The keto diet is making waves in the health industry because it has proven results. Read on to learn more about keto weight loss plans that can work for you.
In the United States, the weight loss market was worth approximately $68.2 billion last year. In 2018, the market is supposed to increase by 3.2% to approximately $70 billion.
The answer? A sustainable weight loss program that doesn’t feel like a diet. Keto weight loss is a great way to lose weight because you can eat many of your favorite foods, without constantly cutting calories. If you’re sick of eating low-fat food that tastes like cardboard and continually feeling “starving” while trying to lose weight, the Keto diet could be for you.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about keto weight loss, and how to enjoy the benefits of this way of eating.
What is the Keto Diet?
Keto is a low-carb diet. While this may not sound like much fun, it’s also high fat, so it’s tasty and filling.
When we eat high-carb foods, our bodies produce both glucose and insulin.
Your body can only store 5 grams of glucose in the blood. Anything over this amount and blood sugar levels become toxic. So when you eat high carb meals your body has to use glucose over fat so that it avoids blood sugar toxicity. Your body does not chose glucose over fat because it prefers glucose. It choses glucose over fat only when it has to in order to avoid toxicity. High amounts of insulin are produced so that your body can quickly move the glucose from the blood into cells.
When your body is running on glucose, it doesn’t use fat as its primary energy. That means that fats are stored. When you’re eating a normal, high-carb diet, your body generally uses glucose to get through the day. When you lower the number of carbs you eat, your body enters a state called ketosis.
Wait, What’s Ketosis?
Ketosis is something that your body naturally initiates when it thinks your food intake is low. When you enter ketosis, your liver breaks down fats, which produce ketones.
The goal of a keto weight loss program is to keep your body in ketosis. This can be achieved in two ways: Through a starvation of calories, or a starvation of carbs.
Our bodies were created to adapt to a variety of circumstances. When you take away carbs and overload your body with fat, it will switch from using glucose as its main energy source to using ketones instead. This offers a number of weight loss, health, mental and physical benefits.
Benefits of Keto for Weight Loss
There are many different benefits of switching to a keto weight loss solution. Almost anyone can benefit from making the switch to a keto diet. It’s simply a matter of learning the best tips and tricks to keep you on track.
When you’re following a keto weight loss program, your body is using its fat as energy. Insulin is known as the fat storing hormone, and when you’re eating a low-carb diet, these levels decrease greatly.
This means you’ll lose weight without starving yourself or suffering from blood-sugar crashes. High-fat, low-carb foods keep you fuller for longer, making it easier to lose weight without cravings.
Other Benefits of Keto
While most people choose a keto diet for the weight loss benefits, many people choose to continue eating this way due to the many other benefits. These include:
Blood Sugar Control
When you eat low-carb, high-fat foods, your blood sugar levels are naturally lower. This can make it much easier to prevent and manage diabetes.
Brain Power and Focus
When your brain is using ketones as fuel, you’ll notice an increase in mental performance. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of fatty acids, which can have a positive impact on the way your brain functions.
When you eat a lot of carbs, you’ll often notice the dreaded “3 pm slump” which has you reaching for something sweet. This is due to the spikes and lows in sugar levels. After you’ve adapted to a keto weight loss plan, you’ll notice an improvement in focus and concentration.
Improved Physical Performance
Keto weight loss diets will often increase your physical performance. That’s because you’re accessing all of your body’s fat stores and using them for energy. Carbohydrate supplies are temporary and will only last for a few hours, while fat stores can provide you with energy for months at a time.
When your body is used to getting its energy from carbs, it’s not accessing your fat stores correctly. That’s why you continually need to eat both before and after strenuous activities and working out.
When you’ve switched to a keto diet, your brain and body are running on ketones. That means you have more energy for that tough gym session or can run around with your kids for longer.
Types of Keto Weight Loss Diets
Keto diets can be customized according to your needs or goals. Here are the most common types:
This is the most recommended and common version of the keto diet. You’ll eat between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs every day, with a high fat intake and moderate protein intake.
If you’re also working hard at the gym, this is targeted so you have enough energy while exercising. You’ll eat between 25 and 50 grams of net carbs, but you’ll do so between half an hour and an hour before your workout.
This keeps your body guessing. You’ll eat a low-carb, keto diet for a few days at a time, and follow it by a few days of high-carbs.
This is basically the standard keto diet, with extra protein. It’s typically used by elite athletes who need more protein than the average person.
Keep in mind that the recommended grams of carbohydrates are just that- recommendations. Generally, the more restrictive you are with carbs, the faster you’ll enter ketosis. Some people eat less than 15 grams a day for faster weight loss.
But What do I Eat?
Keto weight loss plans are about eating whole, natural, high-quality foods that have had as little processing as possible. They’re low carb, high in fat, and moderate in protein.
Limiting carbs is the main goal here, and the carbs you do eat should be coming mostly from dairy, nuts, and vegetables. Avoid refined carbs like cereal, pasta, and bread, and starch from legumes, beans, and potatoes. You also won’t eat much fruit but can enjoy berries, star fruit, and avocado.
You can eat:
Oils and Fats
Ideally, you’ll be getting your fat from natural sources like nuts and meat. Supplement this with monounsaturated and saturate fats like olive oil, butter, and coconut oil.
Polyunsaturated fats occur naturally in fatty fish and animal protein and are great for you to eat. But processes polyunsaturated fats often found in margarine spreads should be avoided.
Don’t go near trans fats. These are the ones that have been chemically altered so they can stay on the shelves for longer.
Whenever possible, choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic meat. This minimizes the amount of steroid hormones and bacteria you’ll be eating. When you’re eating poultry, try to eat darker meat since it’s fattier than white meat. Fatty fish is another great source of protein while helping you get enough omega 3’s.
You can consume a moderate amount of meat, but you don’t want to eat too much protein. This can mean you have lower levels of ketones and higher glucose.
Both frozen and fresh vegetables are fine. Stick with vegetables that are grown above-ground, particularly of the leafy, green variety.
Some vegetables (like potatoes) are very carb-heavy so you’ll need to avoid these. And some are high in sugar. Choose vegetables like kale and spinach.
Of course, you can still eat higher carb vegetables like squash, mushrooms, garlic, and onion. These are great in soup where a little will go a long way.
You’ll be able to eat most dairy and can enjoy full-fat products. Choose hard cheeses as these will usually have fewer carbs. Whenever possible, choose organic and raw sources of dairy. When dairy has been highly processed, it can have up to five times the number of carbs as organic dairy.
Eat Greek yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese, whipping cream, brie, mozzarella, cheddar, mayonnaise, and more.
Seeds and Nuts
These can be used in moderation. Peanuts are technically legumes so stick to fattier nuts such as almonds and macadamias. Raw and roasted nuts can be used for extra texture or flavor for meals. You can also eat them as a snack, just be wary as the carbs can add up fast.
Most of us don’t drink enough water, and the ketogenic diet can act as a diuretic so try and get your 8 glasses a day.
Flavor it with lime or lemon juice if you don’t like the taste. You can also drink black coffee or add a little milk if it fits in your allocated carbs for the day.
Many people on Keto drink broth, as it’s loaded with nutrients and vitamins. Unsweetened almond and coconut milk can replace milk which can be high in carbs.
When you’re using a keto weight loss plan, your nutrient intake should be close to 5% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 70% fats.
Getting into Ketosis
Once you decide to follow a keto weight loss plan, you’ll need to know whether or not you’re in ketosis. Here are a few ways you can measure if you’ve reached ketosis:
Urine Testing Strips
These can be found in drugstores and on websites like Amazon. You simply dip these strips into your urine and match the strip to the color guide.
The strip measures elevated levels of ketones, so you can see which stage of ketosis you’re currently in. These are great when you’re transitioning to a keto diet as you can see how many carbohydrates you can eat while staying in ketosis.
Breath analyzers can tell your state of ketosis by detecting acetoacetates in your breath. You may not even need a breath analyzer, however, since one of the main signs of ketosis is “fruity” (or even just plain bad) smelling breath.
Blood monitors measure how much beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) you have in your blood. They may not be the best option if you’re the squeamish type since you’ll need to prick your finger, but they’re the most accurate way to test for ketosis.
When you’re in ketosis, you’ll usually have more bathroom visits. This is because acetoacetate is excreted in urination, and keto weight loss plans are naturally diuretic.
All those bathroom visits will lead to increased thirst and dry mouth. Make sure you’re drinking enough water.
This is the best symptom of ketosis if you’re hoping to lose weight. You’ll have much lower hunger levels and you’re also likely to have increased energy.
Dealing With Keto Flu
As you adapt to a keto weight loss plan, you may have symptoms like dizziness, stomach pains, fatigue, and tiredness. This is known as keto flu.
This isn’t due to ketosis, it’s your body responding to the restriction of carbohydrates.
Breaking up with carbohydrates is difficult. You’ll crave them. They’re comfort food, and you probably have many happy memories of freshly baked bread, family pizza night, and more.
However, the benefits of keto are worth this difficult breakup. After a few weeks or months, you’ll have adapted and it’s likely you won’t even miss carbs.
When your body is adapting to a keto weight loss diet, you may have the following symptoms:
- Brain fog
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle soreness
Of course, you may only have a couple of these symptoms or could skip them completely.
When you’re restricting carbs, sodium and water are flushed out of your body. You’ll need to make sure you’re replenishing minerals and fluids to keep brain fog and fatigue at bay. Your cortisol levels are also likely to increase, but this is just in the short term while you’re transitioning to a high fat, low carb diet.
Keep in mind that these feelings won’t last long. Be gentle with yourself and focus on getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and doing some light exercise.
As you can see, a keto weight loss diet can be an excellent way to lose weight. You’ll also enjoy benefits like improved performance, lower blood sugar, and increased concentration.
As your body gets used to eating fewer carbs and more fat, you’ll enjoy fewer cravings. Not to mention, you’ll become a fat burning machine in ketosis.
Need some help with your meals? Get in touch today for helpful nutritional advice to get you started.