If you're nervous about how to start keto, there are simple steps you can follow. By changing your mindset and food discipline, you can reap the benefits of a ketogenic diet.
Please Note: the effects of the keto diet are different for everyone. You should consult with a doctor or health professional before starting any diet plan. This information about the keto diet is presented for educational purposes only and may not pertain to your health condition.
More than 60 studies prove the effectiveness of using the keto diet to achieve weight loss. The ketogenic way of eating isn’t just a fad, but there are learning curves and lifestyle modification.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a weight loss plan that focuses on your consumption of three macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The diet plan is all about adjusting your diet for high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. The typical ratio consists of:
- 70% healthy fats
- 25% protein
- 5% carbs
These numbers might need adjustment according to your dietary needs. Plus, at least a couple versions of the diet exist and each requires different macronutrient ratios. The ultimate goal is for your body to enter a state called ketosis.
Why the Keto Diet Helps with Weight Loss
The keto diet forces your body to burn stored fat by depriving the body of its normal energy source. This meal plan also suppresses your craving for food. Fat satisfies your appetite and curbs hunger, causing you to eat less. The ketogenic diet also allows you to incorporate exercise, bodybuilding, and other fitness activities into your personal weight loss program.
How to Activate Ketosis
By limiting carbohydrates, your body switches to fat as a source of energy by the use of ketones. Activating ketosis usually takes three days or more. You won’t see optimal results for at least two weeks.
These are the signs that your body is in ketosis:
- Bad breath
- Frequent urination
- Reduced appetite
- Increased energy and focus
- Weight loss
How to Start the Keto Diet
The goal of the keto diet is to increase your intake of healthy fat and decrease your intake of carbs (protein consumption should be moderate).
Accomplishing this means knowing which foods are good and bad for achieving optimal results. When planning your meals you should include high-fat, low-carb foods. Here are a few examples:
- Healthy fats, such as butter and coconut oil.
- Meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Full-fat dairy, such as cheese and cream (avoid milk).
- Nuts, seeds, and nut flours.
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale.
- Low-carb veggies, such as zucchini and cauliflower.
- Berries if you need a fruit fix.
- Herbs and spices, low-carb condiments.
To experience the benefit of this diet change and make adjustments easier, you should follow some basic steps.
The first step of following a keto diet is slashing the number of carbs you consume. Limit yourself to 25 grams of net carbs per day. It’s imperative to read the food label—pay attention to the serving size and calculate each macronutrient accordingly.
Reduce and eliminate the following high-carb foods. They prevent your body from entering ketosis:
- Grains (bread, pasta, corn, rice).
- Starches (potatoes).
- Most high-carb alcohol (read keto-friendly alcohol drinks).
- Table sugar.
- High-sugar fruits.
- Most milk products, although some milk and dairy merchandise are fine for the keto diet. Read the food label carefully or use the keto food search engine.
While proteins are better than carbohydrates on the keto meal plan, you still want to limit your protein intake as well. For optimal results, most of your daily calories should come from fat. Try to choose high-quality meats for proteins because processed and fried meats might contain hidden carbs.
Eat Enough Fat to Satisfy Your Appetite
At least 70 percent of your calorie intake should consist of fat. Don’t obsess over consuming the correct ratio of fats in each meal. Include enough fats to satiate your appetite and don’t eat if you’re not hungry. The best weight loss results occur if you eat when you’re hungry. Your food sources for fat should be healthy meals. Avoid highly processed foods like canola oil, margarine, and other trans fats.
You Need Electrolytes
The keto diet can deplete electrolytes in your body. It’s important to achieve a proper balance. You can maintain electrolytes by seasoning your food with salt and including foods like bone broths or pickled vegetables in your diet. You can read more about maintaining your body salts here.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
The keto diet can cause dehydration. Because ketones absorb water and you’re eliminating carbs that store water, extreme thirst may occur. Drink lots of water, perhaps a little more than the recommended eight cups a day. Regular tea, unsweetened herbal tea, and coffee are excellent substitutes but water is the healthiest liquid that benefits your body.
More Resources for the Keto Diet
Are you ready to start? It may seem overwhelming in the beginning but taking the next steps will help you get started.
- Start by choosing your desired weight goal.
- Then, use our keto macro calculator tool to determine the minimum and maximum macros to consume per day.
- Read this article again to remind yourself of what foods to eat and avoid.
- Use the keto food search engine at KetoFoodist.com or the food label calculator tool to find keto-friendly eats. For more help, review our getting started guide.
- Learn how to maintain a keto diet and avoid these common mistakes.