7 Fundamentals to Know About the Keto Diet

7 Fundamentals to Know About the Keto Diet

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Initially designed to help people with epilepsy, it has since become famous as an effective weight loss plan and lifestyle change for those who struggle with diabetes. Many people find the keto diet restrictive or difficult, which is why it’s essential to understand some fundamentals before starting this way of eating. Here are seven things you should know before starting your keto journey.

1) The keto diet is very high in fat.

At least 65 percent of your calories should come from healthy fats, such as coconut oil and the oils found in fish like salmon and sardines (which are also rich sources of omega-three fatty acids). Only five to ten percent of your calories each day should be derived from carbohydrates, which are typically found in grains and vegetables.

2) You should track your carb intake.

If you don’t, your body will likely burn muscle instead of fat for energy because it has no other choice. Use an app to keep yourself accountable and ensure you’re eating the correct number of carbs each day. Fiber is one type of carbohydrate that’s not listed in MyFitnessPal, so you may need to add this manually. The keto diet has a lot of fiber from leafy greens and other vegetables that are low in carbohydrates but high in nutrients. You’ll also get some grams of carbs from eating dairy products like milk or cheese (if you can tolerate them).

3) You need to eat a lot of fat.

Your body uses carbs for energy, so when you cut out most of them, it will turn to the next available source: fat. To help your body produce ketones and break down fats efficiently while on the keto diet, aim for 70 percent of your calories to come from fat. A lot of people decide to incorporate intermittent fasting into their keto plan, so having enough fat in your body will also help you feel full and satisfied, which can make sticking with this lifestyle more accessible. Try using coconut oil for cooking because they’re high in fats that are easily broken down by the body.

4) Don’t be afraid of meat.

If you eat too little protein, your body will burn muscle instead of fat to make up for the calorie deficit. This is bad because your muscles are what help you burn calories effectively during exercise. You don’t want them to shrink away while trying to lose weight. Make sure to eat protein at every meal, and try to choose fatty cuts of meat. In addition to helping you lose weight more effectively, eating a lot of fat from animal sources can provide your body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients it needs to function correctly.

5) Don’t be afraid of fat

Many people avoid eating fatty foods when they start the keto diet because they think it will make them gain weight (despite all the evidence saying otherwise). But if you don’t eat enough healthy fats on this diet, your body won’t function properly, and your metabolism will slow down.  Fat is not the enemy. Your body needs fat to burn carbs, so don’t be afraid of it when you’re on this diet. If you have trouble digesting fats, try cooking with avocado oil instead (both are high in healthy medium-chain triglycerides).

6) Take it slow.

If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight in the past, your body may be more sensitive to carbohydrates than most people’s bodies are (due to a condition called insulin resistance). Taking it slowly is vital when starting this diet because you’ll need some time for your body to adjust before seeing any results. If you’re worried about side effects, it’s best to take a week or two before starting the keto diet. This will give your body time to adjust and make sure that it can handle this way of eating without making you feel sick.

7) Don’t overeat protein.

This is an essential point because eating a lot of protein can prevent your body from going into ketosis. If you’re not getting enough carbohydrates in your diet, the excess protein could be converted to glucose and raise blood sugar levels (which may also cause cravings for carbs).  Make sure to keep your protein intake in check, and try not to exceed more than 30 percent of your calories from this macronutrient.

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