We post a lot of recipes on our website that are keto friendly. But often we get the question: how do you actually start on keto?
We noticed this question usually comes from a place of unknowingness and overwhelm. When you just found out about keto and do your research, you find a lot of information about this topic. You will discover words like: ‘ketosis’, ‘ketones’, ‘low carb’, ‘high fat’, ‘intermittent fasting’, and so on.
So to give you some guidance, we listed down the 4 main things you need to know before you go keto.
1. UnderstandING mAcronutrients
Before you start your journey on keto as a newbie, you need to learn about nutritional labels and the ingredients that are in the products you buy.
When you read the label on the back of a product, check for Carbohydrates, Fat, Sugar, Protein and Dietary Fibers. Then you check for the ingredients, because there are some that are not keto friendly, for example: vegetable oil (canola, cottonseed, corn, soy): most of them are GMO (genetically modified). Check what type of sugar or additive the product has (dextrose, malto dextrose, aspartame, cane sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc) and avoid those products as much as possible.
There are 3 macronutrients you need to take into account before you decide to buy a certain product.
Carbohydrates are divided in two: unrefined carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates.
Unrefined carbohydrates are carbs that haven’t been processed (vegetables and salad). Refined carbohydrates are carbs that have been processed into a certain product (bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, flour, wheat, rice, crackers, candies, ice cream, biscuits, fries, waffles, etc)
When you eat unrefined carbohydrates, it won’t spike the levels of the glucose and insuline in your body because of the amount of fibers, but when you eat refined carbohydrates it spikes too much the levels of glucose in your body and then the pancreas has to produce a lot of insuline to reduce that glucose.
The amount of carbohydrates that you should consume is around 20-30 grams in a day, but if you’re consuming 40-50 grams of carbohydrates per day your body will run on glucose instead on ketones. If you want your body run on ketones you want to limit the amount of carbohydrates as much as possible like 10-20 grams of carbohydrates per day to get into ketosis (the process where your body uses fat, other known as ketones, as fuel instead of glucose).
Note that when you calculate the amount of carbs, you need to count the amount of NET CARBS. You can calculate this to subtract the fiber from the total number of carbs. (carbs – fiber = net carbs)
Fat is the main macronutrient that you will consume a lot of on the ketogenic diet. And no, FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. This is a conception that has been made up and indoctrinated into the society which is false. In fact, how much fat you eat will determine whether you achieve your goals or struggle to get the scale moving. The amount of fat that you eat should be between 100- 200 grams per day. This also depends on the caloriegoals you have:
Different calorie goals: 1,500 calories: About 83–125 grams of fat per day. 2,000 calories: About 111–167 grams of fat per day. 2,500 calories: About 139–208 grams of fat per day.
The question is, How much amount of protein do we need on KETO and how much on INTERMITTENT FASTING? First of all the body recycles its own tissue at a rate of 100-300 grams per day. Our body doesn’t store protein like fat and glucose. The body can make 14 of the 22 amino acids per day. If you have high cortisol (high levels of stress) your body could be breaking down protein too fast causing catabolic effect. If you have insuline resistance, your body is preventing the absorption of protein. The amount of protein that is recommendable is 3-6 ounces per meal. If you consume a high amount of protein, the body can convert part of that protein into glucose. However by doing intermittent fasting and lowering your carbs, you can increase the growth hormone and stimulate autophagy, thus reducing the need of protein.
2. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
What can’t be measured cannot be managed. In other words, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
Too be successful with keto you will have to take into account some numbers. As we explained before, you will have to keep track of the amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein you consume. If you struggle to go into ketosis, it might be because the amount of carbs that you eat is still too much.
There are 3 ways to measure if you’re in ketosis:
- An easy way to find out if you’re in ketosis is to use ketosis test strips, which indicate the amount of ketones in your urine. In about 15 seconds, you will have the result.
- The second option can be breath testing with a keto breath testing device . Keto Breath Testing is a far more accurate method than urine strips testing, also more convenient because you only need to breathe with the digital ketone meter. The ketone meter result will be slightly different from the blood testing because of using different ketone testing methods
- If you want a more advanced result you can measure your blood with a keto blood testing device. It test both ketones and glucose for measuring ketosis and GKI (glucose ketone index).
Lastly, if you decided to go keto to lose weight, which to us, is the last benefit of going keto, you will need to track how much cm/inches you lose around your waist. Yes, inches/centimeters, no pounds or kilos. Tracking your weight on a scale is a bad indicator because you might be holding water or even gained muscle, which makes the number on the scale go up, and beats down your moral. So throw out the scale and get a measuring tape. Another good indicator to measure your progress are simply your clothes: if they start to feel more lose, you’ll probably lost some inches/centimeters.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Although we have a bunch of delicious recipes, some may take some more time then others to make. When you’re short on time, prepare easy recipes like the 90 second keto bread or the easy stuffed chicken.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you don’t have to. You can also just combine different foods from the keto food list. There are foods on that list that you don’t even need to cook. Think of a salad with canned tuna, toss in some nuts, some strawberries, avocado and then top it of with a ketofriendly dressing and you have yourself a healthy keto meal.
Another way to not spend too much time in your kitchen everyday is to mealprep: choose one day to prepare different keto meals for different days. Store them into some food containers and put them in the fridge or freezer. So you spend 1 day on preparing your whole week of meals, ready for you to eat.
If you don’t like to eat food that is older than 2 days, make extra for dinner, so you have another meal for lunch the day after.
We hear the excuse of ‘I don’t have the time to eat healthy’ too much, and it takes little time to prepare a salad or just grab a meal you prepared before out of the fridge or freezer and heat it up.
4. GOING KETO IS A LIFESTYLE NOT A DIET
I read this phrase somewhere: ‘Keto is like marriage, it doesn’t work if you cheat’. And this is so true.
A lot of people go keto for the main reason to lose weight. So they start doing keto, and they lose some weight. Then they go back to their previous lifestyle of eating carbs and little fat. Which results in weight gain. Then they go back on keto for a few weeks, and this cycle goes on and on.
Also, to get into a state of ketosis you need to eat keto for a longer period of time. The minute you cheat too much, you raise your insuline levels because you provide glucose from carbs to your body, which your body will use as fuel instead of ketones.
Going keto is not a quick fix diet, yes you can lose a substantial amout of weight, but it shouldn’t be your main goal. Your main goals should be to have more energy, better focus, better sleep, better heart health, less to no sweet cravings, lower blood pressure, a healthy liver, and a reduced insuline level.
Now that you have the knowledgde to start, you can put everything you learned into practice. Every start is hard, but making little changes everyday, is what leads to success.
Always consult a professional before making any health changes.