Beginner’s Guide to The Keto Diet

How the ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, regulate blood sugar levels and increase your energy and vitality 

The Ketogenic (keto) Diet is all the rage and not without good reason. It’s a perfect fit for those looking to drop weight quickly while still eating some of their favourite foods.

If you struggle to lose stubborn weight and want to feel energized while losing weight, you might want to try a ketogenic diet.

What is the Keto Diet?

Simply put, the ketogenic diet is an extremely low carb, moderate protein, high healthy fat diet.

The ketogenic diet has been around in various forms since the 1920s and was actually a diet prescribed to epileptic patients.

By consumine only tiny amounts of carbohydrates, the body over a few days will reach the desired state of “ketosis”.

Ketosis is the metabolic state in which the body starts to burn stored fat because there is insufficient glucose for energy. If maintained, this will cause weight loss.

Choose the right keto diet for you

1. Regular keto plan

In the regular keto plan, you’re going to get a majority of your calories from healthy fats. You will eat moderate protein and very few carbs. You will obtain nutrients and vitamins through non-starchy vegetables and limited quantities of fruit.

This means is that you’ll be aiming to consume roughly around 70% healthy fats, 25% protein and just 5% carbohydrates.

Your daily carbohydrate “allowance” will be easily fulfilled by eating healthy vegetables. Processed sugars and junk foods are completely off-limits.

2.Keto and intermittent fasting

Some people enjoy combining their keto diet with intermittent fasting.

Many people choose to skip breakfast and start their first meal of the day at lunch. This can total about 2 to 3 meals a day, so during the wait between meals you can have a healthy keto snack.

By performing intermittent fasting, the body is able to move into ketosis at a faster rate.

You could also choose to eat from 8am to 6pm and then begin fasting from 7pm until the next morning. That means no snacking in-between those fasting hours.

Many people report feeling considerably less hungry while on the keto diet, owing to the high-fat, moderate protein that they are consuming.

This strategy might not be for everyone, but it’s worth giving it a shot if you have a lot of weight to lose.

3. Carb cycling on the keto diet

Carbohydrate cycling on a keto diet can be a great option if you suffer from a severe sweet tooth and tend to rebel from highly restrictive diets.

The concept is simple: you eat a strict ketogenic diet for 6 days and then include healthy carbs on the 7th day (ideally no more than 100 – 150g of carbs that day). You can eat your carbs in one big meal or spread it throughout the day.

Some benefits of occasionally including carbs back into your diet are:

  1. Relieves your cravings
  2. For women, it’s important for hormone balance
  3. Improved sleep
  4. Positive impact on gut health

We must stress that when adding carbohydrates back into your diet one day or one meal per week, it must be healthy carbs. Think rice, quinoa, pumpkin, sweet potato and so forth.

Also, be sure that once you’ve had your carb session you go right back to eating keto otherwise you will undo all your hard work.

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Benefits of the Ketogenic diet

1. Keto diet to fight cancer

Scientific research shows that the ketogenic diet is one of the most effective styles of eating when it comes to fighting cancer.

Cancer cells need energy from glucose to multiply. By keeping blood glucose levels low with ketosis, one is essentially starving the cancer cells.

In this way, the Keto diet can help fight cancer in conjunction with the care and treatments provided by medical professionals.

2. Keto to prevent premature ageing

Avoiding refined carbohydrates has a positive effect on the quality of your overall health, but will also help you look younger for longer.

You can help your body produce collagen naturally by eating foods that promote collagen along with the keto diet itself. This is particularly great for healthy, glowing skin, hair and nails.

3. Prevent and fight diabetes

The Ketogenic Diet helps you to lose weight and this is good for Type-2 diabetic patients. The diet also helps patients to maintain overall blood sugar levels.

By avoiding refined sugar, you prevent the constant spiking of insulin levels as is seen on high-carbohydrate eating plans. By keeping your insulin levels controlled, you help your body avoid Type-2 diabetes.

4. Weight loss

The Keto diet is extremely effective to reduce excess weight because your body literally burns fat for fuel.

5. Reduce anxiety

The Keto diet consists of eating healthy whole foods while avoiding reduced sugars, bad fats, and carbs. As a result, the body is able to function better.

For this reason, many patients eating a keto diet experience fewer feelings of depression and anxiety.

6. Increased energy levels

The brain actually thrives on ketones and many people report that their “brain fog” lifts on the ketogenic diet.

After the initial switch from carb-dependancy to running on ketones, many people report feeling highly focused and energised when eating in line with a ketogenic diet.

Going Keto: so what can you eat?

Beverages:

Keto-approved beverages (zero to very little carbs)

  • Water with a slice of lemon
  • Unsweetened Herbal tea
  • Black coffee
  • Juiced vegetable drinks (green leafy veg, not high-sugar fruits!)
  • Coconut water

Beverages to avoid

  • Carbonated sugary drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Iced tea
  • Milkshakes
  • Beer
  • Caffé lattes
  • 100% fruit juice

Fruit

Low carb fruits (in very limited quantities, if at all)

  • Strawberries
  • Sweet melon
  • Watermelon (cantaloupe)
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Vegetables

Eating vegetables is an essential part of the ketogenic diet. Vegetables are often low-carb so they can be eaten in large quantities and they also have fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Try stick to the low carb vegetables when preparing your keto meals.

Low-carb vegetables

  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Aubergine (eggplant)
  • Zucchini (baby marrow)
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower

High-carb vegetables (to be eaten in very small quantities)

  • Potatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Parsnip
  • Butternut
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin

Keto-Friendly Protein

  • Eggs
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Cheese (if dairy-tolerant)

Fats

Healthy fats

  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Organic, grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Guacamole
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Chia seeds and flaxseeds

Foods to strictly avoid

  • Sugar in all its forms including honey
  • Refined carbohydrates such as flours, bread, pasta, biscuits, crackers, sweets and candy, potato crisps.
  • Highly processed sauces: Tomato sauce, jams, meat and pasta sauces
  • Trans-fats

**Remember: eating and drinking should be done in moderation to avoid excessive consumption of calories and/or carbohydrates.

What to expect

When you first switch to a ketogenic diet, you might find that you feel sluggish and headachey. This is normal and can last around a week or until your body is in ketosis. The “keto-flu” can be unpleasant but the benefits you experience after you overcome this stage are incredible.

Once you are in ketosis you can expect to feel energised, focused and have fewer sugar cravings. Because you are eating lots of healthy fats, you will feel fuller for longer and this will help you on your weight loss journey.

Closing thoughts

The Keto Diet is a great option to try if you are addicted to sugar and want to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.

Some people adopt a ketogenic diet purely for the cognitive benefits of the eating style. They enjoy the energy and focus of eating this way and report that they no longer have energy slumps mid-afternoon.

Have you tried keto and loved it?

Let us know!

References:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/180858.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19049574

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What to eat on the keto diet