Ketogenic Diet Mistakes To Avoid As A Beginner
Thinking of starting a ketogenic diet? This high-fat, low-carb diet is all the rage, and Instagram is brimming with success stories about going keto.
So, what is ketoexactly?
Even celebrities have jumped on the keto bandwagon. From Kelly Ripa to Kourtney Kardashian, Hollywood stars gush about its body-transforming effects. Halle Berry is also a keto enthusiast, and she says the secret is training your body to burn fat by not feeding it any sugar.
Many people do see success in just a short period of time , but without a road map it can be difficult navigating the challenges that the keto diet presents. Learn more about the challenge here.
Though this diet plan seems new, its been around for nearly 100 years. It started as a natural way to treat epilepsy but fell out of favor soon after its discovery. According to Alix Turoff, R.D., new anti-seizure drugs were an easier and more effective way to treat the condition.
The ketogenic diet is distinct from the Atkins Diet in that it does entail counting calories, and it advocates for eating real food, not processed food. Still, the rules are strict, and its easy to fall out of ketosis if youre not following the principles to the letter.
Avoid these common keto mistakes to make your transition as smooth as possible.
Low Carb Can Improve Insulin Resistance
Theres plenty of evidence that limiting dietary carbohydrates helps lower insulin levels in most people. Low insulin levels help to move fat out of the liver and pancreas, allowing those organs to function more effectively, which improves insulin resistance.27
When calorie intake doesnt exceed your calorie needs, fat released from the liver and pancreas can be burned for fuel. When this fat is burned for fuel, ketone production increases because ketones are a by-product of the fat-burning process. And when fat in the liver and pancreas is reduced, insulin resistance improves.
This seems to be where the confusion about the role of dietary fat in reducing insulin resistance comes in. It is easy to mistake the outcome of this process higher ketone levels as the cause of reduced insulin resistance.
But increasing ketone levels by increasing dietary fat may not lead to improvements in insulin resistance if it means overshooting daily calorie needs. It isnt the presence of ketones that helps reduce fat in the liver and pancreas its lower levels of insulin.28
Quinoa And Other Grains
While loaded in nutrients, grains like quinoa and millet are too high to become a staple in your keto diet.
For example, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa packs 20 grams of carbs, only 2 of which are dietary fiber .
If you still want to include quinoa in your keto diet, consider it a garnish rather than a central part of your meal.
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Look for chocolate that has more than 70% cacao and is low in added sugar. Or opt for dark chocolate made especially for keto diets.
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The Remainder Of Calories Should Come From Fat
After calculating your protein and carb intake, subtract that number from your total daily calorie allowance.
To find the number of calories per macro:
- Protein = 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram
- Fats = 9 calories per gram
Fill in the rest of your calories from healthy fats.
If your macro goals are 100 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrates with a 1,500 daily calorie allowance, calculate the following to find fat:
- #1 100g protein x 4 = 400 calories
- #2 25g carbohydrates x 4 = 100 calories
- #3 1,500 = 1,000 calories
- #4 Fat intake = 1,000 / 9 = 111g of fat
This macro breakdown for 1,500 calories comes out to:
- 100 grams of protein
- 25 grams of carbohydrates
- 111 grams of fat
Using this approach helps several people conquer their weight loss plateaus and any mental fatigue that may occur from protein deficiencies.
Our Perfect Keto Macro Calculator can help you find your macro breakdown based on your own height, weight, age and goals!
Question 5 Of 1: How Do I Determine My Fat Goal
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The Fat Intake Spectrum For Keto: What Happens If You Undereat Or Overeat
Now that you know how much fat you need to eat and how to fit it all into your keto diet, you have one of the most critical pieces of your diet success figured out.
As you begin to implement these changes, however, youll notice that it is nearly impossible to hit your fat intake goals perfectly every day. In fact, throughout your keto diet, you will have days when you eat way too much fat and other days when you are not even close.
Fortunately, you dont have to be 100% exact with your fat intake to get the results you want. The only time youll have to make adjustments is when what you eat is significantly different from what is recommended above.
What does this mean exactly? Lets take a closer look at each side of the spectrum to find out.
What Is The Keto Diet Again
The real ketogenic diet requires you to get 80-90 percent of your calories from fat. You should also consume about one gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and limit carbs to 10-15 grams a day. Thats a huge shift from the average American diet, in which about half of all calories come from carbs.
Its still not clear exactly why the diet works to treat epilepsy, or why it seems to help with a variety of other neurological diseases, but it probably has something to do with the biochemical changes it produces inside the body.
Normally, your body runs on carbs. Breaking down complex strings of carbon and hydrogen into smaller molecules is how your body fuels everything from leg muscles to brain matter. This is why a perfectly healthy diet can contain so many carbsyou need them. You just need to get them in a complex form, like the carbs in whole grain bread, rather than in their simple form, like in sugar and starch.
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Other Macronutrients Are Important Too A Quick Note On Protein And Carbs
Protein is an essential part of every diet. Without eating enough, you will be more likely to lose muscle mass, and your overall health and wellbeing will suffer.
However, it is also important to keep your protein intake from getting too high or else you will impair your ability to get into and stay in ketosis while you are on the keto diet. Similar to fat, we must find a Goldilocks range of protein consumption .
Here are some suggestions to help you find your ideal daily protein intake:
- If youre sedentary, we suggest between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound of lean body mass.
- If youre active, we suggest between 0.8g and 1.0g protein per pound of lean body mass.
- If you lift weights, we suggest between 1.0g and 1.2g protein per pound of lean body mass.
When it comes to carb consumption, we typically recommend a carb limit of 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs. If you eat more than this, then it may take longer for you to enter and sustain deeper levels of ketosis. Once daily carb intake is above 50 grams, sustained ketosis will probably not occur unless that person exercises at high-intensities regularly or is severely restricting their calories.
How To Eat Enough Healthy Fat On Keto
Eating 60-70% of your calories from fat can seem daunting, especially if youre new to low-carb living. Should I be chugging olive oil straight from the bottle?
Hey, if that works for you, go for it. But here are some easier ways to ensure youre getting enough fat to hit your Keto macros:
- Eat eggs. Eggs are the perfect Keto foodabout 65% fat, 35% protein, 0% carbs, and highly nutrient-dense.
- Favor fatty cuts of meat. Ribeye, chuck roast, and lamb leg are solid Keto-friendly cuts. Dont slice off the fat!
- Veggies as a fat vehicle. Cook low-carb veggies in coconut oil or butterand use generous portions of olive oil as a salad dressing. As a bonus, youll absorb more vitamins with fat around.
- Take MCT oil. MCT oil is a coconut-derived fat that heads straight to your liver for ketone production. Start slow with this one , as larger amounts can have a laxative effect.
- Make fat bombs. Mmmfat bombs. Hard to believe theyre even Keto. Whip up these Keto Coconut-choc Fat Bombs and Keto Buckeye Fat Bombs, straight from the Carb Manager kitchen.
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Sweetened Yogurt Or Dairy
Natural yogurt and dairy products can vary in their carb content.
When adding dairy to your diet, steer clear of flavored or sweetened varieties, which will add to your carb count. This is especially common in flavored yogurt and cottage cheese.
Whole milk has 11 grams of carbs per cup . While you can enjoy it occasionally, know that unsweetened almond milk has just 3 grams of carbs in the same serving size, making it a more keto-friendly substitute .
Aim for plain full fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Strained varieties like Greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr are a good fit. For example, 1 tub of Greek yogurt has about 6 grams of carbs and 16 grams of protein .
Unsweetened coconut milk-based yogurts can also be a good option. Because theyre made from coconut milk, they generally have more fat and fewer carbs, around 16.5 grams of fat and 7.5 grams of carb per 3-ounce serving .
Be mindful of what you pair with these foods. Nuts, MCT or coconut oil, or unsweetened peanut butter can make this a filling keto-friendly snack, while granola or fruits can increase their carb count.
High Fat Low Carb Or Ketogenic Diet
- whole grains
It typically provides 3540% of calories from fat, including plenty of monounsaturated fat from olive oil.
Here are a few examples of suggested daily fat ranges for a Mediterranean diet, based on different calorie goals:
- 1,500 calories: about 5867 grams of fat per day
- 2,000 calories: about 7889 grams of fat per day
- 2,500 calories: about 97111 grams of fat per day
Summary: How much fat you eat per day should be based on the type of diet you follow and your calorie needs for weight loss or maintenance.
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The Role Of Protein In Ketosis
Protein is an important component necessary in every vital function of your body. Its built from amino acids that come from food.
Protein is required for several different actions in the body including:
- Regulation and function of the organs and tissues
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Required for healthy bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood
- Optimal enzyme and hormonal function
- Lowering blood pressure
- Regulate cholesterol
Restricting carbohydrates is one of the main elements of the ketogenic diet. But as mentioned above, our bodies need some glucose for certain functions of the body.
This means protein plays an even larger role for optimal health in people who follow a low-carb diet. When your body doesnt produce glucose from protein , it will start looking for other sources, like your muscles.
If you are just starting a low-carb, high-fat keto diet, keeping protein intake low can negatively affect your overall body composition, strength, and endurance.
Many people who consume too little protein on keto may fall prey to:
- Weight loss plateaus
In fact, several keto dieters have experienced significant improvements in overall health after increasing protein intake.
Now lets get into how much protein you should be eating on keto.
Aim For At Least 20 Grams Of Protein At Each Meal
Research has suggested that your body needs about 20-30 grams of protein at each meal to ensure that amino acids get incorporated into your muscles.14 Therefore, it may be best to spread out your protein intake evenly among two or three feedings rather than consuming most of it at one meal at least if you want to increase your muscle mass.
Can you eat too much protein in one meal? This is controversial, with surprisingly little research to answer the question. Two studies in 2009 showed that consuming 20 or 30 grams of protein at a meal maximally stimulate muscle growth.15
Adding more in a meal did not increase immediate muscle growth. Some have interpreted this to mean that anything above 30 grams in a single meal was wasted. However, this isnt what the studies showed.
Since there are other potential benefits to protein intake beyond immediate muscle synthesis, these studies dont prove that the extra protein is wasted.
In addition, how does eating just once or twice a day affect the way protein is used? Do low-carb diets change this? Since we dont have answers to these questions, at this time we dont recommend limiting protein to a maximum of 30 grams per meal.
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Calculating Your Personal Macros
The ketogenic diet is not a one size fits all and not everyone needs to eat 75% dietary fat. Most women, especially over 40, will see better weight loss results when they eat less dietary fat, prioritize protein and keep carbs to 20 grams a day. Before I discovered I was hypothyroid, I was able to lose weight using the net carb approach but after being severely hypothyroid that no longer worked for me and total carbs was best for me to lose weight.
In order to figure out the right amount of macros for your body, use this keto calculator from Maria Emmerich which I think is one of the best out there! In order or figure out your macros, you either have to have a body fat scan done by a professional or you can guess your body far using the graphic above looking for a similar body image of yourself.
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What Is The Keto Diet For Beginners
The ketogenic diet or keto diet aims to burn fat as the primary source of energy.
Because it is more readily available, the body prefers energy from carbohydrates. Only when there is no longer enough glucose does the body attack fat reserves.
After we are used to eating carbohydrates around the clock in Western society, many peoples bodies have unlearned to burn fat for energy.
Do you look forward most to side dishes like potatoes, pasta, or bread when you eat out and find it hard to say no to dessert?
Then youve come to the right place. This beginners guide explains step-by-step how your body regains the ability to burn fat through a ketogenic diet effectively.
How The Keto Diet For Beginners Works
The keto diet is a so-called low-carb healthy-fat or low-carb high-fat diet.
Accordingly, it reduces carbohydrates and maximizes healthy fats while keeping protein consumption moderate.
However, few people are aware that this composition lowers insulin, setting the hormonal course in the body to lose weight.
On the other hand, when you feed your body carbohydrates, it converts them into glucose. Consequently, blood sugar and the level of the storage hormone insulin rise.
As the name suggests, insulin has the task of storing excess glucose in the form of glycogen and fat.
As long as stored carbohydrates are present, the body uses them preferentially for energy production.
When glycogen stores are empty, the body must break down stored fat and convert it into ketones.
As soon as these fat energy bodies predominantly feed the energy supply, the metabolic state of ketosis is reached.
In contrast, insulin blocks the enzyme that breaks down body fat .
In light of this, researchers can now predict up to 75% of gains and losses in overweight individuals based on insulin levels .
However, it is not only carbohydrates that increase insulin levels.
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