilepsy, restlessness, acne etc. In fact, deciding to stay on keto diet is one a lot of people need to make in a lifetime.
How To Reach Ketosis Faster
We have discussed about the benefits of ketogenic diet. But do you think there would be such things without reaching ketosis? I guess you already know the answer. A lot of persons are into keto diet for a long time but never reached ketosis.
Many are not aware of it because they don’t really understand what it means to be on keto diet. But now you know the basis. In this section, I have listed out some of the things to do to help you reach ketosis faster.
Here is my list of some things to do to reach ketosis as soon as possible;
Start Fasting Right Away:
Scared? Hahaha…don’t mind me. But to attain ketosis as soon as you want it, you need to take extra mile to achieve that. What do I mean? You need to add something to your diet to spice things up.
So I recommend that you add intermittent fasting to your dieting. You need to burn all those glucose off as soon as possible. To achieve that, you need to strain your system to consume the available carbs in your body.
Exercises exercise exercise…. You need it at this stage. But mind you, study yourself and know what your body can carry. Don’t kill yourself with exercise… Please! Do the ones you can do. Though you can stretch it a bit but don’t overdo it. To help the process, take supplements to sustain yourself.
Drink A Lot Of Water:
Water helps your digestive track to perform optimally. Thus, drink water a lot to facilitate digestion. Drinking ablot of water also helps to flush your system. Therefore, I recommend it for you.
Lower Protein And Increase Fats:
Protein is good for a healthy living. But having more than enough protein in your body is not good for ketosis. So I recommend the 5:20:75 macro ratios for you, at least for the first two or three weeks. Most importantly, don’t go beyond 5% carbohydrates intake.
How To Know You Have Reached Ketosis
You’re craving for ketosis right? Now you have reached it, but how sure are you that you are on ketosis? There are different ways to determine if you have reached ketosis. Currently, there are three basic tests that are used to test for ketosis:
Urine Keto Test Strip: This tests your ketone level through your urine. All you need to do is to get the strip and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Blood Test Strip: As the urine test strip utilizes your urine, the blood test strip makes use of your blood to test for ketone level.
Breath Test: This tests for your ketone level through your breathe.
Among all these methods, the most reliable is the blood test strip and the most economical is the breath test. But do you have necessary fund to carry out the test? Don’t worry, there is a away out.
Apart from the conventional methods of testing for ketone level, you can also determine if you have reached ketosis through some certain signs and symptoms. To determine if you are now on ketosis, watch out for the following signs;
Bad Breath: Is your breath oozing badly? Congratulations! Now you are on ketosis. If your breath smells like a nail polish remover, it is a clear sign that you have reached ketosis.
Dry Mouth: Once you reach ketosis you will lose a lot of water through urine. This is the apparent cause of your dry mouth. Drink a lot of water which necessary for your keto dieting.
Increased Urination: This is the obvious reason for your dry mouth. Once you notice yourself visiting the toilet unusually, then know that you are on ketosis.
Increased Energy: I believe you know this already. Unusual surge in energy level and high rate of performance means that you are currently living on ketosis. Go and celebrate!
How Much Protein, Fat And Carbs Should I Consume?
Many are not yet clear with this macros ratio. The standard macros ratio for a keto diet is 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fats. Two other ratios a lot of keto devotees adopted is 5% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 60% fats, and 5% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 70% fats.
Whichever one you adopt, the major thing to understand is that that keto diet ensures very low amount of carbohydrates, moderate amount of protein and very high amount of fats. Carbs and fats are very important, and don’t go beyond 5% carbs.
Literally, you shouldn’t consume more than 25g of carbohydrates in a day. If you are a starter, limit you carbohydrates intake to 15g or less per day. This will help you attain ketosis faster.
Here is a list of food to eat or avoid.
As you are dieting, it is expedient that you know the right foods to eat to ensure you reach and stay on ketosis. The first lists below are some of the foods you should eat while the second list comprises the foods that are not good for ketogenic diet. Do all your best to avoid them.
Foods to Eat on Keto Diet
Please note before you decide on what to eat: Too much protein is not okay for ketogenic diet. Eat as moderate as possible. I know the foods are tempting, but do all you can to resist the temptation.
Now, for your protein intake, you need to focus more on organic, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. Most of the meats don’t have added sugar which is a good news for any keto devotee.
Here is my list for protein
Eggs, Poultry & Fowl
- Fresh Fish
- Crab Meat
Fats and Oils:
Since fats and oils will be the major source of your daily calories, it is important that you stay clear from unhealthy fats like trans fats which are processed and altered. In fact, avoid all hydrogenated fats like margarine and co. They are not good for you.
When choosing your fats, think of saturated fats (ghee, butter, lard, coconut oil, etc.), monounsaturated fats (avocado, olive etc), and polyunsaturated fats. So here is my list of fats and oils for you;
- Almond Butter
- Avocado Oil
- Cocoa Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Fish Oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Grape Seed Oil
- Hemp Seed Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- MCT Oil
- Full Fat Mayonnaise
- Olive Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Non-hydrogenated Animal Fats
- Egg Yolk
Dairy & Dairy Substitutes:
For your dairy products, consider using raw and organic dairy products. Processed dairy products are known to contain extra amount of carbohydrates. Thus, if you are using processed dairy product, ensure you get the macros right. Here is the list I have for you;
- Full Fat / Full Cream Milk (consume sparingly)
- Almond Milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut Cream
- Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- Greek Yogurt
- Heavy Cream
- Sour Cream (full fat)
- Soy Milk (unsweetened)
- Whipped Cream
- Grass Fed Butter
- Bleu Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Ricotta Cheese
Vegetables and Fruits:
First, avoid bananas and potatoes! They are not good for keto diet as the contain loads of carbs. Veggies are another group of foods we should consider important, and be careful with our selections.
When it comes to veggies, low carbs and high nutrient vegetables are all you need for your keto diet. To that effect, I prefer dark and leafy veggies.
Also note that most fruits are not accepted in keto diet. A lot of fruits contain significant amount of carbs that should be put into consideration. Here are some veggies, fruits and berries you can add to your list;
- Bell Peppers (green, orange, red, yellow)
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Chicory Greens
- Lettuce (Green Leaf, Romaine)
- Snow Peas
- Spaghetti Squash
Keto Fruits & Berries
- Green Olive
Nuts, Seeds and Spices:
When it comes to nuts try to limit your intake of high carbs nuts like peanuts and cashews so you don’t alter your keto journey. Also remember that nuts and seed contains some amount of carbs and proteins.
Hence, when choosing your high-fats and low-carbs nuts remember to add up the protein and carbs contents. Very important!
Here is my preferred list for your diet;
Nuts & Legumes
- Brazil Nuts
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chili Powder
Avoid splenda in diet. My preferred sweeteners are stevia and erythritol
Foods to Avoid
Chickpeas, lentil, beans etc.
In fact, don’t consume a lot of fruits as many tropical fruits are known to contain good amount of carbs. Though we listed some fruits above, they shouldn’t be overly consumed.
Here are some examples: banana, pineapple, mango, papaya, etc.
Sweet drinks and alcoholic drinks like beer, sweet wines and some soft drinks.
Though full-fat milk is allowed in keto diet, you should use it sparingly. But totally avoid any other milk.
Avoid fats like cottonseed, canola, corn oil and margarine.
Whey products containing MSG, almond milk containing carrageenan, dried fruits containing sulphites, wheat gluten and BPAs.
Avoid all types of grain. Currently, I don’t know any grain that is low in carbs. So my advice will always be to avoid them.