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Before starting the Keto Diet you may have questions. Questions about how to start, what to eat, how does it work, what is the keto flu and so on? Get the keto diet facts.
There is a lot of information on keto online and it's easy to get bogged down and maybe lose the motivation to actually start the keto diet.
So take a look at some of the popular questions about the keto diet.
Get your answers and get started today!
Let me know if you don't see all of your questions and I will answer or research and get back to you.
How to Start the Keto Diet?
Clear your cupboards of starchy and processed food and snacks. It's important to not have carbohydrates to tempt you when you start the keto diet. Get rid of the high salt, flour, and sugar-based processed foods that we all have in our pantries. Your body will thank you.
Create a meal plan for the week. Focus on healthy foods. Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, berries, etc. Cut out sugar and flour and starch-based foods. To help you get started, I put together a 7-Day Meal Plan and Grocery List.
After the first week sign up to have keto diet meal plans and recipes sent to your phone by Tasteaholics.com. These meal plans will have all your nutrition and macronutrients worked out so you can focus on losing weight.
Purchase keto foods for the week. Having the food you need for your meals will help keep you going.
Make a batch of bone broth to help manage electrolytes and symptoms of the keto flu. I have a Bone Broth recipe if you need one.
Whip up a batch of fat bombs and store them in the freezer. Fat bombs help manage cravings and also help minimize symptoms of the keto flu as your body adapts to burning fat for fuel. It's important to have these nutrient-packed sugar-free bonbons available when you need them. Need recipes? Check out 100 Sweet and Savory Fat Bombs Cookbook.
Keto Diet Tips for Beginners
Make a plan so you are successful. As part of the plan mentally prepare for the change in eating that you will need to make to commit to the keto diet. Plan each day, week, month, and your diet and exercise until you reach your goal weight.
Having a plan increases the likelihood of your success. Check out this article on the importance of having a plan for weight loss.
Decide how you will start the keto diet. Will you start cold turkey one day, or gradually ease into it by eliminating certain starchy foods over a couple of weeks?
To simplify meal planning and stay on track after the first week you should think about having weekly meal plans delivered to your inbox each week.
Finally, check out my post, Keto Diet Tools for Success. Many of these are items you may already have but take a look to make sure you are ready. Look for my secret keto recipe ingredient too!
It's Time to Get Motivated and Get Started
What Are the Best Keto Diet Foods
Focus on fats including butter, coconut, olive, and avocado oils, ghee, bacon fat, whipping cream, etc.
Purchase full-fat options of cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese. Skip the fat-free and low-fat product options.
Protein should include fattier cuts of beef, dark meat chicken, salmon, fish, and seafood. Limit protein serving sizes to 4 oz or less per meal. A good limit is 0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Carbohydrates should focus on plant-based, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits. Important because of the low carb count but also because they will add fiber to your diet.
Beverages should include water, tea, coffee, bone broth, and other non-sugared drinks. Water can get boring so add lemon, lime, sliced cucumbers, or berries to add flavor.
Purchase a good quality cold-pressed coconut oil.
For more details on the Best Keto Diet Foods, check out my posts on:
What are Macros? How do I track them?
Macros or macronutrients are the food groups that include proteins, fat, and carbohydrates that we eat every day.
Macros on keto are restricted to 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 75% carbohydrates for your daily food intake.
The most important macro to track is carbohydrates. If you keep track of nothing else, you must keep an eye on the grams of carbohydrates you eat during the day.
Track macros in a diet journal or on the MyFitnessPal phone app. See my article on Keto Diet Foods to see how to use MyFitnessPal on the keto diet.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is simply the metabolic condition when your body is burning fat for fuel rather than glucose. This is what you want on the keto diet. But: getting there your body has to adapt from using glucose for energy and it takes some time to make the change.
One way to know you are in ketosis is to test for ketones in your urine. As your body burns fat, it produces ketones as a byproduct.
Testing is most effective during the first month of the keto diet. Test strips dipped in your urine stream will tell you if your body is excreting the ketones your body produces from burning fat.
Symptoms of ketosis include dry mouth, thirst, keto breath, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, increased trips to the loo, rapid weight loss, and more.
Read 7 Symptoms to Know You Are in Ketosis for more information on Ketosis.
What is the Keto Flu and How Do I Avoid It?
The keto flu is the reaction that some people get as their body is restricted from carbohydrates and is transitioning to burning fat for fuel.
Some of the flu symptoms are a result of dehydration as your body releases stored glycogen and attached water. With the water goes electrolytes and things become imbalanced. The flu symptoms are how your body reacts to this imbalance.
Think of how you feel when you have a stomach bug. Weak, headaches, etc. Once you start to eat and drink again, you feel a whole lot better. It's the same with the keto flu.
To avoid a bad case of the keto flu, stay hydrated, replace electrolytes, make sure you eat enough, and focus on adding extra fat to your diet. Finally, rest.
The symptoms will pass you will soon realize you are clear-headed and feel energetic on the keto diet.
How to Stay Motivated on the Keto Diet?
Tracking your progress will help you celebrate weight loss milestones and keep you motivated. My post on Hubby Starts the Keto Diet details his approach to staying motivated on the diet.
Planning your meals ahead of time with keto-specific recipes and grocery shopping lists will simplify the process and make it easier to stay on the diet and keep losing weight.
Striving for a variety of foods within the target macro percentages is important.
Weigh at least once each week.
Take your measurements to track inch loss in addition to changes on the scale.
Take a photo once a week.
Review weight loss, inch loss, and changes in appearance.
Set mini-goals with rewards. Non-food rewards are best. A new shirt, make-up, a round of golf. Whatever would feel like a reward for a job well done.
Calories and the Keto Diet. Do I Need to Track Calories?
Initially, you will not need to keep track of daily calories, but you should track your carbohydrate intake. Ideally, you will also track your fat and protein.
After a time your weight loss may plateau.
You may need to determine how many calories you are eating during the day. In addition, determining the number of calories you need to consume for the weight you are aiming for is important.
If your calories on the keto diet are close to the maintenance calories of the weight you are aiming for then your weight loss may stall and you may need to take 10% off your current macros.
Keto Diet and Exercise
During the first few weeks of the keto diet, it is best to take it easy. After you are fat-adapted you will start to have increased energy and well-being. This is the time to add in exercise.
If you didn't exercise prior to starting the keto diet, then adding a brisk daily walk may be enough to help keep your weight loss on track.
If you need more than a daily walk for exercise, consider adding programs such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. Great at burning fat, HIIT does not require long hours at the gym or special equipment.
Can I Bake My Favorite Brownies or Cookies on the Keto Diet?
There are a lot of recipes for the keto diet, including baking treats that are keto-friendly. To be keto-friendly means that there is no sugar and starchy flour is replaced with substitute flour.
But, you have to remember that these replacements are similar but have different characteristics and flavors than table sugar and wheat flour. You need to learn how to use these substitutes in your favorite recipes.
For a sugar substitute, I recommend a blend of erythritol and a natural sweetener. My favorite right now is Swerve.
Erythritol provides the bulk of sugar and the natural sweetener helps it be sweet like table sugar. There are several blend options available. I suggest starting small until you find the sugar substitute that you like best. Read Best Sugar Substitutes for the Keto Diet for more.
On the Keto Diet, you should also keep almond flour and coconut flour on hand. Again, they do not act exactly like wheat flour so you have to learn how to work with them.
Where Do I Find the Best Keto Diet Recipes?
Start with checking out my Keto Diet recipes.
There are some Keto Diet Bloggers with great recipes. Some that you might want to check out are:
I also reviewed Top Rated Keto Diet Cookbooks. These cookbooks will help you learn to cook keto-friendly and most will include nutrition for their recipes that will help you track your macros.
What Are Net Carbs?
Total carbohydrates include all types of carbohydrates in food. For the keto diet, we focus on "net" carbs.
Net grams of carbohydrates are tallied by subtracting fiber grams listed for food from total carbs. You can find this information on the food label on prepared foods or look it up on the USDA Food Composition Database.
Fiber is not generally counted because it does not have any impact on blood glucose. This is because it is not metabolized in the body.
When I list carbohydrate limits of 20-25grams, I mean "net" carbohydrates.
How Do I Count Carbs in Sugar Alcohols?
Small amounts of sugar alcohols, less than 5 grams, have minimal impact on blood sugar.
If a food portion has less than 5 grams of sugar alcohol then subtract the entire grams of sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
If the food portion has more than 5 grams, then divide the grams of sugar alcohol in half and subtract from total carbohydrates.
How Do I Plan My Weekly Meals?
This is a little more tricky than you might initially expect.
You know what your daily macro limits are, but those are daily limits, not broken down by meal.
It's a good idea to first count the carbs you are planning for your meals, then add protein, and fill in with fat.
Adding fat to your meals is important for the keto diet. You will probably not eat enough fat to equal 75% of your daily calories, but you should definitely add fat to your meals with fatty cuts of meat, oils, sauces, nuts, etc.
Tricky but it can be done. Having keto recipes will often provide the nutrition information and that will make planning your meals and tracking your macros easier.
If this sounds like too much trouble, consider signing up for weekly emails from Tastaholics. They will email you weekly with recipes and meal plans that will make the Keto Diet simple.
Will The Keto Diet Raise My Lipid Levels?
Even though the diet is focused on fat, most people on the keto diet will have lipids that stay basically the same.
Lipids are measurable fat markers in the blood. You may have heard of cholesterol, LDL, and HDL from your doctor.
But, there may be some people who do experience a temporary rise in total cholesterol and LDL.
Healthline explored the reasons behind this lipid elevation. In some cases, the process of rapid weight loss will cause people to have elevated lipids, others may have a family disposition for elevated lipids. Still, others may have a health condition that predisposes them to elevated lipids.
That's why it is good to alert your health care professional prior to starting the keto diet. In addition, remind them before having any blood tests that you are on the keto diet.
3 Steps to Consider When Cholesterol is Elevated
- In some cases, wait until your weight loss has stabilized and retesting will show normalized lipid levels.
- Cutting back on saturated fats may help. So cutting back the butter, coconut oil, and other saturated fats and replacing with monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, etc may help.
- Lastly, consider if a trial of another diet program such as the Mediterranean Diet which has lots of clinical support for heart disease.
For most people, weight loss is an improvement in their metabolic profile and the keto diet is a good way to encourage that weight loss.
Want more answers to your questions? Check out Keto Diet Essentials.
July 2021 Update: Image and minor post updates.
This site contains general information about diet, health, fitness, and nutrition. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement or before beginning a diet or exercise program.