This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit and author of The Essential Keto Cookbook.
The Ketogenic diet is becoming more and more popular.
It’s been mentioned all over blogs and health-and-wellness sites – but it’s more than just the next diet fad. Keto is a diet with a long history (it’s been around since the 1920s) and some serious health benefits.
We’ll go over what the Ketogenic diet is, which foods to eat and avoid on the keto diet, and the ways it can benefit your health – plus, some tips for getting started.
What’s the Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet alters your body’s metabolism so that you burn more fat. Usually our bodies burn glucose from carbohydrates as their main source of energy, but the keto diet helps your body switch to burning mainly fat instead. This metabolic mode is called nutritional ketosis.
How does the keto diet work? Because you limit your carb intake on the keto diet, your body doesn’t have enough glucose to provide all the energy it needs. And so it starts burning fat instead. The fat is transported to your liver and broken down into energy-containing molecules called ketones, which your cells use as fuel instead of glucose.
Foods to Eat and Avoid on the Keto Diet
On the Keto Diet, you’ll eat a moderate amount of protein, plenty of healthy fats, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates.
I’ve listed the basics of what to eat and what to avoid below to give you an overview, but you can find a more complete run-through of Keto friendly foods here.
Foods to eat:
- Meats, organ meats, fish and shellfish
- Leaf greens like spinach and kale
- Ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and other healthy fats
- Moderate amounts of nuts, seeds and berries
Foods to avoid:
- Beans, lentils, garbanzo beans and other legumes
- Corn, millet, wheat, rice and other grains
- Sweet potatoes, squashes and other starchy vegetables
- Chips, crackers, cookies and other processed foods
In the end, even if you find Keto too hard to stick to, just eating real foods like Tiffany points out here is a fantastic starting point!
Go from there and experiment.
5 Ways Keto Can Benefit Your Health
Just cutting out junk foods from your diet can often do a lot for your health, but many people have found going that extra step and starting Keto helps them even more.
There are many health benefits to the keto diet, and we’ve rounded up just a few below:
- It can help you beat your sugar cravings by stabilizing your blood sugar levels – and swings in blood sugar are the reason behind many of our sudden sugar cravings.
- It can increase your energy levels and a lot of keto dieters also report feeling more alert, being able to focus more easily and finding it easier to concentrate.
- It decreases your appetite naturally and because of it’s effect on your hunger hormones, you’ll eat less without trying. In fact, a study showed that a low-carb diet led to lowered food intake even though the participants had the opportunity to eat as much as they wanted!
- It’s can help you lose weight, and there are tons of success stories out there showing just how effective the keto diet can be for weight loss.
- It could help you fight disease and although the diet was initially developed as a (highly effective) therapeutic treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s, it could potentially be used to reduce the symptoms of obesity, diabetes heart disease, PCOS, and cancer.
Easy Tips for getting started on Keto
Here are a few tips to get your keto diet off to a successful start:
1 – Pick the right week to start your diet and make sure it’s a week when you’re not ill, swamped with work deadlines, or traveling. Try and limit plans to eat dinner out when you first start, as that will make sticking with the diet a lot easier!
2 -Reduce your carbohydrate intake to under 25g per day, but don’t worry about the amount of protein/fat you’re consuming (at least in the beginning). Wait until you’ve adjusted to a lower carbohydrate intake and then start making changes with your protein/fat intake.
3 – Skipping one meal each day will simplify your life, as you’ll find yourself planning only two meals each day instead of three. Try skipping breakfast or dinner – most folks find that one of these works well for them, so try both and see what works for you.
4 – Clear out your kitchen and re-stock with keto-friendly foods: it might sound like a simple step to take, but it can really increase your chances of success! If your old foods aren’t in the kitchen, they can’t tempt you. And if you keep your fridge and pantry full of keto goodies, you’ll never be hungry and stressed because you have nothing to eat.
5 – Keep yourself accountable by sharing your goals with a partner or trusted friend. It’s been proven that doing so can increase your chances of success. And you can use the internet to help you stay accountable – by joining one of the keto support forums, facebook groups, or perhaps starting your own blog to document your journey.
If you’re looking for some simple keto recipes to help you get started, have a peek at our Keto cookbooks here.
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