5 Things to Know About Keto Before Getting Started
Summer is just around the corner, so if you’re not alone if you’ve started your search for the right diet to get you in shape.
One diet that has been gaining quite a bit of traction in recent years is the keto diet which has been known to bring about impressive results for many people.
This is one of the more intensive diets, however, so it is important to make sure you know the core facts about it before you jump in.
Here are five of the most fundamental things you should know about keto before you get started.
What is Keto?
Though you may have heard a few things here and there, it is normal to still have the question of what keto really is when you are just starting out.
Basically, “ketogenic” is a term that implies a low carb diet. The main goal with keto is to gain the vast majority of your calories from protein and fat rather than from carbohydrates.
The purpose of this is to put your body into a state known as ketosis. Eating less than 50g of carbs a day will allow you to achieve this as your body will eventually run out of fuel in a few days.
Once this happens, your body will turn to break down protein and fat for energy rather than its typically supply of carbohydrates.
Because you are forcing your body to turn to break down fats for energy rather than carbs, this diet often helps people lose weight in the short-term much more quickly.
It is important to note, however, that this is less of a long-term and sustainability diet and is instead much more focused on those short-term gains. Following the completion of keto, it will be important to maintain healthy food consumption and to reintroduce carbs gradually.
Keep Staple Foods and Meals Handy
One of the most basic and important parts about a high-intensity diet like keto is making sure you have a solid meal plan in place.
Keto is definitely one of the stricter and more intensive diets when it comes to which foods you should be eating. Because of this, it is that much more important to make sure you are still getting the nutrients you need, just from the right places.
Some key foods to keep in mind include:
- Seafood: a great deal of fish and other types of seafood are high in fats, vitamins, and proteins while also being low on carbs (or sometimes not having carbs at all). Definitely look into the specific types of seafood you eat, because some (such as shellfish) do in fact have carbs.
- Veggies: low-carb veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, raw spinach, and other non-starchy choices are not only great on their own, they can also be used as replacements for things like pizza crust or pasta.
- Cheese: luckily for you, keto is not a diet that will restrict your cheese intake. In fact, pretty much all cheese is low in carbs and high in fats, particularly options like cottage cheese.
- Eggs: high in protein and low in carbs, eggs are not only a great way to help your body get strong and energized, they are also a very versatile option that can be included in dozens of different recipes.
- Nuts: one thing that many people struggle with when on the keto diet is finding good snack food. Fortunately, nuts are a fantastic and healthy option that can satiate your hunger without overloading your carb count.
- Berries and Avocados: there won’t be many fruits on the keto diet list because they are often high in carbs and sugars. Fortunately, many berries like strawberries and raspberries are actually low in carbs and high in fiber while avocados are high in healthy fats.
Of course, everyone has different tastes, so the way you decide to mix up your diet is up to you. Just make sure you stay firm on cutting out carbs while also making sure you find healthy proteins, fats and other nutrients to keep you going.
Supplements Can Play a Major Role
If you are struggling to figure out a good keto meal pattern that also suits your taste buds and cravings, supplements can help in any of the areas you find gaps with.
People on the keto diet can suffer from deficiencies in vitamins and minerals alike, making the more common side effects much more intense than they need to be.
Some examples of things people often struggle to get enough to include:
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- And others
Because of the sudden diet shift and possible deprivation of certain nutrients your body is accustomed to, you could experience cramps, headaches, insomnia, hair loss and other things.
While some of these may be hard to avoid to an extent since you are making an intense diet shift regardless of how well you manage it, you can absolutely avoid more severe cases by keeping up with your body’s needs for the right vitamins and minerals.
Good ways to stay on top of this are finding the perfect keto supplements to help in these specific areas to make sure you are nurturing your body and giving it all of the tools it needs to thrive.
Always Keep Hydrated
No matter what diet you are on (or even if you are on a specific diet at all), it is always important to make sure that you stay hydrated.
The list of side effects from dehydration is extensive, and they can really get in the way of living your life when they come in the form of things like migraines, exhaustion or dizziness.
Unfortunately, one of the common side effects of the keto diet is, in fact, dehydration. Carbs are responsible for holding onto both sodium and water in your body, so having a sudden lack of carbs will make it much easier to dehydrate.
If you allow yourself to stay severely dehydrated, you could even experience flu-like symptoms that completely incapacitate you.
Plus, making sure that you drink enough water can help a great deal with any diet because you will more successfully avoid overeating by filling your stomach with more food when, in all actuality, you really may just be thirsty.
Some ways that you can make sure you are getting enough water include:
- Carry around a water bottle: it is much easier to remember that you need to drink water when you have it on your person at all times.
- Drink a full bottle of water when you wake up: everyone is more dehydrated in the morning than at any other point in the day because of a full night without replenishing fluids.
- Try flavoring water: if you don’t particularly enjoy drinking water because you prefer drinks that have more flavor, this can be an easy (and often zero or low calorie) solution.
- Keep track of your water intake: many journals now, workout apps and other aids come with the option to log how much water you drink per day by tracking every time you finish a bottle or glass. Even without these aids, you can keep track of this yourself to get a better, more conscious idea of how much you are drinking.
Ultimately, you should try to keep up these habits even when you are finished with your keto goals because hydration will never stop being important.
What Should You Expect?
When starting any diet, it is important to keep some expectations in mind so that you are prepared for the journey ahead of you, especially with more intensive diets like keto.
Many of the things that you should expect have been alluded to above, but here are some of the main things you should be prepared for:
Common Side Effects
- “Keto Flu” (when ketosis brings on many flu-like symptoms for the first week on the diet)
- Frequent thirst
- Hair loss
- Bad breath
- Cutting regular diet staples like bread, pasta, alcohol, and others out
- Needing to consume more water than you regularly do
- Paying more attention to your nutritional intake
- Often taking supplements to make up for what you are lacking
- Weight can come back if you don’t ease out of the diet slowly
- Your skin will often clear up
- You will find your appetite to be less ravenous
- Quicker weight loss compared to other diet trends
There are a lot of pros and cons to this diet, but ultimately, knowing what to expect will help to keep you ahead of the game once you dive in.
Keto is an intense diet, but if you make an informed decision about it, you will have a much easier time.
Plus, the results that many people see are success stories worth going after, particularly if you are ready to make a serious change in your life.
Just make sure to remember:
- Know what keto is
- Know what meals to keep handy
- Plan on finding quality supplements
- Always stay hydrated
- Be prepared with your expectations
For more great information on achieving your physical and athletic goals, be sure to keep up with our other blog posts for our regular updates!