The Ketogenic Diet – A Guide for Beginners

Keto Diet Overview:

After the emerging popularity that the keto diet has gained over the past few years, it has become a fashion to try this diet given the fact that it offers many great benefits and flexibility in eating. The keto diet stands for the ketogenic diet and its basic principle is to make the body adapt to using ketones and fats for fuel through a process called ketosis whereby you do not eat carbohydrates and consume only proteins and fats.

So it falls in the category of the low-carb diets and it aims to lower blood pressure, lower insulin, encourage fat loss through using fats as energy sources and supply the brain with fats and ketones which helps the brain function better.

Ketosis has even been monitored by a stick that shows how deep you are into the ketosis and supplements have been made specifically designed for people who are on the keto diet such as carbohydrate powders that do not affect the ketosis state and ways you can replenish your body despite not eating fruits and grains.

This diet has been extensively studied and it shows great results for people who are pre-diabetic, people with heart problems and those who struggle with inflammation issues in the body.

This diet calls for long-term use and it strictly prohibits the consumption of carbohydrates over 5% as it can easily throw you off ketosis. The general recommended formula for you macronutrient intake is 5% carbohydrates, 20% proteins, and 75% of fats.

The formula can work for anyone and it is highly regarded in the bodybuilding and fitness industry, it helps people shed off fat very easily and rapidly, the way it works is that the state of ketosis forces the body to use alternative nutrients for energy since there are no carbohydrates to be used.

This makes the body go back to using fats for energy and thus using your own fat cells that are in the body as energy. This process takes about a week to get into, you first have to take out all your carbs off the foods you eat daily and then add more fat sources to your diet like steak and nuts.

The diet works very well for people who store stubborn fat very easily and those who want to improve their insulin sensitivity. In researches done on the keto diet, participants who followed this diet correctly saw a whopping 6.9 kg weight loss vs. 2.1 kg in those who did not follow the low-carb keto diet. Along with the fat loss benefits, the diet offers many advantages to the users as it will improve brain function, sustained energy levels and lessen the damage to the heart.

In addition to that, the keto diet allows you to indulge in all the fatty foods you have been craving since the vast majority of the caloric consumption comes from fat.

Foods to eat on the Keto diet:

 

After looking at your macronutrient needs through a macro calculator, you need to carefully choose the foods that you eat, and be very careful with carbohydrates since this is the main component you have to stay away; moreover, going over the recommended protein consumption might also kick you out of ketosis since your body can make protein into glucose through a state called gluconeogenesis.

Therefore, it is highly important that you an example of what food you should eat:

Meats:
Recommended:
Plain grass-fed beef steak, lean turkey, chicken, fatty fish and salmon
Occasionally:
Bacon, poultry and all processed meats that contain less than 5% of carbohydrates.
Never:
Fried Chicken or fish nuggets, pre-seasoned meats with added sugar or honey and cold cuts.

Grains and starches:
Never:
Grains, pasta, rice of all kinds, bread, cake, and oats, and porridge, potatoes of all kinds, beans, and legumes.
NOTE: These foods are packed in carbohydrates and even a small amount would kick you out of ketosis.

Eggs:
Recommended:  Fired eggs with olive oil, boiled eggs, egg whites, and whole eggs.
Never:  Fried rice with eggs, egg dishes with carbs and egg mix.

Fruits:
The consumption of fruits is highly restricted in the keto diet as the fructose in the fruit will put you out of ketosis, so unless you manage to eat all day with 0 carbs, you can have a very small measured amount that is less than 30g of carbohydrates.

Vegetables:
Recommended: Green leafy cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli, green beans, kale, spinach, onions, peppers, celery, asparagus, leeks, and avocados.
Occasionally or with moderation: Eggplant, squash, peas, and carrots.
Never: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and baked beans.
Vegetables are highly recommended on the keto diet as they will offer nutrients you will be missing in fruits and other high carb foods such as fiber.

Nuts and seeds:
Recommended: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, flaxseeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds.
Occasionally: pistachio and cashews.
Never: Sweetened nut butter, chocolate, and sugar covered nut.

Oils, fats, sauces, and sweeteners:
Recommended: Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, cream cheese, cheese, guacamole, Tabasco sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, stevia, and Splenda.
Occasionally:  Garlic, soy sauce, salsa, sugar free diet sodas, pesto.
Never:  Ketchup, maple syrup, barbeque sauce, jam, tomato paste,  honey mustard, honey, white or brown sugar, dates, agave, and chocolate.

Beverages:
Recommended: unsweetened tea, unsweetened coffee, water with lemon, green smoothies with no sugar and sparkling water.
Occasionally: low carb soy milk, wine, and coconut water.
Never: Soft drinks, smoothie, café latte, milkshake, juices, chocolate milk beer, and high carb drinks.

NOTE: All these foods do not have a specific amount to be eaten as they have to adhere to the 5 % carb 75% fats 20% protein formula, counting calories for the first few days to gauge your general macronutrient intake is recommended.

Tips and tricks for the keto diet:

The easiest diet tip that is highly recommended is counting your calories and figuring out your caloric deficit. This was, you can easily get a clear understanding of the portions sizes that you cannot go over. But you only need to do this at the very beginning of the diet since as you will get accustomed to the diet; the portion sizes are going to be easier on your head.

Another important tip here is to eat your given carbohydrates around your highest activity time, meaning before it and after. For instance, if you are going to work out on a given day, you can put most of your carbohydrates after you finish the workout.

In addition to that, it is very important that you eat vegetables so you can maintain the consumption of the micronutrients required for the day. So snack on vegetables and some coffee to hold you off.

Another tip is to never go beyond 30g of carbohydrates per day and never go beyond the recommended dosage of protein. Many bodybuilders like to maintain muscle by eating a lot of protein on the keto diet, but that is counter-productive as you risk getting off ketosis and possibly throw all the hard work out the window.

Sample Keto diet meal plan:

Breakfast:
3 eggs cooked with coconut oil, bacon and bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautéed spinach with garlic
Cup of unsweetened coffee
Green smoothie

Lunch:
200g Steak cooked with olive oil and seared with butter.
Salt and pepper to taste
Brussels sprouts and broccoli dip on low carb cheese sauce.
Lemon water
Fresh salad with vinegar

Dinner:
150g Salmon with rosemary cooked with olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
30g of cooked brown rice
75g Green beans, diced onions, and 50g of yellow squash

Snacks:
Guacamole dip with celery sticks
Pecans
Brazil nuts
Cucumber sandwich with tuna and mustard
Bison burger with cabbage
Low-carb Greek yogurt unsweetened
Egg muffins with spinach and bell peppers

Summary of the Keto diet:

This diet is definitely scientifically backed up and a lot of people are using it today to lose a lot of fat. It is a great tool to use when you want to lose a lot of weight very fast, but getting into the ketosis state is quite hard, as the body starts to resist the process, people feel headaches and mood swings.

But as they adapt, the diet actually helps their brain function better, it offers a smooth supply to the energy as opposed to the huge spike that you get from the insulin in the other diets.

The diet limits the consumption of carbohydrates and we know that cancers cells only feed on glucose; so by getting into the keto state, you are not only losing fat and lowering blood pressure, but you are also preventing cancer in a very simple manner.

This diet is definitely made for the person that is on the go, people who do not want to waste their time and those who are technical in their approach, it will be easier to get accustomed to as time goes by, but it is definitely worth the try.

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