In this ultimate keto guide for beginners article, you will learn everything you need to know about starting the ketogenic diet.
This includes what the keto diet is, the pros and cons of the keto diet, the health benefits, including weight loss, and much more. Stick around to find out more about the keto diet.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet/ keto diet is a low carb high-fat diet.
Healthy fats should comprise approximately 80% of your diet, and carb intake at about 5% on the ketogenic diet. The body will reach ketosis with this low carbohydrate intake leading to weight loss.
Ketosis is when the body goes into a metabolic state burning fat rather than glucose—resulting in weight loss and many other health benefits.
Here is a great video introduction to the Ketogenic Diet, for beginners.
Pros And Cons Of The Keto Diet
The Ketogenic diet/ keto diet has many benefits but also some downsides. Let’s find out what these are.
Pros Of The Keto Diet
- Health Benefits – Studies show the ketogenic diet can reduce the chance of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and many other health benefits that can be achieved on the keto diet.
- Lose Weight – Fat burning is the main reason why the keto diet is so popular; countless celebrities and health experts have recommended the keto diet for weight loss. The low-carb diet substitutes glucose from carb intake for body fat. Sugar cravings are also reduced on the keto diet.
- Improve Fatty Liver Disease – Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by too much fat in the liver. Reducing your net carbs through a low-carb diet (including keto diets) has improved and even reversed NAFLD.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure – Keto diets are the most efficient diets to lower high blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the key benefits of the keto diet, and as the body burns fat, high blood pressure should go down. A low-carb diet with plenty of olive oil will combat high blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels.
- Increased Energy – During ketosis, the liver turns fat into energy molecules that power the brain and other body parts, resulting in more energy.
- Combats Type 2 Diabetes – Studies have shown that the keto diet can improve sensitivity for insulin levels by 75%. Low-carb diets like the keto diet are also linked to reduced Hemoglobin A1C. Type 2 diabetes is linked to body weight, so a low-carb diet results in fat-burning. Helping reduce the chances of you having pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Cons Of The Keto Diet
- Keto Flu – Keto flu results from the body changing from burning glucose to fat. Keto flu symptoms include brain fog, headaches, weakness, mood swings, and tiredness. Symptoms are only for the first few weeks or days as your body adapts to your change in food intake.
- Not Suitable For Pregnant Women – Low-carb, high-fat diets are not recommended for pregnant women. Eating a reduced carb intake increases the chance of neural tube defects in babies by up to 89%.
- Bad Cholesterol Levels – LDL cholesterol has been shown to increase in some studies on the keto diet. Weight loss usually results in a decrease in bad cholesterol levels, so the findings came as a surprise.
- Kidney Stones – Kidney stones can occur on a ketogenic diet with a high protein intake. Almost 10% of children who were put on ketogenic diets developed kidney stones. No long-term studies have been done on a correlation between kidney stones in adults on the keto diet.
- Restrictive Eating – All diets are in some way restrictive on food intake. Indulging in some sugary sweets or birthday cake can take your body out of ketosis when you’re on the keto diet—making weight loss a bit harder.
Signs Your Body is in Ketosis
Your body will give many signs when it’s in ketosis on the keto diet. Some of the most obvious signs include;
- Keto Breath – Keto breath gives off a metallic taste and smell, with many comparing it to nail polish remover. As your ketone levels rise, acetone will form and be excreted through urine and your breath, giving off an unpleasant odor. On your keto journey, you will experience many side effects on this high-fat diet.
- Weight Loss – Weight loss is a side effect of the keto diet and the main reason so many people follow the keto lifestyle. Following a low-carb with high-fat and moderate protein keto diet plan will result in weight loss.
- Fatigue – Physical and mental fatigue is a sign you have reached ketosis. Brain fog is a temporary side effect and will subside, along with how you feel physically. Energetic and clear-minded should follow.
- Restless Nights – Unable to sleep or only being able to sleep for a short period of time are signs your body has reached ketosis. After the first week, you should be able to sleep much better.
- Thirst – Low-carb eating increases ketone levels resulting in your body rapidly losing water. Thirst during the keto diet is a sign that the body is reaching or is already in ketosis.
What You Can Eat On The Keto Diet
Knowing what you can eat on the keto diet is paramount to reap the benefits of a keto diet. Low-carb foods with high fat are the key to the ketogenic diet.
Keeping an eye on how much protein you have is also very important. Too much protein will reduce the ketone levels in your body.
Stick to the low-carb keto foods and drinks below without any processed foods on the keto diet.
- Low carb vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Olive oil
- Monk fruit
- Cocoa powder
- Dark chocolate
- Unsweetened coffee and tea
Types of Keto Diets
Different types of ketogenic diets can be followed.
In this keto diet guide for beginners, we will give a breakdown of the most popular ketogenic diets, and you can decide what will work best for you.
Standard Ketogenic Diet
The standard ketogenic diet is the most popular, particularly for beginners. Net carbs per day should be kept under 30 grams.
To get the most from this keto diet, 75% of your calorie intake should be from fat and 20% from protein, and your net carbs should make up about 5%.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The cyclical keto diet consists of a set number of days on the keto diet and then two days off. Keep your net carbs at a minimum. If you overindulge, it will be more difficult for you to reach ketosis. A good idea will be to track net carbs on your off days.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
The targeted keto diet best suits athletes or those participating in high-intensity workouts. 45 minutes before your workout, you can eat very few carbs to boost your energy levels.
How many carbs depends on each person and the level at which they will work out, but 25 grams is the standard total carbs allowed.
Lazy Keto Diet
The lazy keto diet is ideal for people who don’t want the hassle of counting calories, protein, and other measurements. Keeping your carbs below 50 grams daily should keep your body in ketosis. You will still be able to reap all the benefits of the keto diet, so good news if you want to lose weight.
Mediterranean Keto Diet
The Mediterranean keto diet emphasizes healthy fats.
Olive oil, fatty fish, and low carb ingredients with no processed foods are integral to this keto diet. Adding exercise to the Mediterranean keto diet will help you lose weight.
Ultimate Keto Guide For Beginners Recap
The keto diet is a beginner-friendly diet with proven results. The keto diet can help you lose body fat, improve heart health, reduce high blood pressure, lowers the chance of certain cancers, helps control insulin levels, increases energy, and many other health benefits.
Diabetics and those with other conditions should consult their doctor before starting the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet has been proven to be a much healthier weight-loss option than other popular diets, including the Atkins diet.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.