Have you noticed more and more people talking about the keto (pronounced KEE-toh) diet lately? It’s hard to ignore the success stories! I personally lost eight pounds in my first week. Want to learn more without investing hours in internet research? Friend, you’re in luck! Consolidating mountains of info into one page or less is my speciality. So, because I love you and want to save you some time and energy, here is your keto diet intro. It’s everything you need to know in just under 750 words.
Keto Diet Intro to the Science
The human body is incredibly intelligent and isn’t limited to one fuel source. It will normally burn carbs for energy. But if you restrict your carb intake, your body will shift over to burn fat for energy instead.
And when your body finishes burning the fat from the foods you eat, guess what it burns for energy next? The fat stores on your body! Boom! Mic drop!
So the idea behind the keto diet is to shift your body from burning carbs for energy, to burning fat for energy. You usually do this by eating a diet low in carbs and high in healthy fats.
The word for the breaking down of fats into energy? Ketosis (pronounced kee-TOH-sis), shortened to “keto” because everyone loves a good nickname.
Keto Diet Intro to Getting Into Ketosis
There are two ways to get your body into the fat-burning state of ketosis. The first is to eat a diet low in carbs and high in healthy fats. Check out our simplified chart below, then download a more in-depth cheat sheet of what to eat and what to avoid here!
If you’re using a tracking app, like MyFitnessPal or Carb Manager, then you’ll want to aim to keep 5-10% of your total calories coming from carbs and 70-80% of your calories coming from fats. Let protein do its thang while you focus on carb and fat percentages.
The second way to get into ketosis is to practice intermittent fasting. The idea of intermittent fasting is to limit all of your eating to a shortened window (usually eight hours) every day. This brings your body to a point where it has run out of carbs to burn (since you finished that fried rice three hours ago) and has to begin burning fat for energy.
So you might delay breakfast until 10 AM and then vow to finish dinner and any snacking by 6 PM. The time of day doesn’t matter so much as limiting all eating to a shortened window.
If you really want to shed pounds quickly, you can eat a low carb/high fat diet within an 8-hour intermittent fasting window. Burn baby, burn!
Keto Diet Intro to the Keto Flu
If you’ve heard of keto, you might have also heard of the “keto flu.” A sudden and drastic reduction in carb intake can cause withdrawal-like symptoms, such as nausea, stomach pain, headache, constipation, diarrhea, weakness, muscle cramps, and even irritability.
Not everyone experiences the keto flu, but those who do usually begin to experience symptoms within a few days of their new diet. Those symptoms can last up to a week, sometimes a bit longer.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help minimize those symptoms, or even avoid them altogether. Staying well hydrated, replacing lost electrolytes by salting food to taste, and getting adequate sleep, can all help to make the transition to fat-burning much more manageable.
Is All of That Fat Healthy?
How can all of that fat possibly be healthy for you? Remember that the keto diet is focused on consuming healthy fats, similar to those found in a Mediterranean diet.
As with any healthy diet, it’s all about moderation and variety. So sure, you’re allowed to eat bacon and butter, but balanced by loads of keto-friendly vegetables and plant-based sources of healthy fats, like macadamia nuts and olive oil. Be sure to consult your doctor before undergoing any major diet or lifestyle changes, especially if you’re pregnant or have diabetes or other medical diagnoses.
Wrap It Up
Armed with this keto diet intro, you now have a basic understanding of the keto diet, plus a cheat sheet to help you start on the right foot. (Be sure to download it here if you haven’t already.)
What are your favorite keto-friendly foods? Have any tips for those just getting started? Be sure to share in the comments!
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