The Keto Diet has become a recent obsession with many people. But what exactly is it?
How hard is it to maintain? And should you maintain it? This blog post aims to give you a breakdown of everything Keto and offers advice on how you can fit this into your daily diet.
What is Keto?
Keto, short for ketogenic, is a diet that “focuses on foods that provide a lot of healthful fats, adequate amounts of protein, and very few carbohydrates.” Essentially, on a Keto Diet, an individual is using their fat stores for energy instead of carbohydrates, which are the prime fuel source.
What Does That Mean?
While the actual grams vary for most people based upon body disposition, the Keto Diet usually requires an intake of around 75%-90% of your calories to come from fat, no more than 5% to come from carbs, and the rest, depending on your fat intake, coming from protein, keeping it high enough to maintain lean body mass. To calculate how much energy your body needs, or your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), I suggest going to: www.tdeecalculator.net and filling out the form as accurately as you can. If we take my weight for an example, it shows that I need 3,024 calories to maintain my current mass. Each gram of carbs and protein is 4 calories, and each fat gram is 9 calories. For me to maintain a Keto Diet, a proper spread for my caloric intake may look something like this.
Carbs (5%) – 38 grams
Protein (20%) – 151 grams
Fat (75%) – 252 grams
According to Andres Ayesta, a Registered Dietician and the owner of Vive Nutrition in Orlando, says that on a true keto diet “you are pushing carbs low enough that your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel.”
Why are Keto Diets Effective?
Well, as Avesta says, our body has to burn fat. There is no other option. Sure, it could burn protein as its energy source, but it won’t because the body is smart and knows that protein is the last thing to go. There is a simply hierarchy in the body—Carbs, Fat, Protein. When your body doesn’t have carbs, it burns fat, and heaven forbid, if it doesn’t have carbs or fat, it will burn protein to satiate itself as long as possible.
According to Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, and a professor in the department of human sciences at Ohio State University, “Cravings and hunger are dramatically reduced and people don’t need to eat frequent meals every few hours, which is the case for many on low-fat diets.”
Many individuals who go on a keto-diet find themselves having a reduction in appetite. And when you don’t have an appetite you eat less, and if you eat less, you consume less calories. At the end of the day, if you are in a calorie deficit, a hypo-caloric state, you will lose weight.
The Benefits of a Keto Diet
According to an article by Medical News Today, the Keto Diet has many benefits for our health including:
- Weight loss
- Improves acne
- May Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
- May Improve Heart Health
- May Protect Brain Function
- Potentially Reduces Seizures
- Improves Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms
The Keto Diet is not without its flaws, though. While transitioning to the Keto Diet, you may experience symptoms commonly referred to as the “Keto Flu.” Those symptoms may include:
- Low Blood Sugar
While these are certainly cause for concern, know that it comes with the territory of change. Transitioning your body to a whole new lifestyle is essentially moving across the country to live in a whole new city. It takes time, and something I address below as I help guide you on the road to success.
6 Steps to Success for the Keto Diet
Here are some useful tips for you to stay the course of your keto diet.
1. Stay in Ketosis
The biggest and most important thing to realize about this diet is that, if you want it to be successful, you must stay in ketosis. According to a post from Business Insider, another RD, Kristen Mancinelli, says, “Ketones dampen your appetite. So if you’re doing the ketogenic diet correctly, you probably won’t want to eat a full meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Essentially, the more chances you eat, the more likely you will get past that 5% threshold of carbs and break ketosis.
2. Get past the “Keto Flu”
Don’t be scared by this terminology. It is only natural. Essentially, the Keto Flu is the small transition period your body undergoes as it filters out its carbs and starts switching to burn fat as its fuel source. This will result in sluggishness at first, but after your body becomes acquainted with burning fat as its fuel, you’ll be on the right path to a diet that “may help prevent aging-related diseases, reduce ‘brain fog,’ and boost energy.” (Business Insider) After this short transition period, a fog will be lifted and you’ll be feeling totally brand new, so do your best to trudge through!
3. Learn to Love Fat
As I showed you in my personal breakdown of my supposed Keto Diet, I need 250+ grams of fat. How to get that? Well, learn to love sprinkling avocado oil or olive oil on everything. The idea here is to take in “healthy fats” not donuts and butter and lard.
4. Reduce Protein Intake
While this will vary depending on the individual and how much emphasis one determines to give their protein allocation, know that many times we can also fall out of ketosis by eating too much protein. Therefore, it’s a good idea to cut protein in half. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t still try to hit your goal of 20%-10% protein. I’m saying that you shouldn’t be alarmed if you don’t. What is key here is that fat loss occurs, and that happens when our bodies are in ketosis, and that is the number one rule. Remember that. When you see a 10-oz steak, only have 5 ounces of it.
5. Know Your Carbs
Do you actually know how many carbs are in the mushrooms you consume? Or the peppers? Or the carrots? This is where buying a food scale and tracking your food comes into play. Tedious, at first, yes, but necessary if you want to maintain ketosis, and that is the goal here. Make sure you do not go above the 5% limit of carbs, whatever that is for you. This is going to benefit you in two ways. First and foremost, you’ll be cognizant of what is going inside your body. And that is going to shock you at first. Did you know that a single, 100-gram banana (aka a normal banana) has 20 carbs in it? This is why fruits are usually off limit on the Keto Diets. Instead, you want to make sure you are eating vegetables. These are some examples:
- 100 grams of broccoli = 5.25 carbs
- 100 grams of zucchini = 2.8 carbs
- 100 grams of carrots = 9 carbs.
- 100 grams of onions = 9.7 carbs
- 100 grams of Bell Peppers = 3.4 carbs
- 100 grams of mushrooms = 2.9
6. Set Yourself up for Success
Like anything, knowledge is power. Set yourself up for success by having the proper knowledge of some recipes you can easily cook up before starting the diet. Have go-to staples (not just eggs and avocados). Learn to make homemade sauces so you can control the caloric intake and make sure your body is getting the appropriate amount of fat. Pesto Sauce is a great item to consider trying to make. Mixed with the zucchini, or zoodles rather (zucchini noodles), you can still have the pasta that you may be missing out on while on the diet.
With that said, you are now locked and loaded with the information necessary to go out into the Keto World. If you want to take the guesswork out of counting calories, try out our SmartBox Keto options available from our website. These SmartBoxes make your Keto Diet that much easier to obtain. Choose from a variety of snacks that can be delivered straight to your doorstep! Order today!