A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet


The ketogenic or keto diet involves a very low intake of carbohydrates and replacing these with fats which will be burned by the body for fuel. Several benefits are attributed to the diet including weight loss and reduced risks of other diseases. The keto diet is also known to prevent illnesses like epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. 


The basics of a keto diet


This is a low-carb and high-fat diet that has many similarities with Atkins and other low-carb diets. Once this happens, the body becomes highly effective at burning fat to be used as energy. It also converts fat into ketones in the liver, which will be able to supply energy to the brain. Keto diets may cause substantial reductions in blood glucose and insulin levels. 


Different types of keto diets


There are various versions of the keto diet. These are the following:


(SKD) Standard keto diet: This involves low carbs but moderate protein and high-fat content. Usually, it has 70 percent fat, 20 percent proteins, and only 10 percent carbs.


(TKD) Targeted keto diet: This diet lets you add carbs to your fitness workouts. 


(CKD) Cyclical keto diet: This diet includes higher-carb refeeds, e.g., 5 keto days followed by 2 high-carb days.


High-protein keto diet: This is much like the standard keto diet, but it includes a higher amount of protein. The ratio is usually 60 percent fat, 5 percent carbs, and 35 percent protein. 


Defining ketosis


Ketosis is a metabolic state wherein the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbs. This happens when your consumption of carbs is substantially reduced, which limits the supply of glucose to your body. This is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells.


A keto diet is the most efficient way to get into ketosis. In general, this entails limiting carb consumption to around 20 and 50 grams daily and filling up on fat sources. One other important facet is to make sure that your protein consumption is moderate. The reason for this is that protein can be converted into glucose when it is consumed in large amounts. This may slow down your transition to ketosis. 


 Benefits of the keto diet


Following a keto diet is a highly effective way to lose weight and reduce the risk factors of several diseases. According to research, the keto diet is as effective as a low-fat diet when it comes to weight loss. It’s a filling diet that allows you to lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake.


The keto diet is also beneficial to those who have diabetes or prediabetes conditions. Diabetes is characterized by several changes in blood sugar, metabolism, and impaired insulin functions. The keto diet allows you to lose excess fat, which is associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and prediabetes.


The keto diet started as a tool for the treatment of neurological diseases like epilepsy. Studies have shown that the diet can help with various health conditions: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, polycystic ovary syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and brain injuries. 


 Foods to avoid in keto


Any food that is high in carb content must be limited. The following is a list of foods that have to be reduced or removed in a keto diet plan: fruit, grains or starches, sugary foods, beans or legumes, root vegetables and tubers, some spices and condiments, alcohol, unhealthy fats, diet or low-fat products, and sugar-free diet foods.


Foods to eat in keto


Most of the meals you consume in a keto diet must revolve around the following: meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, butter and cream, avocados, healthy oils, condiments, low-carb vegetables, and condiments. 


Keto diet considerations and tips


There are certain considerations to be considered when starting on a keto diet. First of all, you have to make sure that your diet has enough protein. Also, make sure that you get enough nutrients from vegetable sources. Look for colorful and low-carb vegetables that will meet your antioxidant requirements. Don’t consume an excessive amount of fats, particularly saturated fats that come from red meat and dairy. Focus more on healthy fats, such as those coming from nuts, olive oil, avocado, and oily fish. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and replenish salts when necessary. You also have to think about the meal timings as well as track your ketosis using a keto monitor.


Possible risks of a keto diet


The highly restrictive diet is not designed for all people. It may also be harmful when you don’t follow the diet properly or without the right supervision. The keto diet affects each person differently. Some people will easily transition while others have bodies that take time to adjust to the changes. It’s important to check your cholesterol levels regularly if you are on the keto diet. Some people experience keto flu when they follow the keto diet for a long time. Keto flu has several symptoms which include brain fog, sugar cravings, nausea, dizziness, muscle soreness, feeling cranky, cramping, trouble sleeping, and poor focus and concentration. 


Who must not follow the keto diet


Always check with your health practitioner before you start a new diet plan. Certain groups of individuals are advised not to follow the keto diet. These are people who suffer from the gallbladder and pancreatic issues, healthy children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who have kidney issues, people who have a history of eating disorders, and bariatric or gastrointestinal surgery patients. 


How to start a keto diet


Before you start a keto diet, you have to do away with some food items in your pantry. You may also add particular high-fat food sources to your everyday meals. Again, you have to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to find out what works best for you. This is more important if you have existing dietary requirements, e.g. vegetarian or vegan, or if you have food allergies. Experts will be able to give you alternatives or substitutes and produce a meal plan that matches your particular needs. 


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