If you're nervous about how to start keto, there are simple steps you can follow. With a mindset change and some practice, you can reap the benefits of a keto diet.
More than 60 studies prove that the keto diet is useful for significant weight loss. The ketogenic way of eating isn’t just another fad, but it does come with a little bit of a learning curve and lifestyle modification.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a weight loss plan that focuses on your consumption of macronutrients, which include fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
The keto diet plan is all about adjusting your diet for high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. Generally, it should include:
- 70% healthy fats
- 25% protein
- 5% carbs
These numbers might need adjustment depending on your individual dietary needs. Plus, several versions of the diet exist and each requires different macronutrient ratios. The point is to get your body into a state of ketosis.
How to Start Ketosis
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs. Your body’s primary energy source is the glycogen created from carb intake. By limiting carbohydrates, your body will switch to fat as a source of energy by the use of ketones. This is why carb consumption is so small with a keto diet.
Ketosis generally takes three days or more to kick in. You probably won’t see optimal results for two or more weeks, though. There are several signs that will let you know you’re in ketosis:
- Bad breath
- Frequent urination
- Reduced appetite
- Increased energy and focus
- Weight loss
How to Start the Keto Diet
The main point of the keto diet is to increase your intake of healthy fat and decrease your intake of carbs (protein should be consumed in moderation).
To do this, it’s important to understand which foods are good and bad for getting results. When planning your meals, you want to focus on meals that are low in carbs and high in fats. 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, as well as low-carb condiments, are allowed too.
There are some basic steps you can follow to get the most benefit from this diet change and make the adjustment easier.
Your first crucial step for the keto diet is to drastically cut the number of carbs you consume. Keep your carbs to 25 grams of net carbs per day. The following foods usually high in carbohydrates. However, each food and meal has varying nutrient amounts. It’s more important to read the food label. Pay attention to the serving size and calculate each macronutrient accordingly.
To get started with your keto diet, you want to eliminate high-carb foods altogether. Avoid the following:
- Grains (bread, pasta, corn, rice).
- Starches (potatoes).
- Most high-carb alcohol.
You also need to eliminate high-sugar foods as they’ll keep you from entering ketosis. This means removing table sugar, high-sugar fruits, and most milk products from your diet. Some milk and dairy products are fine for the keto diet; you will need to read the food label carefully or use the keto food search engine to find keto-friendly products to drink.
While proteins are better than carbs on the keto meal plan, you still want to limit your protein intake. For optimal results, most of your daily calories should come from fat.
Try to choose high-quality meats for proteins. Be careful with processed and fried meats: those may contain hidden carbs.
Eat Enough Fat to Satisfy Your Appetite
Fats should account for at least 70 percent of your calorie intake with the keto diet. You don’t need to obsess over getting the right amount of fats in each meal, though.
Include enough fats in your daily menu to help you feel satisfied. You don’t have to eat if you’re not hungry. In fact, you’ll get the best weight loss results if you only eat when you’re hungry. Your fat intake should come from healthy foods. Avoid highly processed foods like canola oil, margarine, and other trans fats.
Pay Attention to Electrolytes
The keto diet can easily deplete the electrolyte balance in your body. It’s important to achieve a proper balance. You can maintain electrolytes by including salts in your diet. Use plenty of salt to season your food. You can also include bone broths or pickled vegetables. 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, thirst and the effects following it will occur. You must drink plenty of water, perhaps a little more than the recommended eight cups a day.
You can also drink tea, unsweetened herbal tea, and coffee. Make sure that most of your liquids come from water, though.
Why the Keto Diet Help with Weight Loss
The keto diet allows your body to burn stored fat. By depriving the body of its normal energy source, it has to burn fat stores for energy. That’s why the keto diet is effective for weight loss.
This dietary plan also suppresses your appetite. Fat fills you up quickly and curbs hunger, causing you to eat less.
The keto diet also increases energy, allowing you to incorporate exercise as part of your personal weight loss program.
More Resources for the Keto Diet
Now that you know the steps for how to start keto, are you ready to move forward? It may seem like a lot at first, but it just takes one step to get you on the right path.