What is the Keto diet?
The Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet in which your body uses fat as its primary energy source.
On a typical Ketogenic diet, ~5% of calories come from carbohydrates, 70-80% of calories come from fat, and the remainder of calories will come from protein. These numbers may change slightly based on your fitness goal, e.g: bodybuilders may opt to consume more protein.
The Ketogenic diet is similar to other low-carb diets like the Atkins diet.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that occurs when the body switches from burning carbohydrates as energy and instead burns fat.
Fat is converted into ketones, a type of molecule that can be used for energy for the body, by the liver.
Is the Keto diet safe?
There are many differing opinions on the health risks associated with the Ketogenic diet. Generally speaking, the Ketogenic diet is safe for healthy individuals, although some would argue that the Ketogenic diet is not or should not be sustained over long periods of time.
Those with diabetes, kidney or liver disease, high blood pressure or breastfeeding should be more cautious or avoid the Ketogenic diet altogether. Other health issues may also prevent or deter people from going on the Ketogenic diet.
It is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before beginning the Ketogenic diet.
What is the Keto flu?
It is not uncommon for people switching to the Ketogenic diet to experience certain ‘flu-like’ symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle soreness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and more.
Symptoms usually occur within the first few days of beginning the Ketogenic diet and typically last for 1-7 days.
These symptoms are typically due to a loss of water and electrolytes through increased urination.
To offset the effects of these symptoms, replenish your body with plenty of water and increase your sodium intake.
How do you know when your body is in Ketosis?
Some typical indications that your body is in ketosis are distinctively bad breath (‘Keto breath’) and increased thirst or dry mouth.
To more accurately measure if you are in Ketosis, you can use ketone urine testing strips or do blood ketone testing, which is the most accurate method of testing.
However, as your body becomes more accustomed to being in Ketosis, you may find it more helpful to monitor health-related metrics such as more energy, fewer hunger cravings, weight loss, and a decrease in appetite.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
If you restrict your carb intake to under 50 grams a day (30 grams net carbs) then you should expect to enter into ketosis within 2-3 days although it can sometimes take longer, up to 7 days.
If you want to accelerate this process, doing exercise in a fasted state (on an empty stomach) will help to deplete excess glycogen from your body, initiating the switch from burning carbohydrates as fuel to instead using fat.
What foods can you eat on the Keto diet?
Foods to eat on the Ketogenic diet include:
- Natural fats such as butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
- Meat and Poultry
- Dairy (cheese, plain greek yogurt/high-fat yogurt)
- Low-carb vegetables and leafy greens (mainly, ones that grow above ground) such as cauliflower, cabbage, avocados, broccoli, zucchini
- Nuts and seeds (pecans, macadamia, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds)
- Berries (in moderation) like blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries
What can you drink on the Keto diet?
When it comes to drinks, avoiding sugary drinks will ensure you stay in Ketosis.
Some safe drinks on the Ketogenic diet include:
- Water and carbonated water (cucumber water, lemon water)
- Coffee & coffee drinks
- Tea drinks
- Bone Broth
In terms of alcoholic drinks, your best bet is to stick to liquor and spirits and avoid wine and beer due to their higher carb amounts.
For more ideas about what to drink while on the Keto diet, check out this Keto drink guide.
How many carbs can you eat and still be in ketosis?
There is no set number of carbs that one can have in a day and still be in ketosis as this number will vary on an individual basis.
In general, and a good rule of thumb is to restrict carb intake to 50 grams per day - or 30 grams net carbs per day.
What is the difference between total carbs and net carbs?
Total carbs are the amount of carbohydrates including fiber. Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates minus fiber. On the Ketogenic diet, you only have to concern yourself with net carbs.
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