Many popular celebrities have done the keto diet, and they achieved significant results. But don’t get too hyped yet. Ask yourself first, “Am I ready to take on the ketogenic diet?” Because it is not just your typical short-term diet, it is a long-term lifestyle.
There’s no doubt that keto diet can help you lose weight and give you tremendous health benefits. But only if you do it properly and consistently since it is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Which brings the next question: are you prepared to do that?
In this beginner’s guide, we will teach you what you need to know about the ketogenic diet, its benefits, and how to get started so you can have the best results possible.
What is a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diet or ‘keto diet’ will require you to limit your carb intake for potential weight loss and health benefits. It works by getting rid of the excess, unhealthy body fats, without starving and depriving your body of proper nutrients.
When your body is adjusting to the keto diet, you will eat fewer carbs and your body will start to burn fat for fuel. This will put your body in a metabolic state called ‘ketosis’.
The ketosis state will help your liver convert fats into smaller energy molecules, called ‘ketones’. And these ketones are responsible for energy distribution to your brain and other organs of your body that need energy.
A proper keto diet will lower your insulin levels and balance your blood sugar, which can also help your body store fats for energy. Amazing, right?
Now as promised, what about its overall health benefits?
Benefits of the keto diet
- Keto diet helps you lose weight - you don’t have to count your calories or track your food intake because the keto diet will do the work for you.
- Ideal for those who are suffering from diabetes & prediabetes - the keto diet will help you get rid of unhealthy fats that are prone to prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. In fact, ketogenic diets are recommended for people with these health conditions.
- Prevents heart diseases - keto diet can balance your cholesterol levels and blood sugar, as well as maintain a regulated blood pressure which can all prevent heart diseases.
- Reduces symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease - ketogenic diet can also help slow the progression and help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- A diet to prevent cancer - ketogenic is now being studied and explored as a natural treatment or prevention because it can help ease the inflammation that causes cancer and slows down tumor growth.
- For women suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) - since keto focuses on low-carb diets and less sugar intake, your insulin levels can be reduced, which will protect you from diabetes. These two play an important role in warding off or reducing the symptoms of PCOS.
How to properly do the keto diet to achieve the best and healthiest results?
Know what foods to eat and what to avoid
Following a keto diet will require limiting or restricting foods that are high in carbs. What are these foods?
- White bread
- among many others
Instead of eating these, find ways to stop the cravings and opt for these healthy carbs that also contain protein:
- Brown rice
- Potato/sweet potato
- Fruits and veggies
You’ll need to eat fat - the healthy ones
Most people are afraid of eating fats because of health issues and weight gain.
You can still eat fats (because your body needs it), but not too much and focus on the healthy fats only. Avoid eating trans fat and replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. Rather than using regular cooking oil, use the healthiest cooking oils.
Here is also a list of healthy fats you can incorporate into your keto diet meal plan:
- Dark chocolate
- Salmon, sardines, mackerel
- Full fat yogurt
- Chia seeds and flax seeds
- Cacao nibs
- Whole eggs
- Butter (not margarine, as this contains trans fat)
- Virgin coconut oil
Preparing for a meal plan that contains healthy fats instead of the unhealthy ones can be difficult and uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re fond of eating them. But minor changes can make a big difference on the keto diet. Like having baked potato wedges as snacks instead of ordering fries.
Have moderate protein diet
Protein is essential because it helps your body repair cells and make new ones. It is also the building blocks of your bones, cartilages, muscles, and skin.
But when you’re on a keto diet, you have to watch your protein intake. Because protein is converted into glucose. And too much protein can hinder ketosis. So just do moderate portions of meat, then side it with vegetables, soups, or fruits.
You can also do your own research about the best keto recipes and website so you can have your everyday meal guide.
Don’t be scared of the temporary side effects
Since your body is adjusting to the keto diet (weight loss and burning fat for energy) be prepared for the keto flu.
The symptoms usually appear in the first week or 10 days. You may experience difficulty walking for too long or climbing high stairs, constipation or diarrhea, or mental fog. But don’t worry, because as soon as your body gets used to the process, these symptoms will disappear.
For the meantime, here are two things that can help ease the keto flu symptoms:
- Manage your schedule and pick your week when you’re not too swamped with deadlines and activities to prevent exhaustion, headaches, or body aches.
- Up your electrolytes by getting balanced sugar and potassium. You need these two because during ketosis, your kidneys expel more electrolytes and water. But don’t go hard on the sodium. Drink fruit juice and coconut water, or eat white meat and dairy products.
Talk to your family and ask support from them about your keto journey
Keto diet is difficult at first, but if you ask for support from people around you, the transition can become easier.
Sometimes you won’t be joining them for dinner or lunch if there are temptations on the table, and they should fully understand that. Most of the time, you will prepare your own meal and stick to your new habits, and they should support that too.
Don’t worry, these are only temporary. As soon as you manage your routines well, you can join them at every mealtime. And I’m sure your family will be thrilled with the results you will gain along the way.
Here’s a keto reminder for you:
Keto diet is like exams in school, you won’t pass if you cheat. So do the keto diet by heart!