The keto diet has been generating a lot of buzz lately. The popular low-carb, high-fat eating plan comes with some really appealing promises like seamless weight loss, boundless energy, and mental clarity like you’ve never experienced it before. If you too are hooked on the idea of starting a low-carb lifestyle, then you’ll definitely need some guidance. For quick starters, consider these 7 bits of advice before you go full on keto.
1. Research the Diet First
The more you know about the keto diet and how it affects you, the greater your chances at succeeding. The keto diet involves much more than restricting carbs and eating loads of fatty foods. For example, it requires careful macros measuring, tracking your macros, ensuring you’re getting enough micronutrients, supplementing when necessary, and also making adjustments when something doesn’t work. To get the hang of all of this, doing a bit of research is necessary.
Great places to start researching keto is visiting keto diet blogs and websites. Also, consider reading some keto diet books like The Ketogenic Bible or The Essential Keto Cookbook. You can also visit online keto communities on Reddit or Facebook and follow keto diet Instagram accounts to learn through others’ experiences.
2. Plan All of Your Meals
Consider creating a daily diet meal plan for your first week on keto and continue this practice for as long as needed. The first step of making a keto meal plan is researching keto recipes. Many blogs, social media accounts, and books offer free tasty recipes with the full macros breakdown included – this makes the whole process of meal planning a whole lot easier.
Alternatively, use existing meal plans, which you may also find online and in keto diet books.
Many keto dieters find that, after a couple of months on the diet, they are able to eat intuitively and some even stop tracking their macros altogether. Another thing to keep in mind is that meal planning does not need to exclude eating out. To learn how to eat out on keto, read this article by Kiss My Keto.
3. Download a Keto App
To stay on track of your eating habits (and especially your macros), download apps like Myfitnesspal, Carb Manager, and Senza. These apps give you access to a huge database of foods and their nutrient breakdown. They also let you track your food intake, your weight, and your exercise. Some even offer dieting advice and access to a nutritionist (if you go for premium, of course).
As with meal planning, you may not need to use these apps throughout the whole course of your keto diet. But initially, they really do help you keep to dieting guidelines. Even studies have found that diet apps help in changing one’s behavior and goal setting.
4. Eat a Variety of Snacks
Snacking is perfectly ok on a keto diet and will help you meet your keto macros. But not only that, eating a variety of healthful snacks will help you get enough vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Don’t worry about snacks putting you over your calorie limit. The ketogenic diet has a natural appetite suppressing effect, so overeating on this diet is less likely to happen. The metabolic costs of gluconeogenesis (turning protein into glucose) and ketosis are also high, meaning that the keto diet burns more calories than a regular diet.
Great keto snack options include nuts and seeds, avocados, celery stalks with peanut butter, olives, string cheese, pork rinds, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt with berries, smoothies, and fat bombs, to name a few. When choosing keto snacks, make sure they’re high in fat and protein since both nutrients are important for satiety and balancing your blood glucose levels.
5. Always Read Labels
Hidden carbs are everywhere! To play it safe when just starting the keto diet, it’s wise to read labels even if the packaging says low-carb. Low-carb means different things to different people and companies. On keto, low carb is always less than 10g of carbohydrates per serving, and, ideally, less than 5g. Many companies will label products low-carb even if they have 20 or 50g of carbohydrates in a serving from sugars, honey, and other high-carb ingredients.
It’s also a good idea to avoid unhealthy ingredients, particularly partially hydrogenated oils (containing trans fats), artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, and nitrates, to name a few. While these ingredients won’t impact ketosis, they’re not really good for your health.
6. Consider Exercising
Studies show that the ketogenic diet alone is effective for weight loss. But if you really want to speed up weight loss and really improve your body composition, then adding exercise to your regimen is a good idea. Exercising burns calories and increases muscle mass. With increased muscle mass, your body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) also goes up, and with a greater RMR, you’ll be able to keep the lost weight off.
Another benefit of exercising is the reversal and prevention of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition that can lead to diabetes if not addressed. It is caused by poor diet and inactivity. The ketogenic diet is known to help combat insulin resistance, but the effects are even greater if you include things like aerobic workouts, sprint cycling, and resistance training.
7. Consider Keto Supplements
The ketogenic diet does not need supplements to work. But supplements can help make this diet easier. Many keto dieters, for example, take MCT oil supplements regularly on this diet. MCT oil is a purified source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are fats that studies found increase ketone production. That’s because of the unique way in which these fats are metabolized – with no need for digestive enzymes and by going from the small intestine straight to the liver to be oxidized into ketones.
Besides easy conversion into ketones, MCT oil also suppresses appetite. However, it needs to be taken in moderation; otherwise, you can upset your stomach by taking too much. Other popular supplements on keto include exogenous ketones used for reducing keto flu symptoms; collagen peptides as easily digestible proteins; electrolytes for the keto flu, and fiber supplements for better digestion.
The ketogenic diet might seem complicated at first. But once you’re in the know-how, following it becomes smooth sailing. Before you start keto, it’s best to learn as many tips and tricks as you can. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be. Hopefully, some of the tips and tricks laid out here you will find helpful on your keto journey. Make sure to do more reading before diving into the world of keto and you’ll see that success is just around the corner.