There are so many different diet plans around today that it’s overwhelming trying to decide on the technique you should use when looking to lose weight and improve your health. Even though there are dozens of diet options, keto is a popular plan that has experts around the world talking, and that’s why we decided to put together this keto diet guide for beginners.
Keto isn’t for everyone, but this dieting technique can generate very impressive results for some. The whole idea behind the keto diet is to change how your body burns energy so that it burns fat rather than glycogen. This results in increased fat loss and other health benefits. Learn more about the keto diet below and decide if it’s the right option for you.
The Keto Diet in Simplest Terms
Put simply, the keto diet is eating more fat and fewer carbohydrates. Doing this helps change the way your body generates the energy it needs to function. The standard ketogenic diet follows this eating formula:
- 75% calories from fat
- 20% calories from protein
- 5% calories from carbohydrates
Anyone following the keto diet will consume most of their calories by eating meats like fish and chicken, nut butters like almond and peanut butter, full-fat dairy products, fatty foods like avocados and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, greens, peppers and mushrooms. Eggs are also very common to the keto diet and often a staple of it.
The Benefits of a Keto Diet
One of the main reasons people read through a keto diet guide for beginners is because they’ve heard about many different benefits of the keto diet.
The most sought-after benefit of a ketogenic diet is its ability to help people lose weight, and it does so in a few different ways. The first is by putting the body in ketosis, which has the body burn up fat stores for energy instead of glycogen (sugar created by breaking down protein and carbohydrates). This state helps increase weight loss and may help promote weight loss without as much muscle loss.
The second benefit of the diet plan for fat loss is that people that follow it feel full for longer. That means they don’t have to count calories while on the diet as long as they have enough fat and protein and keep carb levels low. They will be too full to consume too many calories and should effectively lose weight over time while on the diet.
In recent studies the keto diet was found to be much more effective than low-fat or starvation diets for long-term weight loss. Many patients were able to lose more than twice as much weight while on the keto diet, resulting in some pretty dramatic loss increases over time.
For people looking to meet their weight loss goals through a simple diet change without counting calories or looking too closely at the different foods they consume, the keto diet is an excellent option. It’s simple to follow, can really help increase weight loss success and leads to some impressive results over time when followed properly.
Diabetes is a harmful disease that occurs when the body isn’t able to regulate blood sugar levels through natural insulin production any longer. It’s linked to obesity and high sugar or carb eating patterns over time for the development of Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes.
The keto diet has been shown to help regulate diabetes and decrease the risk for those with prediabetes to develop the disease. Following the keto diet can improve your insulin sensitivity by as much as 75%, which means that your body needs to produce less insulin in order to regulate blood sugar levels. This is a good start toward preventing or regulating diabetes.
The keto diet is also an excellent weight-loss tool, and lowering your body weight can help with managing or reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Following a keto diet even enabled some patients to stop using diabetes medications in order to manage their blood sugar levels, which is a nice quality of life improvement for anyone with diabetes.
Someone suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, or anyone with prediabetes could benefit by reading through a keto diet guide for beginners. The diet isn’t a magic cure for diabetes, but it can help reduce the problem or even get rid of it entirely for some people. It’s certainly worth a try if you’re looking for a way to improve the quality of your life with diabetes.
Reduce Heart Disease Risks
There are many risk factors that can lead to heart disease development over time. Minimizing those factors is the key to staving off heart diseases. A keto diet can help prevent the following risks:
- High HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure levels
- High body fat levels
- Increased blood sugar levels
Fight off Other Health Conditions
The keto diet is being used as a treatment for many of the following health conditions as well:
Cancer – Could help slow down tumour growth.
Epilepsy – Research shows a keto diet can lower the occurrence of seizures.
Acne – May help acne by lowering insulin levels and by lowering sugar intake.
Parkinson’s – Thought to help reduce symptoms.
Alzheimer’s – Can help reduce symptoms of the disease or even slow down progression.
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Keto-Friendly Foods and Foods to Avoid
Getting to know the common foods that you should be eating and the ones that you should stay away from is one of the first steps you should take when switching to a keto diet. That’s why our keto diet guide for beginners looks at these things in detail. Use the below guidelines as a basic guide to what you should and shouldn’t be eating for success with keto.
Foods to Focus On
By really trying to eat the foods on the list below you’ll help ensure that you remain in ketosis as much as possible and you’ll make it easier to stick with a keto diet as well.
- Cheese – Look for unprocessed options most of all, such as blue, mozzarella and goat
- Good Oils – Really focus on getting in virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and other healthy oils in your diet.
- Avocados – This is one of the best high-fat healthy foods to put into your diet.
- Carefully Selected Condiments – Feel free to use salt, most herbs and spices, pepper and other non-carb condiments. Avoid ketchup, barbecue and many other sauces with carbs and sugars.
- Eggs – Eggs are an excellent source of fat and protein.
- Meat – Good meat is a stable of the keto diet. You can eat turkey, bacon, chicken, red meat, ham, sausage and most other meats without worry.
- Cream and Butter – Feel free to add butter to your dishes and to use cream on your foods without worry.
- Seeds and Nuts – Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, and many others are excellent keto staples
Foods to Avoid
Following a keto diet doesn’t just mean eating healthy foods most of the time, it also means avoiding some healthy foods that are too rich in carbohydrates. Some of the items on the list below may surprise you, but you have to keep this in mind when deciding what to eat if you want to follow a keto diet.
- Alcoholic Beverages – They’re high in carbs and can pull you out of ketosis.
- Root vegetables or tubers – Things like potatoes, parsnips and sweet potatoes are high in carbs.
- Grains – Wheat products, pasta and rice are loaded with carbs.
- Sugar-free foods – These are rarely healthy and loaded with sugar alcohols normally
- Legumes or Beans – Avoid chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas and others in this category
- Fruit – Avoid all fruit types other than small amounts of berries
- Poor Quality Fats – Steer clear of mayonnaise, processed vegetable oils
An Example Keto Eating Plan
There are literally hundreds of different keto meal plans available today, many of them completely free to purchase. Below is an overview of a single day following a keto diet. If you plan on eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in a given day you will likely follow an eating plan like the one outlined below.
Sautéed greens – Spinach and kale sautéed in butter and topped with garlic and spices for flavour.
Eggs – Two fried eggs prepared in olive oil and topped with pepper and salt.
Salmon burgers – A keto salmon burger prepared without the use of carbohydrates such as bread crumbs. The burger can be put on lettuce instead of a bun to prevent the unnecessary carbs.
Pesto topping – Create a homemade pesto sauce, or use a store-bought pesto as the topping for the salmon for added flavour.
Broccoli or Cauliflower Rice – Serve with steamed broccoli florets or a cauliflower rice side made with butter and spices.
Meatballs – Prepare the meatballs with spices and seasoning, but avoid bread crumbs when putting them together. Consider using pork rinds, or almond meal instead to maintain the same texture in your meatballs.
Keto-friendly sauce – Use a low carb red sauce or marinara sauce.
Zucchini Noodles – Top a bed of zucchini noodles with the meatballs and sauce to complete the meal.
Follow a daily diet plan like the one above and you’ll keep your carbohydrate levels low while enjoying many of the benefits that a keto diet has to offer you.
It’s important to note, that although following a keto diet has its benefits and can be very effective when you are looking to lose body fat, it’s still vitally important you work out all your calories and make sure you are eating in a deficit.
It doesn’t matter what diet strategy you follow if you are still overeating. Check out my guide on working out how many calories you should be eating to lose fat.
So What Are The Drawbacks?
Following a keto diet can be beneficial for many reasons. However, nothing is perfect and there are certainly some downsides to it. Below is a small list of some of the downsides you could potentially experience.
- Nutrient Deficiencies caused by having to exclude whole foods like grains and fruits for example
- Side effects such as headaches, brain fog, constipation and nausea. These are usually brought on when changing from a diet rich in carbs to a diet with barely any. They will disappear once your body adapts to this new way of eating though.
- A lack of variety can also be an issue. When cutting carbs and following a high-fat diet, your food choices will be cut right down. This can make it very hard to stick to a diet of this nature long term.
- It’s common that you will consume much less fibre on a keto diet. This can cause gut health issues and constipation. It’s vital to take a high fibre supplement to combat this.
Many of these drawbacks can be overcome with good planning and added supplementation. It’s incredibly important to have everything planned out if you want to be successful and maintain a diet of this nature in the long term
Please also seek advice from your doctor before making drastic dietary changes.
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Hi, I’m David and I believe absolutely anyone can achieve the body of their dreams. I’m a qualified health and fitness coach and have been helping clients achieve their dream bodies for 15 years. Whether you are looking to get beach body ready, compete in a bodybuilding show or simply to improve your confidence and wellbeing, I can help.