Top 7 Beginner Keto Tips: Making Your Transition to Keto a Success
Starting the ketogenic diet can be a bit overwhelming, especially with all the information and myths floating around. However, it can be a seamless and enjoyable journey with the right tips. Here are the top 7 beginner keto tips to help you avoid common mistakes and set yourself up for success:
1. Keep fats lower at first
In the early stages of starting a ketogenic diet, it’s important to keep fat intake lower as the body takes time to adjust to using fats as its primary fuel source. Overconsumption of fat can also lead to digestive issues, as the body may not have the proper bile production to digest fats effectively. During the first week, it is recommended to follow a macronutrient ratio of 50% fat, 40% protein, and 10% fiber-rich carbohydrates.
2. Don’t stress over ketone levels
Ketone levels do not directly equal fat loss. Instead, weight loss occurs as the body uses its own fat stores to produce ketones. It’s essential to focus on overall progress and not solely on ketone levels.
3. Don’t fear protein
Protein will not kick you out of ketosis. Unlike carbohydrates, protein does not cause significant spikes in insulin levels, which helps you maintain a state of ketosis and optimize fat loss. Protein also helps to support the body’s rebuilding and repairing process, which is especially important for individuals who engage in physical activity or exercise regularly. Additionally, protein helps keep you full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating and maintaining a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss.
4. Don’t be afraid of salt
Salt is important to consume while following a ketogenic diet, especially when starting out, as it plays a crucial role in replenishing electrolytes and preventing dehydration. During the process of ketosis, the body excretes more salt, and thus it is essential to restock these electrolytes. Salt helps maintain fluid balance in the body, regulates blood pressure, and supports muscle and nerve function.
Additionally, low salt intake can lead to symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and muscle cramps, which can be mistaken for the side effects of keto flu. To avoid these symptoms, it is recommended to increase your salt intake. This will help replenish the electrolytes lost through increased urination and sweat.
It is important to note that not all salts are created equal, and it is recommended to opt for high-quality, unrefined salts over processed table salt.
5. Diversity of foods and macronutrients matter
Eating a diverse and wide variety of keto-friendly foods is important for ensuring adequate intake of essential micronutrients. Studies have also shown that after 6 months on a proper ketogenic diet, there is an increase in the diversity of gut bacteria, promoting overall gut health. Additionally, consuming enough fiber is important for allowing the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are beneficial for gut health.
How you may ask? Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are a type of fatty acid that is produced by gut bacteria when they ferment fiber from the foods we eat. The production of SCFAs is beneficial for gut health for several reasons. Firstly, SCFAs are an important source of energy for the cells lining the colon, and their production helps maintain the health of the gut barrier. Secondly, SCFAs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. Additionally, SCFAs have been demonstrated to have a restorative effect on gut bacteria, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing the abundance of harmful bacteria.
6. Commit to keto for at least a few months
Committing to the ketogenic diet for several months is imperative for achieving maximum benefits as it takes time for the body to fully adapt to utilizing fats as the primary source of fuel. The process of transitioning from primarily burning glucose for energy to burning ketones, produced from the breakdown of fats, is called “fat adaptation.”
The fat adaptation process usually takes anywhere from 2 to 3 months and is characterized by an increased ability to produce and utilize ketones efficiently.
During the initial stages of following a ketogenic diet, the body needs time to adjust to the new metabolism and to start producing the necessary enzymes and hormones to effectively process and burn fats. Additionally, it takes time for the gut microbiome to adjust and to produce an optimal level of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), necessary for proper digestion. If a person starts cycling on and off keto frequently during this adaptation period, they may never reach a state of full-fat adaptation, which can limit the benefits they experience from the diet.
7. Do NOT schedule your cheat meals
Scheduling cheat meals can create an emotional attachment to the idea of cheating, leading to feelings of guilt and failure. Instead, it’s recommended to view food as simply fuel for the body and not assign any moral values to it. If a craving for non-ketogenic food arises, it can be satisfied in moderation without feeling the need for a designated cheat meal. It is also important to note that these days, many of the “cheat foods” we think of can now be found or made with keto-approved ingredients. Including keto cheesecake, chips, ice creams, and cookies. While these should still be enjoyed in moderation and considered a treat, there are ample options to enjoy without ever having to fall off the keto wagon.
In conclusion, starting a ketogenic diet can seem overwhelming but with these top 7 beginner tips, you’ll be off to a great start! Remember to take it slow with the fats, focus on a diverse range of foods and micronutrients, and don’t stress over your ketone levels. Embrace the power of protein, allow yourself a big pinch of salt, and most importantly, be patient. The fat adaptation process takes time but committing to the keto diet for a few months will allow you to experience the full range of its benefits, including improved gut health and weight loss. So, why wait? Get started on your ketogenic journey today and see the positive changes in your body and health!