If you’re considering taking the plunge into the faddish, low-carb way of eating, you’ll need to consider the basics worked out down to the last gram — to help you hit your weight loss goals correctly!
After all, keto isn’t just a quick-fix, fancy diet!
It is a metabolic shift meant to promote quick and lasting changes in your body to help you become less dependent on carbs and burn fats for energy instead!
So, here’s a few keto basics that everyone needs to know before kick-starting the low-carb lifestyle:
1. Eat The Right Types Of Fat
Fat doesn’t actually deserve its bad rap!
In fact, it can make you feel full faster since it takes longer to digest than other nutrients.
What’s more; as you slowly make the transition into the ‘Keto lifestyle’, you are training your body to utilize fats as its main source of energy.
As a result, between 70-80% of your daily caloric requirement should be fulfilled by fats!
But Beware: Not all fats are undeniably great for you.
While the saturated fats found in dairy and meat products are no longer the devils they were once assumed to me, many credible health organizations like the American Heart Association, suggest limiting your saturated fat intake to just 13 grams a day.
Most experts, however, recommend eating more monounsaturated fats that are mostly found in plant-based foods like avocados and olive oil.
Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble consuming enough fat, why not try fat-bombs or boosters like a handful of nuts or half an avocado?
2. Pay Close Attention To Your Net Carb Intake
Low carb intake is the key to ketosis, while the rest is just details.
Experts define the maximum carb limit as 35 grams in total and 25 grams as the net amount.
(Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the grams of the fiber from the total grams of carbs.)
So, keeping a close vigil at your carbs consumption will help you get into ketosis more quickly (as long as you consume the optimum amounts of protein — more on that coming up later).
Also, pay attention to nutritional information and the labels, and ensure that your net carb consumption is lesser than 25 grams per day.
Pro Tip: While keto cuts out most major sources of carbs, you should focus more on limiting processed carbs, such as crackers and cookies, while substituting the regular wheat flour with healthy almond flour and coconut flour for baking.
3. Pile On The Protein
Did you know that between 15-25% of your daily keto-calories should be derived from protein?
Too little, and your body starts cannibalizing your muscle tissues to fulfill its protein requirements, too much, and you may feel full enough to refrain from eating an adequate amount of fat to feel energetic.
So, remember you cannot just eat eggs and steak all day long while following a Ketogenic diet!
Nutritionists recommend keeping protein levels between 10 and 15 percent of total calories.
Pro Tip: To step up your fat intake while keeping your protein levels in control, make sure to incorporate foods that are high in fat but moderate in protein such as: coconut oil, olives, avocados, cheese, chia/flax seeds, and butter.
4. Track and Adjust Your Macros
If you can strictly follow those four rules, you can easily get into ketosis and start burning fat straight away!
But in order to make sure that you’re doing it successfully, it will be great to do some degree of tracking.
To begin with, figure out what your macros should be and then keep a close track at them for the next three weeks.
You can make use of an app like MyFitnessPal and input the number of foods you eat each day!
What’s more; always track your weight.
If it goes down, Kudos, you’re probably doing it right.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
On a general note, we all know drinking more water is good for health!
But, when you’re transitioning into the keto diet, you must know that drinking enough water becomes VITAL.
Let’s dive into some nitty-gritty of biochemistry for a better understanding (don’t worry, it’ll be painless).
Due to its diuretic nature, the Keto diet makes you lose more water weight as compared to a high carb diet.
Due to very low carb intake, your body quickly utilizes your stored carbohydrates or glycogen in the muscles.
And because glycogen keeps up a lot of water, your water levels drop off quite fast.
This is why many people experience the “keto flu” in the first few days of ketosis!
Pro Tip: As a general rule of thumb, drink about half your body weight in fluid ounces of water.
For instance, if you weigh around 175 lbs, then you should drink at least 90 fluid oz. of water.
6. Electrolytes: Keto To Maintaining Fluid Balance on Keto
The low-carb nature of the ketogenic diet does not only cut back on your carbs, but it also tweaks your body to produce lesser insulin and as a result body’s glycogen stores are depleted.
This means that your kidneys now go from retaining water to excreting more of it.
In fact, this is the reason why many of you experience a “whoosh” early on, which is basically the shedding of water weight resulting from the excretion of water.
While there is an obvious upside to it: that you end up looking better; but with this flush of water, many important minerals or electrolytes are also excreted which may lead to the much dreaded Keto Flu.
But worry no more, folks!
The following are the most important minerals that will help you balance and replenish your electrolytes while following the keto diet:
- Sodium – MOST IMPORTANT – 5000 – 7000mg dailyYou can replenish sodium by adding a pinch of salt to your water and food in addition to regularly drinking bone broth.
- Potassium – SECOND MOST IMPORTANT – 1000 – 3500mg dailyYou can replenish sodium by consuming more nuts, salmon, avocados, mushrooms, and leafy green veggies.
- Magnesium – Important source of energy, helpful in regulating blood sugar levels and supports your immune system.– 300 – 500mg dailyYou can replenish sodium by consuming spinach, Swiss chard, avocado and pumpkin seeds.