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Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Keto Diet

We’ve all heard about the ‘keto promise and keto diet’ to make you fit into those 2 sizes smaller jeans. So, what’s the deal?

WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?

WHAT IS THE KETO DIET
© Healthy Salad

The ketogenic diet, aka the Atkins diet, is a low to no carbohydrate diet. How does this work again? So, to understand how the ketogenic diet works, let us understand the human body functioning a little bit, first.  When we eat, our gut digests our food and then absorbs these nutrients. Let us divide them broadly into carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and miscellaneous-for discussions’ sake. 

Our carbohydrates are ultimately broken down into mostly glucose molecules that are absorbed by our small intestine and transported throughout the body by the blood. All organs take their required amount of glucose from their respective blood supplies. The remainder of leftover glucose is taken to your liver.

Here, it is converted into a form that is easy to store. It converts this excess glucose into a substance called glycogen. When your body demands more glucose, the liver provides it by breaking down glycogen.

Next, let’s talk about fats. Our fats are digested to their finest form-fatty acids. These fatty acids are taken to the liver. The excess fatty acids are reconverted into fat and it is again transported in our blood, to be stored in our adipose tissue.

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What is adipose tissue?

What is adipose tissue?
© The Conversation

Have you noticed the layers on your tummy? The flabby arm fat must have caught your attention. This flab and excess fat-composed of your adipose tissue. You could call it the fat tissue. This fat that is stored in your adipose tissue serves as an energy reserve. And as an when your body requires more glucose, more than what your blood carries, these adipose tissues are summoned and the fat is reconverted to glucose and supplied to your organs.

Understood? You gotta. Because there’s more! This was about your carbohydrates. 

Coming to your proteins, They are digested to their smallest units called amino acids. These amino acids are absorbed by your gut and again, through our trusty blood vessels, are taken to your liver. Your liver converts them into proteins. The excess amino acids pass out through your urine. 

Now, in case the body falls short of the amount of glycogen that is needed to provide energy, it takes energy from your fatty acids mainly and also a little using your amino acids.

So, in the ketogenic diet, you are essentially creating a state of starvation in your body, where you don’t allow any carbohydrates to enter that’s like saying there is no glucose in the body. So, what does the body do? It starts to break down your glycogen. Once your glycogen store is exhausted, it summons your adipose tissue. Remember the arm flab we talked about? And that’s how this revolutionary diet helps in losing weight-more than losing weight, it helps in burning fat!

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What not to eat on a keto diet?

What not to eat on a keto diet?
© The Independent

While on the keto diet, you are expected to avoid carbohydrates, completely. That means no rice, no bread, no chapatis, no pasta, no fruits, too! You’re essentially left with the fat and protein portion of your diet to consume. Here’s a list of items that you can eat while following this diet:

  1. Butter
  2. Nut butter
  3. Eggs
  4. Meat-red and white
  5. Seafood like fish and shellfish
  6. Coconut oil
  7. Poultry
  8. Greek yogurt
  9. Cheese
  10. Cottage cheese
  11. Tofu
  12. Avocados
  13. Low carb vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and squash
  14. Olive oil
  15. Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, groundnuts, peanuts
  16. Seeds
  17. Berries! (Berries are low in carbohydrates but high in fiber)
  18. Cream
  19. Olives
  20. Black coffees and black teas
  21. Dark chocolate
  22. Cocoa powder

If you’re a non-vegetarian, it’s a lot easier, as your list of wholesome foods increases a lot. But if you have a tough mind, even as a vegetarian, you can pull through.

How to get into a ketogenic diet?

How to get into a ketogenic diet?
© Times of India

As a normal adult, our diets consist of carbs. A lot of carbs. Think of the last 10 meals you’ve eaten. Have they been without fruits, bread, rotis, rice, or sugar?

The funny thing about carbohydrates is, once you’re eating them, it’s really hard to get off of them. I wouldn’t use the word ‘addiction’ because of the stigma we associate it with, but yes, you do get used to them. Leaving carbohydrates completely is a huge task and requires a lot and a lot of determination.

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An easy way to ease into this is to gradually reduce your intake of carbs. The first step is to replace your processed carbohydrates with whole grains and complex carbs. In other words, replace your white bread with whole-grain bread and your all-purpose flour with whole wheat. Trade your morning cereal for some rolled oats. Along with this, reduce your sugar intake, a little more, each day.

Start with drinking unsweetened tea or coffee. Reduce your intake of desserts. And finally, you’ll find yourself not craving sugar. Some even start repelling it. Now that you’re here, slowly remove carbohydrates from one meal of the day, until there are no carbohydrates in your diet. You may or may not lose a lot of weight during this process of reducing your carb intake.

Another way is to take the plunge and go cold turkey on those carbohydrates. Hey, whatever works for you!

Sample diet plan for a keto diet

Sample diet plan for a keto diet
© Business Insider

Monday:

  • Breakfast- 2 egg omelet
  • Lunch-one cup boiled chicken
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad with a lemon dressing
  • Snacks-1/3rd cup almonds.

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast-2 boiled eggs
  • Lunch- 100 grams tofu roasted in olive oil
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad with lemon dressing. You can throw in some cottage cheese.
  • Snacks-10 cashews

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast-2 boiled eggs
  • Lunch-grilled chicken breast with pepper and butter
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad
  • Snacks-one dollop peanut butter

Thursday:

  • Breakfast-2 egg omelet
  • Lunch-zoodles(noodles made with zucchini) with mushrooms
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad
  • Snacks-mixed nuts( make your trail mix)

Friday:

  • Breakfast-2 boiled eggs
  • Lunch-cauliflower rice with tofu
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad
  • Snacks-one dollop almond butter

Saturday:

  • Breakfast-2 boiled eggs
  • Lunch-grilled fish with avocados
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad
  • Snacks-trail mix

Sunday:

  • Breakfast-2 boiled eggs
  • Lunch-fried prawns with roasted garlic
  • Dinner-low carb veggie salad
  • Snacks-trail mix

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Health Benefits of Doing Keto Diet

Health Benefits of Doing Keto Diet
© Ketofy
  1. Reduced appetite: You know how when you’re dieting, the most difficult thing to combat is excessive hunger! By reducing the carbohydrate intake, your hunger pangs also tend to reduce. So once you start replacing the carbs in your meal with fats or proteins, your overall calorie intake gradually decreases.
  2. Good for your brain: The ketones that are produced by fat breakdown don’t cause all harm. The only organ that can use it is your brain! So they serve as an additional source of energy for your brain.
  3. Reduced LDL: levels. LDL is your bad cholesterol. On the keto diet, the levels of your bad cholesterol are depleted.
  4. Lowering blood pressure: As the carbohydrate depletion causes depletion of electrolytes too, your sodium levels can drop and it is therefore good for hypertensives or those suffering from high blood pressure.
  5. Increased HDL levels: While reducing your bad cholesterol levels, low carb diets can also increase your good cholesterol. HDL is the good cholesterol in your body. This aids in improving your overall health.
  6. Rapid weight loss: The ketogenic diet is one of the fastest ways to lose inches and inches from your belly and arms if followed strictly. It particularly targets the fat around your belly!

Side Effects of Doing Keto Diet

Side Effects of Doing Keto Diet
© Diet Doctor

Since you are toying with your body’s natural digestion process, it does come with its side effects.

  1. Breath: Your breath is going to smell sweet. It is called acidotic or ketotic breath. When your body metabolizes too much fat, it breaks it down into these things called ketone bodies. They give rise to this acidotic breath and many other side effects.
  2. Fatigue
  3. Headache
  4. Irritability
  5. Brain fog
  6. Sugar cravings
  7. Nausea

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All the above side effects constitute ketotic fever. This is because of the ketone bodies that form when your body breaks down excess fat.

  1. You may suffer muscle loss: If you don’t consume adequate protein in your diet, you may suffer from muscle loss. The reason is simple. There isn’t enough glucose or fat to metabolize to meet your energy demands. The next thing your body reaches out for is protein. Your muscles? All protein.
  2. Risk of kidney stones: On the contrary, when you consume too much protein, it may be harmful too. Remember how I said the excess protein in your body is drained out by urine? For this to happen, the kidneys need to filter out the protein. An excessive protein turnover at the kidney can lead to the formation of kidney stones and cause kidney damage.
  3. The risk for diabetics: Since you’re cutting out your carbohydrate intake completely, your blood sugar levels will remain low and you can suffer from hypoglycemia. This is life-threatening for insulin-dependent diabetics. For such patients, I’d advise other alternatives to lose weight.
  4. Dehydration.
  5. Nutrient deficiencies
  6. Constipation
  7. Menstrual changes

Conclusion

Before starting a keto diet, however, I strongly recommend a consultation with your physician first. In case of any pre-existing health condition, you can choose to follow a low-carb instead of a no-carb diet. 

Taking everything into consideration, I feel the keto diet is for the strong-minded and iron-hearted. People, who eat to live? For them. If you’re like me and you live to eat, this might be just about the toughest thing ever. But with strong will power, there’s nothing you can’t do.

We hope this article helped you to know about Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Keto Diet. You may also want to see our guide on Health Benefits, Side Effects, Nutritional Value, and How To Maintain Hygiene In Intimate Area.

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