Do you want to lose weight without exercising? Are you ready to commit time and effort to this cause? If you answered yes, then I’m happy to tell you that the Keto Diet may be perfect for you! The keto diet can reward you with improved health and rapid weight loss in a safe and effective manner. This article provides a comprehensive approach to pursuing the best keto diet for beginners by putting a nice twist on dieting that you have probably never heard of before. But once you can commit the necessary time and effort to this diet, you will begin to look and feel amazing in no time. Believe me…..embarking on the keto diet is definitely worth the effort!
What is the Keto Diet
The term ‘Keto Diet’ is short for ‘Ketogenic Diet’. It is a form of dieting which consists of consuming low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fats.
The diet aims to deplete your body’s glycogen reserves so that it relies solely on fat and protein for energy. The reduction in carbohydrates results in your body undergoing a metabolic state called ketosis in which your liver produces a high number of ketones as an alternative fuel source for the brain. This causes your body to become super-efficient at burning fat for energy. As a supercharged fat burning machine, you will lose excess weight, stay satiated longer, reverse health issues and control your blood sugar levels.
Also, even though exercise is good for you, it is not required for you to lose weight if you follow the principles of the keto diet.
Types of Keto Diets
There are several types of ketogenic diets. These include:
- The Standard Keto Diet: This is a very low-carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat diet. The typical ratio for this diet is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
- The Cyclical Keto Diet: This involves periods of higher carbohydrate refeeds. For example, 5 keto days followed by 2 high carbohydrate days.
- The Targeted Keto Diet: This allows for the addition of carbohydrates based on levels of physical workouts.
- The High-Protein Keto Diet: This includes more protein than the standard keto diet. The typical ratio for this diet is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
Of the 4 types of keto diets, the standard keto diet is the best one for beginners to pursue.
It takes around 48 hours to get into ketosis. However, to get into this state faster, you can eat less than 20 grams of carbs per day. A simple beginner’s rule is to stick to foods which are made up of less than 5% carbs.
Dietary Restrictions of the Keto Diet
Another important rule to remember is that you should eat when you are hungry and eat until you are satisfied. There will also be no need for you to take any pills or supplements, and you will not need any meal replacements.
If you are serious about benefitting from the keto diet, then it is just as important to know which things (foods etc.) you may have as well as knowing which things you should avoid like the plague. Let us start with things that you should have.
Things You May Have
The best keto diet for beginners is based around the following:
- Meat: This may include red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey.
- Fatty Fish: Examples include salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.
- Eggs: Omega-3 whole eggs are especially beneficial.
- Butter and cream: this should preferably be a grass-fed biproduct.
- Unprocessed Cheese: This may be cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella cheese. Grass-fed cheese is preferable.
- Nuts and seeds: These can include almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
- Healthy oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil is preferred.
- Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole can be consumed.
- Low-carb veggies: This should be mostly green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, or peppers.
- Condiments: Salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices may be used.
- Water: Have lots of it. The more water you drink, the more weight you can lose.
Things to Avoid
For the keto diet to be effective, there are certain foods which must be reduced or eliminated altogether. These include:
- All sugary foods such as cake, candy, ice cream, soda and fruit juices.
- Grains or starches such as wheat-based products, rice, pasta, or cereal.
- All fruits except small portions of berries.
- Beans or legumes such as peas, kidney beans, lentils or chickpeas.
- Root vegetables and tubers such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips.
- Low-fat or diet products which are highly processed and high in carbs.
- Some condiments or sauces which contain sugar and unhealthy fat.
- Unhealthy fats such as processed vegetables oils and mayonnaise.
- Alcohol, especially high-carb or sugary ones. Alcohol is not good for your liver. Therefore, if you want to be as healthy as possible, you should try to avoid it or only drink in moderation.
- Sugar-free diet foods which tend to be highly processed.
Why You Should Do the Keto Diet
Scientific evidence shows that the keto diet offers many health benefits. These include:
- Weight loss – The keto diet allows you to lose weight without the need to count calories or track food intake.
- Several studies have shown that people on a high fat, low carb diet burn fat at a faster rate than those who are on a high carb, low fat diet. This is primarily because lower insulin levels caused by a low carb diet help to remove excess water from the body. During ketosis, your hunger level will also fade, which can be extremely beneficial in controlling caloric intake and promoting overall weight loss. This can also be effective in reducing belly fat.
- Improvement in mental performance – The ketones produced during ketosis are a much more efficient source of energy than glucose. Studies have indicated that they can improve cognitive impairment and reduce symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by slowing their progression. The keto diet also helps to support the balance of essential omega 3’s and omega 6’s which are vital for optimal brain function. Additionally, ketosis boosts mitochondrial production and adenosine triphosphate within the brain’s memory cells, thereby improving mental performance and clarity.
- Reduced risk of chronic disease – The keto diet boosts your body’s defense mechanism against a variety of conditions. It reduces inflammation and improves mitochondrial function thereby helping to mitigate the risk of developing several chronic diseases. Cancer cells typically possess abnormal mitochondria and therefore need an increased supply of glycogen. Ketosis however deprives them of this glycogen and allows for normal cells to be fed while starving the cancer cells. The low-carb diet can therefore help with treating some forms of cancer and slowing tumor growth.
- Lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity – This is especially beneficial to people who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. It can also help to improve acne.
- Improved cardiovascular health and function – A low-carb diet has been proven to be more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing blood pressure. It also enhances triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels resulting in a boost to your overall cardiovascular health.
- Reduced frequency of epileptic seizures – Low-carb diets have been shown to help control seizures in some people with epilepsy. The diet is sometimes prescribed by physicians, carefully monitored by dietitians and is usually used in children with seizures that do not respond favorably to medications.
Other Things for Beginners to Consider
If you are healthy, then the keto diet should be safe for you to pursue. If you are not healthy, then you may want to exercise extra caution due to some initial side effects that may arise as your body seeks to adapt to the new regimen. Specifically, the ‘Keto Flu’ tends to last a few days and results in poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep disorders, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance.
Other common problems faced by beginners include dizziness, irritability, fatigue, bad breath, mood swings, leg cramps, reduced physical performance, constipation, and heart palpitations.
These symptoms tend to go away after the first 3 days so do not panic when you experience them. Instead, try rewarding yourself with bacon or other delicious keto friendly foods as you crave for carbs and sugars. The cravings will disappear once you feel full. It is especially important when commencing the keto diet to eat until you feel full and avoid excessive calorie restriction.
A few higher-calorie intake days or treat days may be beneficial for you to have occasionally. However, if you stray too far from the keto diet, just jump right back in and resume where you left off.
Many of the initial side effects of the Keto Diet can also be limited by easing gradually into the diet and taking mineral supplements such as MCT oil which gets your body into ketosis faster.
It is also important that you consume more salt (sea salt to be exact). While on the keto diet, your body will not retain water as it normally would. As a result, electrolytes such as sodium quickly flush out of your body and will need constant replenishing.
When you feel a hunger pang coming on, immediately eat high-fat low-carb foods. This will help the temptation to go away.
You may also want to consider using an app such as ‘My Plate’ or ‘MyFitnessPal’ to help with calculations that will keep you on track. For example, if you simply enter your target weight into one of these apps, they will inform you of the number of calories which you can consume and still meet your weight loss goals. Do not worry if you stray from the exact macro ratio (ratio of carbs: proteins: fats), the app can help you to get back on track.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Typical reasons why people tend to fail at achieving their desired results in a timely manner with the keto diet include the following:
- Eating too many carbs: Most keto dieters go for under 50 grams of carbs per day to get into optimal ketosis. Anything beyond that is termed as excessive.
- Eating too much protein
- Having too much dairy: This can cause problems such as inflammation, allergies, asthma, congestion, skin allergies and postnasal drip.
- Not eating enough fats: The right fats to eat are monounsaturated and saturated fats.
- Having too many bad fats such as vegetable and canola oil: These oxidize, get rancid and are typically high in omega-6 fats which are highly inflammable.
- Not eating enough vegetables, minerals and bone broth. When having vegetables, be careful not to have too many starchy vegetables. Focus on having more broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower or kale.
- Not getting enough water: For every gram of carb, your body holds 4 grams of water, so drink up.
- Being impatient and looking for a quick fix: Remember, everything takes time.
As with any new diet or exercise plan, it is advisable to play it safe and consult with a qualified medical professional before embarking on the keto diet, especially if you are on medications or otherwise being treated for underlying health conditions.
The keto diet is quite popular as evidenced by the many pictures circulating on social media which highlight ‘before and after’ results of people who are on the diet. Despite this, the keto diet may not be suitable for everyone. I would however encourage you to give it a try for yourself. With consistency, discipline and focus, you should be able to see and feel noticeably better in no time.
I hope you have liked this article on The Best Keto Diet for Beginners and will reap significant benefits from the invaluable information that I have shared with you. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts on the keto diet or any results that you have obtained from following the diet yourself.
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