If you are facing heavy weight issues then you must have heard of keto diet. The full form of keto diet is “ketogenic diet”. And In this beginner’s guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the keto diet, including how to get started and what to eat.
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates. In it, you replace starchy bread and sugary cereals with avocados, butter and fatty pieces of meat. Many people use the keto lifestyle to treat conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and chronic inflammation.
All of this is possible due to a process known as ketosis, which I will discuss below. In addition to the health benefits I’ve already mentioned, it also:
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces sugar addiction
- Improves memory
- Promotes satiety
- Reduces inflammation
The ketogenic diet was first used in the 1920s to treat refractory epilepsy in untreated children.
Not only did this diet significantly reduce cramps, it unexpectedly resulted in rapid weight loss.
Keto is not like the standard high-calorie diet. In fact, you can lose weight while in ketosis without counting calories. Weight loss has been closely related to calorie counting for the past 50+ years, and it hasn’t worked very well. By focusing on nutritious, dense, low-carb foods, you can automatically control calories without active restriction.
Keto macros are everything. Simply put, your body needs a certain ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) to maintain ketosis.
Carbohydrates should make up less than 5% of your calorie intake. At the beginning of the diet, it is recommended to consume less than 20 g per day. A good ratio is 1.5 grams of net carbs per 100 calories.
When following a ketogenic diet, you should keep track of your net carbs. This calculation is pretty simple: Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber.
For example, one cup (91 grams) of broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs and 2.4 grams of fiber. This means that one cup of broccoli contains 3.6 grams of carbohydrates. We count net carbs because dietary fiber has no significant metabolic effect, meaning it doesn’t raise blood sugar.
When carbohydrates are removed from the diet, it is easy to replace them with protein, but eating foods high in protein does not promote ketosis. To properly switch your body to use fat for fuel, your protein content must be moderate.
A moderate amount of protein is 1.2-1.7 g of protein per day per 1 kg of body weight. That is, if you weigh 70 kg, then you need to consume about 85-110 g of protein per day.
Now let’s talk about fat. Fat is what makes you whole, gives you energy (in ketosis) and makes food tasty. For most people, this figure should be 70% of the daily calories. Keep carbs under 20g, eat moderate amounts of protein, and eat fat until you are full
At first, you may overeat calories, but over time, the keto diet will automatically fix this. Your diet and natural hunger signals will automatically adjust.
Here’s a quick example of the daily breakdown of macronutrients on a keto diet at about 2,000 calories per day:
- 80 calories / 20 grams net carbs
- 320 calories / 80 grams of protein
- 1200 calories / 133 grams of fat
Again, the total calories you eat isn’t as important as controlling your macros. For an accurate calculation, use our keto calculator.
Why ketosis works
During the first 3-7 days of a ketogenic diet, your body goes into a state known as ketosis. First, a lack of carbohydrates causes the body to deplete the glycogen stores it stores for energy.
Once these stores are depleted, your body adapts to using fat for fuel, as the liver produces ketone bodies (“ketones”) to generate energy to replace glucose.
Ketones are a slower, much more efficient energy source than glucose. To make ketones, your body must break down fat while glucose is produced when you consume carbohydrates.
While producing more ketones does not lead to more weight loss, it can lead to increased energy and satiety between meals, which can lead to weight loss.
But ketosis isn’t just for burning fat. The way your brain gets energy on a ketogenic diet is one of the reasons it’s so effective for seizures. You see, the brain needs far fewer ketone bodies than glucose molecules. This super-efficient energy means that keto users often clear up the “fog” in their head and are able to think more clearly.
Does keto have a positive effect on health?
The short answer to this question for most people is “YES!” Keto is a healthy lifestyle that can fight many chronic diseases. Let’s see why.
For many years, a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables has been promoted around the world. Dietary fats, especially saturated fats, were thought to clog arteries and cause heart disease.
Unfortunately, these dietary recommendations are based on weak data. While there are many sources that claim keto is an erratic, short-term diet, history doesn’t seem to support this.
According to modern science, there is really no need for the high-carb diet that most people are used to today (225 to 325 grams per day).
Ketosis mimics fasting, which is one of the reasons keto is only beneficial in the short term. However, the biological benefits of fasting (dietary ketosis) may be much better for you if they go away throughout your life. In fact, it can literally increase your lifespan!
When calories are severely restricted or ketosis is reached, the body’s “cell cleansing” is known as autophagy. This complex biological function results in a more rebuilt, revitalized body down to the cellular level.
Need more proof?
10 scientifically proven benefits of keto diet [Pros of keto diet]
Keto diet reduces weight
This is the reason why most people start a ketogenic diet. Moving to a fat-adapted metabolic state is very helpful in weight loss as well as facilitating intuitive eating.
The keto diet leads to more weight loss compared to a low-fat diet, both in healthy people and in people with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
One reason for this is that the keto diet has the unique ability to increase feelings of fullness by positively altering the levels of hunger hormones such as ghrelin.
Fat, especially in the waist, is a contributing factor to metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms and conditions associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The keto diet reduces all five cluster states, including waist fat.
Improves heart function
The myth that dietary fat equates to increased cholesterol is just a myth! In fact, the opposite happens – the keto diet improves cholesterol levels.
One study in obese patients found that following a keto diet in the long term reduced all risk factors for heart disease:
- LDL cholesterol
- Blood glucose
- Blood pressure
- Also, the authors of the study noted that during the diet, the level of HDL cholesterol (“good”) increased.
Increases energy levels
Once you move on to burning fat as your primary fuel source, you will notice an increase in steady energy throughout the day. No more ups and downs!
This is due to the fact that on keto, blood sugar levels remain stable throughout the day. The highs and “glitches” that people typically experience during the day are caused by spikes in blood glucose levels.
Reduces epileptic seizures
As the brain changes into ketosis, the electrical impulses that trigger seizures tend to subside and sometimes stop altogether.
Numerous clinical trials have shown that ketosis reduces seizures across the board, with 24% or more of patients achieving zero seizures.
Helps in diabetes treatment
According to numerous studies, a long-term keto diet improves the prognosis in many people with diabetes. Ketosis fights insulin resistance and allows the body to reuse the insulin it makes to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
For many patients, this diet made it possible to completely eliminate diabetic drugs. It can not only control blood sugar levels, but it can even help lower glycohemoglobin to normal levels.
Positively affects the symptoms of PCOS
In the modern world, one of the main causes of female infertility is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) . It is characterized by excess body fat, insulin resistance, no periods or delay, acne, male pattern hair growth, and more.
Fortunately, keto can be one of the remedies for women who suffer from this condition. In a 2005 clinical trial, there was an improvement in insulin sensitivity, testosterone levels, body weight, and hormone levels after 24 weeks of eating. Two of the 11 women in the pilot became pregnant, although they were unable to do so before the study.
Similar results were seen in another 2006 study.
The science of keto and acne is in its early stages, but it seems that some of the autophagic improvements caused by keto can improve skin health and reduce acne.
May help treat brain disorders
Unlike many current treatments for brain-related diseases, keto can be incredibly effective at reducing symptoms.
The keto diet is being studied in conjunction with all of these brain diseases:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Huntington’s disease
May help treat cancer
The keto diet can help improve mitochondrial function (the source of energy for all living cells), which is one of the reasons it can help in tumor shrinkage in various types of cancer.
Most important may be keto’s ability to transform brain cancer. A 2007 study found that the keto diet can reduce malignant brain tumors.
Also, some studies support the idea of using the keto diet alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In one animal study, using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a ketogenic diet was able to increase survival time in metastatic cancer by almost 78%.
Several case studies of keto and certain cancers have shown significant benefits of this diet. Two pediatric cancer patients ate a ketogenic diet with 60% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) every day. One of them showed incredible improvement in mood, as well as a complete cure for cancer within 12 months on the diet.
In another study, a 65-year-old woman with brain cancer (glioblastoma), after two months on a keto diet, completely got rid of her brain tumor. After stopping the strict diet, the tumor returned after about 10 weeks.
Increases life expectancy
As I mentioned earlier, the keto diet can help increase your body’s overall lifespan by supporting cellular regeneration through autophagy.
What you can eat and drink on keto
The hardest part of a keto diet is getting used to a whole new way of eating, especially avoiding most high-carb foods and adding tons of fat.
Here are some tips on how to best eat keto.
Eat a lot of fat
Look for fat in meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and oils. Some of the examples are:
- Vegetable oils: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, etc.
- Beef fat
- MCT oil (great for smoothies and fat bombs)
- Heavy cream
Choose foods of animal origin
Animals provide people with nutrients that nourish us and give us energy. Choose fatty cuts of meat such as salmon and chicken thighs to keep your macros high. Plus, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are great for reducing the risk of chronic disease!)
Eggs are another keto friendly food as they are roughly equal in protein and fat.
Cheese also contains an equal ratio of protein to fat and is high in calories. However, be aware of lactose intolerance! Stick to only unprocessed cheeses (such as mozzarella, cheddar, goat, cream, or blue) and consume them in moderation.
Choose vegetables that are low in carbohydrates
Many vegetables are low in carbohydrates as they are loaded with fiber and water. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, beets, or beans, which are high in carbohydrates. Stick to leafy greens and vegetables that grow above the ground . Here are some ideas for your grocery cart:
- Avocado [Check out: avocado for weight loss]
- Brussels sprouts
Look for fruits that are low in sugar and high in fiber to keep your carbs low. Banana contains about 30 grams of carbs, while kiwi only contains about 10 grams, so choose wisely.
- Raspberries – 5 grams
- Blackberries – 5 grams
- Strawberries – 6 grams
- Coconut – 6 grams
- Lemon – 6 grams
- Lime – 8 grams
- Kiwi – 10 grams
- Plum – 10 grams
- Blueberries – 13 grams
Snack on low-carb nuts and seeds
Nuts are a great alternative to chips and candy when you need a quick bite. Nuts are high in calories and carbohydrates can build up quickly when consumed in large amounts, so keep track of how many servings you eat.
- Drank walnut – 0 grams
- Pecan – 1 gram
- Brazil nuts – 1.5 grams
- Macadamia nuts – 2 grams
- Walnuts – 2 grams
- Peanuts – 2 grams
- Pistachios – 5 grams
- Cashews – 8 grams
Other keto-friendly nuts and seeds include almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.
Drinks low in carbohydrates
- The amount of carbohydrates is indicated per 100 grams
Be especially careful with drinks as they may contain more carbohydrates than you might think. Good examples in keto:
- Creamy coffee (also known as bulletproof coffee or keto coffee)
- Unsweetened teas (from green tea to turmeric tea)
- Bone broth
- Low carb cocktails (in moderation)
- Low carb smoothies
- Mineral / sparkling water
- Pure water
To know more about keto allowed foods you can any of the books below:
[amazon bestseller=”Keto Food Book” items=”5″]
Food and drink to avoid on keto
Now, let’s take a look at what to avoid on keto.
- High sugar foods and drinks : sodas, cakes, candy, ice cream, fruit juices, biscuits, and all other high sugar foods.
- Cereals and starches (even gluten-free versions): Bread, pasta, rice, beans, cereals.
- Most fruits: Most fruits contain too many natural sugars (berries and a few exceptions are listed above).
- Starchy vegetables: carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips.
- High Carbohydrate Condiments: Some condiments, such as mustard and low-carb mayonnaise, are allowed, but most condiments are high in sugar.
- Low- fat foods and beverages: Processed ingredients and carbohydrates are the most commonly used fat substitutes.
- Sugar-free foods and drinks: proceed with caution and avoid excessive consumption of sugar alcohols or unhealthy artificial sweeteners
- Inflammatory fats: For example, processed mayonnaise or vegetable oil, as these can increase inflammation in the body.
- Alcohol: Until your liver metabolizes alcohol, ketosis stops completely, so proceed with caution.
So, you see ketogenic diet is not very easy to understand. And you need proper guideline at the very beginning. In this case, we recommend you to follow the Custom Keto Diet. It is a diet plan which designed step by step according to your choice and appetite. It takes care of your needs.
Get ready for the keto flu
There are many changes going on in your body, and you will feel it! Your brain cannot feed on fatty acids like other cells, so at the beginning of the keto diet, it will tell your body that it is starving. Typically, the keto flu includes headaches, body aches, foggy head, intense sugar cravings, and fatigue. Don’t worry, it will go away within the first few days and is totally worth it.
The first 3-7 days can be quite tough, as your body breaks through its sugar addiction during this time. During this transition period, it is important that you consume enough electrolytes. Your body is now losing a lot of water and with its electrolytes.
Ways to combat the keto flu include:
- Add more electrolytes to your diet
- Eating excess fat and cutting carbs dramatically over a period of time
- Drink more water
- Sweating (from exercise or sauna)
- Temporary intake of exogenous ketones
- Intermittent fasting (48 hours of complete water fasting is equivalent to ketosis levels after about two weeks of the keto diet. Even intermittent fasting with a limited amount of food can help accelerate ketosis).
Side effects of the keto diet [Cons of keto diet]
There are several dangers and / or side effects of keto to be aware of before starting.
- Keto Flu: Described in the previous section.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: Since glycogen stores are where your body loves to store micronutrients, there are some minerals that you might be lacking in keto. This includes selenium, zinc and copper. Also, you should have a sufficient amount of salt in your diet. You can take supplements or, as recommended, eat lots of fiber-rich vegetables that are high in minerals.
- Hormone Issues: Since many people tend to follow a ketogenic diet, eating a lot of animal products rather than vegetables, there is a concern that women with hormone-sensitive diseases should not do so in the long term. There is no research to support this, but if you are a woman, watch your hormone levels.
- Constipation: To cope with constipation, eat more vegetables and seeds that are rich in fiber. Increasing the amount of fat in your diet (such as MCT oil) can also help.
- Acetone Smell: Your body will produce ketone bodies in three forms, one of which is the smell of acetone when you breathe. It usually goes away after a short period of time as your body adapts to fat.
- A temporary decrease in physical strength: You can train on keto, but at the beginning of the diet, you will feel a little less stamina than before. Just get through it!
- Seizures: These are fairly common early in the ketogenic diet. This usually happens in the morning or at night, but it’s a pretty minor issue. Seizures are a sign that your body is deficient in minerals – specifically magnesium. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and replenish salt. This can help reduce magnesium loss and get rid of the problem. If the problem persists, try adding a magnesium supplement.
- Heart palpitations: Once you start a keto diet, you may notice that your heart is beating faster and stronger. This is pretty standard, so don’t worry. If the problem persists, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and eat enough salt. This is usually enough to get rid of the problem immediately. However, if the problem persists, it may be worth taking a potassium supplement once a day.
Less common side effects of keto diet
In a small number of people, the keto diet can lead to:
- Keto rash (itching)
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder problems
- Hair loss and brittle nails
If you have any of the conditions listed below:
- Liver failure
- Fat metabolism disorders
- Genetic metabolic disorders
then I recommend giving up the keto diet because it will put too much pressure on your body. It is best to eat a moderate, low-carb diet (at least 50 grams of carbs per day).
If you suffer from any of the diseases below:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Chronic constipation
- High blood pressure
be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a keto diet.
Types of ketogenic diets
There are variations on the keto diet that may work better for specific people.
- Standard keto diet.
- Modified keto diet.
- Cyclic or Target keto diet.
- Limited keto diet.
- High in the protein keto diet.
- Vegan keto diet.
- Dirty keto diet.
- Lazy keto diet.
We hope this guide was helpful for you at a beginner level at least. Please make sure to follow this beginner’s guide for keto diet and enjoy a healthy life. Up next, we have arranged an FAQ section which may answer most of your queries. Even after that, we are always wide open for questions. Contact us or ask us anything in the comments section.
FAQ on keto diet
Is ketosis safe for the body? How long should I keep my diet?
Ketosis is safe as it simply enhances the fat burning processes that are completely normal in our body.
There is no time limit for keto, although many people choose to follow the diet on a cyclical basis, which means more carbs while on vacation.
Do keto fats severely clog arteries?
Basically, fat in your blood travels as lipoproteins along with cholesterol, proteins, and phospholipids.
In order for the artery to be “clogged”, a plaque must first appear on its inner wall.
They can be triggered by stress, smoking, etc.
In order for the walls to be normal and thus prevent “clogging”, it is necessary to take vitamin E. Being a fat-soluble vitamin, it needs fat for better absorption by the body.
Thus, consuming fat can help your arteries heal themselves and thus prevent them from clogging up.
Is it normal to feel nauseous and not hungry by the end of your first week on keto?
It is perfectly normal as your body adapts to consuming fat for energy.
If your symptoms are too severe, try adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Can I train on keto?
Of course yes!
In a 2012 study, 8 elite gymnasts followed a keto diet for a month.
In the end, it turned out that their strength and overall athletic performance had not decreased.
Another study, which was conducted among male college athletes and published in 2017, found that the keto diet can help boost testosterone levels and increase strength and muscle mass.
Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis is a common myth associated with the keto diet.
In ketoacidosis, the body cannot produce enough insulin for long enough, and the liver ends up producing dangerously high levels of ketone bodies.
For comparison, in dietetic ketosis on a keto diet, the level of ketones in the blood exceeds 7-8 mmol / L.
It is almost impossible for most people to maintain this level, so for most people it fluctuates between 1-3 mmol / L.
In diabetic ketoacidosis, blood ketone levels peak at 16.7 mmol / L, often over 20. This condition is usually caused by illness, problems with insulin therapy, or type 2 diabetes.
Important! In the early days and weeks of keto, blood ketone levels can actually reach or even exceed 16 mmol / L, but don’t be alarmed.
During this time, your body is adjusting to fat, so add more electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, and sodium) to your diet, drink more water, and keep track of your well-being; ketone levels should decrease over time.
If this does not happen, and you feel bad and your blood sugar rises, be sure to see a doctor and get all the tests!
What can I expect in the first week or two after starting a ketogenic diet?
During the first 3-5 days of strict carbohydrate avoidance (and not over-eating keto-friendly foods), you will notice a lot of water loss, especially in the morning.
Glycogen accumulates along with water in the body, so when glycogen is burned, water is released from the body.
Thus, you will lose a couple of pounds.
Although it is “just” the weight of water, it is still extra weight that you do not need to carry with you.
You may still consider it lost weight, and you may even notice that you feel less bloated and even slightly slimmer.
After that, weight loss will turn into a series of plateaus and small shifts.
This process is rarely stable or sustainable, so just trust it.
It is best to lose 1 kg per week, but even 300 g per week is a success.
Electrolytes play a large role in the keto diet, as lost water carries away some of our minerals.
When there is little loss of electrolytes in the body, we can be grumpy, tired, lethargic, and have a headache or pain in our entire body.
Also, many people experience cramps, especially in the legs and feet.
Electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and you need to add all four to your diet.
Sports drinks are full of sugar and contain only small amounts of these minerals, so they are best avoided.
Instead, focus on vegetables that are high in these minerals and be sure to add salt to your food to taste.
Also, some people get constipated.
This is due to sudden changes in the diet – in particular, cheese can cause intestinal problems, so reduce the amount.
Be sure to include plenty of fiber-rich vegetables in your diet and drink plenty of water.
How to overcome the keto plateau?
After spending some time on a keto diet, you may notice that you suddenly stopped losing weight. This state is called the keto plateau, and we have a
detailed guide on our website. You can check that out.
How to increase your fat intake without switching to protein?
MCT oils are a great way to increase your fat intake without increasing your protein intake.
What happens if you don’t eat enough fat?
You will feel hungry all day long, so increase your fat intake.
What if I am allergic to coconut oil?
You can try adding lard, lard, avocado oil, olive oil, ghee, etc. to your diet. Basically, you can use any other fats traditionally used in the keto diet.
How much food should you eat per day?
When you are just starting the keto diet, you can eat whenever you feel hungry.
Most people cut back on the number of meals they eat per day to two meals.
Do I need to weigh my food?
In the beginning of keto, some people like to weigh their food in order to have a better idea of the amount of carbohydrates they are consuming.
But ultimately no, you don’t need to weigh your food to be successful.
What are fat bombs?
Fat Bombs Are Designed To Increase Your Healthy Fat Intake According To Your Daily Macros These are delicious high-fat, low-carb snacks.
You can make them in bulk and refrigerate.