If you are a beginner on the ketogenic diet and are curious about getting started, this guide provides you with the most essential information to get started on your new, low-carb diet. Some of you might be new to eating on a keto scale, and whether you are following Atkins, keto, or another low carb plan, there are a few basics that you need to know. My goal here is to simplify things, make Keto easier, and less intimidating, so that you can start.
The ketogenic diet can be described many different ways, but the most common definition is that it is a high-fat, low-carb, and low-to-moderate-protein diet. These are Keto-friendly foods, they are high in fat, they are reasonably high in protein, and they are low in carbohydrates — just what a Keto diet requires in order to do its job efficiently and produce optimal results. Keto diets produce best results if followed rigorously, with no skipped meals, and following high-fat, low-carb rules.
It may be difficult to get started on a keto diet right away. Studies have shown that people on the keto low-carb diet are more likely to lose weight in the first 3 to 6 months compared with people on more balanced diets. Significant weight loss (both water weight due to reduced water retention caused by eating higher amounts of carbohydrates) and fat loss are major benefits associated with the keto diet.
Unlike other low-carb diets that emphasize protein, a keto plan emphasizes fat, providing up to 90% of your daily calories. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) which comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel the liver produces from stored fat. The purpose of Keto is to help the body reach Ketosis, in which it will begin using fat as its main source of energy rather than carbohydrates.
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Added sugars and carbohydrates can kick you out of Ketosis very quickly, turning the ketogenic diet into an uninspired, carb-free diet. The emphasis may make it difficult to plan meals because there are a huge amount of high carb foods that are not considered keto-friendly — things like grains, breads, starchy vegetables, and fruits. Plus, of course, there is the fact that the majority of American diets are loaded with processed and high carb foods, which are certainly on ketos no-no list.
Carbs tend to make up a large part of the diets of most people — that means that you will need to either find a keto substitute, or just shift your whole mindset around meals. While a ketogenic diet should never be considered a restrictive diet, in the sense of you cannot ever eat takeout again, eating whole foods should be at the heart of your everyday eating plan. By following Step 1 in starting the keto diet (i.e., eating exclusively keto-friendly foods), you can enjoy many of the benefits of a keto diet — even if you are not tracking calories or net carbs.