See if you are cut out for what it takes to start the keto diet




Updated: July 2019

Keto. If you're looking to lose weight, there's no doubt that you've come across that name before. That's because the entire galaxy is turning to keto.

From your annoying neighbor who brags about her slim figure to your friend’s cousin’s granny’s uncle, keto is sweeping the globe. And for good reason, this baby works

There are some diets that you can take on for a short while and of course, you see results

But then it won't last. In time you'll go back to your former ways and nothing is going to change for the better

What you want is a diet like the keto diet that can change your body, become part of you and still see wonderful results

The ketogenic diet helps to lose weight. Duh! You probably know that already. But what you might be wondering is how does this keto thingy help me to lose weight? What is behind the wand?

What is the ketogenic diet?



Put simply, the ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, adequate protein and high-fat diet okay, meaning?

It's a diet where you drastically reduce your carbohydrate (carb) intake and replace it with fats. When you do that your body starts to burn fat as fuel

People don't have the patience to wait around long to see the results they want. And can you blame em? And I'm sure you want a diet that'll work fast for you, that'll work now

But as with some diets, you will have to sacrifice some things without replacing them. What you want is a diet that you'll enjoy, a diet that'll let you breathe

This is where keto comes in, it checks all those needs. 

Now that's just a scratch on the surface, let's break down deep into the process that keto helps to lose weight. What really happens behind the scenes or should I say, behind the skin that helps to create the wonder that keto brings?

The burning process


An average person today burns sugar for fuel whether he knows it not. So? Cause, we were never meant to be sugar burners. 

We were actually supposed to be fat burners. So why then do we burn sugar?

The main reason for this is because of the type of food we eat. We devour lots of carbohydrates and I mean lots of ‘em.

Remember that time when you gulped down your favorite yogurt along with some yummy donut in mayo dip. Uhn uhn, those are carbs.

And the thing is that when you consume those carbs, your body converts them into glucose. Now that's sugar. With that, your body uses glucose as its main source of energy.

An average person's diet consists of glucose as its primary energy source

So what we have is;

EAT CARBS -> TURNS TO GLUCOSE ->BURN SUGAR

And it goes on like that.

“So I burn glucose, what's the big deal”

At first, it doesn't seem like an issue but then your body can't store much glucose. Then the rest of the glucose that cannot be stored is converted to fat. 

And since your body still burns sugar not fat, the fat doesn't get used up.

When your body burns all of its glucose supply, your body quickly tells you to grab that bag of chips or a quick candy to replenish glucose

So then you ask, Since the body has burned all of its glucose, why must it tell you to get more glucose? Why can it burn its other energy source, fat?

Bad boy insulin held him hostage

Yes, though insulin helps in processing glucose in the bloodstream, and transporting it around the body, another thing it sure knows how to do is prevent fat from being released. And man it does a pretty good job at it.

So your body, having used up all glucose, looks for fat doesn't find it, cries out for more glucose.

But when you lower your carbohydrate intake, your glucose level drops. With no glucose around to move through the bloodstream, the pancreas reduces the production of insulin.

Good news now, Fat is Free!

What is ketosis?


Now the body, free of glucose as a result of not consuming carbohydrates needs to find another source for energy, for fuel.

Fat, the hero in his glory flies in to save the day. But then the body can't use fat directly. 

No biggie. Liver to the rescue. With no insulin around to bully, the liver takes stored fat and breaks it down into usable compounds called ketones.

Now with the ketones, the body can feed. The ketones serve as food for the brain and body

This is exactly what we want by trying keto; fat being used up. So when the body is constantly breaking down fat into ketones, you're in ketosis.

When people want to lose weight, they starve and deprive themselves of food. Which is wrong. You don't need to lose weight by depriving yourself of food, it's by depriving yourself of carbs. 

That is what the keto diet helps you do in ketosis

Now enough of being sciency, let's get to the juicy stuff. What can you get from the keto diet in ketosis

Many people consider a landmark to reach ketosis. They feel their hard work finally paid off. So when you enter ketosis, what are your incentives so to speak?

Benefits of the ketogenic diet




Going on a keto diet is like the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself. It tends to grow from a diet to a lifestyle.

When the keto diet was found out, it was said to be able to fight epilepsy. It did a good job at that. But then they found out more.


Weight loss


Not only does this guy fight epilepsy, but the keto diet also helps to lose weight. And if you ask me, I'll say this seems to be the king of them all.

Studies after studies have shown keto to help people to lose weight. Lets even forget the studies, even real life experiences too.

This comes as no surprise as the ketogenic diet uses fat as its main energy source, and as you eat more fat and less carb, your insulin level drops.

This allows the fat to travel to the liver and be broken down to ketones. And as we said earlier that's a good thing

What is that I hear you say? ‘Seriously, Jason, I’m trying to lose fat here, how can I lose fat by taking in more fat?’

Good thinking, but that's the case. Sometimes that's the way things work. And for the keto diet, you have to consume the fats if you want to lose fat

What you should be concerned about when losing weight is not fat, it's the sugar. You eliminate the sugar and you have your body a fat burning machine.

Appetite control


High carb foods tend to increase appetite. You find that your cravings for food become higher. For you to satisfy that craving, you still end up eating more carbs. 

But keto being the low carb diet prevents that. 

It is known that fats are more filling and satisfying as a result, they stay longer in the system. All which leads to reduced hunger

Epilepsy treatment


As stated earlier, keto has been found since the 1900s to help in the treatment of epilepsy

Though it was first found to help children, adults too have benefited from the diet as well. 

For those who suffer from epilepsy, the keto diet comes as a benefit as it allows them to take fewer medications. 

Insulin resistance


This is what actually causes Type II diabetes when it is not taken care off. This is a situation where the body fails to produce enough insulin to transport blood sugar around the body.

The solution; cut carbohydrates. When they eat fewer carbs they have a reduced amount of sugar in the body. 

Acne


Yup, keto can help with your that stubborn skin issue. Keto reduces the levels of inulin making you eat less sugary, junk foods.  This may help get a better skin

Energy increase


Your body can't store much glucose. So when your body uses glucose as its main energy source, it tends to run out of fuel pretty quickly.

But with keto, your body has plenty of fat to use. You have a reliable energy source thus keeping you energized throughout the day

What should I eat and not eat on the keto diet


With all these low-carb and high-fat vibe about the keto diet, you should have guessed by now that you cannot just eat anything you want and see success with the diet.

As a result, you need to have a plan. When you plan ahead, you have the correct meal plan written out for you thus you don't eat junk.

Total net carb of your meals should be 20g. But you can kick it up a notch and go restrive even more by eating not more than 15g. 

Because you can't eat whatever you want on keto doesn't mean that you'll suffer from hunger. Far from it, in fact, as we've discussed before you'll find yourself less hungry.

So what foods do we actually rank in the keto danger zone and which make it past checkpoint?

Foods to avoid on the ketogenic diet


When it comes to eating the ketogenic way, these are a NO

  • Grains 
  • Fruits
  • Sugary meals
  • Legumes
  • Root vegetable
  • Unhealthy Fats
  • Tubers
  • Alcohol


Grains



When we say grains, we mean those wheat-based foods. This includes rice, cereals, corn, and pasta. That will prevent you from losing weight. It might seem strange that these foods are bad for keto but they get transformed to sugar in the body. 

Fruits




This one really hit me when I found out. Fruits? They are like the most innocent. But not to someone trying to lose weight they're not. Many fruits taste sweet because of the level of sugar they have. Fruits are healthy for you but they'll not help you progress in losing weight. 

Legumes


By legumes, what we really are talking about is beans. The result you get from eating grains is the same as what you get from legumes; sugar

Root vegetables


As long as the veggie grows under the ground, it's not keto friendly. They give you a lot of carbohydrates. And this becomes glucose. More sugar in the body, less weight loss

Unhealthy Fats


The foods that tend to give unhealthy fats are processed foods. One typical example of this is mayonnaise. As much as you love this, it'll have to go.

Tubers


Yams, potatoes are big in the carbohydrate game. Which only mean that they multiply into sugar in your system.

Alcohol




To be on the safer side, you want to cut alcohol significantly. They are high in carbs which will not be good for keto. To be fair, though, there are some low carb drinks that you can consider.


Foods to eat on the ketogenic diet


If you think that all your food choices have been eliminated by keto, wait till you see your large array of choices. The world you've never explored

  • Butter
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy oils
  • Avocados
  • Sweeteners 

Butter and cream


With butter and cream, you get healthy saturated fats that will not harm your keto journey. If it is available, you get grass-fed options

Meat




These include steak, sausage, chicken, ham, turkey, red meat and bacon. You can spray your diets with these. From them, you get the healthy protein that is essential for keto. Besides, proteins help with building muscle. When you don't leave these out of your diet, your body doesn't start to feed on then muscles. And, well, the sight of ham alone makes my tummy rumble!!

Eggs




You don't just want to get any eggs you find, what you want are the ones that are filled with omega-3 and are pastured. As with omega-3, the body can't produce them but it wants them. Eating eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids gives your body what it needs while still help you ketowise

Fish




Not just any fish, you want those fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna. They give your body the good fat. Yes, there are good and bad fats. The fats that processed foods can, in fact, be harmful to the body. But the fats in these fishes help you in ketosis

Nuts and seeds


These include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, and chia seeds. Just as you get omega-3 fatty acids from eggs, nuts too give the same perk. In fact, flax seeds are known to be a good replacement for eggs for those who have allergies. And that's not the only perk you get, many nuts are filled with protein. 

Cheese




What you are looking for in keto is the unprocessed cheese. You get fats to help you with your diet and some cheese also give protein. Cheeses like goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese or blue cheese are a great option

Vegetables




‘Oh, come on. Didn't you just say that they were bad?’ No, I said that root vegetables are bad for keto. That means the ones that grow below the ground. Many green leaves that grow above are great in fact. The types like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers

Healthy oils




With healthy oils, you get healthy fats. Healthy oils like extra virgin oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are a wonderful addition to your meals.

Avocados




Avocados are great in keto. They are low carb, give the same fat you get in healthy oils and don't get me started on the millions of health benefits that you get from them too. Berries too are another fruit that doesn't kill your keto dreams.

Sweeteners


Sugars are sweet but they prevent weight loss in keto. Next option is sweeteners. Sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, and other low-carb ones are a nice replacement. They don't taste perfectly like sugars but at least you still get to burn fat.

Keto macros


When you are about to start the keto diet, you need to know all you can to help you see success. One of those things is keto macros.

When you think about keto macros, what should come to your mind are the main calories that make up your diet.

Now you remember what we said the keto diet was at the outset, “the ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, adequate protein and high-fat diet “

Did you notice the calories that make up the diet, the macros

FAT, PROTEIN, and CARBS

And we said that the diet is high in fat. Meaning that you eat high-fat foods in the diet

Diet is low in carbs; you'll eat fewer carbs. Now how high-fat and low-carbs is keto?

The general breakdown is 5% carbs, 20% protein, 75% fats. To really stress the low-carb, high-fat notion, you only get 5%, 5%! Out of a whole 100 is allocated to carbs.

Then you get wholesome 75% reserved alone for fats. This ratio is only reasonable, no wonder keto works. The amount of carbs converting to glucose is so limited that there's no excuse not to lose weight.

Now you've nailed the general ratio of carbs, protein, and fats. You now want to find out how many grams of carbohydrates you want to eat on keto.

Ideally, you don't want your net carb to be anything more than 20g. If you notice I said Net Carbs not Carbs. “So does it make any difference”. As a matter of fact, it does. Which brings us to 

Net carbs or total carbs


When you view a nutrition label, you should know that all carbs don't mean the same thing. Total carbs and net carbs are two different things.

If you follow one for the other in the name of ‘it's the same thing’ you're going to fall. Hard.

What you should always target in keto are the net carbs. When you are trying to see if a meal will be suitable for keto, your eyes should scan for the net carbs. 

Now how do you know the net carbs? You won't find it written ‘NET CARBS =’  on most labels. Okay. but you'll find Total carbs written, you'll find fibers written. Good! We've found out our net carb.

To get your net carb, just do Total Carbs - Fiber = Net carbs. So if I have a total carb of 7g for a veggie with its fiber being 5g, I'll have a net carb of 2g.


Vegetables and keto


So it's time we tackled this veggie thing on keto. It's been preached since the 0000s that vegetables are healthy, help one grow and all that good stuff.

But then for keto, you might want to rethink your resolve to eat vegetables. Some of these veggies have high carbs

Let's repeat for those at the back. You don't want to eat the vegetables that grow under the surface of the ground. 

What you want to eat in ketosis are the leafy greens that grow above the ground. 

So to be safe while you eat veggies on keto, you just have to know the ones that have a lower Net carbs number.

How to get to ketosis?


When people start the keto diet, what they look forward to is reaching ketosis. While you don't need to enter ketosis through the quickest means available, it does feel good to get there faster.

Getting to ketosis it's not rocket science. But with everyone telling you to do this do that, it can be kind of confusing. 

Here's what you should do to get there


Beat down your carb intake


You can get into ketosis when your body keeps getting its glucose tank full. Carbs turn to glucose when broken down. But that does not mean that you should not taste carbohydrates at all. You just have to limit it to nothing more than 20g per day. That is 20g net carbs.

Beat down protein intake


Protein on the keto diet can be tricky. You can easily eat too much and this too gets converted into glucose. Too much glucose = not ketosis. You want to get something between 0.6grams - 0.8 grams of protein per lean body mass.

Consume those fat


No matter how strange it sounds, you have to eat fat to lose weight. You don't eat carbs, don't eat much protein, so what the heck are you going to be eating. When you eat fats, your body doesn't burn glucose, instead, it burns fat.

Snacking is a no


Eating more than you need just for the fun of it or because there's more than enough food in the house has to stop now. Well. that's if you're planning on going keto.  More snaking =  less weight loss. 

Drink enough water


Water is no joke when it comes to getting to ketosis. When you drink more water, your hunger level is controlled. Stay hydrated by drinking about a gallon of water per day. It may not be easy gulping down the tasteless liquid. You can grab a lemon and add a squeeze

Have a look at the simple tips to get into ketosis quickly

Exercise is a great option


Never underestimate what a 25-minute walk each day can do to your weight and sugar levels. Yes, it does not have to be some long hours in the gym. Something like walking or jogging will do

How to know if you're in ketosis


There are 2 main ways to know if you're in ketosis. Measuring ketones and measuring through physical symptoms.

Using ketone test strips are a nice way to know if you're in ketosis. You'll be able to find out the level ketones that is expelled from your body.

You can also use a blood glucose monitor. But these can be expensive to use. 

But how about if you know some symptoms to watch out for. 

Increased urination


One of the things that happen is that you be going to the bathroom more often than usual. There's a ketone body they call Acetoacetate. This goes out of the body through urine causing frequent urination. Besides your drinking more water now which often leads to

Dry mouth


The more water you pass out, then more thirsty you become. Then you find your mount dry. Having salt or pickles around helps.

Not so pleasant breath


Another part of the ketone is acetone. When the ketones release these acetones, they can only escape through our mouths, well except through urine also. good thing it's only temporary. It disappears soon enough.

Reduced hunger


As a result of the body’s increased capability to go on for long with fat as fuel, you will not feel hungry as often. When you find that you skipped a meal and you still don't feel hungry, celebrate. Keto is kicking in.

While you can find out your ketosis level with ketone strips and all that, you don't want to stress over it. Notice the change in your body and you'll know if you're in ketosis. In fact, if those signs are not enough for you, here are 10 ways to find out if you're in ketosis.

Types of ketogenic diet


There's this question that people ask and if you are the workout type, it should have crossed your mind. Can I build muscle when on keto? Yes, you can

But it's not the normal keto, but it's still keto anyways. When you follow many workout programs, they have you eating a lot of carbs for you to be sustained during your workouts.

But when you are doing keto, you don't want to gorge down the carbs. But something that you can do is to refill your glycogen stores. With that, you'll glucose to burn when working out

As a result of people wanting to gain mass on keto, we have types of the keto diet,

Standard ketogenic diet (SKD)


This one's the normal keto that everyone does. The classic that is used by those who want to lose weight

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)


With this, you eat carbs that digest quickly before you do your workout

Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD)


This one's a little more complicated. It's this variation that bodybuilders use to make use of. You take one day off keto to refill your glycogen stores.

If you would like to workout on keto, then you want to follow CKD or TKD. but if your goal is to lose weight, then you want to stick to the classic SKD

Dangers of the keto diet


As harmless as it sounds, there is a danger to the keto diet. There's a piece of advice i hear very often ‘Too much of anything is not good”

The same applies to keto. When you are in keto, the body produces ketones which the body used for energy. 

But it can happen that the body will produce too many ketones. This is when it gets to ketoacidosis.

Now hold on, don't panic. On a normal circumstance, this will not happen. Getting into optimal ketosis is a challenge for many already. So the chances of getting past optimal ketosis to ketoacidosis, is very low.


Keto flu



This is one common symptom that people on the keto diet experience. It's called a flu for a reason. You begin to experience flu-like symptoms. 

You begin to experience this during your first weeks of starting keto. But not to worry it disappears in a few days

These symptoms can include, some fatigue, nausea, headaches and other discomforts.  The main reason why you experience this on the keto diet is

You are transitioning. You've been taking in carbs for like what; centuries and then all of a sudden your stop. You don't think the body is going to accept it just like that. 

It will take some time to adjust. In the process of adjusting, it then brings the flu.  Another reason is because of you're losing water and electrolytes more since you'll be urinating often 

When you replace the lost electrolytes and drink lots of water, some of the symptoms should start to relive you. 

Taking on the ketogenic diet


Now you know the ins and outs of the keto diet what are you going to do? Whether you eventually try the keto diet or not, it's all up to you.

But what you shouldn't do is run away because of the keto flu. It only lasts for a few days and while it's can be less comfortable during those days, you'll enjoy your body in the long run.

We've all been eating carbs all our lives so taking on a diet that will literally have you frowning at it can be challenging. But the more you limit your carb intake the better you'll see results.

If you want to lose weight and you're thinking of going keto, you on the right track. But one last tip. 

Take before photos. When you're feeling down that you're not losing much weight as expected, take a look at those photos and look how far you've come. I can attest to the fact that it's a great source of motivation

Be consistent, stick with it and with patience you too can be the fat burner.