Are you wondering if you should try the keto diet? It’s all the rage right now in the media and on social media channels. People either love it or hate it and most have very strong opinions one way or the other. It goes against the grain of what we’ve been taught traditionally so I understand the polarization. Who would have ever thought eating so much fat could ever be healthy?
The best way to tell if this way of eating may work for you is to give it a shot. I recommend you try the keto diet for 28 days to give it a full and proper chance to begin working in your body. It doesn’t need much longer than that to move the needle. I lost close to 10lbs in my first week on keto and it convinced me to keep going.
New to the keto diet? Start here! This will help you to figure out how to stick to this diet and make it a lifestyle for you
Reasons to Try the Keto Diet
There are a lot of reasons for the increased popularity of the keto diet. It’s been known to help improve various functions of the body, quality of life and cause rapid, mostly healthy weight loss. While most of us see those results as a no-brainer reason to jump on this new diet, you may need a little more convincing. In this post, I’ll share a few of the many reasons people, including myself, are loving the keto diet.
You lose weight quickly
No one likes how long diets take to work, no one. In this day and age, we’re all far too accustomed to instant gratification and we just don’t want to work at something for a long time without the promise of guaranteed results. With keto, you don’t have that to worry about.
Once your body is in ketosis and stays there, the pounds just start to melt away. This means that it’s a shorter timeframe before you start noticing the results you desire. Achieving a more instant type of gratification with this diet also works to motivate you more and help you stick to it.
Better cognitive health
The process of ketosis (which your body enters into during the keto diet – hence the name) helps to improve cognitive health by replacing the predominant fuel for brain metabolism with ketone bodies rather than glucose, which can result in some anti-inflammatory effects.
Studies have even shown success using the keto diet to help manage multiple neurological disorders, like epilepsy. They’ve found that it can even be useful in preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s, reoccurring headaches, autism, multiple sclerosis, basically anything that involves brain inflammation. This is because of the anti-inflammatory effects of the keto diet.
Reduced appetite and cravings
Ketones, consumed for energy during ketosis rather than glucose, can help to suppress your appetite. This makes it easier for you to stick to the designated number of calories you’re allowed during this diet. Many standard diets around today involve eating a considerable amount of carbohydrates which can increase your hunger and cravings.
Doing a low-carb, high-fat/protein diet can help to increase fullness and satiety more so than refined grains and sugary foods. This is because of the effect that proteins and fats have on our hormones that control our appetite, like ghrelin. This is a benefit that I personally love the most. It takes back my control over food and hunger in a way no diet has before.
Reduced risk of developing diseases
Studies have shown that diets like keto that involve eating a very limited number of carbs, can actually help to improve some of your metabolic pathways, which then triggers protection against common chronic health issues. For example, this diet can help to improve inflammation levels, cardiovascular risk (like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides), and insulin sensitivity, which can then reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Improved functioning of the metabolism
The keto diet can help to improve fat burning without reducing the resting rate of your metabolism. When you reduce your calories drastically, your resting metabolic rate slows down in an effort to conserve energy. However, when you reduce your carbs instead, you find the metabolism continues to work as it should, effectively initiating weight loss.
Improved and regulated hormonal health
The keto diet works to treat prevalent hormonal conditions by limiting both the proteins and the carbohydrates that you’re consuming while placing an emphasis on consuming healthy fats, making it even more effective at regulating glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and improving hormonal imbalances than higher protein diets.
It’s relatively easy
The keto diet is actually a lot easier to stick to than other crazy diet fads out there currently. While you still have to watch what you eat and limit yourself, you can still have access to all your favorite foods. That’s right; thanks to the popularity of the keto diet, there are thousands upon thousands of delicious low- or no-carb keto recipes readily available all over the internet. Many of these recipes are healthier keto versions of all your favorite foods, meaning you don’t have to deprive yourself of what you love. Check out my keto bread recipe here.
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5 Tips For Getting Started With The Keto Diet
So now you have a few reasons why you may want to give the keto diet a try. This diet has swept the nation due to its effectiveness. It’s a hard adjustment for some, especially if you fall into the category of the thousands of people addicted to sugar and carbs, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become so much easier.
What does the keto diet involve?
Obviously, the keto diet involves more than just eating low-carb. You have to consume the right amounts of healthy fats, quality protein, and carbs to hit the right balance to get you into ketosis but not harm your body.
The ideal percentages are as follows:
● Carbohydrates: 5-10%
● Proteins: 20-25%
● Fat: 70-80% of calories
The exact caloric intake and macronutrient ratios you aim for will depend on the following factors:
● The desired amount of fat loss
● Goals you set for yourself
● Your health
● Your level of physical activity
The idea behind putting yourself into ketosis is so that your body will burn fat instead of glucose as its main energy source. Here are a few things to consider to help make the transition easier.
1) Do your research
When starting the keto diet, research the types of food you can and should eat to keep yourself in healthy, effective ketosis. You should be sure to incorporate plenty of vegetables with a low-carb count like broccoli, leafy greens, and cabbage. You also want to include quality proteins like grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and organ meats.
High-quality fats are a huge part of the ketosis, as well. Some of these fats include coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, fatty meats, and avocados. Some high-quality full-fat dairy that is free of antibiotics is also good to work into your diet, as well as low-sugar fruits like blueberries.
2) Determine your macros
You need to determine the exact number of macronutrients you need to consume. Every person is created differently with different needs, activity levels, goals, and body types; you have to determine what exact nutrients you need. Some need 20g of net carbs a day to have success on the keto diet, but others can’t go over this limit at all.
There are many macronutrient calculators available online to help you determine your personal carb-, protein-, and fat-intake, and help you determine your daily caloric intake. For the first few weeks of your keto diet, don’t worry about tracking these macros exactly or sticking too hard to the restricted calories unless your goal is weight loss. Once you’re comfortable with keto, you can scale them down.
3) Get yourself into ketosis quickly
In order to get any of the benefits of the keto diet, you have to enter the state of ketosis. Once you’ve gotten used to keeping to your macros, it’s time to speed up your transition with the following:
● Take exogenous ketones: these are supplemental ketones that help to raise the level of ketones in your blood within an hour.
● Fasting: An intermittent fasting approach of fasting for 16 hours a day and eating only within an 8-hour window can help to raise your ketone levels.
● More exercise: You can burn off glycogen and speed up your adaptation to ketosis by exercising more.
One thing you have to be prepared for is the keto flu. This is a temporary condition that some experience as they first make the transition into ketosis. To limit your symptoms and maybe avoid keto flu entirely, eat real food and stay hydrated, take electrolytes, and continue to take exogenous ketones.
4) Test your ketones
Believe it or not, ketosis is a metabolic state that is entirely measurable. The only way to determine if you’re actually in ketosis is to test your ketone levels with test strips or a blood meter. This will help you determine if you need to make adjustments to your caloric-intake or your macros. Keeping a food journal can also help you keep in ketosis and see where you went wrong if you fall out of it.
5) Maintain ketosis
The last step is to stick with it. Keep yourself in ketosis, keep checking your ketones, and don’t diverge from your structured diet and allotted macros. You’ll start to reap the many benefits of the keto diet the longer you stay on it.
If you must go off keto, plan your exits. I cycle my keto diet sticking to the diet for 30-90 days at a time then I take a break to enjoy some of my favorite carbs like fruits and oatmeal. I find this balance helps me to maintain the diet when I’m on, because I know it’s just for a time. Here are some other reasons why I cycle on and off keto.
Once you’re off keto, follow these tips in order to maintain your weight loss and avoid regaining all the weight you’ve lost.