A keto (ketogenic) diet, involves the majority of your macronutrients coming from fats while minimizing your carbohydrate intake. I won’t go into the scientific explanation, since there are plenty of others who can explain it better. In simple terms, your body adapts to burning fat for energy, and thus produces ketones (hence the name keto!). Without the carbohydrates, your body will begin using the fat you consume, as well as your excess fat stores, thus helping you burn fat.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“Why would you eat fat? It makes you gain weight!”
Recent studies have shown that low fat diets can actually be more detrimental to your health than a high fat diet. If you think about it, many of these major health issues in today’s society arose in recent decades – when high carb diets became the norm.
Now that you know what keto is, how does one start a keto diet? Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
- Consume under 20g of carbs per day
When beginning your keto journey, you’ll typically want to consume fewer than 20g of net carbs (subtracting fiber from your carb count since you don’t digest it). While it may seem extreme, this low limit is set to help your body deplete its glycogen stores, and begin burning fat. As your body continues to adapt, you’ll be able eat a higher limit of carbs (under 50g), while still maintaining a state of ketosis.
- Consume at least between 0.8 to 1.2g of protein per pound of lean body mass
It is important to keep up with your protein intake. If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll be throwing yourself into a caloric deficit. By keeping your protein intake at the recommended levels, you reduce the risk of your hard earned muscles being broken down!
- Fill out the rest of your macros with fats!
Now that you have your other two macronutrients accounted for, all that’s left to do is fill up the rest of your stomach with some delicious, guilt-free fat. The fat is what keeps your body satiated, which will help keep your carb cravings to a minimum. Overall, your macronutrients should follow a 65/30/5 split between fats, protein, and carbs.
If you followed those general guidelines, congratulations, you’re on your way to becoming keto adapted. If you enjoyed this basic rundown of the diet, feel free to head over to r/keto (Reddit) and check out some other useful reads in the sidebar! If you’re ready to start now, here’s a keto-calculator to help you find your macros and caloric intake based on your body.