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Beginners guide to Keto diet

What is keto diet?

The keto diet (short for ketogenic) is a very low carb, high- fat and moderate protein diet that turns your body into a fat burning machine.

This involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

Ketosis causes the body to produce small fuel molecules called ketones, which your body uses as an alternate source of energy when your blood sugar is in short supply. [1]

So, when you eat very few carbs or very few calories, your liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain. [2]

The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose. So on a Keto diet, liver undergoes gluconeogenesis, which means “making new glucose.” In this process, the liver creates glucose for the brain to use. It manufactures the glucose using amino acids, the building blocks of protein. [3]

On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, becoming incredibly efficient in burning fat for energy. [3]

This is great for weight loss and also numerous other health benefits. [4,5]

Here is a detailed beginner’s guide to the keto diet :

Keto restricts your intake of sugar and starchy foods, like pasta and bread. Instead, you’ll eat delicious real food with selective protein, healthy fats, and vegetables for nutrients.

ACTIVeat Keto Diet plan contains everything you need – what to eat, what to avoid, and exactly how to do it.

Can Keto diet help you lose weight?

Yes, a ketogenic diet can help you lose much more weight than a low-fat diet. This often happens without hunger. [10,11,12]

A keto diet is an eating plan that focuses on foods that provide a lot of healthful fats, adequate amounts of protein, and very few carbohydrates. The goal is to get more calories from fat than from carbs.

The diet works by depleting the body of its sugar reserves. As a result, it will start to break down fat for energy. This results in the production of ketones that the body uses for fuel. When the body burns fats, it can also lead to weight loss.

Several studies show that a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease. [14,15,16,17,18,19].

It has been proven to be a superior weight loss diet :

Increased protein intake which provides numerous health benefits [20]

Increased ketones [21]

Improved Good cholesterol levels [22]

Lowered blood sugar [23]

Improved insulin sensitivity [24]

Along with using your body fat as an energy source, keto diet can also help : Increase mental focus : Ketones are a great source of fuel for the brain Lower carb intake helps reduce sugar spikes improving focus and concentration Increased Energy & Normalized Hunger : A better and reliable source of energy, making you feel more energized. Fat makes you feel fuller naturally for longer, reducing hunger pangs.

Other health benefits of keto

Besides weight loss, studies have now shown that the diet can have a wide variety of health :

  • Diabetes : A ketogenic diet can help you lose excess fat and boost insulin sensitivity, which is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. [25, 26]. One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% [27]. Additionally, 95.2% of the ketogenic group were also able to stop or reduce diabetes medication, compared to 62% in the higher-carb group. [28]
  • Heart disease: The ketogenic diet can improve risk factors like body fat, HDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar [29]
  • Alzheimer’s disease: The keto diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression [30]
  • Epilepsy: Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause massive reductions in seizures in epileptic children [31]
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in PCOS. [32]
  • Acne: High carb and sugary diet almost always causes skin lesions and inflammations to break out on the face. Keto always improves your skin. Lower insulin levels and eating less sugar or processed foods may help improve acne [33]

Please note, that more research is still being conducted in these areas.

What to eat and what to avoid on a keto diet ?

Rule of thumb : To reach ketosis. Avoid eating too many carbs.

Foods to Eat

Here is list of foods you should base most of the meals of the day around :

  • Meats and fish : Chicken, fish, lamb and eggs.
  • Eggs : Omega-3 whole eggs.
  • High fat dairy : Butter and cream
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Healthy oils: Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Avocados: Whole avocados or freshly made guacamole.
  • Low-carb veggies: Spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Sweeteners : Stevia and erythritol
  • Condiments: You can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices.

Too complicated? Get fully personalized and curated Keto meals delivered right to your doorstep. Sign up for your ACTIveat keto meal plan!  

Let ACTIVeat’s team of nutritionists recommend a keto based on your dietary restrictions and food preferences.

Foods to Avoid :

Here is a list of what you should avoid on a keto diet. Any foods with high carbs, both sugary and starchy kinds should be reduced or eliminated.

  • High sugar foods: Chocolates, cake, ice cream, candy
  • Sugar : White sugar, jaggery, honey, agave, maple syrup
  • Grains : Wheat, corn, rice, pasta, cereal
  • Fruit: Apples, bananas, oranges, exceptions include small portions of berries
  • Beans : Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Root vegetables : Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
  • Products labelled as low fat : These are highly processed and often high in carbs.
  • Sauces and Jams: These often contain sugar and unhealthy fats like mayo, pasta sauce

  • Sugar-free diet foods: These are often high in sugar alcohols, which can affect ketone levels in some cases. These foods also tend to be highly processed.
Counting calories and carbs can be helpful at first. But if you stick to our recommended meal plan, you can stay on keto without even counting.

What about drinks ?

  • Alcohol: Due to their carb content, many alcoholic beverages can throw you out of ketosis. Your liver first metabolizes alcohol first, then ketosis. Ocassional drinks are alright, but we do not recommend regular alcohol consumption as a part of keto diet
  • Water is the perfect drink
  • Coffee or tea : Ideally, use no sweeteners, especially sugar and no milk.
  • Avoid lattes
  • Sodas, fruit juices and smoothies should be avoided as well
 Who should NOT be on a keto diet

Although it is considered safe for short term weight loss purposes. Some groups should always be cautious. Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before starting the Keto diet if :

  • You are diabetic and are on medications like insulin
  • If you are a heart patient and take medication for high blood pressure
  • If you are pregnant or are currently breastfeeding
  • If you have any eating disorders
  • If you suffer from kidney disease or pancreatitis

Risks and complications of Keto diet

Although the Keto diet has numerous health benefits. Staying on ketogenic diet can have an increased risk of the following health problems :

  • Fat build up in liver
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Kidney stones

Make sure you consult your medical profession regarding any of these conditions.

Keto flu : These symptoms are especially common at the beginning of the diet as your body adapts to its new energy source. This is usually over within a few days.

These may include :

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue : Poor energy and mental function
  • Low blood sugar
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Increased hunger and Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased exercise performance

How can you minimize these symptoms ? 
You can start with a regular low carb diet for the first few days. So your body can adapt to burning fat before you eliminate carbs completely.

Drink lime water with salt and also take vitamin and mineral supplements to balance out the water and mineral changes that you might experience

Avoid too much calorie restriction initially and eat until you’re full. Usually, a ketogenic diet causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction.

Conclusion

A ketogenic diet is great for weight loss and also for people with diabetes. It also has various other health benefits.

It may not be suitable for certain people with underlying health conditions or elite athletes and those who wish to build large muscles and/or gain weight.

Key Takeaways :

Restrict your carbohydrates and proteins : Try to stay below 25g of total carbs per day. And eat between 0.8 g and 1 g proteins per pound lean body mass Do not starve yourself : Eat enough fat, as it is the primary source of energy on keto. You will not lose weight with calorie restriction on keto. Drink plenty of water : Staying hydrated will reduce hunger and regulate vital body functions. Avoid snacking between meals : Fewer insulin spikes can stabilize the progress. Fasting can be a great tool to boost ketone levels consistently throughout the day Exercise : Get the most out of your keto diet by adding 20-30 minutes of exercise a day.  Even just a small walk can help regulate weight loss and blood sugar levels.