A ketogenic diet for beginners
A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively. It has many benefits for weight loss, health and performance, as shown in over 50 studies.
A keto diet can be especially useful for losing excess body fat without hunger, and for reversing type 2 diabetes.
What “keto” means
The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it allows the body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones.
This is an alternative fuel source for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar).
The liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain.
The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones.
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off.
This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.When the body produces ketones, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but nobody can fast forever
A keto diet, on the other hand, also results in ketosis and can be eaten indefinitely. It has many of the benefits of fasting – including weight loss – without having to fast.
What to eat on a keto diet
Here are typical foods to enjoy on a ketogenic diet. The numbers are net carbs, i.e. digestible carbs, per 100 grams.
To remain in ketosis, lower is generally better:
What’s the most important thing to do to reach ketosis? Avoid eating too many carbs. You’ll likely need to keep carb intake under 50 grams per day of net carbs, ideally below 20 grams. The fewer carbs, the more effective it appears to be for reaching ketosis, losing weight or reversing type 2 diabetes.
Counting carbs can be helpful at first. But if you stick to our recommended foods and recipesyou can stay keto even without counting.
Try to avoid
Here’s what you should avoid on a keto diet – foods containing a lot of carbs, sugar, and starch. This includes starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. These foods are very high in carbs.
The numbers are grams of net carbs per 100 grams, unless otherwise noted.
The food should primarily be high in fat, and only moderately high in protein, as excess protein can be converted to blood sugar in the body. Avoid low-fat diet products. A rough guideline is about 5% energy from carbohydrates (the fewer carbs, the more effective), 15-25% from protein, and around 75% from fat.
What to drink