How to Start Keto Correctly

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 06/15/2024

Adopting the ketogenic diet can have far-reaching health benefits for anyone who tries it. However, it is important to make sure you start the diet correctly so that you do not have problems that make you quit before you start reaping the results.

Learn about the ketogenic diet, benefits it offers, and the best way to start it.

Understanding the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet flips the switch on your body's fuel source, trading sugar for fat as its go-to energy source.

The goal with this diet is to enter ketosis, where fats are broken down into ketones that power up your cells.

The Role of Insulin in Fat Burning

Insulin is what decides how much glucose can enter the cells. Insulin levels can spike and dive on a standard diet with every sugary snack you grab. If you spike insulin too often, you can be left with insulin resistance, meaning cells will no longer respond to the hormonal signals they need to function properly.

But when you cut carbs low enough with keto, it helps keep insulin steady and low. That’s good news because steady insulin means better chances for fat burning.

This doesn't just happen overnight, though—you'll need patience as your body shifts from burning sugar to using fat.

Macronutrient Ratios and Food Choices

Think of your body as a high-performance engine running smoothly on the right fuel. On keto, we're swapping carbs for a premium blend of fats and proteins.

Carbohydrates to Avoid and Acceptable Substitutes

We've all heard "you are what you eat," but keto is more about what you don't eat. Wave goodbye to grains like wheat flour—they spike insulin and are harmful to the digestive tract. Instead, say hello to almond flour; it is low in carbs and does not spike insulin drastically like grain flours.

Potatoes are high in carbs and starches, so they should be avoided. Instead, try eating more cauliflower, which has many possible uses. From rice replacements to pizza crusts, this veggie is versatile.

Prioritizing Fats Over Sugars

Fat is not just an energy source—it’s your new best friend on keto—but pick wisely because some oils can cause inflammation.

Stick with avocados, butter, nuts, and cheese to get all the healthy fats you need while avoiding damaging ones.

Avoid seed, corn, and soy oils as these are harmful and encourage inflammation in the body.

Optimizing Protein Intake on Keto

When you're running on ketones, it is important to make sure you are getting the right types and amount of protein.

Choosing the Right Protein Sources

Fatty cuts of meat are excellent additions to a keto diet Choosing the chicken thighs or chicken breasts is a good example of selecting a fattier cut.

Fish like salmon are also excellent sources of protein, as they also provide the omega-3s that are vital for a healthy body to run on. Eggs and cheese can also serve as good, keto-friendly sources of protein.

Blend moderate protein intake with higher-fat companions to keep everything aligned.

Incorporating Vegetables Into Your Keto Diet

Vegetables are essential for any successful keto diet. They pack a punch with essential nutrients without knocking you out of ketosis.

Aiming for at least seven cups daily might seem daunting, but it's doable when you know which veggies to choose. Leafy greens like spinach and kale should become regular additions to your meals, while starchy options like potatoes should be avoided.

Go for high-fiber vegetables that support blood sugar regulation.

Blue alarm clock in front of a salad plate

Combining Intermittent Fasting with Keto

Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that requires you to eat your daily food within a small window and eschew food at any other time. It is most common for people to have an 8-hour eating window, followed by a 16-hour fast.

By doing intermittent fasting, your body gets a rest from constantly digesting and can work on burning fat and conducting cell repairs through autophagy, two huge health benefits that keto enhances.

Breakfast can be tempting, but skipping it might give your body that extra push into ketosis and help you begin narrowing your eating window so you can start intermittent fasting. Be sure to stop snacking and restrict yourself to eating only in your set window.

Strategies for Effective Intermittent Fasting:

  • Skip breakfast to extend overnight fasting time.

  • Avoid snacking to maintain stable insulin levels throughout the day.

Reading Labels and Identifying Hidden Sugars

Think you're avoiding sugar? Recheck those labels. Sneaky sugars lurk everywhere, even in the so-called 'healthy' foods. Reading food labels is crucial for those looking to stay in ketosis.

Berries are your best friends on keto—they come with low-sugar, and won't knock you out of ketossi when consumed in moderation.

But beware of packaged "health" snacks parading as keto-friendly while they're packed with honey or agave nectar, two culprits that can kick you out of ketosis fast.

Look out for and avoid any products that have ingredients like fructose, sucrose, and maltose.

Mastering the Ketogenic Diet

Embarking on the ketogenic diet is a transformative journey toward a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle that offers numerous health benefits.

To start this journey correctly, it's essential to understand the principles of ketosis, where the body shifts from relying on carbohydrates for energy to burning fat.

As you delve into the keto world, consider incorporating delicious and nutritious recipes like keto stuffed bell peppers, combining the benefits of vibrant vegetables with the richness of a high-fat, low-carb approach.

This not only makes your ketogenic experience flavorful but also provides a satisfying and fulfilling way to embrace the ketogenic lifestyle.

Conclusion

Adopting the ketogenic diet can have far-reaching health benefits, making it an appealing choice for many. However, starting the diet correctly is crucial to ensure you stick with it and avoid potential pitfalls.

Understanding the principles of ketosis, incorporating the right macronutrients, and balancing healthy fats and proteins are essential steps.

By making informed food choices and possibly combining the diet with intermittent fasting, you can successfully transition to a ketogenic lifestyle and enjoy its numerous health advantages.

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