Are you new to ketogenic eating or just want to find out what it’s all about? Then this keto diet plan for beginners is for you! Find out what it is, how it helps and what you can eat on the keto diet.
The Keto Diet (ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet. As a diet plan, it shares many of the same foods and drinks as the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets.
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What makes a Keto diet different is that it focuses on drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing those carbohydrates with fat. This drastic reduction in carbohydrates puts your body into a metabolic state that is called ketosis.
The point of going into ketosis is to help your body become efficient at burning fat for energy. While this is happening, your body turns the fat into ketones in the liver, supplying energy to the brain. A cautionary note: ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. So while this can be a good thing for some people, it can cause problems for other people.
Why Go Keto?
There are a number of reasons why one would want to try this keto diet plan for beginners. In most cases, it is to lose weight. In some cases, a person is medically supervised and use the ketogenic diet as part of a treatment plan.
- Weight Loss
Due to lowered insulin levels and the body’s ability to burn stored fat, those who adhere to the diet find that they lose weight more quickly than with conventional diets.
- Cancer Prevention
There are medical studies, such as those conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, that are showing good results with the ketogenic diet being an effective treatment for cancer.
- Lower Cholesterol
A modified ketogenic diet, what might be called a moderately low-carb diet, is beneficial for healthy adults who are at risk for metabolic syndrome, those struggling with losing weight or controlling levels of blood sugar.
- Improve Cognitive Function
Ketogenic diets are being used to help treat Alzheimer’s symptoms and those on the diet have shown a reduction in those symptoms and improved cognitive function.
- Reduced Seizures in Epileptics
The Epilepsy Foundation endorses the ketogenic diet because it has been shown to help control seizures in some people with epilepsy. Doctors usually recommend the ketogenic diet for children whose seizures have not responded to several different seizure medicines.
The ketogenic diet is more than just a low-carb/high-fat diet to lose weight. It is being studied and used now as a part of the treatment of many different diseases.
How the Keto Diet Plan for Beginners Works
It’s all about ketosis.
Attaining it and maintaining it.
First, the Keto Diet is similar to many low-carb, high-fat diets. But, there is a difference. That difference is the intentional reduction of carbohydrates to the point of putting your body into ketosis. No other low-carb, high-fat diet does this.
Ketosis is a normal process that the body does every day, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. Your body processes different types of nutrients into the fuels that it needs. Proteins, fats, and carbs are all processed for use. The ketogenic diet, which is a low carb, high fat diet, ramps up this process.
When in ketosis, your body is in a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy comes from ketone bodies in the blood. Ketones are molecules that occur when your body burns fat as an energy source.
This is in contrast to a glycolysis state where blood glucose provides most of the energy. So this means your body is burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Why does this happen? Our bodies normally run on glucose for energy. We can’t create glucose and only store 24 hours-worth in our muscles and liver. Once this glucose is no longer available, we begin to burn stored fat. The ketogenic diet, therefore, eliminates glucose and causes the body to burn stored fat.
What Can One Eat on the Keto Diet Plan for Beginners?
The Keto Diet is low-carb, high fat, high protein and these elements are eaten daily in these amounts: at least 65% of your food intake is from fat. This leaves you with about 30% proteins and the last 5% can be an additional 5% of fat or 5% of dark green low carb vegetables like dandelion leaves, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.
Understanding what can and cannot be eaten is vital to making the keto diet work as a weight loss diet.
Macronutrient, and tracking the intake of those nutrients, becomes part of the process of attaining and maintaining ketosis.
Macronutrients are the largest class of nutrients the body requires for energy. They include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. When we refer to “macros,” we are referring to these major nutrients. Since “macros” means large, macronutrients are those nutrients we need in large amounts.
There are three major macronutrients important to health and energy:
- Healthy Fats
Remember, the Keto Diet is low-carb, not no-carb. So there will be carbohydrates in the daily food that is eaten, just a much lower number than the average person eats. And, to replace the lost carbs there is an increase in protein and fat intake. This is why monitoring and tracking macronutrients each day helps to achieve success while on the keto diet.
What Can You Eat On A Keto Diet?
The key to a keto diet is to build ketones. And, the key to building ketones is a mixture of fasting and a diet with at least 65% of your food intake being from fat. This leaves you with about 30% proteins and the last 5% can be an additional 5% of fat or 5% of dark green low carb vegetables like dandelion leaves, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.
The diet has a strict 5% carbohydrate allowance. In general, you can eat from the following food groups: Fats and Oils, Protein, Vegetables and Fruits, Dairy products, Nuts and Seeds, Water and Beverages.
Starting a new diet isn’t easy, especially when you need to eat specific foods and stay from other types of foods. This ketogenic diet food list should help you be able to make decisions about what you are eating and shopping for.
Fats and Oils.
Try to get your fat from natural sources like meat and nuts. Supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil. Here are some to choose from:
- Fatty Fish
- Animal Fat (non-hydrogenated)
- Egg Yolks
- Macadamia/Brazil Nuts
- Coconut Butter
- Cocoa Butter
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- MCT Oil
Remember that too much protein on a ketogenic diet is not a good thing. Choose from the following:
- Fish. Anything that is caught wild like catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, snapper, trout, and tuna. Fattier fish is better.
- Shellfish. Clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels, and squid.
- Whole Eggs. You can prepare them in many different ways like fried, deviled, boiled, poached, and scrambled.
- Beef. Ground beef, steak, roasts, and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Pork. Ground pork, pork loin, pork chops, tenderloin, and ham. Watch out for added sugars and try to stick with fattier cuts.
- Poultry. Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game.
- Offal/Organ. Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins/nutrients.
- Other Meat. Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and other wild game. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Bacon and Sausage. Check labels for anything cured in sugar, or if it contains extra fillers. Donít be overly concerned with nitrates.
- Nut Butter. Go for natural, unsweetened nuts
Vegetables and Fruits
- Nightshades. This includes tomato, eggplant, and peppers.
- Root Vegetables. This includes onion, parsnip, garlic, mushrooms, and squash.
- Berries. This includes raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
- Citrus. This includes lemon, lime, and orange juice (or zest) in water and in recipes.
- Completely avoid starchy vegetables and large fruits like potatoes and bananas.
- Greek yogurt
- Heavy whipping cream
- Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- Spreadable items including cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, crËme fraiche, etc.
- Soft Cheese including mozzarella, brie, blue, Colby, Monterey jack, etc.
- Hard Cheese including aged cheddar, parmesan, feta, Swiss, etc.
Nuts and Seeds
- Fatty, low carbohydrate nuts. Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans can be consumed with meals to supplement fat.
- Fatty, moderate carbohydrate nuts. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts can be used in moderation to supplement for texture or flavor.
- Higher carbohydrate nuts. Pistachios and cashews should rarely be eaten or avoided as theyíre very high in carbohydrates
Water and Beverages
- Water. This will be your staple, go-to source for hydration. You can drink tap, bottled or sparkling water.
- Broth. Loaded with vitamins and nutrients. More importantly, it will kick start your energy by replenishing your electrolytes.
- Coffee. Improves mental focus and has some added weight loss benefits.
- Tea. Has the same effect as coffee. Try to stick with black or green.
- Coconut/Almond milk. You can use the unsweetened versions in the carton from the store to replace your favorite dairy beverage.
- Diet soda. Try to severely reduce or completely stop drinking this. It can lead to sugar cravings and sometimes insulin spikes in the long run.
- Flavoring. The small packets that are flavored with sucralose or stevia are fine. You can alternatively add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange to your water bottle.
- Alcohol. Choose hard liquor. More beer and wine will be too high carb to consume. Frequent consumption of alcohol will slow weight loss down
Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet
If you are uncertain about any products or food items that might not be keto friendly here is a list of things that you should always be on the lookout for and avoid:
- Sugar. It’s typically found in soda, juice, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. Avoid sugar at all costs.
- Grains. Any wheat products, pasta, cereal, cakes, pastries, rice, corn, and beer should be avoided. This includes whole grains like wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.
- Starch. Avoid vegetables like potatoes and yams and other things like oats, muesli, etc. Some root vegetables are okay in moderation ñ be sure to read the section on vegetables.
- Trans Fats. Margarine or any other spreadable replacement butter should be avoided as they contain hydrogenated fats.
- Fruit. Avoid any large fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas as they’re extremely high in sugar. Some berries can be consumed in moderation ñ be sure to read the section on fruits.
- Low-fat foods. These tend to be much higher in carbs and sugar than full-fat versions. Make sure you read the package.
A meal plan for a day could look like this:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked any way with yolks. Sausage containing no carbs or sugar. Bacon.
- Lunch: Chicken with as much skin and oily gooey bits as possible. Steamed spinach or broccoli.
- Supper: Steak with cheese. Fried mushrooms. Leafy green salad.
- Before bed 1 glass of wine with a slice of cheese.
Or like this:
- Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with fried mushrooms, cheese, and chopped parsley.
- Lunch: A whole duck breast if you can get it or chicken again with as much fatty skin as possible. Leafy green salad.
- Supper: Hamburger made with high-fat mince without the bun. The mince can contain the usual paprika, chopped onions, and garlic if you like, but absolutely no syrup or sugar. Add cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and any other leafy low-carb greens you like.
- Before bed 1 glass of wine with a slice of cheese.
It will be difficult to change your eating habits, at first, but following the keto diet plan for beginners with meals like those listed above it won’t be long before you enjoy eating a ketogenic diet.
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