You've made the decision to give the keto diet a try. What's the easiest way to get started?
The ultimate goal of this way of eating is to put your body into a state of ketosis and to keep it there. That can be a daunting thought for anyone who has never done it. Luckily, millions of people have done it and you can too.
Let's get started.
Know Your Macronutrients
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking the keto diet is just like any other low-carbohydrate way of eating. But, it's not.
To achieve ketosis, you have to eat food that focuses on macronutrients in specific proportions. Ideally, you need to eat 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.
The focus is to drive the body to use fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. That's why the top ratio is fat intake, not protein. You are providing the body with this fuel in ready quantities, while limiting other fuel sources.
Know Your Carb Limit
You need to restrict intake to 20g of net carbs per day.
A net carb is one that the body uses for energy. These are usually starches and sugars. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that doesn't get broken down, so it isn't included in the carb count.
To calculate net carbs, take the total number of carbohydrates in a serving of food and subtract the grams of fiber. So, if a serving of food has 8 total grams of carbohydrates and that includes 3 grams of fiber, the total net carbs is 5.
Remember the 20g net carb limit for the day. That's your ultimate goal.
Restrict Your Protein Intake
Ketogenic eating focuses on fat intake, not protein intake. Eating high levels of protein can stress the kidneys. Plus, if the body takes in too much protein it will convert it to glucose, exactly what you don't want to happen.
Set a limit for protein intake and stick to it.
Focus on Fat Intake
Fats are essential for healthy human living. It's the fuel the body uses when it has no ready access to carbs.
The key is to keep your carb and protein intake steady. Then, use fat to satiate hunger pangs. Eat more when you need more fuel. Eat less when you want to lose weight.
Drink A Lot of Water
Your liver stores extra carbohydrates in the body in the form of glycogen bound to water molecules. When you start the keto diet, the low carb intake depletes this store of water.
It's important to double your intake of water each day to keep yourself hydrated.
Eat Whole Foods
Eating a lot of processed foods isn't good for anyone. They make it hard to avoid cravings and just don't fill you up.
Eat whole foods or those that are minimally processed. This preserves their nutrients and helps keep you satiated longer.
Listen to Your Body
Traditional eating patterns usually mean sitting down to three meals a day, with snacking in between. With the keto diet, it's more important to listen to your body.
Are you hungry? If you are, eat some food or snack on some healthy keto snacks. If you are not, don't. Eating when you aren't hungry contributes to weight gain.
The good news is the eating the ketogenic way actually suppresses the appetite. You may find yourself eating less frequently or in lower quantities.
It can take a few days to get used to eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. However, once you make the transition, you don't need to look back.