You’ve heard the stories about people losing 40 pounds in two months and you want a piece of the pie. After doing your research, you concluded that the ketogenic (keto) diet is right for you and you can’t wait to get started. As attractive as the keto diet may be, it can be difficult to jump into a very carb-restricted eating plan. This is especially difficult when you consider that so many foods in the Standard American diet are carb-rich and on the keto diet’s naughty list.
What Is The Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high fat diet that is very similar to the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets. Essentially, you replace most carbohydrates with fat to put your body in the metabolic state of ketosis. In this state, your body becomes efficient at burning fat for energy, as opposed to burning glucose for energy. Additionally, the body turns fat into ketones in the liver, which work to supply energy to the brain.
In the beginning of the keto craze, the diet was outlined as about 70-70% daily calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbs. However, these percentages have adjusted because health experts noted that that approach to the keto diet increased the risk of heart problems. This was because of the meat-centric, dairy-rich keto recipes that people consumed. Now, there is keto 2.0, which has adjusted percentages for carbs, protein, and carbs. You can learn more about keto 2.0 by clicking here.
How To Start
The main reason people have subscribed to the keto diet is for weight loss. Anecdotal reports suggest that it is a quick fix, but the benefits may be short-term if you immediately switch back to your pre-keto eating habits. The most important thing to do in regards to starting the diet, though, is to do your research. Figure out what are the diet’s main principles and understand which foods are low-carb and which ones are high fat. You’ll soon learn that many foods are off limits because you cannot enjoy refined or whole grains, baked goods, starchy vegetables, legumes, pasta, bread, or sweetened beverages.
Choose Healthy Proteins
It can be very easy to buy all of the meat and chow down when you’re following the keto diet. Keep in mind that focusing on unhealthy meats that are not sustainably raised can have long-term effects on your overall health, especially your heart. Bison, tempeh, wild caught tuna, tofu, free-range and organic poultry, wild caught salmon, and organic eggs are great sources of protein. Now, protein doesn’t just come from animal products. Nuts, which are keto-approved, supply the body with lots of fat and protein. Almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, walnuts, and more are excellent to consume when following the keto diet.
It’s Not A Quick Fix
When you start keto, you have to think about why you are doing the diet in order to stay on track. Making your food choices for the right reasons can keep the drive alive. The “why” reminds you of your goal and the reason you started the diet in the first place. According to dietitians, it is helpful to think of keto as a lifestyle choice, as opposed to a quick fix diet. In the beginning, stick to keto as strictly as possible to help the body’s transition into ketosis. There will likely be some wiggle room down the line, in regards to what you can enjoy. For example, a glass of wine, a slice of dessert, or other carbohydrates may not kick your body out of ketosis after following it religiously. Keto 2.0, for example, is not an all-or-nothing approach to keto, which makes it more accessible.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
When you have your meals planned, you can easily stick to the diet. You should always plan your snacks, and meals at least a day in advance, but this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Statistically, people are more successful at adhering to diets when they meal plan for the entire week. If you decide that you want to go out to eat, look at the restaurant’s menu to see if keto-approved options are available. Because of the popularity of the diet, there are many restaurants that actually cater to keto followers.
Don’t Skimp On Vegetables
Sure, vegetables have carbs, but there are many veggies that don’t have high carb count. Plus, the carbs from vegetables are complex, which are much healthier than the carbs from refined grains, bread, or other processed foods. Load your plate with vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and roast them as opposed to steaming them. You can impart a bit more flavor during the roasting process, especially in regards to seasonings and adding high-fat coconut oil.