A Keto Diet Plan For Beginners
Imagine losing weight and boosting your metabolism simply by cutting back on starchy veggies, most processed foods, added sugars, sweets (sorry) and grains, and eating a whole lot of butter, bacon, avocado, even cream. This is what the Keto or Ketogenic diet is all about, and it’s no longer a “fad diet” that has been popularized by many celebrities. It is instead, a revolutionary way of life that will not only induce weight loss, but one that has been found to help manage health issues like cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, if you have been trying to lose weight through various forms of weight-loss diets but have failed, and you want to try the high-fat, very-low-carb keto diet plan, knowing how your body uses fat, carbohydrates, and protein (calories) for fuel can make all the difference in how you approach your new weight loss program.
A word to beginners…
For starters, unfortunately, your body tends to hoard calories as fat that goes straight to your belly or thighs, thanks to several factors such as your genes, hormones, age, lifestyle, and other factors. Now, the challenge is learning how to get rid of that extra fat, which can either be through a variety of high-intensity cardio workouts or being on a diet that uses more fat for energy than carbs because in essence, the more fat you can use as fuel, the less of it you will have in your body, right?
Your body is remarkably adept at making do with whatever type of food is available in this case, carbohydrates foods such as sugary foods enter your circulatory system fast causing blood glucose levels to rise, which is why the body is eager to carbs for energy.
When you take carbs out of the equation in the keto diet, you inherently deprive the body of its primary source of energy – glucose, which in turn looks for an alternative fuel called ketones which are produced from stored fat. As mentioned, the ketogenic diet is distinctive for its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 70% to 80% and about 5-10% from carbs. Consequently, during 3-4 days of carb fasting any stored glucose is fully depleted and your body starts to go into a ketosis state, meaning it begins to use fat as its primary source of fuel.
Getting in Ketosis
Generally, factors such as body fat percentage, levels of physical activity, age, metabolism, as well as carb, fat, and protein intake can affect how soon ketosis occurs. However, guidelines of the ketogenic diet state that if you follow the diet carefully by significantly reducing your carb intake to 20–50 grams of carbs per day you can start to experience mild ketosis as soon as 2-4 days. There are a number of ways to know whether you are in full ketosis, for starters you may experience what is known as the “keto flu,” which presents signs like increased thirst, fatigue, headaches, nausea, even bad breath, but don’t worry, these symptoms will dissipate in a few days.
Another way to test your body’s ketone levels is through your urine using a ketone urine strip, which in this case, darker shades of either pink or purple mean that your urine contains high ketone levels. You can also use a ketone breath meter, which is usually more accurate than the urine test or use a blood ketone meter at home to measure your blood glucose levels to give you a good idea of whether you have achieved full ketosis.
If you find that you are taking longer to enter ketosis, chances are you are either unintentionally eating more carbs than recommended or are not eating enough fat, eating too much protein. Always aim to consume at least between 70-80% of your daily calories from fat, 20% from protein, and the remaining 10% or less from carbs.
Note that lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, and stress can also affect how long it takes for you to enter ketosis. If you struggle to achieve ketosis, you may want to manage your stress levels, get plenty of sleep and definitely, workout because exercise has been shown to help the body empty its carb stores faster. It can be virtually impossible for you to enter true ketosis right away since your body has been using sugar for fuel, and it will need time to adapt to using fat or burning ketosis for fuel. This change could take anywhere from 48 hours to one week, and as previously mentioned, the duration will vary greatly depending on your physical activity or lack thereof, lifestyle, body type, and carbohydrate intake.
How to get into Ketosis faster
There are several ways you can hasten ketosis and in order to get your body into a full fat-burning state, here a few rules of thumb to stick to while on a Ketogenic diet;
- Encourage your body to produce ketones by eating 20–50 grams of carbs per day and beware of hidden high-carb sources that can sneak up on you, such as restaurant condiments, sauces, and salad dressings. It’s also imperative to keep track of your carbohydrate intake during this time if you want to get into ketosis fast
- Consuming healthy fats make up a significant part of a keto diet plan. At least 70-80% of your high-quality sources of fat should come from foods such as avocados, nuts, eggs, fatty fish like salmon, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee, and fatty meats
- There are supplements known as exogenous ketones that make up to 78% of total ketone bodies in the blood and can help you enter ketosis faster even decrease some of the unpleasant side effects
- Combining intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet has been shown to help get many people into ketosis quicker, and because fasting involves eating very low-calorie, it can also aid weight and fat loss.
- As mentioned earlier, increasing your exercise intensity helps deplete the body of stored glucose consequently, induce ketosis faster because when carbohydrate reserves are low, the body turns to burn fat for energy
- Consuming at least 0.8 grams of high-quality proteins like grass-fed beef per pound of lean body mass can keep you satiated, help prevent muscle breakdown and keep you feeling your best on a keto diet
- Find keto-friendly foods, snacks, and easy recipes in order to prevent you from falling off the wagon and most importantly, help you stick and enjoy your keto meals
- Look for the right portable snacks when you’re on the go. Having a keto bar, nut butter, seeds, and nuts, or low-sugar jerky handy can make all the difference to becoming keto-adapted
- It’s essential to stay hydrated especially when you experience cravings or hunger when you start the keto diet
- Get at least seven hours of rest per night
The Keto Diet – Getting Started!
Now that you have the skinny on the keto diet, are you ready to start the program? Thankfully, there are a few modified keto variations that are not only a little more flexible and easier to stick with long-term but will also help you enter ketosis fast, shed weight and body fat.
The ketogenic diet involves an intricate balance of reducing carbohydrates and increasing healthy fat consumption. So, for instance, a typical breakfast can consist of coffee with a source of fat from either butter or coconut oil, smoked salmon, and runny eggs on a zero-carb bread topped with a generous layer of guacamole while for lunch, you can have a low carb shirataki salad noodles with chicken, and an MTC oil dressing.
The easiest and most effective way of sticking to a keto diet plan is to shop and prepare meals in batches then bring a packed doggy-bag to work for lunch or midday snack. Considering the high-fat, low-carb diet is based on meat, eggs, cheese, and plant-based fats such as nuts and avocado, it’s quite easy to pack flavorful and filling keto-friendly lunches. All you need to get is a sturdy container that has a few distinct compartments to fit everything from your meal to dressings, dips, veggies, even snacks.
Provided you know your net carb intake, packing your meals will be a breeze. How does thinly-sliced deli turkey-cheddar roll-ups, avocado, cucumber slices, blueberries, almonds sound for your next lunch menu? How about tuna salad wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves cream cheese roll-ups with cherry tomatoes or pickles, crunchy, salty bacon chips, two hard-boiled eggs, and guacamole. These are examples of keto lunch staples you didn’t know you could dare eat on a diet, but now you can on keto. So, let’s go shopping.
Shopping for Keto
Intimidating as it can be to start a new diet, having a bona fide keto-friendly shopping list handy and reliable go-to recipes on your phone can make all the difference. Remember, there are different variations of the ketogenic diet that you will read shortly, which is why before you commit to shopping, you need to know which one suits your lifestyle best. The goal is to keep to the basics; If shopping for the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) get meals that combined, will contain about 70–80% fat, 10–20% protein, and between 5–10% carbs.
Before you hit the produce store, make sure that you clear out your fridge and pantry of high-carb items such as bread and grains, starchy vegetables, processed foods, and caloric sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, jams, jellies, etc. A typical SKD keto beginner’s grocery basket should have the following items;
- Produce; Mushrooms, avocados, bell peppers, spinach, romaine lettuce, garlic, green cabbage, white or green onions, cherry tomatoes, lime
- Proteins; Bacon, eggs, beef, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Dairy; Salted butter, whole milk, yogurt, cheese of choice
- Pantry staples like coconut cream, almond flour, and butter, cocoa powder, monk fruit extract, vanilla extract, soy sauce, chicken broth, etc
- MCT oils
- Spices like pepper, ginger, cinnamon
Ketogenic Diet Variations
- The Standard Keto Diet – It’s a very low-carb, high-fat diet that has a macronutrient ratio of 75% fat,15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs, therefore, meals and snacks fats such as avocados, butter, ghee, fatty fish, olive oil, will do
- Cyclical or Targeted Ketogenic Diet – It is more suited bodybuilders because it involves periods of consuming 75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs on keto followed by about two days of 25% fat, 25% protein and 50% of carbohydrate-rich foods on off days.
- Targeted Keto Diet – If you are an active individual on a keto plan but need more carbs, then this is the diet plan for you. This is because it works on a ratio of 65-70% fat, 20% protein, 10-15% carbs and allots an additional 20-30 grams of carbs making the total carb count around 70-80 grams per day. Therefore, its best to shop for items that have carbs that can be readily burned off before and after workouts such as fruit, dairy or grain-based foods, or sports nutrition products.
- The High-Protein Ketogenic Diet – With a macronutrient ratio of 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs, this diet is a quite similar to the SKD, only that it but entails eating about 120 grams more of protein per day. Among all the modified keto diet plans, most people find this one easier to follow and stick to because they get to eat more protein and less fat than the standard keto diet. While it may not result in fast ketosis, a high-protein diet plan will result in significant weight loss.
If you are ready to commit to the keto diet long-term, getting yourself The Keto Beginning Guide + 30-Day Meal Plan Guide book is an excellent place to start. Additionally, talk to a qualified dietitian who can observe your dietary patterns consequently, help you make gradual modifications. You also want to consult a physician if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, suffer from severe diabetes, gallbladder, liver, kidney or heart disease to ensure this super-restrictive regimen is safe for you and that you are adjusting your daily macronutrients correctly.
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