Today, Keto is very popular as a way to lose weight and address other health issues.
It involves consuming meals that are high in fats and low in carbohydrates to get into a state known as ketosis.
This meal plan aims to make the body rely on ketones rather than carbohydrates to provide energy.
When the whole ketogenic diet started in 1920, it was designed to help children suffering from epilepsy. Epilepsy is a genetic condition that causes extreme seizures/spasms. Switching the body’s metabolism from glucose to ketones was believed to help reduce the number of seizure episodes.
There is no evidence that this phenomenon helps reduce seizures, but it was beneficial for other purposes.
With time other benefits of keto diets were discovered.
This included increased energy levels, balanced weight loss, and improved brain activity.
With that being said, this article will share everything you need to know as a beginner to get started on a keto diet.
The information will also benefit those already on a steady keto diet. It’ll contain clues to get you started, and you’ll also discover the associated risks to help you make informed decisions.
How Does Ketogenic Diet Work? (Keto Diet For Beginners)
A Keto diet is made with low carbohydrates and has a high-fat content.
This meal plan forces the body to rely on fat as an energy source when it normally relies on carbs to make glucose.
For ketosis to happen, the body has to take in carbohydrates, protein, and fats in a specific ratio. The most common ratio for a keto diet will be taking meals with a ratio of 70 – 80% fat content, 15 – 25% or 30% protein, and as little as 5% or 10% fats.
This new ratio has fats consumed in the highest amount since the ketogenic diet depends on the body using fats to produce energy.
If this meal ratio is altered, it will likely tamper with the whole process of fat metabolism and ruin the ketosis process.
However, you should consult your doctor when changing meal plans.
It’s their job to recommend what nutrient ratio an individual should consume.
It will be based on factors like excess weight, epilepsy, etc.
Additionally, keto diets can be used to boost strength in people who are more advanced in age. Some embark on a keto diet to help to increase their brain functions and reduce how easily the body comes under duress.
There has been further research conducted since the emergence of ketogenic diets in 1921. It has been shown that keto diet menus can help patients suffering from diabetes.
Additionally, it decreases glucose production in people whose bodies produce only small amounts of insulin.
There is also research being conducted in the health sector to determine how keto diets can benefit patients with certain conditions. These conditions include Alzheimer’s, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, and many others.
It’s a good idea to make only slight changes to meals when creating a unique meal plan for an individual because if you completely deviate from the new meal plan, your body will go back to its default state. Although the body now relies on fats for metabolism, you don’t want to eat fats in abundance.
It is also important to eat a healthy meal, containing only healthy proteins, fats, and carbs to produce ketones, which replace glucose in the body.
Ketones are usually obtained when the liver synthesizes the fats in the body. This process is maintained as long as the body takes in the right amount of fats to enable the body to produce the ketones it needs.
The brain and other organs in the body, which typically run on glucose, now replace this with ketones.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Keto Diet
Keto diets have reached a level of worldwide adoption. One reason is the number of benefits associated with the meal plan. Some typical benefits are listed and explained below:
Reduces The Frequency Of Epileptic Seizures
The early 1920s saw researchers testing for nutrients that would help patients, especially those with epilepsy, gain relief. Researchers created a meal plan to mimic the existing method of fasting to reduce the frequency of seizures from observing the existing method. Fasting caused the body to burn up fat, which helped space out seizures, so a ketogenic diet was developed.
Without glucose, the body becomes less excitable on a keto diet; fats are now the primary macronutrient for energy production. Although keto diets are mainly used to treat epilepsy in children, the main principles behind their workings are still being discovered. However, they are mainly used to treat epilepsy in adults. Adults might need to adjust their keto diet menu to fit their needs.
Although, most people prefer to use anticonvulsant drugs and only opt for keto diets when they don’t seem to be responding to medications.
Improves Cognitive Abilities
A lot of people believe that going on a keto diet can go a long way in improving your brain functions. However, there’s barely any concrete evidence to back up this claim. The results available from research are mainly from tests conducted on animals in the lab. This is unreliable for humans. One of the key reasons why it is believed that ketogenic diets can improve one’s brain functions is that they reduce stress.
Stress is said to be one of the causes of damage to cells in the brain which lead to slower brain activity.
There’s also a common belief that since the brain gets its energy from a different compound. This makes it easier to focus..
Despite the fact that more research needs to be done, keto diets are better for the body since they have healthier food options.
Loss Of Excess Weight
Weight loss has become one of the main reasons people embark on keto diets. Keto diets encourage the body to burn fats for all its daily activities and energy production, which is ideal for overweight people. There is limited consumption of carbohydrates and other junk that contribute to storing up fats within the body.
Another aspect of the keto diet that helps to encourage weight loss is the fact that the keto diet tends to reduce the body’s food cravings. Since the body now contains more fats than any other macronutrient, it tends to deliver a false sense of fullness which tricks the body into a prolonged feeling of satisfaction.
Keto Diet menus are filled with low-calorie dishes, and you already know what the absence of all those calories can do for your body.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from the pancreas. The hormone’s primary function of the hormone is to regulate and reduce the body’s blood sugar. Any sugar (glucose) metabolized from carbohydrates is redirected for energy production by insulin. Keto diets lessen the body’s carb intake meaning less glucose is available and more ketones.
Insulin Sensitivity is used to describe how the body reacts to insulin.
The body could either allow it to perform its function of regulating blood sugar properly or it could respond very slowly to insulin.
In the former case, it will enable the body to secrete the necessary amount of insulin needed at the time.
However, in the former case, where there’s resistance, the body needs to secrete excess amounts of insulin to properly regulate the body’s blood sugar.
This resistance results in an increase in the body’s blood sugar level, which could lead to type 2 diabetes. However, with keto diets that reduce the quantity of sugar or glucose released into the bloodstream, it is possible to maintain good insulin sensitivity. This is achieved because lower glucose in the body means less insulin is secreted and helps improve sensitivity to the hormone.
Reduces Harmful Cholesterol Levels In The Body
Cholesterol is a compound in the lipid family with a wax-like appearance found in the body system. This compound is generated by the liver and obtained from food substances. It performs several useful functions, like helping your body with vitamin D, bile, and hormone production. It also helps to give cell membranes a protective layer that will limit what goes in and out of the cell.
However, it is vital because of the irreplaceable functions cholesterol serves in the body. However, it is needed only in regulated quantities and comprises good cholesterol, HDL, lousy cholesterol, VDL, and LDL. Once the bad cholesterol is in high amounts it can block your arteries.
Keto diets burn fats, and lipids are a form of it, which the ketosis process helps to reduce. In addition, a keto diet can go a long way in increasing the quantity of HDL, a kind of cholesterol that eliminates the bad ones in the body. This will reduce an individual’s tendency to develop heart conditions or other diseases associated with high cholesterol levels.
Increases The Energy Level In The Body
It is believed that once the body’s metabolism goes from converting carbohydrates to glucose to converting keto diets to ketones, it triggers an energy surge. The body now begins to release more energy and reduces fatigue.
Some argue that keto helps increase energy levels because people consume less food. When the body takes in fewer food substances, it reserves all the extra energy that would have been spent on burning down the food. This now levels an individual feeling far more energetic even though, in reality, less food was consumed.
In addition, keto diets vigorously promote the consumption of natural food substances obtained primarily from plants, which take minutes to break down, unlike proteinous meals and those filled with carbs which take relatively longer to reduce. The body absorbs food quicker, expends less energy, lowers blood sugar levels, and corrects many mishaps, which increases power.
Reduces The Occurrences Of Body Inflammation
Inflammation is a situation where your body swells up or distends in certain areas due to various conditions. Some conditions that cause inflammation are injuries, infection, etc., and sometimes these conditions become repetitive. Once it gets to this stage, it can result in more significant medical problems.
It is believed that the keto diet is able to reduce inflammation by reducing the stress the body and its organs undergo. Stress is believed to be one thing that triggers inflammation in the body. Additionally, keto diets burn fats and free up arteries, veins, and even the guts, reducing the risk of inflammation and keeping the body healthy.
Ketogenic diets consist of healthier meals and less processed foods. Nutritious and natural meals are very easy for the body to disintegrate, unlike processed foods that give the body a hard time breaking down. Usually, these difficulties in breaking down the meals result in conditions like constipation, irritable bowel, and many more issues. Improved digestion also keeps the gut healthy and goes a long way to prevent problems like a hernia.
Risks Associated With Keto Diets
This low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet has been proven beneficial to the body in several ways over the years. However, everything that has a benefit will have some risks associated with its usage that cannot be overlooked. Here are some potential risks associated with going on a keto diet:
Reduces The Level Of Useful Nutrient Consumption
The keto diet involves cutting down on many other equally valuable nutrients and building up on the ones promoting certain health conditions. For instance, carbohydrates are helpful for a lot of things in the body. Still, it encourages weight gain, amongst other things that may not be desirable. In this case, weight gain results in a keto diet consisting of minimal carbs, thereby reducing the ratio the body actually needs.
This shortage of vital nutrients could trigger an additional set of issues. The issues arise due to the loss of necessary nutrients, minerals, or vitamins in meals now consumed in minute quantities. However, if a keto diet is followed with medical guidance, an alternative healthy meal should be recommended as a substitute to ensure the body does not lack the nutrients needed.
Risks Of Kidney Disease
One common kidney disease that can be triggered by ketosis is kidney stones. Kidney stone is a condition where stones form in your kidney, causing discomfort when you urinate. It is caused by chemicals like acids, etc., forming in the body. It can be caused by constant dehydration, rapid weight loss, and other circumstances.
Rapid weight loss and excess calcium formation are where the keto diet comes in because it promotes rapid weight loss and makes the urine contain more than the ideal amount of calcium. The way to remedy this will be to prevent excess calcium accumulation by hydrating often. Additionally, gradually losing weight could prevent stones from forming due to weight loss.
Note: If you’re embarking on a keto diet and your family has a history of kidney stones, you need to thoroughly consider this with the help of a doctor before taking the step to begin.
Increases Cholesterol Levels
It’s interesting how a keto diet can affect your cholesterol levels. In an ideal state, cholesterol shouldn’t have caused any issues in the body. High levels of cholesterol have been linked to heart failure, and other fatal health conditions. Individuals start to suffer health risks once the level of “bad” cholesterol, LDL & VDL, begins to rise.
Since the keto diet is fat centered, it could increase the cholesterol levels in the body. To avoid such issues, it is best to begin a keto diet on medical recommendations. Additionally, run routine checks to ensure nothing is amiss because of your changes in diet.
Starting a keto diet after eating regular meals for years can be pretty tasking on the body. Initially, it might even seem like an individual’s body is rejecting the new diet once you begin to experience symptoms like constipation, or diarrhea. This is likely a sign that the body is trying to adapt to the sudden changes. However, it should all be over in a week or two.
Taking lots of water should help to keep all these reactions at bay. It’s also essential to follow the dietician’s instructions as much as possible. If symptoms persist for over a week, visit your physician.
The Keto Flu
In keto circles, the term keto flu is well known, since many keto people went through it as beginners. The keto flu may not happen to everyone, but it depends on each person’s system. When the body begins to use fats in place of carbohydrates to generate energy, the keto flu occurs.
In most cases, and for most people, the typical symptoms include stomach upsets, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, aches, and lots more. Most keto people are advised to stay hydrated to make these symptoms more bearable. However, it doesn’t usually last for more than a couple of days to a week before the symptoms wear out.
There are a lot of other risks associated with keto diets that have not been considered here. However, these are some of the most common ones any keto diet beginner must be fully aware of. The best way to know what is expected as you embark on a keto diet is to consult your doctor and dietician.
How To Implement A Keto Diet For Beginners
The ketogenic diet is a diet that involves taking meals that have low carbs and a high-fat diet. The main reason for its widespread adoption is its ability to trigger healthy weight loss and improve health conditions.
Anyone looking to hop on the keto bandwagon must know the basics to achieve their desired outcome.
Meal Plans And Grocery Shopping
Once you have decided to embark on a keto diet, getting a dietician to draft up a meal plan for you is crucial. But before you get there, here’s how to make a Keto Diet meal plan and list of items. It’s a good idea to make a mock meal calendar for a beginner, but I wouldn’t make one if I weren’t familiar with keto diets and what ratios to use or what meals to pair.
Keto diets consist mainly of natural, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The goal is to eat foods low in carbohydrates and fats, which most plants and animals contain.
Your meal doesn’t have to be stuck on breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are keto-friendly snacks, desserts, and pastries you can try out. So make a list, and go shopping today.
Common Mistakes Beginners Should Avoid
As beginners, you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes when you begin your keto diet journey. These are some common mistakes to look out for as you start:
- Not Consuming The Right Amount Of Fats: Keto diet is based on the body breaking down fats to generate energy for the body instead of glucose. This happens in a process called Ketosis. When you don’t take in enough fats, this process cannot occur.
- Not Watching Your Carb Intake: There’s a tendency to be careless with your carb intake. Being careless with your carb intake ratios will likely prevent the body from transitioning into a Ketosis process.
- Not Watching Your Protein Intake: There’s an ideal ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins in a keto diet. Make sure you take this into consideration when adding your proteins. Allow enough time too for the ketosis process to take place.
How Will You Know The Right Keto Diet For You
There’s no laid down rule for a keto diet; it can be adjusted to suit different people’s needs. Begin by spelling out your reasons for choosing to transition to a keto diet. If you need help knowing what suits you, consulting a qualified physician is the best place to start. This will help you see what plans will work for you by considering other factors.
Additionally, prepare yourself for all the changes that will come with taking a decision of that magnitude. Also, prepare to follow through with the differences when it comes. Once you can get the hang of things, your process will move smoothly.
Tips For Keto Diet Beginners
Ketogenic dieting can be rigid once you start out, from dealing with Keto Flu to cravings for regular meals. Try out the following tips to help you get started.
Why Is It Important To Monitor Progress
If you’re embarking on a keto diet transition, keeping track of your progress is crucial. Use a meal calendar or a diary to keep track of all your meals. This will help ensure that you stay consistent with your meal plans.
Additionally, you can keep track of your weight changes from before you begin the diet and as time progresses. If your goal is to lose some weight, checking all these processes will help you know how much progress you are making.
Also, study and pay attention to every other slight change in how your body functions. It’ll help you know what things are improving, remaining the same, or deteriorating in case you need to check in with a physician.
Incorporate Physical Activity (Exercises) Into The Ketogenic Diet
You might be advised to pair your keto diet with exercises depending on your health conditions. Regular workouts help one stay fit and help burn off fats and keep the body fit for a long time. It’s best to start with the things you find easy to do so you don’t get burnt out quickly. As your body adjusts to these exercises, you can begin to push yourself more.
Talk with your physician about your meal plan when you’re working out now that you’re on a keto diet. Since your body no longer uses glucose, it’s best to know what alternatives can support your workout process.
Don’t Expect Overnight Results
Transitioning from a regular diet to keto is a process that takes a little while before you start seeing apparent results. This could lead a keto person to assume that no progress is going on and bring the desire to quit. Try to give the processing time, and you’ll experience apparent signs of the changes occurring in a couple of weeks.
Remember that transitioning should be a fun process. Experiment with meals and try new workout styles. Ensure you include snacks and desserts in your meal plan and spice things up.
Whenever you experience any discomfort starting out, drink some water. It’s important to stay constantly hydrated and allow your body to get used to its new metabolic processes. In addition to staying properly hydrated, make sure you are always well rested.
Maintaining A Consistent Diet
If you have decided to embark on a keto diet journey, it’s essential to be committed to maintaining the lifestyle. Use your meal planner, and motivate yourself to continue by weighing the health benefits of staying on track. You get into groups with other keto people, so you have a support group of people on similar paths. Consult your physician and dietician along at every point.
Sample Keto Diet Menu
A Cup of Keto Smoothie
- Blend coconut, almond, frozen berries, and a scoop of vanilla keto protein powder. Serve with a sprinkle of almonds and a drizzle of almond butter.
Avocado and Eggs
- slice an avocado, remove the pit, and crack an egg into each half. Bake in the oven m
Grilled Chicken Salad
- Season your chicken with keto-friendly spices. Add toppings of veggies.
- Grill chicken breast and top with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and a homemade vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
Salmon and avocado lettuce wraps
- Mix canned tuna with avocado and a dollop of mayonnaise, wrap in lettuce leaves, and enjoy.
- sauté sliced beef with vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and mushrooms in coconut oil. Season with soy sauce and ginger.
Cauliflower crust pizza
- Top a cauliflower crust with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or vegetables.
Almond flour crackers
- Mix together almond flour, coconut oil, and seasonings of your choice to make a dough, roll out and cut it into crackers, and bake it in the oven.
Baked kale chips
- wash and dry kale leaves, toss with olive oil and salt and bake in the oven at 350°F until crispy.
Keto ice cream
- Combine heavy cream, unsweetened cocoa powder, and stevia to make a low-carb ice cream.
Dark chocolate and almond bark
- Melt the dark chocolate and mix with chopped almonds, spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate until set.
How Many Calories Should Be in Keto Diet for Women
The ketogenic diet has been shown to be very beneficial for young women and even those in their middle age. Some of the benefits women enjoy from keto diets include:
Improved Weight Loss: Keto diets comprise very low-carb meals. Carbs are responsible for weight gain. Consuming small amounts of it and more fats helps to enhance weight loss.
Better Control Over The Body’s Blood Sugar Levels: Since the keto diet reduces the intake of carbohydrates, this plays a large part in helping to regulate blood sugar levels and improve the body’s insulin sensitivity.
Improves The Condition Of The Heart:
Keto diets help to reduce the number of unnecessary fats the body takes in. These fats are known to cause heart issues. Eliminating or reducing its intake does wonders for the body.
While the ketogenic diet can offer many benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially women with specific health conditions. Speaking with a healthcare provider before starting the keto diet is essential. Some particular health conditions to consider include:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS may need to adjust the macronutrient ratios of the keto diet to better manage their symptoms.
Pregnancy: The keto diet should be avoided during pregnancy as it may not provide enough essential nutrients for both the mother and the developing fetus.
Breastfeeding: Women who are breastfeeding should also avoid the keto diet as it may not provide enough essential nutrients for both the mother and the baby.
Kidney disease: The high-fat intake of the keto diet can put extra strain on the kidneys and may not be suitable for women with kidney disease.
Liver disease: Women with liver disease should also be cautious when starting the keto diet as it can put additional stress on the liver.
Eating disorders: The focus on macronutrient ratios in the keto diet may trigger disordered eating behaviors in women with a background in eating disorders.
Thyroid disorders: The keto diet may affect thyroid function and should be used cautiously for women with thyroid disorders.
Gallbladder issues: The high-fat intake of the keto diet may lead to gallbladder issues for some women.
Additional Supplements And Vitamins For Women On Keto Diets
Women need lots of vitamins and supplements for a healthy body, especially women who have had kids. Women who are on keto diets need to consider supporting their keto diets with some much-needed Vitamins and supplements. Some of the ones to consider include:
Multivitamins: These are supplements that everyone ought to have, especially women. It helps to make up for nutrients that individuals miss in their daily meals. It comes in capsules and is excellent for women who have hit menopause, and anyone on a keto diet.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is very useful in maintaining muscles, bones, and even the teeth. It’s already present in a lot of items on the keto list, however, taking some supplements as a boost doesn’t hurt anyone.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 is in abundant supply in certain fishes, and is believed to help in preventing bone issues like arthritis. It also protects women from cancer and menstrual discomfort.
Potassium: Potassium is actually available in specific quantities in fruits and veggies. It helps to maintain the heart and some other parts of the body. Taking supplements helps to boost whatever is taken in food.
Magnesium: This mineral is in abundant supply in vegetables, and some nuts. It also plays a massive role in maintaining the heart’s good condition, amongst other things.
Sodium: sodium plays many vital roles in the body, including ensuring that the vitamins and minerals are well balanced. It improves brain activity and offers a lot of relief to the body. Keto reduces its intake, calling for the need for supplements.
Keto Diet Foods List For Beginners
The Keto diet for beginners can be tricky. If you haven’t gotten a dietician to map out your meals yet you can consider some of these items to add to your shopping list.
- Meat: Chicken, Turkey, Pork, and Beef. You can throw an egg into the mix too.
- Diary Products (Low Carb): Butter, Greek Yoghurt, Full Fat Cheese, Sour Cream, etc.
- Kinds of seafood: Shrimp, Salmon, Shellfish, Crabs, Tuna, Oysters, etc.
- Vegetables and Fruits; Celery, Brussels, Broccoli, Lettuce, Tomato, Spinach, Avocado, Cabbage, Kale, Cauliflower, Berries (small quantities), Cucumber, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds: Cashew, Almond, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, pecan, Flax seeds, Chia seeds, etc.
- Oils: Avocado oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Butter, MCT oil, Sesame oil, etc.
- Spices: Stevia, Monk Fruit Extract, Sucralose, etc.
- Additionally, Cacao Chocolate and more.
Having a list of meals is not enough; use your keto calculator to calculate ratios or get a dietician to draft a meal plan for you. See a Doctor if you have underlying health conditions.
The entire concept of ketosis has been discussed here in a way that makes sense to both beginners and experts. It explained the process that happens behind the scenes for ketosis, explaining how your body switches to fat metabolism.
The benefits associated with switching from a regular meal plan to a ketogenic diet menu were highlighted. The risks involved in keto diets were also considered to give keto newbies a level playing field to understand what they might be involved with.
In this article, we talked about why people switch to ketogenic diets. Everyone’s motivation was to live a healthier and better life, especially those who were overweight or epileptic. Depending on how each keto person is sick and what they need, keto diets will probably be different.
Dietitians and physicians should tell you what kind of diet to follow. If you’re prone to high cholesterol levels, you’ll get a different diet plan. A doctor can study your medical history and advise you how to start a keto diet. You’ll also be able to tell what health challenges you’re likely to face based on your family history.
Make sure you talk to your doctor before making any changes. Especially if you have medical conditions that are at risk, your doctor can schedule periodic check-ups to see how the diet is working for you.
We can’t wait to see you live happier and healthier! Make sure to read more about the keto diet -and get more delicious recipes here at SmartCookingRecipes.com