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The Ketogenic Diet For Beginners

Mar 21, 2019 0 Comments
The Ketogenic Diet For Beginners

A delicious and simple introduction to a ketogenic breakfast, just a good old fashioned bacon and eggs
The ketogenic diet is becoming more and more popular with each passing year and shows no signs of slowing down. It raises eyebrows amongst many looking for their latest diet plan, conjuring a mixture of confusion about how it works and apprehension as to whether it even does. Here we look to break down the ketogenic diet into a more digestible, easy to understand format, to hopefully bust some myths, shed some light, and ultimately make you understand more about
the ketogenic diet.

FROM THE TOP - WHAT DOES "KETO" MEAN?

The rising popularity of the keto diet is no bad or surprising thing, mainly because it's such an effective and fast acting diet that allows you to still eat plenty of the good stuff (we’ll get to that later). But what does "keto" actually mean? Well, "ketosis" itself is a metabolic state that the body enters when you remain under the optimal net carbs limit, that switches your body from burning glucose to burning, essentially, fat. You do this by reducing your daily carb intake to less than 50 grams. To put that into perspective, there are about 25 grams of carbs in a single banana!

The difference between the ketogenic diet and many other carb-restrictive diets is that you replace the carbs you would be eating with healthy, nutritious fats. Providing you're following the diet correctly, you should enter ketosis after two to three days and start using the alternative fuel "ketones" instead of glucose. So don't worry about all that fat you're eating going straight to your hips, because being in a state of ketosis means that your body becomes a fat burning machine. Now bare in mind that everybody is different, so you might find it comes sooner or later. Don’t panic though, just keep on keeping on.

Following the diet correctly is a simple matter of hitting certain macronutrient amounts, and the ketogenic diet breaks it down to three, simple percentages to make things nice and easy for you. The ideal breakdown of your daily macro intake will look like this:

A pie chart illustrating the percentage breakdown of keto macronutrients; 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs

To put that in a way that makes crystal clear sense, if you’re eating 2000 calories a day, 1500 of those will come from good, healthy fats, 400 will come from protein, and just 100 will come from carbohydrates. To break this down, even more, that’s 166g of fat, 100g of protein, 25g of carbs. It is important to track your macronutrients on keto, or you'll struggle to see any results, so make sure you read labels and understand the nutritional value of what you are putting into your system.

SO WHAT CAN I EAT ON KETO?

A low carb, high-fat diet might sound simple, and for the most part, it is. However, the ketogenic diet isn't your typical diet plan, and as such there are a couple of unexpected foods that you should and shouldn't be eating.

Eat:

  • Avocado

  • Coconut Oil

  • Fatty Meats

  • Nuts and Nut Butters

  • Cheese

  • Butter

Avoid:

  • Pasta

  • Bread

  • Rice

  • Starchy Vegetables

  • Fruit

  • Sugary Snacks and Drinks

  • Beans

How Do I know if I’m in Ketosis?

The ketogenic diet is about losing weight well and feeling better for it. But you can’t measure a feeling. Fortunately, you can measure ketones, the fuel that your body will be running on during the keto diet. There are a few ways to measure your ketone levels, ranging from cheap and cheerful to expensive and intrusive.

  • Urine Testing - Cheap, quick and simple, but not the most accurate, with diminishing returns as you adapt more to being in ketosis.

  • Breath Testing - More accurate than urine testing, but requires a pricey one time purchase of a breathalyzer.

  • Blood Testing - The most accurate way to measure ketones, no doubt. However it does require an expensive device and ongoing purchases of test strips, and it does require you to draw blood, which can be a bit icky for some.

Personally, urine strips are the way to go. I test every couple of days, just to keep an eye on my ketone levels, but don't live by these numbers religiously. The main numbers to focus on are your weight loss, and as long as that is moving in the right direction then you have nothing to worry about.

Ketone urine test strips are the cheapest and most accessible way to test your ketone levels

Is It Right For You / Is It Worth It?

Are you the biggest fan of carbs? Do you go to all their gigs and enjoy their Best Of albums? Then this diet might not be for you. But if you want to lose weight, feel healthier and try something new, this is the diet for you! But let’s break it down into a list, everyone likes a list:

Pros:

  • Weight loss - This one is exactly what you think. When you enter a ketogenic state, your body enters a fat burning mode. Fewer carbs also less water weight is retained.

  • Energy levels - Remember those high carb meals that leave you feeling all sleepy? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. Eating a high carb meal results in an insulin spike and reactive drop in blood sugar. Eating on a high-fat diet will give you a steady stream of energy and helps you avoid those unwanted crashes.

  • Detox from sugar - Because of the rather strict carb allowance, you’ll have to cut out many those nasty sugary foods and drinks that you may have been binging on. Considering sugar is essentially cyanide, you’re welcome.

  • Cognitive function - Since ketones are your brains preferred method of fuel, you will start to feel more alert and a general sense of mental clarity. No, you won’t reach nirvana, but come on, we could all do with a few more brainwaves.

Cons:

  • Complicated (at first) - At the start, this diet can seem quite daunting… There’s a lot to it, and you need to put the effort in to make sure you enter ketosis properly and safely. Stick with us, and we’ll walk you through this.

  • Strict - Another very simple but scary hurdle at the beginning of your keto journey: you will have to track what you eat and deprive yourself of a few of life's pleasures to follow this. But again, it’s something you’ll adapt to. Speaking of…

  • The adaptation period - Getting used to the keto diet can, for some people, take a while. It can take up to two weeks and during this time, you might experience headaches, flu-like symptoms (the classic keto flu), sugar cravings, and muscle cramps during this period.

Conclusion

Ahh, the conclusion takes me back to my university days. As you can see, yes, there is a lot to keto, especially if you’re a total keto beginner, but, we’re here to help you get through this with our recipes, guides, and tips. Now we have only scratched the surface, and each of these topics is a rabbit hole in and of itself, each of which we will dive headfirst down in the near future. Remember, keto does not have to look fancy (but it helps to show off) and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Yes, keto is tough to get the hang of, at first, but anything that’s worth it in life comes with hard work and dedication. Your health should be no different.

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