The keto diet has been the latest craze for those looking to get healthy or drop a few pounds. What separates this model from other diets though is that it basically contradicts what others say. For instance, other diets tell you to eliminate fat and focus on certain foods, but the ketogenic diet tells you the opposite.
Fats and proteins are the foundation of the diet. Instead of eliminating fat, you eliminate carbs, which forces your body to go into a ketogenic state and burn your body fat instead of the glycogen stores you have in your muscle tissues. Without sugar in the blood and fibrous tissues, your body is forced to burn fat; creating ketones, which then becomes the primary energy source throughout the day.
For vegetarians and vegans on the keto diet, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein through plants and seeds. However, while this diet sounds like a dream come truet here are still things all beginners need to know about the keto diet.
1. Count your macronutrients.
Most diets will put you on a calorie limit. The keto diet does that too, but it breaks it down even further by creating fat, protein, and carb categories. In order to ensure you’re healthy, you’ll want to count the macronutrients. The best way to do this is to use an app on your smartphone or tablet. The Keto Diet Tracker app will help tell you how many calories you should intake a day, and it will also break those calories down into categories for you. Then, be sure to track what you eat or drink every day so you can stay within your macronutrient limits.
2. Stay hydrated.
There is a thing called the keto flu, and it’s something many newbies experience because you are ridding your body of the sodium it’s used to. This flu has similar symptoms to the regular flu, such as runny nose, headaches, body aches, and possibly a fever. The best way to combat this is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water, and then drink some more. In addition, you’ll want to add a little bit of sodium to your diet. Add salt to some of the foods you’re eating, or drink broth. This will keep you from experiencing the dreadful keto flu.
3. Meal prep.
Because of the strict guidelines you must follow for macronutrients, it’s often easier for those on the keto diet to meal prep for a week to make it easier. Make a list of meals you want to have throughout the week, and then go grocery shopping to make those meals. Spend a day cooking and putting things into containers so it’s easier for you to find what you want to eat and stick to your macros. What makes things easier is if you cook one large meal and then use that for lunch the next day. This way, you don’t have to cook multiple things and you can instead eat simpler.
4. Check for ketosis.
The purpose of the keto diet is to force your body to go into ketosis. This means that your body is now burning the fat on your body, which is what will help you lose weight. One way to check for ketosis is by taking a ketone test. This will tell you if your body is in ketosis, which will help you fully understand the reason behind the changes you’re making to your diet.
5. Give it time.
While some people will claim the keto diet took pounds off them in days, it’s important for you to give this diet time to work. Not only does your body have to get to ketosis in order for it to take effect, but making a change to your diet is also a learning curve for you. At the beginning, you will likely go over your carb counts or make some mistakes, and that’s okay. It will take time for you to find the foods that provide you with the fat and calorie count you need without exceeding your carb count. If you understand you’re not going to be perfect right away, and if you understand there’s a learning curve behind it, you’ll find yourself having more success down the road.
Like most diets, the keto diet works best if you exercise. This doesn’t mean you need to get a gym membership and go crazy, but it does mean you need to be a little active. Even taking a walk around the block is enough to help your body burn residual sugars in your blood and muscle fibers; giving your ketogenic diet the results you were hoping for.
The keto diet can help you achieve your weight goals, but you’ll want to use these tips to ensure you’re doing it safely.