If you’re looking to improve your health, then the keto diet is one of the best places to start. Getting started with the ketogenic diet can be daunting but with this beginner’s guide is the perfect place to start. In this comprehensive post, I will walk you through the basics, providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to kickstart your journey to a healthier future.
Ketogenic Diet for Health
The ketogenic diet has become a popular choice for many due to its potential health benefits beyond weight loss1. By significantly reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fats, it helps improve metabolic health. This dietary approach enhances energy levels and mental clarity2. Furthermore, it aids in regulating blood sugar levels, making it an appealing option for those with diabetes or insulin resistance3.
Some individuals also turn to the ketogenic diet to support better cholesterol profiles and reduce inflammation4. Overall, the diet’s potential to positively impact various aspects of health makes it a compelling choice for many seeking a holistic approach to well-being
Understanding the Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat dietary approach, centres around shifting the body’s primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fats. By significantly reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing the consumption of healthy fats, the body enters a state known as nutritional ketosis. During ketosis, the liver produces ketones, which function as an alternative energy source for the body and brain.
Orthodox healthcare professionals may say that “glucose is the preferred fuel.” What they actually mean is that your body needs to process glucose first because excess glucose in the body can be toxic, leading to a condition known as diabetes.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) serves as the primary energy source for the body. Food that you eat contributes to the production of ATP for your body. If glucose was the preferred fuel, why is it that glucose will give you only 29 to 32 ATP, on average whilst fat gives you 129 ATP. Far more energy for the same effort. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel because who wants to work for less?
To achieve and maintain ketosis, you must closely follow specific macronutrient ratios. Typically, a standard ketogenic diet (SKD) involves consuming about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. These ratios might vary slightly based on individual needs and goals, like targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) or cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) variations.
Getting Started with the Ketogenic Diet
Getting started with the ketogenic diet doesn’t have to be difficult. To transition into a ketogenic diet successfully, careful planning and preparation are necessary. Here are some crucial steps to assist you in getting started:
Familiarise yourself with the principles and science underpinning the ketogenic diet. Understand how the body enters ketosis and the benefits it provides.
Calculate Macronutrient Needs
Utilise online calculators or seek guidance from a nutritionist (such as myself) to determine your personalised macronutrient requirements based on your goals, activity level, and body composition.
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Gradually decrease your carbohydrate intake, with a focus on eliminating processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-carb grains. Opt for low-carb vegetables, prioritise protein sources, and include healthy fats.
Increase Healthy Fats
Incorporate sources of healthy fats into your meals, such as butter, avocados, nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil. These fats will become your primary energy source in the absence of carbs.
Maintaining proper hydration is crucial during ketosis. Consume ample water and consider supplementing with electrolytes to ensure a balanced mineral intake.
Plan Your Meals
Prepare and plan your meals in advance to ensure you have a selection of keto-friendly options readily available. Emphasise whole, unprocessed foods and experiment with new recipes to keep your meals interesting.
Begin Your Transformation
By grasping the fundamentals of the ketogenic diet and following the steps outlined in this introductory guide, you possess the knowledge and tools necessary to embark on a successful keto journey. Keep in mind that consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is advisable before making significant dietary changes.
Need More Information?
Getting started on the ketogenic diet really is that straight forward. If you are ready to embark on a transformative keto journey, schedule a session with me to help you get started. If you’re unsure if keto is right for you, you can download my FREE one-page ketogenic diet cheat sheet. Begin your journey toward improved health today!
If you have complex health issues, it’s better to work with a professional nutritionist to reduce potential problems with medication and symptom management. You can reach out to me here to discuss how to work together – https://christinaoman.com/private-consultation/
- Zhou C, Wang M, Liang J, He G, Chen N. Ketogenic Diet Benefits to Weight Loss, Glycemic Control, and Lipid Profiles in Overweight Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trails. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 22;19(16):10429. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191610429. PMID: 36012064; PMCID: PMC9408028. ↩︎
- Dyńka D, Kowalcze K, Paziewska A. The Role of Ketogenic Diet in the Treatment of Neurological Diseases. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 24;14(23):5003. doi: 10.3390/nu14235003. PMID: 36501033; PMCID: PMC9739023. ↩︎
- Tinguely D, Gross J, Kosinski C. Efficacy of Ketogenic Diets on Type 2 Diabetes: a Systematic Review. Curr Diab Rep. 2021 Aug 27;21(9):32. doi: 10.1007/s11892-021-01399-z. PMID: 34448957; PMCID: PMC8397683 ↩︎
- Yuan X, Wang J, Yang S, Gao M, Cao L, Li X, Hong D, Tian S, Sun C. Effect of the ketogenic diet on glycemic control, insulin resistance, and lipid metabolism in patients with T2DM: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Diabetes. 2020 Nov 30;10(1):38. doi: 10.1038/s41387-020-00142-z. PMID: 33257645; PMCID: PMC7705738 ↩︎