Have you heard of the keto diet and want to start, but you’re not sure how to get started? Well, look no further! Here we will explain the 7 most important keto diet rules to follow when starting a keto diet.
1. Cut out the carbs
Consume less than 25 net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus fiber) per day. This would be equivalent to 5% of your daily food intake. Avoid any type of food that is high in carbohydrates. This includes any kind of legumes or grains, as well as the more obvious starchy foods like breads and pastas.
2. Eat more of the right kinds of fats
Fat doesn’t deserve its bad reputation – it can actually make you feel fuller faster (and longer) because it takes longer to digest than other nutrients.
But not all fats are unquestionably good for you. While the saturated fats found in meat and dairy products aren’t the villains they once were, most health organizations, including the American Heart Association, recommend limiting your saturated fat intake to 13 grams a day.
However, most nutritionists do agree that you should focus on eating more monounsaturated fats, which are found in plant-based foods such as avocados and olive oil, because they are thought to be partly responsible for the heart-healthy effects of the Mediterranean diet.
It is recommended to replace snacks like chips with a handful of nuts each day, make creamy desserts and sauces with avocados, and use olive oil liberally for sautéing vegetables and making salad dressings.
3. Switch up your view of protein
One of the most common misconceptions about the keto diet is that you can eat as much protein as you want. But this is not a diet where you only pay attention to carbohydrates; you must also maintain a moderate protein intake. Protein can be converted to glucose, so overconsuming protein can take your body out of ketosis. Think of your ratio as a small portion of meat plus a lot of fat, not the other way around.
4. Pile on the non-starchy veggies
Most adults don’t get enough [vegetables], so nutritionists like keto to get people to eat more non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and spinach.
These vegetables help provide the fiber your digestive system needs. Since most vegetables allow you to consume fewer calories, people who eat them regularly tend to have a lower body mass index.
Basically, as far as nutritionists are concerned, you can’t go overboard on vegetables, so try to eat at least a cup with each meal.
5. Try intermittent fasting with keto
Fasting can help maintain a state of ketosis because fasting utilizes the body’s energy stores.
Intermittent fasting involves depriving the body of food for a fixed period of time (i.e., >8 hours) to force the body to use fat stores for energy.
A typical daily intermittent fasting schedule includes some window of time, such as 8-10 hours of eating, while the rest of the day is spent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce weight, improve brain function, and increase energy.
Water is allowed and actually encouraged during fasting, but all other foods and beverages need to be restricted to non-fasting hours, as outlined in your daily fasting window.
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It’s not uncommon to experience negative side effects when you first reach ketosis, also known as the keto flu. These side effects can range from bad breath, nausea, fatigue, brain fog, and even constipation. Fight the keto flu by drinking plenty of water and avoiding intense exercise.
7. Start cooking at home more often
Because so many foods are off-limits, ketones force you to eat at home more often. This is a good thing, because you don’t really know how much oil or sugar the restaurant is using. (Hint: It’s usually more than you need to make your food really taste good).
However, when you eat at home, you have more control over your food. You can play up the vegetables and add extra spices instead of oil to enhance the flavor.
8. Plan your meals ahead
Plan, plan, plan! I can’t stress this enough when following a keto diet.
Have you ever reached the point where you feel like you can eat almost anything because you’re so hungry?
This is exactly what we are trying to avoid, especially when following a keto diet.
This is because it’s easy to take your body out of ketosis whenever you’re desperate for a “snack”.
Planning all of your meals and snacks ahead of time is crucial to being able to stay in ketosis and utilize fat for energy.
Working with a family member or friend can help you develop a keto diet plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
9. Know what side effects to expect
For all the attributes of a ketogenic diet (like weight loss), there is one big side effect you must be prepared for: the ketogenic flu.
Ketogenic flu is a term that refers to the period after you start the diet when your body is adapting to burning fat for energy. Some people have no problem with this, others are miserable.
Within the first week or 10 days, you may feel extremely lethargic in your extremities. Walking upstairs may feel impossible. You may deal with a mental fog. Often, ketosis can lead to constipation due to changes in fiber intake, or it may lead to diarrhea.
For this reason, you should choose a start date when your week doesn’t have crazy deadlines and obligations; choose a slower time when you can rest as needed. Along the same lines, you want to make sure you take it easy on the exercise during the first or second week, as your body is adapting to burning more fat than carbohydrates for fuel.
10. Check your ketone levels to make sure you’re in ketosis
Who wants to consume a lot of fat without being sure if you’ve actually reached ketosis? When in doubt, purchase a ketosis test strip. This will let you know in seconds if you have ketone bodies in your blood..
If you’re looking for an effective way to lose weight and burn fat, the keto diet is a great option. Instead of thinking of it as a scary, forbidden diet, remember that you can actually eat a lot of good things and that it really is easier to follow than you think. Incorporate your favorite foods and have fun with them If done correctly, you will definitely reach your weight loss goals. Don’t forget that it is not recommended to do this diet for a long period of time, up to 6 months.