This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet.
But, if you’re like most people, you’re already finding it hard enough to keep track of all the different types of diets out there: Paleo, vegetarian, raw food, Mediterranean…
So, Do You Really Need Another Diet?
Although the ketogenic diet may be the new kid on the block, it’s definitely here to stay. This diet has some serious health benefits beyond just weight loss.
Metabolic flexibility is your body’s way of being able to switch back and forth between using carbs or fat for energy. It’s what all healthy human bodies should be able to do.
But if you’re overweight, insulin-resistant, or just unhealthy, it’s likely that you burn carbs well for energy but not fat. And that’s a problem because it makes you hungrier, more tired, and less able to lose weight.
A keto diet is all about making sure your body is burning fat instead of sugar or other carbohydrates. This powerful fat-burning mode is called ketosis, and it’s what makes the ketogenic diet so special.
We’ve put together a handy guide to the ketogenic diet below – what you can eat, the health benefits you’ll get, how to tell if keto is right for you, plus tips and recipes so you can get started today.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
So, first things first, here’s what you can expect to eat on a keto diet:
The basic principles: a moderate amount of protein, lots of fats, and very few carbohydrates.
- That means lots of non-starchy vegetables, meats, organ meats, seafood, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, avocados, olives, as well as healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil.
- And don’t worry, fellow caffeine addicts, coffee is allowed!
A “Paleo-Keto” approach combines two fantastic diets for maximum effect:
- No processed products, no soy, ideally no dairy, and no artificial sweeteners (except a little bit of stevia occasionally).
- Basically, just think of keto like a lower carb version of Paleo, and you’re on your way.
Worried about remembering all this? Print out this handy infographic and stick it on your fridge, problem solved!
5 Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
Now that you basically know what a keto diet is, here are five ways it can make you healthier:
- It can help you lose weight – a study found participants on the keto diet lost weight with no significant side effects.
- It can curb hunger and decrease cravings by affecting the hormones which influence appetite.
- It may help stabilize your mood as researchers found a ketogenic diet could act as an antidepressant in animals: making it good for your mind and your body.
- It can stabilize blood sugar levels, so you don’t have to live with sugar highs and crashes throughout the day.
- It can help you gain energy and get rid of brain fog so you feel more focused, motivated, and vibrant. Helping you be the best version of yourself!
IMPORTANT: Is Keto Right for You or Not?
Despite these great benefits, there are a few situations when keto may NOT be a great fit for you:
- If you have an autoimmune condition you’ll want to get that checked out first, as it can prevent you from getting all the benefits of keto.
- You’re just looking for a quick fix rather than learning about how to take lifelong care of your body with a healthy lifestyle.
- Be careful if you’re nursing or are taking insulin for diabetes as eating a ketogenic diet can lower your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll need to adjust the amount of insulin you take.
- If you’re an athlete in a very “sprint”-based sport, like CrossFit, Soccer, or power-lifting, then keto might not lead to the best performance results for your sport.
Most other people will be able to follow a keto diet without problems, although it’s always worth getting your doctor’s advice before starting any new diet.
How to Get Started on a Keto Diet
Even if keto is right for you, we all know the hardest part of any new health plan is getting started!
Here are 5 easy tips to help:
- Pick a stress-free week to start your diet, make sure you’re not traveling and don’t plan any meals in restaurants.
- Clear out all non-keto junk food in your house – it can’t tempt you if it’s not there!
- Plan your meals for the week and fill up your pantry with the things you need, so you don’t end up starving and being confused about what to eat.
- Eat unlimited protein/fat but under 25g of carbohydrates per day at least to begin with. Once you’re comfortable you can play with the ratios more.
- Recognize that the first few weeks will be tough. If you’ve been eating a pretty high carbohydrate diet for awhile, then that initial switch will be hard. Many people will get flu-like symptoms at first. Try to eat enough food, drink plenty of water, and take in sufficient salts.
And here are 3 great recipes to start with:
- Being keto doesn’t mean giving up your favorite meals. If you’re looking for dinner ideas try Kate’s hidden liver meatballs with spiralized zucchini noodles for a keto twist on a classic favorite.
- And dessert? Try Kate’s caramel apple pie fat bombs – they’re literally like eating healthy candy.
- And for more Keto recipes, check out my Keto cookbooks and meal plans here.
I hope this post has piqued your interest in keto and the amazing benefits it can bring into your life. And regardless of whether you try keto or not, make sure that you eat a nutrient-dense, real food diet and avoid too much unnecessary high-carb foods (even if it’s Paleo).
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