GOING KETO? A BEGINNER’S GUIDEThe ketogenic or keto diet has become one of the most popular diets out there, especially for weight loss. I am sure you’ve seen more than enough “before and after” pics online and know at least one person who raves about how much weight they’ve shredded in such a very short period of time. Are you wondering if all this is too good to be true and how to do it right if you decide to go for it?
As with any diet ever invented, the keto diet has its pros and cons, and I believe its success lies in the quality of the foods you choose, as well as the number of calories you take in, your body type, and how long you plan to do it for (not forever!)READ: INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR WOMEN: HEALTHY OR HYPE? This is a quick guide to help you better understand what it is, pros and cons, how to call it a success and what to expect.
What is the keto diet?A high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that puts your body into “ketosis,” a natural process that happens when you limit the amount of glucose coming into your system, and you start burning fat as fuel. You can think of it as a more carb-restrictive, fat-heavier version of the Paleo or Atkins diet. Only 50 grams of carbs are allowed per day (one cup of brown rice), and you double up in the % of calories coming from fat (60%-75% of your diet)
Pros and consIncreasing the amount of protein and fat in your diet will keep you satiated and act as an appetite suppressant which will make you lose weight quickly. You can also expect to see your good cholesterol (HDL) go up, and your blood sugar go down if the foods you choose are good quality. On the other hand, many people succumb to bad-quality fats (trans-fats and other) which leads to heart complications and mineral deficiencies. Also, women with thyroid conditions shouldn’t follow this diet as it can cause a cascade of hormonal imbalances.
How to do it rightQuality is your best friend here. Choosing high quality, whole, unrefined, unprocessed, healthy foods will make your experience a success. These are some ideas to get you started:
- Consume grass-fed meats and pastured poultry and eggs.
- Choose wild-caught fish low in mercury (salmon, flounder, shrimp)
- Go full-fat on things like cheese and butter (no low-fat or fat-free), but again, grass-fed, pastured and organic.
- Use unrefined healthy oils such as avocado, coconut, and olive oil.
- Shop organic and non-GMO as much as possible.
- Stay away from refined, processed foods.
What to expectIf you do it right and this diet works for your body type, you can expect to lose weight in a few weeks, lower your blood sugar levels and increase your energy. You may also experience other symptoms that will make you wonder if they’re normal.
- Bad breath is quite common which is not ideal, but it means the diet is working.
- The “keto flu” is a term used to describe brain fog, tiredness and feeling sick, and quite common as your body adapts to burning fat instead of carbs or sugar. It can last from one day to a couple of weeks, and you should follow your gut instinct as to if and when to stop and talk to a health coach or practitioner if it’s too hard on your body.
- Lastly, you may go through an electrolyte imbalance which can be resolved by increasing your intake of Himalayan salt and magnesium.