This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit and author of The Essential Keto Cookbook.
The Christmas and New Year period can leave us all feeling… sluggish, tired and heavier than usual. That’s where the keto diet can help. It’s great for boosting your energy, getting rid of excess weight and helping you feel 100% healthy again. We’ll go over how to get started on a keto diet (the right way), as well as quickly recap what keto is and how it can benefit your health.
What Is Keto?
Here’s a brief 101 on what the keto diet is and where it comes from…
The purpose of the keto diet is to switch your body’s metabolism from burning carbohydrates/sugars for fuel to using fat instead – that metabolic state is called ketosis. And during ketosis, your body breaks down fat into molecules called ketones, which it uses as an energy source. The keto diet isn’t new. it’s been around since the 1920s when it was developed by doctors as a way of treating children with epilepsy. It’s still used for this purpose today in more than 45 countries worldwide.
The keto diet can boost your health and we’ll go over exactly how it can benefit your health in the last section of this article.
How to Start Keto Off Right
Here are seven tips to help you start a successful keto diet:
1 – Prepare your kitchen cupboards (+ collect some new recipes)
First things first: Clear the non-keto foods out of your kitchen. You’ll find it easier to stick to your diet if you don’t have them around to tempt you! The next step: Find some keto recipes you’d like to try and then restock your kitchen with the ingredients. You’ll find plenty of delicious recipes to enjoy right here on Tasteaholics, like this Skillet Berry Crumble. And, if you’re getting excited about all the new dishes you can make, you won’t miss the foods you’re eliminating so much.
2 – Prepare for keto flu
There’s no way around it when you first go keto… It kind of sucks for the first 3 – 7 days. That’s because it takes time for your body to adjust to burning ketones for fuel instead of carbohydrates. While it adapts, you might experience flu-like symptoms for up to a week. Get ready to take care of yourself: drink plenty of liquids, replenish your electrolytes and keep your schedule light. After you’ve made it through keto flu, your body will be keto-adapted and you’ll be able to experience the full benefits of ketosis.
3 – Start by eating unlimited protein/fat but staying under 25g of carbohydrates a day
This will make switching to a low-carb way of eating a lot easier! There’s no need to try and wrap your head around protein/fat ratios when you’re still getting to grips with eating low carb. Keep things simple to start with and just focus on how many carbs you’re eating. Then when you’re feeling more adjusted, try tweaking your protein/fat intake to help you reach ketosis.
4 – Focus on adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet
Folks often get really caught up on what they CAN’T eat on a keto diet and forget about adding new nutrient-dense foods! Try including some of these if you haven’t tried them before –
- Bone broth
- MCT oil
- Keto collagen
- Organ meats (like liver)
- Fermented foods (like kombucha and sauerkraut)
- Healthy fats (like avocado oil and coconut oil)
You’ll find plenty of keto recipes that use these ingredients, so don’t feel overwhelmed.
5 – Don’t get too hung up on your ketone levels
Focus on how you feel and the results you’re seeing. Are you losing weight? Are you feeling more alert and energetic? Then you can consider your keto diet a success, and you don’t need to worry about what your ketone levels are. If you’ve just started keto and you want an indicator that your diet is going well – consider using urine test strips as a quick and reliable way to check.
6 – Tell your friends/family before you begin
It’s been shown that sharing your goals can boost your chances of success. So tell your friends and family about your intention to start a keto diet! They can help support you and you might even find that some of them decide to join you.
7 – Remember to take care of yourself in other ways, too
If you’re looking to start your new year off right, you need to take care of yourself. That doesn’t just mean overhauling your diet – make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night, managing your stress levels, and taking time to exercise. Combine these with a keto diet and you’ll give yourself the best chance of supporting your health so that you’re looking and feeling great this year.
And if you’d like a more in-depth walkthrough to starting keto? Take a look at our guide full of practical strategies.
3 Health Benefits of a Keto Diet
Here are a few evidence-backed ways that a ketogenic diet could improve your health:
1 – Keto could help you lose weight… A study compared dieters on a low-carb diet similar to keto with others who followed a more conventional low-fat diet for weight loss. What did they find? The low-carb dieters lost more weight.
2 – Keto could help you manage your appetite… Researchers followed folks on a low-carb diet (similar to keto) who were allowed to eat as much as they wanted (no calorie or portion-size restrictions). What did they find? The dieters naturally decreased their food intake over time without making a conscious effort to do so.
3 – Keto could have other benefits… There are plenty of keto dieters who report feeling relief from anxiety and depression, having more energy and finding it easier to focus and concentrate. The research still needs to be done to support these with scientific findings, but you’ll certainly find lots of anecdotes and similar-sounding stories on keto forums.
A keto diet is a great tool you can use to boost your health this year – Especially if your aim is weight loss, increasing your focus/concentration or even just having more energy to do the things you love. But make sure you do keto the healthy way, by including nutrient-dense foods and avoiding low-carb junk foods (like diet sodas).
And take a little time to stop and consider if keto is the right diet for your lifestyle and if this is the right time to start.