Ketogenic Diet For Beginners: How To Do It, What To Eat & What Not To

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If you have read any of the weight loss blogs and been on Youtube lately, you have probably come across the term “Keto Diet”.

So today we are going to answer the question “What is the Keto diet, how does it work and what foods to eat and which ones to avoid”

The ketogenic diet or keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.

In fact, over 50 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health and it is absolutely safe, that’s why so many doctors recommend it.

A keto diet can be especially useful for losing excess body fat without hunger and for improving type 2 diabetes.

In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet is far superior to the often recommended low-fat diet 

Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Here in this article you’ll learn how to eat a keto diet based on real foods. It’s everything you need to succeed on keto.

What is a ketogenic diet?

The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It’s similar in many ways to other low-carb diets.

The macronutrients in a keto diet are divided into approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. 

Specifically, in a 2000 kcal per day diet, make sure that the carbohydrates that you consume amount up to only 20 to 50 g per day.

While you eat far fewer carbohydrates on a keto diet, you maintain moderate protein consumption and increase your intake of fat. 

This reduction in carb intake puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat, from your diet and from your body, is burned for energy.

Going on a ketogenic diet causes your body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”, which are an alternative fuel source for your body that can be used when blood sugar or glucose becomes less available in the body because you are not eating as much carb as you used to.

After a few days or weeks on such a diet, the body and brain become very efficient at burning fat and ketones for fuel instead of carbs.

The ketogenic diet also lowers insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, are two of the main reasons this diet has so many health benefits

On a ketogenic diet, your entire body runs mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels drop very low, fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off.

Isn’t it amazing that your body is burning fat all the time even when you are sleeping.

But wait, there’s more – When you are on a keto diet you will feel less hungry and your body will have a steady supply of energy from the existing fat reserves in your body.

The fastest way to put your body into a ketogenic state is by fasting, which is not eating anything – but nobody can consistently fast forever.

A keto diet, on the other hand, also results in ketosis and can be eaten forever. It has many of the same benefits of fasting, including weight loss, without having to fast long term.

A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for several diseases.

It can help you lose fat, preserve muscle mass, boost your immunity and improve your overall health.

In one study, people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Their Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also improved during the course of the diet.

Another study found that people on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the diet recommended by best of the nutritionists.

If you dislike counting calories, the data suggests a ketogenic diet is a great option for you. You can simply eliminate certain foods and don’t have to track calories.

Keto diet is not just great for weight loss and a healthy heart.

Lower insulin levels, high protein and eating less sugar or processed foods also help improve acne and makes your skin look and feel better.

Are you going to give keto a try, we hope so, let us know in the comments section below if you do.

How long does it take for the body to go into ketosis?

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In general, it takes 2–4 days if you eat 20–50 grams of carbs per day. However, some people may find it takes a week or longer to reach this state.

Some factors that can affect how long it takes to enter ketosis include your typical daily carb intake, your daily fat and protein intake, exercise, your age, and your metabolism.

For example, people who typically consume a high-carb diet before starting a keto diet may take longer to enter ketosis than those who generally eat a low-to-moderate carb diet. This is because your body needs to deplete its glycogen stores before entering ketosis 

What to eat on a keto diet?

If you are confused and don’t know what to eat on a keto diet then here is a list of food that can help you in your weight loss journey.

#1. Meat and Poultry

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Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on a ketogenic diet.

Foods such as Red meat, steak, ham, bacon, lamb, chicken and turkey are a great source of high-quality protein, which has been shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet.

Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc.

Its best to choose organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef. 

Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins going into your body, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats which are easy to absorb by your body.

#2. Low-Carb Vegetables

When it comes to vegetables, the keto rule of thumb is to avoid any veggies that grow beneath the ground.

Avoid vegetables with a high starch content, as they contain the most carbs.

You can opt for low carb vegetables such as arugula, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, fennel, cabbage, celery, Brussels sprouts, kale.4

These non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals.

Low-carb vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and so much more, also, they make a great base to add fats to.

#3. Seafood

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Fish and shellfish are very keto-friendly foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium, yet virtually carb-free.

Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, crab, tuna, mussels, cod  are a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other good-for-you nutrients like protein and important minerals.

Moreover, frequent fish intake has been linked to a decreased risk of disease and improved mental health.

#4. Most natural Fats and Oils

Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You’ll likely get much of it from natural sources like meat, fish, eggs, and other sources. 

But also use fat in cooking, like butter or coconut oil, and feel free to add plenty of olive oil to salads and vegetables. 

Since each oil imparts unique flavors, we recommend filling your pantry with a few different varieties of oil.

You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces, including Bearnaise sauce, cheese sauce, garlic butter, and others.

#5. High-fat Dairy

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Dairy products are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and calcium. 

Stock up on cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, cream, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream but avoid drinking milk as it contains carbs.

Remember, Butter is good, high-fat cheese is fine, and heavy cream is great for cooking.

#6. Eggs

Eggs are one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet.

 

One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and fewer than 6 grams of protein, making eggs an ideal food for a ketogenic lifestyle.

In addition, eggs have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness and keep blood sugar levels stable, leading to lower calorie intakes for up to 24 hours.

It’s important to eat the entire egg, as most of an egg’s nutrients are found in the yolk. This includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect eye health

#7. Nuts and Seeds

Macadamia nuts, flaxseed, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds are some of the best keto snacks that you can have.

But, have them in moderation, as it’s very easy to eat far more than you need to feel satisfied.

Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression and other chronic diseases.

Also, nuts and seeds are high in fiber, which can help you feel full and absorb fewer calories overall.

#8. Low-sugar Fruits

Although you’ll be cutting way back on carbohydrates and sugar, some fruits are still okay to eat on the keto diet in moderation.

Fruits such as tomatoes, avocado, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, coconut, lemon, and limes contain fewer carbs and are good for satisfying your craving for something sweet without setting you back in your diet.

#9. Coffee and Tea

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Going keto doesn’t mean you have to give up your caffeine. Unsweetened teas and coffees are keto-approved.

Coffee and tea are incredibly healthy, carb-free drinks.

They contain caffeine, which increases your metabolism and may improve your physical performance, alertness and mood.

You can even add heavy cream to coffee or tea but stay away from “light” coffee and tea lattes. These are typically made with nonfat milk and contain high-carb flavorings.

#10. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder

If you love chocolate, you can still indulge, Just check the label to make sure it’s at least 70 percent cocoa solids.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are delicious sources of antioxidants.

In fact, cocoa has been called a “super fruit,” because it provides at least as much antioxidant activity as any other fruit, including blueberries and acai berries.

So these were the foods that you can eat on a keto diet.

There is also a list of high-carb foods that most people avoid on the Keto diet.

What not to eat on a keto diet?

#1. Grains

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Cereal, crackers, rice, pasta, bread and beer are high in carbohydrates. Even whole-wheat pasta and the new bean-based pastas are high in carbs. 

Consider alternatives like spiralized vegetables or shirataki noodles, which are healthier low-carb options. Sugary breakfast cereals and healthy whole-grain cereals are high in carbohydrates too and should be avoided or minimized.

2. Starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits

Starchy vegetables contain more digestible carbohydrates than fiber and should be limited on the ketogenic diet. These include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets. Limit high-sugar fruits too, which spike your blood sugar more quickly than berries and have more carbohydrates.

3. Sugary drinks

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Pay close attention to what you drink, as drinks are often a significant source of hidden sugars and carbs. A majority of your liquid consumption should come from water, as you should be drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Avoid Soda, fruit juice, smoothies as they contain fast-digesting carbs that spike your blood sugar. Just stick to water.

4. Honey, syrup and sugar in any form

Avoid sugar, honey, maple syrup and other forms of sugar, which are high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients.

5. Gluten-free baked goods

Gluten-free does not equal carb-free. In fact, many gluten-free breads and muffins are as high in carbohydrates as traditional baked goods. They usually lack fiber too.

Should You Try a Ketogenic Diet?

Keto diet is OK for a normal and healthy individual.
No single diet is suitable for everyone, especially since individual metabolism, genes, body types, lifestyles, taste buds and personal preferences differ.
However, the ketogenic diet can work wonders for people who are overweight or at risk of metabolic syndrome.
Nevertheless, if you dislike high-fat foods but love carbs, this diet may be hard for you to stick to.
If you still like the idea of a low-carb diet, then carb cycling or a standard low-carb diet may be better options for you.
Ketogenic diets may also be used in the short-term, to help you lose fat and improve health. Yet this requires a lot of discipline, and must be followed with healthy eating.

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