Many people say they are following a ketogenic diet, but are you really doing so? Maybe you are actually following a low-carb diet and calling it Keto... However here is information of on what is a true keto diet and many common mistakes people make while following...
What is a Keto Diet?A keto diet is broken up into the top macronutrients - fat, protein and carbohydrates. Macronutrients are a type of food that the body requires in large amounts. A true macronutrient breakdown of a keto diet can look similar to this...
A keto diet involves dramatically lowering your carb intake and replacing it with very high fats. You intake of protein will be moderate. As carbs are naturally the body's primary source of energy, the keto diet will encourage the body to use fats as your primary energy source. This process is known to put your body into a metabolic state known as 'ketosis'. During this state your body will burn fat very efficiently!
Keto diets have been shown to help people lose weight well as well as provide many health benefits.
A keto diet is very challenging, especially for when you first begin. As you are cutting out a large amount of carbohydrate intake (more than you are probably used to) you may feel tired, unfocused, dizzy etc. However, this is just a transition phase, which you may or may not experience, until you body adjusts to lower carb intake.
It is very important when following a keto diet you are aware of the 'do's and don't''s. As mentioned, as you are dramatically lowering carb consumption, it is important to have your meals of protein with salad or vegetables are alongside VERY high fats. This balances out your diet. If you lack fats, you will not be near enough consuming enough calories for daily energy, feel good or notice true results.
The following factors are some suggestions we would like you to be aware of when taking on a keto diet. We want you and your body to feel and be healthy, energetic and get you the results you are after.. not cause reverse side effects or unwanted health conditions...
As mentioned, a keto diet involves consuming moderate intake of protein. As you are compensating the low carb intake with high fats, if you consume too much protein intake, the excess protein will be converted to sugar and can then be stored in the body as fat. If your body has too much sugar, it will raise glucose levels. If this happens, it will remain difficult for body to reach full ketosis. It is a suggestion to include fattier protein cuts in the diet such as...
Do Not Fear Fat!
Fat in a keto diet is your primary source of energy - so don't skimp on it. When people hear the word 'fat' or know a keto consumes of high fats they find it mentally challenging or fear to embrace and accept it as they automatically assume - calories! So many people are used to a low-fat or low calorie diet that they fear or avoid fats altogether. By embracing a keto dieting consuming your daily calories of between 70-80%, you are more than likely to get leaner quicker.
This is where a keto diet is different, the high fat intake actually helps you burn fat. It will also have you feeling fuller for longer and the body actually needs fats from external diet sources as it can not produce it naturally. So move your fear of fat aside and embrace full fat products such as...
- coconut oil
- dark chocolate
...to name a few.
As you are lowering on carbs, compensating with high fat... the keto diet is all about balance to keep the body functioning and healthy. Like fat, it is very important also to not feat salt. During ketosis you body will dispel sodium at a higher level (especially though urine excretion). You need to assure you are getting your daily electrolytes, in this case sodium. If you are feeling light headed, nauseas, dizzy or drained you may be low in sodium. It is recommended to consume at least 2 teaspoons of salt a day.
It is also important to watch other electrolytes in your diet such as your magnesium, potassium and Vitamin D intake too!
To assist in your sodium intake, you could use 'Vegeta', which is vegetable stock. It adds great flavour and taste when sprinkled on top of salads, stir fries, rice... etc. be creative!
Choosing the Right Foods
Yes a keto diet gives you the fun and flexibility to indulge in foods containing full fat which are quite delicious. However, it is important to know which are the right fat sources to choose from.
Not all fats are suited for the keto diet. Those such as vegetable or seed oils need to be avoided as they can cause your body stress and like protein overload, can make it difficult for your body to reach ketosis.
It is highly advised for you to go for a fresh, whole food approach, avoiding packaged foods. Even if they claim to be 'keto-approved' you must remain sceptical and aware these could have artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and include ingredients hard to diegest.
Like salt, during ketosis, water is dispelled much more quickly out the body. Ensure you keep your fluid intake up. You may like to also consume drinks such as coconut water (just keep an eye out for calorie intake) or sports drinks such as gatorade are they will replenish the body's electrolyte stores.
You may like to read one of our latest blog posts 'Hydration' to learn some more information about fluid intake, ensure you are getting enough and its importance.
When you think of carbs you automatically think of pasta, bread, rice etc. However many other foods such as fruits, vegetables and much more contain carbohydrates too. You may like to keep a diary or use apps such as 'Myfitnesspal' to track you carb intake. When following a keto diet, the idea is to keep carbs to a minimum. If you hit a plateau or not noticing further wanted physical changes... you may be consuming more carbs than expected.
Go Hard, or Go Home
Although you may experience a few learning curves at first, at the end, you may and most likely will find it was all worth it and a rewarding experience. As we mentioned, the initial stage of transition of lowering carb intake and teaching your body to use fat over carbs for energy will prove challenging.
It is up to you to fully commit, be patient and know you want the results you are after. Once you notice results, health benefits and how differently your body functions you will be great satisfaction. Learn from the journey. Embrace and learn your mistakes and others and it will become easier.
Whether you are following a true keto diet, a low carb or Atkin's diet style, the following factors are all things you should take into consideration. All diets which drastically lower carbs can cause health effects if you do not know how to perform correctly or balance out other nutrients, vitamins or body functions. Ensure you track your macros and have them accurate or you may plateau, not notice results and probably not feel well.