Keto Guide: Crash Course
This keto guide covers everything from the types of ketogenic diets, what to eat and avoid, as well as the side effects or dangers of altering the daily intake of macronutrients.
What is Keto?
Keto is the shortened version of ketogenic. By following a keto meal plan, you will increase your fat intake while simultaneously decreasing your carbohydrates. The majority of your daily calories will come from protein and fat, causing a metabolic state of ketosis.
A keto diet can be a terrific way to lose weight. With this plan, the body uses more calories to break down fat stores for energy when compared to what it takes when processing carbohydrates. Keto meal plans can also help minimize symptoms from some medical conditions, including heart disease, acne, and diabetes.
What is Ketosis?
The metabolic state of ketosis is when the body runs out of carbohydrates to burn for energy and uses fat stores instead. During this process, the body produces ketones that are effective to use for energy.
Ketosis is an effective way to burn fat, but it can also help you feel less hungry and keep muscle mass. By consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day, the body will fall into a state of ketosis anywhere from three to four days.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
When searching for a keto guide, it can be exhausting. There are different types of ketogenic diets that an individual can follow, each with its benefits and disadvantages. Some of the more popular versions include:
- Standard: Includes a high fat intake, moderate protein consumption, and limited carbohydrates
- Cyclical: Includes periods of a standard meal plan for five days, followed by two high carb days
- Targeted: Allows a higher carbohydrate intake around extensive workouts or physical activities
- High Protein: Increases the protein content, leaving less for fats and carbs
Although the keto diet is well-known for many reasons, it is the standard meal plan with has extensive studies. There is not much research on the alternatives that can provide facts and results from use.
Foods to Eat
Many foods fit in well with the keto guide meal plan.
Meat and Meat Alternatives
Meats, including beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and wild game, are terrific choices. There are some alternatives like tofu and tempeh that can align with a proper keto diet.
Eggs, fish, and some seafood items can provide ample protein and include essential omega fatty acids that are part of a healthy diet.
Vegetables and Fruits
Not all vegetables align with this meal plan, though. Stick with leafy green vegetables, non-starch items, or anything that grows above ground. Small amounts of tart berries, lemons, limes, and coconut can be a treat.
Nuts and Seeds
While nuts and seeds are high in protein, they can also include hidden carbs. Some of the best nuts are almonds, pecans, peanuts, and walnuts. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds can give a protein boost while keeping daily carbs low.
Cheese and greek yogurt are the best choices to add fat and protein. Stick to items that do not add flavorings or added sugar.
Milk can be added to coffee or tea sparingly only.
Most of the fat content should come from food items consumed each day, but several oils and sauces fit the ketogenic diet. Olive oil, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and butter can be enjoyed and enhance the taste of a dish.
Foods to Avoid
Some food items will hinder the metabolic ketosis state and are not ideal for this meal plan.
Wheat flour, bread, pastries, and cereal contain high amounts of carbohydrates that do not align with this meal plan. Oats, pasta, rice, corn, and cornstarch should not be present.
White and sweet potatoes, yams, and parsnips contain a high amount of starch, inevitably providing the body with the glucose that will hinder a ketosis state.
Beans and Lentils
Many types of beans and lentils are high in carbohydrates. Avoid soy, peas, chickpeas, beans, and lentils during this meal plan.
Refined sugars and sweeteners are not part of a keto diet. Excess glucose will keep a body out of the state of ketosis.
Milk and Alcohol
Using small amounts of milk products in coffee and tea is acceptable, but having a glass of milk should be avoided due to the sugar content.
Alcohol is not in this meal plan. The body uses it for energy, and often alcohol is mixed with sugary drinks that are not allowed.
Pros and Cons of Keto Diet
With any change in diet, there are pros and cons. Knowing the benefits and disadvantages can help anyone determine if a ketosis meal plan is right for them.
- Weight loss
- Regulate insulin levels
- Help cholesterol levels
- Help minimize symptoms of health disorders
- Not a sustainable long-term diet for many individuals
- Can cause flu-like symptoms as the body goes into a state of ketosis
Macronutrient Breakdown for Keto Diet Meals
The variations of the keto diet will have corresponding macronutrient allowances. These breakdowns include:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet: Fats 70%, Protein 20%, Carbohydrates 10%
- High Protein Ketogenic Diet: Fats 60%, Protein 35%, Carbs 5%
- Targeted and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets: Include increased amounts of carbohydrates up to 20%, depending on physical activity
How to Reach a State of Ketosis
The state of ketosis is reached effectively after only three or four days by consistently reducing the number of carbohydrates and refined sugars from the daily intake. Lowering the volume between 20 to 50 grams will help reach this metabolic state.
Increasing physical activity can also help jumpstart ketosis, as the body will need to burn more fuel for energy. Without the addition of carbs, ketones are produced, falling into a ketosis state.
Dangers of Keto Diet
One side effect of the keto diet is known as the keto flu. Symptoms are similar to having a flu virus, including headaches, stomach upset, vomiting, or sore muscles. These side effects can happen as the body enters a state of ketosis.
Common Side Effects
Some common side effects when following a keto diet can include:
- Brain fog
- Bad breath
- Sugar cravings
- Sore muscles
Less Common Side Effects
There are some less common side effects, but if present, consultation with a health care practitioner is in order.
- Stomach upset or pain
- Breathing troubles
- Frequent urination
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Dry or flushed skin
There are ways to combat any side effects that are present after beginning a keto meal plan, including:
- Increase water intake
- Take in more sodium
- Include potassium and magnesium
- Get adequate rest
- Add electrolytes
Keto Diet Studies Health Benefits
As more information becomes available, studies show the benefits of following a keto guide meal plan are suitable for many individuals.
Some health benefits include:
- Triglycerides in the bloodstream drop
- Reduction of appetite, resulting in weight loss from the abdomen
- Levels of good HDL cholesterol increase
- Decreasing levels of bad LDL cholesterol levels
- Reduction of blood sugar and insulin levels
- Can lower blood pressure
- Aid in combating metabolic syndrome
Summary of Keto Diet
Having a keto guide can be beneficial to see positive changes in overall health. For some individuals, it can be a helpful lifestyle to follow. On average, a keto diet is a short-term solution to help alleviate weight gain or other health issues.
Discuss any change in diet with a health care practitioner to ensure a safe transition.