What is The Ketogenic Diet

Your Complete Guide to Ketogenic Diet

New Year, new gym membership and the owners are usually rolling in money. Funny thing is… this gym membership does not last long. Jim Davis can attest to that because he created Garfield. That sure is one sassy, sarcastic cat that still manages to look regal while eating loads of carbs and fats.

One thing that most people don’t realize is that their decision to follow a diet usually comes from their idol. Open Snapchat and you will find celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Shay Mitchell doing intensive workouts, and let’s not forget Chris Pratt, the actor from “Parks and Recreation”, who made a spectacular and swoon worthy comeback in the “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

So, let’s start with the basics:

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Every year, around 40 diets are studied by specialists in diabetes and nutritionists and a list is compiled that ranks each diet. Ketogenic Diet falls in this list. They review weight loss statistics, human behavior and heart health to determine which diet shows the most promise. You will often hear people saying that a Ketogenic Diet is Atkins Diet on steroids. In simpler words, it’s a “low carb” diet that helps you lose weight faster by putting you in a state of ketosis.

The words “lose weight faster” have become synonymous with the word “diet”. Yes, some diets can be deceiving but what most people don’t understand is that throughout your diet plan, one thing should be constant and that is exercise. Even a short run around the block will fulfill your daily quota of exercising.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on how Ketogenic Diet works:

A Keto Diet involves low carb food items. Normal body function involves using sugar for energy, whereas in a Keto Diet, the Ketones in the liver are used as a source of energy. Typically, the body stores fat and uses insulin and sugar to function. With carbs out of the picture, the stored fat is utilized, which is what helps lose weight.

Here, the end goal is starvation of carbohydrates and not starvation of calories. When body burns the excess fats, it becomes accustomed to using it as an energy source. Hence, when you overload on fatty items, the body burns Ketones, which offers various health benefits such as weight loss, and improved mental and physical performance.

Fig 1.1 – A Keto Diet includes 30g carbs, 80g protein and 165g fats.

You can get your personal macros here at our keto macro calculator.

Ketogenic Diet for Beginners

Ketogenic diet ranges from a week to a month or more. It depends on what your end goal is – to lose weight or get a body detox. It’s time to walk the walk and not just talk. You can’t have cheat days on a diet or you will ruin the whole effect. Unlike those cheat diets, Ketogenic Diet requires discipline and self-control.

Ready for some tough love? Here we go:

Following are lists of food items, which you can and cannot eat in a Ketogenic Diet:

Foods You Can Eat

  • Vegetables: Spinach, Bok Choi, lettuce, collard, Kale, Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage and Brussels sprouts
  • Fruits: Avocados (a handful of berries occasionally)
  • Nuts and Seeds: Cashews, macadamia, walnuts, sunflower, almonds, pumpkin and sesame
  • Fats and Oils: Butter, peanut butter, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, cream cheese, heavy cream, almond oil and olive oil
  • Dairy Products: Greek yogurt, unprocessed cheese and sour cream
  • Fish: Salmon, haddock, mackerel, trout, sardines, catfish and tuna
  • Meat: Beef, bacon, turkey, goat, lamb, pork and chicken veal

Foods to Avoid

  • Sugary foods such as smoothies, ice cream, fruit juice, candy, etc
  • Legumes or beans
  • Starches or grains such as rice, cereal, pasta and wheat based products
  • Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc
  • Store bought sauces such as mayonnaise and vegetable oil
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar-free food items

A Ketogenic diet ranges from 2 to 3 meals a day. In case you get hungry in between meals, following are the food items you can snack on:

  • Unprocessed cheese with olives
  • 90% dark chocolate
  • A handful of seeds and nuts
  • Celery with homemade salsa
  • Leftover meals of fish
  • 1 hardboiled egg

How to Reach a State of Ketosis

As mentioned earlier, in order for the body to reach a state of Ketosis, it should use fats for energy. To reach this stage, here’s what you need to do:

Start Exercising – Ideally, around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise is recommended on a diet. However, you can start small by having a leisure walk on the street or a light jog in the park.

Start Fasting – Fasting is a fundamental ritual in many religions, and can help you get into a state of Ketosis faster. Have an early healthy breakfast and try to refrain from eating until the sun goes down. This two meal diet includes breakfast and dinner.

Restrict Your Carbohydrates – As we have already established, this is a no-carb diet. Try to keep the carb intake below 30g.

Stop Snacking – Though snacks have been mentioned above, try to avoid them as much as possible.

Restrict Protein Intake – Say your body fat percentage is 25%. According to this, you need around 82% protein and that is if you are lightly active. If your work involves sitting on a chair and typing all day long without getting even five minutes of exercise in your routine, the protein amount should be dropped lower.

Stop Limiting Fat Intake – Ketosis is all about fat intake, so don’t stop yourself from consuming food items that you usually think twice about. It’s about losing weight by reducing muscle mass and burning fats not starvation.

Drink water – Forget about 8 glasses a day. Drink as much water as you can and want.

Make Sure Your Menu Plan Includes This…

A low carb diet leads to the body retaining low levels of water. This flushes out sodium and other electrolytes from the body. Due to this, you can experience panic attacks, heart palpitations and other symptoms. This is the reason why you should EAT. ENOUGH. SALT.

Salted stock or bone broth are two great dishes to stock up on electrolytes. You can use regular household salt in the meals or magnesium, which helps with headaches, cramps and lightheadedness.

3 Meal Diet Plan

It can be hard to calculate calories when you are creating a diet meal plan. You might deceive yourself into believing that what you are choosing is best for the diet when, in fact, those food items will get you nowhere. The key to a diet plan is to choose the right meals, so that you don’t have a rocky start. When the first few days show results, you work harder to maintain the routine and that’s when you fully commit to the diet.

One of the things that most Ketogenic dieters are concerned about is total carbs and net carbs. Total carbs include fibers, which does not affect Ketosis. So you can either aim for 40g carbs or 15-20g net carbs.

Now that you know all the fine points of a Ketogenic Diet, you need to decide your weight loss goal. What is it that you are trying to achieve? Weight loss, maintained weight or muscle gain? Moreover, your weight loss also depends on your current weight, height and age. Here is an example of a simple and easy keto diet plan.