Useful Tips for Starting a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic or keto diet is an eating plan that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. This eating plan helps you achieve ketosis, where the body converts fats into ketones and uses them as the body’s main source of energy instead of glucose converted from carbohydrates. This flip in fuel source resulting from the ketogenic diet has several health benefits, including weight loss, glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduction of seizure episode frequency in people with epilepsy. These benefits, particularly the weight-loss effect, are what makes the keto diet appealing to many people. Starting a ketogenic diet can be challenging, as it radically departs from the usual American diet that consists of high carbohydrates and processed foods.

For those who are determined to start this radical diet and experience its weight-loss benefit, we will share here some useful tips for starting a keto diet.

Research On What You Can and Can’t Eat in a Keto Diet

Reducing your carbohydrate consumption is a broad task that needs to be broken down into easy steps and carb control is just a part of the whole process of achieving ketosis from a ketogenic diet. According to ketogenic diet experts, you need to know what you can and can’t eat on a keto diet and formulate a successful keto diet plan to achieve ketosis in a short time. You need to research the nutritional proportions of this diet, where fats account for 75 percent, protein 20 percent, and carbohydrates 5 percent of your daily consumption. From your research, you’ll know that it’s not just grains you have to avoid, but also most fruits, legumes, and ready-made foods and drinks contain carbohydrates. You’ll have to avoid eating these and stick to pure fats like butter and oils, and grass-fed meats, poultry, and fish for your protein sources.

Calories are an essential part of your diet and you can get them from veggies like cabbage, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, eggplant, and peppers. You also have to limit your intake of nuts to macadamia, brazil nuts, and almonds, and berries to blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries for carb and calories.

Set a Realistic Goal for Your Diet

Most people turn to the keto diet as a means of lifestyle change and reducing and managing their weight. If you fall under this situation, set your expectations of this diet realistically and don’t think that you’ll see results immediately. Be patient and be prepared to give this diet plan time to see results and strategically plot the goals or achievements you want to accomplish. Set a goal of five to ten pounds of weight loss for your first month on a keto diet. It should be a safe and achievable goal since you can achieve losing one to two pounds of weight every week. Once you successfully reach your target for the first month, you can continue with this projection for the following months. Keep in mind to make your goals challenging but achievable and realistic to keep you motivated.

Start the Transition Slowly

Just like starting any new endeavor, you should take baby steps when starting a ketogenic diet. Our bodies cannot always handle sudden changes, including our diets, so make the transition gradual by slowly pushing out carbs and getting more fat from your meals. Start small by replacing rice or potato with non-starchy vegetables, replacing your burger buns with lettuce leaves, and using olive oil or avocado oil for cooking. It can take a while to adjust to the new tastes and gastronomic impact of a keto diet, but changing your mindset about carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can help you adjust to the transition more quickly and get started smoothly with the keto diet.

Watch Your Hydration and Electrolyte Levels

You may also encounter the term “keto flu” in your research about this diet. It is a condition where you experience sugar cravings, brain fog, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, and irritability as your body struggles to maintain electrolyte balance. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium are the main electrolytes that are affected in a keto diet shift. These electrolytes play essential roles in various body processes, including energy production, cardiovascular processes, muscle contractions, body temperature regulation, and neurological functions among others. When carbohydrates are restricted, the body shits to using ketones as fuel instead of glycogen. This process involves rapid water loss and sodium depletion. To adjust to this change, the body redistributes potassium and magnesium to make up for the sodium loss to regain electrolyte stability.

With a proper diet plan, you can avoid the keto flu by supplementing your diet with food sources that are rich in sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Dehydration is another condition to watch out for from a keto diet, and you need a regular intake of water and keto-friendly liquid sources like unsweetened coffee and tea. Thirst is a primary indicator of dehydration, and a good rule of thumb is to drink liquids whenever you feel thirsty.

Starting a ketogenic diet can be challenging at first glance but with proper planning and the right approach, it can be a smooth experience. The right mindset also plays a key role in your preparation, so change your views about fats, carbs, and protein and be positive about this dietary endeavor. Be patient and diligent with your keto journey, and you will achieve your fitness goals.