Health

8 Helpful Keto Diet Tips For Beginners

Diet plays a key role

Updated on August 16th, 2019

So, you decided to give the Keto diet a try? Great decision! Besides slimming, it will also cleanse your body from all the stored fat you don’t need.

Back in the 20s of the twentieth century, doctors came up to the conclusion that a low carb diet is ideal for stopping epileptic seizures in children [1]. Besides that, it’s known to help lower risk in diabetes, some cancers, and is ideal for weight loss and healthy lifestyle on the long run[2].

If you are new to this diet, here are 8 useful tips that will help you go through it easily.

1. Understand What Keto Really Means

You probably have heard about this diet from your friends or read about it online. But, please make sure you read as much about it as possible. Keto is a low carb diet. It does not exclude carbs, but it limits their intake.

Fats are the new carbs – this diet turns fats as the main ‘food’ for your brain[3][4]. Glucose feeds your brain (carbs and sugars), and fat is stored; keto turns towards fat burning while you restrict the carb intake.

Low carb meals mean more fats and proteins, but carbs are still included (up to 20%). The fewer carbs you eat, the more your body ‘seeks’ for an alternative energy source (fats). The best thing about this diet is that you will never feel hungry and you can follow it for as long as you want. This diet is an amazing way to see fast results; your body will burn fats constantly[5].

If you are serious about keto lifestyle then also check out this Detailed Beginners Guide to Keto Diet [Meal Plan Included]

2. Intermittent Fasting And Keto

Intermittent Fasting

Before you jump into intermittent fasting and combine it with the keto diet, please make sure you learn all about it. Intermittent fasting is nothing but a daily ratio in which you select hours of the day when you eat your meals. For example, you can have all meals within 8 hours; the rest of the day (16 hours) you don’t eat at all.

Combining Keto with Intermittent fasting is another way to let your body get in the state of ketosis faster[6][7]. Intermittent fasting might be a challenge for some people; for others, it’s a piece of cake. It is a great way to train your will. It’s more of a mind challenge.

It’s also important to pick the ratio that works best for you. There are a few IM ratios: 8:16, 10:12, 12:12 and the most challenging is 4:20. If you’re a woman prepare yourself before you try the last ratio (especially if you’re pregnant or have health issues). Besides, consult with your doctor before trying the 4:20 ratio (don’t fast more than once a week)[8].

Intermittent fasting will teach you to eat when you’re hungry. It is a supreme way to stay away from snacks and eat when you aren’t hungry. Finally, you don’t have to combine it with Keto at all. If you want to see if you can endure, try it out (it will put your body in ketosis much faster).

3. Keep Yourself Hydrated

You are probably listening to this (and read about it) on a daily basis. There is a reason why dietitians and doctors are vocal about it. Our bodies cannot function without water, but do you only drink when you feel thirsty?

Some people download an app to remind them to drink a glass of water every hour. When it comes to drinking water while eating Keto meals, you will realize that you feel thirstier than before. Don’t worry if you feel like you need to urinate more frequently. This is the first sign that you entered the state of ketosis.

The more you urinate, the more your body loses electrolytes. This is why it is crucial to drink plenty of water during the day [9]. Still, you might feel dehydrated. At the beginning (first couple of weeks) you might feel as if you can’t stop drinking water.

You might also feel mild headaches or pain in your muscles—just keep drinking water. In the end a glass of water before your meal will stop you from overeating (and improves your digestion).

4. Exercise More

Well, it is not mandatory to include some physical activity once you start following the Keto diet, but it will be beneficial for your general health and your body. Some people feel a bit tired once they start this diet, but it is only because their bodies are getting used to a new way of eating.

Although you might experience lower energy levels, please consider including some light physical activity[10][11]. As a beginner, you can start with simple walking, jogging or even short yoga sessions. Not only you will give yourself a little energy boost, but also you will help the body getting rid of the glycogen reserves much faster.

Choose to walk to work or school instead of driving or taking the bus. Don’t force yourself to do heavy exercises in the first couple of weeks (transitional period). Allow your body to adjust, but don’t test your limits[12][13].

You can do light exercises (yoga, stretching, Pilates) every other day. If you are new to Keto and intermittent fasting, let your body rest in the days when you fast[14]. Once you are in transition to a ketosis state, you will feel it. Now it is time to test your body with something more challenging (hiking, running, fitness).

5. Get Enough Rest

Incredible Reasons Why Every Girl Should Sleep Naked

Did you know that poor sleeping habits can lead to gain weight[15]? Now that you decided to follow this diet, it’s time to allow your body some good rest. Don’t bring a phone or other devices in bed, as the blue light affects your sleep. It will keep you awake for a long time.

Avoid sleeping in an extra heated room. Make sure the temperature is not higher than 20 degree Celsius. Create a regular sleep schedule if you already don’t have one. Decide when you go to bed and when you wake up and stick to it. This will help you develop a sleep habit after a little while.

Get your 8 hours, no matter how tricky it can. Having an uninterrupted sleep of 7-8 hours can benefit your entire immune system and help you lose weight[16]. Don’t be surprised if you feel tired once you start your Keto diet. Don’t avoid resting and sleeping because your body goes through a change now.

6. Fats Are The Key

According to Bodyketosis, fats are the most important part of this diet (apart from cutting the carbs). There are good and bad fats. Now let’s see what fats are suitable for a Keto beginner.

  • Olive oil: It smells and tastes great, and it’s far healthier for cooking. Use it for salads and sautéing.
  • Avocado: It contains fiber and good fatty acids (mono-unsaturated), and it is low in calories. You can use it for sandwiches, salads, guacamole dip, etc.[17]
  • Nuts: They are rich in unsaturated fats but avoid them if you are allergic. A handful of nuts can be your substitute for snacks, but you can also use them in the form of butter. Be careful, because nuts also have carbs.
    Avoid processed fats: Margarine, cream cheese (and cheese in general), fast food and junk food contains fat yet not beneficial or healthy.

7. Home Cooked Is The Way To Go

cooktop

Keto is impressive for many reasons, but mostly because slowly but surely, you’ll start enjoying home cooked meals. There is no way you will remain hungry; there are a plethora of Keto cookbooks (for vegans and vegetarians as well).

Pick the recipes that works best for your taste, budget and of course the length of cooking. Now it’s the time to make a meal plan; create weekly menus and store your meals for the next days.
I love Keto because it is not a diet that restricts any meal.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, salads and soups, it’s all on the menu. On top of that cooking at home will help you learn how to count your macros and always know the nutrition value of your meal.

8. What (Not) To Eat

Some people are confused before they start, not knowing exactly what foods are suitable and what aren’t:

Eat

  • Fish and seafood: Keto-friendly, rich in healthy fats and proteins.
  • Meat: Don’t eat it every day since it can slow down the ketosis process.
  • Vegetables: Anything that grows above the ground is good (leafy greens, asparagus, zucchini, eggplants, cabbage).
  • Berry Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.
  • Dairy products: Make sure you use high-fat dairy products.

Avoid

  • Condiments: Ketchup, sauces, and salad dressings may be delicious but are packed in sugars.
  • Sugar: Use it in minimal amounts.
  • Soda drinks: You will simply have to forget about them.
  • Breads, sweets, cakes: The amounts of carbs and sugars in these products will only ruin your state of ketosis.
  • Pasta, potatoes, rice: Rich in carbs, so not suitable at all.

About The Author

Alex Reed is editor in chief of Bodyketosis.com, an author, low-carb enthusiast and a recovering chubby guy who reclaimed his health using the ketogenic lifestyle. The need for the keto life began after his aunt and cousin were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he was next in line. Through personal experience and extensive scientific research, Alex offers insightful tips for everything keto.

References:

1. “Ketogenic Diet Abstracts” Epilepsy Foundation.

2. “A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

3. “Efficacy of ketogenic diet on body composition during resistance training in trained men: a randomized controlled trial” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

4. “Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

5. “Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

6. “Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

7. “Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

8. “INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR WOMEN – IS IT REALLY THAT BAD?” Anders Nedergaard.

9. “Metabolic Effects of the Very-Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Misunderstood “Villains” of Human Metabolism” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

10. “Ketogenic diets and physical performance” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

11. “The Three-Month Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Body Composition, Blood Parameters, and Performance Metrics in CrossFit Trainees: A Pilot Study” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

12. “Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel” ResearchGate.

13. “The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Exercise Metabolism and Physical Performance in Off-Road Cyclists” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

14. “Effects of fasted vs fed-state exercise on performance and post-exercise metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis” ResearchGate.

15. “Sleep and obesity” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

16. “Sleep and immune function” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

17. “A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.