Everyone is talking about the Ketogenic diet as if it’s a magic weight-loss pill. Everyone from celebrities to your neighbors are losing weight on Keto. But, you have to ask yourself: is it really healthy to eat so few carbs? As a short-term weight loss program, the experts say that losing weight on Keto is not only safe and effective, but it may also have other positive effects on your body. The Keto diet has even been shown to improve blood sugar for patients with type-2 diabetes!
Since this diet has become so popular, we wanted to dive in and take a look at what the Keto diet is and how it works. Then, we’ll take a look at what to eat on Keto and which foods you’ll need to avoid. Finally, we’ll link to a great Keto calculator so you can get started for yourself. Since every body is different, it’s impossible to come up with a plan that will work best for your. That’s where these great Keto calculators come into play!
What Is Keto and How Does Keto Work?
It might be a new “fad” diet, but the Ketogenic diet actually isn’t new at all. It was used in the early 1900s to treat drug-resistant epilepsy. In fact, it was most often used on children! The diet requires consumption of foods that are high in fat, moderately-high in protein, and extremely low in carbohydrates. The goal of the diet is to put your body into ketosis (we’ll get to exactly what that is in just a minute). According to the Mayo Clinic, your body reaches this state when you eat fewer than 20 grams of net carbohydrates each day.
Keto works because you’re changing your body’s natural energy source. Normally, your body burns the carbohydrates you eat to create energy. When you eat fatty foods, that dietary fat is stored as a “just in case” way to fuel your body when carbs aren’t present. So, if you cut out the carbs, you force your body to burn that storage fuel! Your liver breaks down the dietary fat, creating something called ketones. These ketones become your new energy source and you experience weight loss.
Will I Lose Weight On the Keto Diet?
Everyone’s body is different, but most people experience weight-loss when following the Keto diet. Losing weight on Keto starts with figuring out your individual macronutrient requirements. We’ll link to a great Keto calculator later in the article, but this kind of resource is required so you’ll have the ideal goal nutrients for your specific body type.
Then, you have to be consistent. If you “cheat” and eat more carbohydrates than you’re supposed to, you’ll throw your body out of ketosis. That means you won’t be producing ketones, and you won’t experience the rapid weight loss you’re expecting.
Finally, the people who are the most successful on the Keto diet also exercise on a regular basis. At the beginning of the diet, you may not have the energy to exercise. It’s okay to do some light exercise, like walking or gentle yoga. Over time, many people feel more energized than ever before. Our best advice is to listen to your body and exercise when you can. It will help you lose weight on the Keto diet.
What To Eat on Keto and Which Foods To Avoid
Losing weight on the Keto diet is all about strictly following the macronutrient schedule. You’ll eat a generous amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and a small amounts of carbs. We love eating poached eggs for breakfast and dishes like Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja or Grilled Salmon & Asparagus for lunch and dinner.
- Fat Sources: All oils are great on this diet – coconut, olive, avocado, etc. If you eat animal fats, duck fat, beef fat, or chicken fat are great for cooking. Butter, ghee, nuts, eggs, and hard cheese are all great sources of fat, too.
- Protein Sources: The majority of your protein in this diet will come from your fat sources. That means nuts and seeds if you’re plant-based, or meat, eggs, and cheese if you eat animal products.
- Carbohydrates Sources: We’re going for low-carbs here, but you will eat some fibrous carbohydrates. That means most of your carbs will come from produce, like spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, and more.
There are definitely some categories of food you’ll need to avoid. There is no cheat day here! Eating any of these foods will throw your body out of ketosis, limiting your progress.
- ALL Starchy Vegetables: Not all vegetables are created equally! Focus on the vegetables grown above ground and skip the tubers, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. You’ll also want to skip starchy above-ground vegetables, like corn and peas.
- ALL Grains: Even whole-wheat is bad for the Keto diet. Skip all your grains, including flour, rice, quinoa, and oats.
- Legumes, beans, and lentils: Beans might be fiber- and protein-filled, but they’re also full of starches. Skip them while you’re following the Keto diet.
- Trans-Fat: You might be eating fat on this diet, but trans-fat doesn’t count. Skip the butter replacements and eat the real-deal instead.
- Low-Fat Dairy: Full-fat dairy is okay, but skip any low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurts. These products have too many sugars without enough fat to balance them out.
- Added sugar: You’ll need to read the nutritional labels really carefully. Any added sugar of any kind will be detrimental to your progress.
How To Get Started (Including a Great Keto Calculator)
The best way to get started is to stock your home full of Keto-friendly foods. Make some ready-to-eat snacks – like hard boiled eggs, raw almonds, string cheeses, or meaty veggie roll-ups. Then, figure out your Keto macronutrients and plan your weekly meals.
We love this great Keto calculator from Tastaholics. You enter your sex, weight, and body fat percentage (don’t worry, they help you estimate it if you don’t know). Then, you choose your activity level and it calculates your ideal calorie goal, along with your macronutrients goal. For my body, it calculates that I need just under 1,900 calories each day, 163 grams of fat, 79 grams of protein, and only 25 carbs. Easy, peasy!
Now that you know your daily goals, we recommend you write down your daily intakes so you can keep yourself on track. I’ve found the best way to stay on track is with these 21 low-carb and ketogenic weight loss snacks. Some of them have zero carbs, making them perfect for when you need to fill up without adding any carbs to your day.
We have thousands of great recipes on SkinnyMs, and many of them are Keto-friendly! Sign up for our newsletter today and get the latest and greatest delivered right to your inbox.