keto diet

Embarking on a ketogenic diet can be both exciting and daunting, especially if you’re new to the concept of low-carb, high-fat eating.

The keto diet has gained popularity for its potential to promote weight loss, enhance mental clarity, and improve overall health.

This comprehensive guide for beginners will provide you with everything you need to know to start your keto journey successfully.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan that aims to shift your body’s metabolism from relying on glucose (sugar) as its primary energy source to using fats.

This metabolic state is known as ketosis. By drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption, your body begins to burn fat for fuel, leading to various health benefits.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

  • Weight Loss: By promoting fat burning and reducing insulin levels, the keto diet can help you shed excess weight.
  • Enhanced Mental Clarity: Many people report improved focus and concentration when in ketosis.
  • Sustained Energy Levels: With fat as a steady fuel source, energy levels become more stable, reducing the peaks and crashes associated with carb-heavy diets.
  • Appetite Control: High-fat and protein-rich foods are more satiating, helping to curb hunger and reduce overall calorie intake.
  • Improved Blood Sugar Control: The keto diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Getting Started: The Basics

1 – Calculate Your Macros

  • Carbohydrates: Typically, you’ll aim to consume about 5-10% of your daily calories from carbs, which usually means staying under 50 grams of net carbs per day, with some people staying below 20 grams of net carbs per day for faster results. It is key to understand the concept of net carbs, as carbs are not evil: vegetables, for instance, are almost all carbs but typically they contain a lot of fiber and fiber slows the transformation of carbs to glucose in the digestion. What really matters are net carbs, calculated as carbohydrates minus the fiber component.
  • Proteins: Protein should make up about 20-25% of your daily calories.
  • Fats: The majority of your diet, about 70-75% of your daily calories, will come from fats.

2 – Choose Keto-Friendly Foods

  • Fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and nuts.
  • Proteins: Meat, fish, eggs, and cheese.
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and other low-carb vegetables.
  • Snacks and Desserts: Look for keto-friendly options that use almond flour, coconut flour, and natural sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia.

What you should eat on a Keto Diet in details

  • avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
  • meat: red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey
  • fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
  • cheese: unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella
  • eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
  • butter and cream: grass-fed butter and heavy cream
  • nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil
  • low carb veggies: green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • condiments: salt, pepper, herbs, and spices

keto diet

3 – Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet

To stay in ketosis, avoid:

  • Sugary Foods: Sodas, cakes, and candies.
  • Grains and Starches: Bread, pasta, and rice.
  • High-Carb Fruits: Bananas, grapes, and apples.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Tips for a Successful Keto Diet

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins.
  2. Monitor Electrolytes: As your body adjusts to the keto diet, you may lose electrolytes. Incorporate foods rich in sodium, potassium, and magnesium, or consider supplements.
  3. Gradual Transition: Start by gradually reducing your carb intake instead of going cold turkey to help your body adapt more easily.
  4. Track Your Progress: Use apps or journals to keep track of your food intake, weight, and how you feel.
  5. Be Patient: It can take a few weeks for your body to fully enter ketosis and adjust to burning fat for fuel.

Common Challenges when on Keto Diet and How to Overcome Them

Keto Flu: As your body transitions into ketosis, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and irritability. This is temporary and can be alleviated by staying hydrated and replenishing electrolytes.

Social Situations: Eating out or attending social events can be tricky. Plan ahead by checking menus for keto-friendly options or bringing your own snacks.

Cravings: It’s normal to crave carbs initially. Combat this by eating high-fat, satisfying foods and keeping keto-friendly snacks on hand.

Sample 7-Day Keto Diet Meal Plan

Navigating the keto diet can be simplified with a well-structured meal plan. Here’s a sample 7-day menu to kickstart your low-carb, high-fat journey.

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese
  • Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad (no croutons)
  • Dinner: Grilled steak with broccoli and butter
  • Snack: Almonds

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Keto smoothie with avocado, spinach, and coconut milk
  • Lunch: Tuna salad lettuce wraps
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with asparagus
  • Snack: Cheese slices

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Keto pancakes with almond flour
  • Lunch: BLT salad (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado)
  • Dinner: Pork chops with green beans
  • Snack: Boiled eggs

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Keto coffee and a side of bacon
  • Lunch: Turkey and avocado lettuce wraps
  • Dinner: Beef stir-fry with low-carb vegetables
  • Snack: Keto protein bites

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries
  • Lunch: Shrimp and avocado salad
  • Dinner: Chicken thighs with roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Snack: Macadamia nuts

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: Omelet with mushrooms and cheese
  • Lunch: Cobb salad
  • Dinner: Meatballs with zucchini noodles
  • Snack: Dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content)

Day 7:

  • Breakfast: Cottage cheese with cucumber slices
  • Lunch: Salmon salad with mixed greens
  • Dinner: Lamb chops with cauliflower mash
  • Snack: Keto cookies

Takeaway

The ketogenic diet can be a powerful tool for improving overall health, managing weight, and enhancing mental clarity. By focusing on high-fat, low-carb foods, you can shift your body into a state of ketosis and reap the numerous benefits that come with it. Remember to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed, and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s the right fit for your health goals.

Starting a keto diet is easier with the right knowledge and planning. Our online store offers a variety of keto-friendly products to support your journey. Begin your low-carb lifestyle today and enjoy the benefits of ketosis!

Before starting a ketogenic diet for an extended period, consult your doctor, as there may be side effects. Additionally, more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects on the body.

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Sources:

Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?

Implementing a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus

Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy

Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders: Evidence and developments

Mechanisms of action of the ketogenic diet in depression

Ketogenic diet for mood disorders from animal models to clinical application

Multi-dimensional roles of ketone bodies in fuel metabolism, signaling, and therapeutics

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