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Keto 101: The Beginner’s Guide

What is the keto diet, and why is it so popular?

Despite its recent time in the spotlight, the ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s. Dr. Russel Wilder first used a keto diet to help treat epilepsy and seizures in children.

These days many people get on this low-carb, high-fat eating plan to lose weight, lower their blood sugar levels, and enjoy a slew of other amazing health benefits.

 

What is the Keto Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet.

Most people incorrectly assume keto is another high-protein diet like Atkins. But the real game-changer is the switch from a carb-dominated plate to one with higher fat.

Your daily calories on keto should come from:

- 70% to 75% fat

- 20% to 25% protein

- 5% to 10% carbs

Depending on your activity levels, your entire carbohydrate count for the day should stay between 20g and 50g. This breakdown closely resembles the daily macronutrient intake Dr. Wilder achieved success with.

But keto isn’t just about ditching carbs.

What is the Main Goal of Keto?

The whole point of the ketogenic diet is to reach the metabolic state of ketosis.

On the standard American diet, the bulk of your calories come from carbohydrates. So your body’s primary energy source is glucose (from digesting carbs). 

When you eat a high-fat, low-carb diet such as keto, your body switches from running on carbs to running on fat (aka ketones).

Ketones are an energy molecule produced once you reach ketosis. Being in ketosis is the official term for when your body uses ketones and fat for fuel instead of glucose.

Unlock level ketosis, and you get to soak up all the health benefits a keto diet offers.

 

How to Reach Ketosis and Bypass the Keto Flu

To reach this metabolic state, you have to shift your macronutrient intake to the right proportions (fewer carbs, more fat). You also have to stick with it until your body completes the transition.

For some people, ketosis can happen within a few days. Others may find the transition lasts several weeks and comes with uncomfortable side effects known as the keto flu.

Unlike the real flu, keto flu won’t give you a fever or runny nose, but you may experience headaches, nausea, constipation, brain fog, fatigue, and have trouble sleeping.

Whether you experience the keto flu and how bad it will be all depends on your current carb intake, electrolyte balance, and activity levels.

The more carbs in your system before ketosis, the more you’ll feel the effects of weaning off sugar during the keto flu.

Ketosis and Beyond

Tough out the keto flu, and you’ll eventually reach ketosis and feel incredible -- unlike most forms of dieting. Keto vets say they lose weight quickly and have more energy and mental clarity.

To stay in ketosis, experiment with your carb intake limit, always reach your protein goals, and choose healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado.

Now that you know more about it, would you ever consider trying a keto diet? Have you done so in the past?

Share your story with us in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear them.

ADD A COMMENT

  • MartyAnne Kowalski

    I’ve done Keto with a doctor twice — both times I lost 10 lbs in 10 days followed by losing 50 lbs over a longer period. The irony? I did it the second time with the son of the doctor who I did it with first. When not doing keto, I try to live a Whole30-Paleo life. My Whole 30 taught me some interesting things about me and certain foods. The biggest one, giving up sugar helped my chronic pain with fibromyalgia, and also improved my depression. I just don’t eat sugar anymore. Usually I turn to stevia, with some maple syrup, honey or molasses when I need a little sweetness. I’ve kept of the weight.

    When doing paleo rise bars fit my lifestyle. Nevertheless… I can’t wait for a rise bar that is Keto 3g carb without “net carb” calculations!