Ketogenic diet: A complete guide for you

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If you are searching to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, Keto diet is probably the one you are looking for.

What is a Keto diet?

Most of us are not sure about the science behind the Keto diet. Stacey Mattinson, RDN, based in Austin, Texas, says that ” The Ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet plan that drives your body into ketosis.”

Ketosis is a common metabolic process that your body does to keep working. If it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it burns fat. As a result, it forms ketones.

What happens to our body during ketosis?

Our body forms ketones in the liver, from fat. They are used as fuel by the different parts of our body including the brain. The brain is a hungry organ, every day it consumes a lot of energy. It can’t run on fat directly. So, on a low carb diet, it can only run on ketones.

On a Ketogenic diet, insulin in your body becomes very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. Ketones are a more efficient fuel source than glucose, as it serves besides energy production.

Keto diet has become increasingly popular due to their dramatic fat loss potential.

What is the reason behind the popularity of the Keto Diet?

Keto diet is not something new. The foundation of the Keto diet is as old as the concept of dieting. It is the Strict low carb and a gluten-free diet. It is similar to the Paleo diet and the Atkins diet.

Keto diet is like a supercharged version of an old idea. Our ancestors didn’t eat the refined carbohydrates and sugars like we do today which is why our body may not have adapted to those foods.

The Keto diet was designed to help people suffering from seizure disorders and not for weight loss. Seizure disorder is a medical condition where episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity characterize the brain of a patient.

The Keto diet took off because its rules make sense to most of the people. When almost all of us want to lose some fat from our body, the Keto diet focuses on fat as a fuel.

The basic concept is very simple and based on real foods. You avoid the foods that have sugar content, processed junk foods and the ones high in carbohydrate. Instead, you eat meat, fish, eggs, and natural fats.

How low carb is keto?

The answers vary depending on every individual and their goals. In general: the fact is fewer the carbs the more significant the impact is. You need to try with the different versions of the Ketogenic diet to get the best results.

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

This is the diet that most people think of when a keto diet is introduced. Conventionally, our food comprises of 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat.

Keto diet is deficient in carbs, i.e., 5%, moderate in protein i,e 20%, and high in fats, i.e., 75%. If you are looking to drop fat quickly with moderate exercises like cycling, walking, and yoga, then SKD is ideal for you.

Your primary source of carbohydrates will be low carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, and high-fat dairy products.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet allows adding carbs around workout times. You will be following the Standard Ketogenic Times the other time. The best time to have the TKD is 30-60 minutes before SKD.

The goal of TKD is to maintain blood sugar and muscle glycogen at a moderate level. It is a simple way to sustain high-intensity performance without interrupting ketosis for a more extended period.

The diet plan is recommended for two groups:

  • If you need carbs to fuel your exercise performance
  • If you are starting an exercise program and are not ready to perform the amount of exercise required

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

A Cyclic Ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that combines carb loading days with the Standard Ketogenic diet. It involves periods of higher carb re-feeds like five Ketogenic days followed by two high-carb days.

The goal of CKD is to entirely replete glycogen during carb loads and deplete glycogen while increasing ketone levels between the carb loads.

It is recommended for the people who are in advanced high-intensity exercise. Bodybuilders and athletes should use CKD. It is almost impossible for them to train to optimize their performance.

How to start?

Achieving ketosis is quite straightforward, but it can be complicated and confusing. Here are some necessary steps to start successfully:

Calculate your caloric needs and subtract or add calories based on your goals.

Set protein levels according to your goals. 0.8-1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass is a good starting point.

Set the carbohydrate levels. Regularly around 20-30 g of net carbs per day.

Set the fat intake on the basis of how many calories you have left.

Here is the bottom line on what you need to do:

Restrict your carbohydrates

The total carb that we consume is comprised of the non-fiber carbs and the fiber carbs.

Non-fiber carbs are fattening while the fibers carbs are non-fattening. Generally, we only focus on the net carb (the non-fiber carb).

If you want great results, you have to limit both amounts of carb. The best idea is to try to stay below 20 g net carb and below 35 g total carb per day.

Restrict your protein intake

Many people are shifting from the Atkins diet to the Keto diet. They don’t limit their protein. Too much of protein can lead to lower levels of ketosis.

Ideally, you have to eat between 0.6 g and 0.8 g protein per pound lean body mass.

Stop worrying about fat

Don’t worry about fat because you are on a Keto diet. Fat is the primary source of energy for you. You are not going to lose weight through starvation.

Make sure you are having an adequate amount of fat. Your body burns entire energy dependent on the fat you consume.

Drink enough water

Make sure your body is hydrated. During a Ketogenic diet, the electrolytes on your body become depleted due to increased water excretion and decreased water retention.

A hydrated body not only helps regulate the vital functions in the body, but it also helps to control hunger levels.

Stop Snacking

Your body is burning fat, not the carb. It is a slow process. You will not feel hungry often.

Unnecessary snacking leads to stalls and slow weight loss.

Add exercise

It is a fact that exercise is healthy. Add 20-30 minutes of regular exercise to get the most out of your keto diet. Even a small walk can help to regulate your weight loss and the blood sugar levels.

Sleep well

8 hrs of sleep is a must for any diet plan. Deprivation of sleep and stress hormones increases the blood sugar level. This slows ketosis and weight loss.

It is much harder to stick to the diet plan and resist temptations.

Keeping stress under control is hard. It will not get you into ketosis on its own.

Who should avoid the Ketogenic diet?

Before following any diet program, you must first undergo a health screen to rule out any contraindications.

Following a keto diet means you are going to make a lot of changes to your regular diet.

The calorie intake is dropped to just two to four percent of your total caloric intake. Any significant change in your diet should be discussed with your doctor.

Despite its tempting weight loss promises, there are certain situations where you should not follow this diet plan:

If you are a patient of diabetes, kidney, liver or pancreatic diseases, a rare condition called muscular dystrophy can complicate your disease. It is not recommended for you.

Pregnant Women

During pregnancy, the mother should always take care of her nutrition as it has a direct adverse effect on the unborn child.

Keto diet drives you away from many nutrient dense foods like fruit. They are packed with minerals and vitamins which are crucial for the development of a baby.

Prolonged maternal ketosis has been associated with developmental problems for the infant which could increase the risk of neural tube deformities such as Spina bifida and affect brain development.

Spina bifida is a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. 

Ketogenic diet results in alternations in the embryonic organ growth. These alternations may result in organ dysfunction and potentially behavioral changes in the postnatal life.

The risk of harming the baby from being in ketosis is too high during pregnancy, so doctors do not recommend a Ketogenic diet.

Breastfeeding women

During the breastfeeding, your body is losing sugar. It is highly recommended to `avoid a Keto diet during this period.

Low-carbs diet, in this case, can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a hazardous condition which occurs after a prolonged period of inadequate food intake. It happens in combination with stress and other medical conditions.

So, it is essential to get enough carbs and nutrients while breastfeeding.

If you have Anorexia

Anorexia is a condition where your body lack or loss of appetite for food. People with anorexia have an acute fear of weight gain that distorts their perception of body image.

They try to minimize their weight through starvation-level, calorie restriction and avoidance of dietary-fat. It is very dangerous.

Always remember, your body can function without a carb, but it cannot function without fat. 2/3 portion of our brain is made of fat so the brain cannot perform without dietary fat.

It may be tempting for a person with anorexia to embark on a Ketogenic diet. Without eating the proper amount of fat, the Ketogenic diet is not possible.

As, Ketogenic diet already restricts protein and carbohydrates, if fat is also limited then starvation will rapidly occur. It could be deadly because your body has neither carb nor fat to burn.

There are compelling disputes over the use of Ketogenic diets in anorexia.

If you are on hypo-causing medication

Hypo-causing medications are the drug-induced with low blood sugar. These are designed to increase insulin in the body.

Following a low-carb Ketogenic-diet on these medications can increase the risk of hypos. You should speak with your doctor to take precautions against hypos before you jump to the Ketogenic diet.

Go for regular blood glucose test and avoid hypos.

Keto diet and fats

Fats are the primary daily calorie intake in a Ketogenic diet. They are vital for our bodies, but at the same time, they can be dangerous if its unhealthy one.

Healthy fats are the base of the ketogenic diet.

The types of fat allowed on the keto diet are:

Saturated fats

Saturated fats are made from the single-bonded carbon molecules that are completely saturated with hydrogen atoms.

They are found in higher quantities in animal products.

Saturated fats and cholesterol were known to increase the cholesterol levels and build plaque in our arteries however recent studies show saturated fats are good fats.

It helps to keep our immune system healthy, normal bone density and testosterone levels in check and they are not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Now, let’s be practical.

Eating a burger or having another knob of butter will not clog your arteries. You should follow the Ketogenic diet for 4-6 weeks and get your blood tested for a lipid panel to check the cholesterol.

A ratio between 3 and 4 is good. If the rate is significantly higher than before, then you need to shift to a lower fat diet like Paleo or a Mediterranean diet.

Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats are usually found in the vegetable oils and are healthy. But, vegetable oils are highly processed and unhealthy in high quantities.

Studies have shown that intake of more refined vegetable oils contributes to cancer and heart disease.

Polyunsaturated fats can cause arterial plaque.

The artery is the bloodstream that carries blood and nutrition from the heart to the tissues in your body. Plague is a fatty and waxy substance that deposits in the wall of the artery and narrows it. These plague ruptures and reduces the blood flow. It is the common cause of stroke and heart attack.

You don’t have to avoid all these fats sources. Omega-3 s and Omega-6 s are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for optimal health.

Omega-3 s are commended for decreasing inflammation, lowering LDL cholesterol and improving a variety of other cardiovascular risks.

Omega-6 s are vital for maintaining a healthy immune system and an optimal inflammatory response.

Make sure that when you consume these products, they come from whole foods like nuts and seeds instead of processed oils and fried foods.

Mono saturated fats

Mono saturated fats have one double bond carbon atom in their hydrocarbon chain. These fats are accepted to be healthy.

Many studies show that it can improve insulin resistance and optimize HDL (High-density lipoprotein)/LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. It is more stable than saturated fats.

Make sure you are getting plenty of mono saturated fats in your diet. Olive oil, macadamia nuts, avocados, avocado oil, and peanuts and peanuts butter are some of the good sources of mono saturated fats.

Trans fats

Trans fats are artificial fats. With an industrial process, it adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils and makes them solid. Most of the processed foods consist of trans fats.

Many doctors consider trans fats as the worst type of fat. These fats raise your LDL cholesterol (bad) and lower the HDL cholesterol (good). So, intake of trans fast should be as low as possible.

Experts are worried about the trans fat because it has increased the risk for chronic diseases like heart attack, stork and type 2 diabetes.

Being on a Keto diet doesn’t mean you can rely on any type of fats. Wisely choose your dish for the best results.

Foods to eat

It is challenging to follow a healthy low-carb diet. The keto diet is simple, and it is about following a low-carb diet where the focus is on eating real food, not just food low in carbs.

In general, Ketogenic diets consist of only 5% carb, 15% protein, and 80% fat. But it doesn’t mean, you can get fried cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are only allowed to have healthy fats. There are healthier and less healthy ways to do it, so skip the processed sugars and foods.

Keto Pyramid

Here is the Keto pyramid created for you. Please click on it and see the large version.

Ketogenic diet food list: Fats

Let’s begin with the fats and oils.

You have to eat a lot of fat, at around 60-70% of your calories to keep your body in ketosis. But the source of fat matters a lot. If you are devouring the wrong types of fat, it can be dangerous. Grass-fed and organic fat sources are much preferred.

The table below gives the detail information about the fat sources with their proportion of nutrient:

Ketogenic diet food list: Proteins

Protein is an essential element of any diet. It fuels up your body with necessary amino acids, helps regulate organs and builds the connective tissue.

Usually, you should consume 0.8 g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Are you worried that 0.8 g is too much protein a keto?

It is apparent that you will worry. But, the truth is that protein is necessary for ketosis. “Too much protein will not raise the blood glucose and decrease the ketone levels,” it is only a myth. Don’t run behind it.

Our body performs a metabolic process named gluconeogenesis (GNG). During gluconeogenesis our body allows the liver and kidney to make glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. The rate of gluconeogenesis always fluctuates depending on the metabolic state. It increases significantly when your carb consumption is low.

When your body is on a low-carb diet or keto diet, your cells have to find another way to supply glucose to those tissues that need it. Gluconeogenesis ensures that you don’t die when there are no carbs in your system:

Gluconeogenesis prevents hypoglycemia. This means it maintains the level of glucose. In a keto diet, a state of low blood sugar can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and death.

GNG fuels those tissues that cannot use ketones. Some cells in our body like the red blood cells, kidney medulla and testicles only use glucose to survive. During ketosis, gluconeogenesis provides them with enough glucose to remain healthy.

Here is what Dr. Anthony Gustin says about gluconeogenesis.

A list of protein sources is mentioned below with their proportion and nutrient content.

Ketogenic diet food list: Carbohydrates

When following a Ketogenic diet, get the bulk of carbohydrates from vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and most other vegetables that grow above ground. You have to avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, and corn.

And the remaining carbohydrate intake should come from the carbs in nuts and seeds. The small amount from dairy and on occasion in fruits like berries.

Here is the list of best Ketogenic nuts and vegetables you can try.

Nuts and Seeds

Vegetables

 

Ketogenic diet food list: Fruits

Fruits contain a lot of carbs. They taste sweets and are nature’s candy. The sweeter the fruit is, the more sugar it contains. Take blueberries, for example; one cup contains about 18 g of net carbs. It accounts for an entire day’s worth of carbs on the keto diet.

Basically, you cannot eat most fruits on keto. But you also don’t have to go totally fruit-less. Here are some keto-friendly fruits that pass the carb test.

Fruits that are best for Ketogenic diet is listed below. Check out if you can have your favorite fruit or not.

 

Keto diet foods: Diary

Most of the dairy foods fall into both the fat and protein category. So, the diary has been given its own section.

Always remember fat is fuel and due to this reason, we eat dairy products on a keto diet. It is a high-quality fat source. You might have much conflicting information about dairy products on a keto diet.

The fact is, it depends. It counts on the product, the quantity, your goals and the specific sensitivities such as lactose intolerance.

Here is the list of dairy products that will give you a great idea about.

 

Keto diet foods: Drinks and Alcohol

A Ketogenic diet has a natural diuretic effect. It is common that if you are starting the diet plan, you may feel dehydration. You have to pre-adjust if you are prone to urinary tract infections.

Hydration plays a fundamental role in our everyday life. We recommend you to drink a gallon of water every day. There are other drinks you can enjoy besides water.

Many people choose keto proof tea or coffee in the morning. But remember, you have to limit yourself to a maximum of 2 cups of caffeine per time.

Alcohol is not a weight-loss aid diet. The more alcohol you take, the more your weight loss slow down. This is because your body burns the alcohol before anything else. You can enjoy the alcoholic beverages that are low to zero carbs. Wine is low in carbs and whiskey, and vodka is zero in carbs. Remember your goals and make sure you do not overdo it.

For more detail, do check the table below and choose your drink.

Non-alcoholic drinks

Alcoholic drinks

 

Keto diet foods: Spices and Cooking

Seasoning and sauces are a tricky part of Ketogenic diet foods, but we use them on a regular basis. Spices contain carbs, so make sure that you are adding them to your tallies. Most of the pre-made spice have sugars added to them. As a keto diet followers, you should never include added sugar into your spice blends.

Typically speaking, the number of carbs in spices is minimal. But, you have to be careful when you are using a lot of spices in a recipe as the carbs can add up quickly.

Here is the best idea of herbs and spice to use in a keto diet:

  • Cook with: Cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder
  • Sprinkle with: Basil, cilantro, and parsley
  • Marinate with: Garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme

Keto diet foods: Condiments and Sauces

If you want to be strict, you should avoid all the pre-made sauces and condiments on a keto diet. They contain all the added sugars and sweeteners that are keto unfriendly.

If you are fond of sauces and condiments, homemade is always the best. If possible make your own version sauces to keep at home. Always double check the nutrition and ingredient list of your food.

Keto diet food: Sweeteners

Staying away from anything sweet is the best for you. The less you accept them, the less you will want to consume.

But, nobody can resist over sweet all the time. So, if you wish to have something sweet, there is some option available to choose from. Always go for a liquid version as they don’t have added binders. For a keto diet, you want to try to stick with lower glycemic index sweeteners. It has a little effect on blood sugar.

Here is the list of some safe and low-glycemic-sweeteners you can opt for:

Keto diet food: Cravings and Sugar Addiction

Sugar is an addiction. Studies show that most of the cravings we get are caused by sugar. When we consume sugar regularly, our brain release dopamine. It creates an addiction and increased tolerance. We will have to eat larger amounts of sugar to continue the dopamine secretion. We began to crave the food even when we are not hungry.

During a keto diet, cravings get more strong. So, it is best to avoid junk foods before you start the keto diet. We recommend you to restrict the sweets entirely for 30 days before starting this diet plan.

Sometimes our body carves for nutrients too. You have to choose your food in a different way cleverly. Here we have brought some solution to your craving.

Foods to avoid

Switching to a keto diet is not that easy. You have to limit yourself to a limit type of food. Too many carbs can quickly bring you out of ketosis and slow down the fat burning process.

We have made it easy for you. Here are the varieties of foods to avoid completely during the keto diet. Remember its completely avoiding!

All grains

Grains are the worst to have in a keto diet. They are full of carbs! You should avoid all the grains and foods made from grains. The carbs in grains will interfere with the ketosis, slowing weight loss. Even a plain bagel can have 48 grams of carbs. So, pretend as you hate them. I know its hard for you because you have to give up all your favorite foods. Here is the list of all high carb foods that you must avoid.

Starchy Vegetables

Vegetables are a great thing to eat on any diet. But, not all vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals.

As a general rule of the keto diet, if it’s leafy, green, you can have it. However, if it is starchy, completely avoid them.

Simply speaking, starchy vegetables have loaded carbs in them. So, say no to starchy vegetables.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes provide many health benefits. Although they are high in fiber, they also contain a fair amount of carbs. They contain phytates and lectins, which could be hard for digestion. They won’t help you reach ketosis.

Sneaky Fruits

Fruit is the most confusing part of what to eat and what not to eat in a keto diet. Be clear, fruits are essential for most of the diet plans, but the Keto diet is not that diet.

The main aim is to consume a lower amount of carbs. Sneaky fruits have natural sugars called fructose in them. Fructose is a barrier in ketosis.

As a general rule, if it’s small sized fruits like berries, have them. However, avoid any medium or large sized fruits.

Note: If you are cutting fruits from your diet, replace it with leafy vegetables. You can fulfill your daily nutrients requirements.

Foods with added sugar

Always opt for sugar-free products. You have already known that sugar is off the table. Sugars and sweeteners raise the blood sugar, cause insulin spikes and stimulate your appetite. As a result, it will kick you out of ketosis.

Milk and low-fat dairy products

Milk is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly it is too high in carb content. Secondly, pasteurized milk is hard to digest because it lacks the beneficial bacteria and contains harmful hormones.

The general rule is if it is raw and full-fat dairy, have them. However, always be aware of the extra carbs and reduced fats.

Note: Many farmers in the US use the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase the milk production. You have to avoid them entirely.

Factory farmed animal products

Remember, always choose the grass-fed animal products because source matters a lot. The grains and dairy fed animals are lower in nutrients. The factory-farmed fish and pork are high in omega-6s and mercury. So, before consuming any products you have to go depth to its source.

Refined fats

You might get confused here because fats are great for keto. But, avoid refined and trans fats are dangerous for health.

These fats raise your LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (bad) and lower the HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (good). So, intake of trans fast should be as low as possible.

Processed foods

Processed foods contain trans fats. It adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils and makes them solid.

These fats raise your LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (bad) and lower the HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (good). So, intake of trans fast should be as low as possible.

Experts are worried about the trans fat because it has increased the risk for chronic diseases like heart attack, stork and type 2 diabetes.

So, stay away from the processed and packaged foods like:

Keto alert!

The Ketogenic diet has recently gained a lot of popularity. This has become an opportunity for food companies to cash in by putting a Ketogenic label on their new products. So, it is your time to be careful while purchasing any keto diet products like keto pasta, chocolate bars, protein shakers, snack foods, cookies, and cakes.

These products have hidden carbs not declared on the label. Not only the carbs, but they are also full of additives, chemicals, and sugar. Recently a large pasta company in the US was fined for lying the carb content of their products.

The bottom line is, focus on eating real foods with good quality.

The Keto Flu

You have started the keto diet and now looking for the changes in your body. However, its been a few days that you are feeling poorly. You are tired and dizzy. You are craving for carbs like crazy.

Congratulations! You are on a Keto flu. It’s not really the flu and is not dangerous. It symbolizes that your body is adapting ketosis.

Keto flu is not caused by ketosis. It is a response shown by our body due to the restriction of carbohydrate.

What is a keto flu?

The keto flu is the response of our body to the restriction of carbohydrate. Carbs are the quick energy source and are also a good source of fiber. Our stomach is adapted to the intake of these foods. With the change in consumption of nutrition, the metabolism also changes.

Keto flu is just like your breakup. You were used to living with your first love carbohydrate. It is now difficult to live without them. But your friends’ fats and proteins help you to overcome. Now, you find a new friend ketone. Your life suddenly changes, and you begin to love your new life.

What are the symptoms?

Switching to a very low carb diet is a major change, your body needs time to adapt this change. The symptoms vary from mild to severe and from person to person.

Here are some of the frequently reported symptoms of a keto flu:

  • Stomach aches
  • Sugar cravings
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Lack of concentration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Insomnia

Don’t worry because you are not going to get all these symptoms at once. You will only experience only one or two of these.

What causes the Keto flu?

When you restrict the carbs, your body must produce a backup fuel. So, changes in your body happen from cellular to hormonal level. The three major changes that occur when you cut out carbs are:

Water and sodium flushed out of the body:

When we restrict the carbohydrate, we remove one of the essential macro nutrients that trigger the insulin release. As soon as the level of insulin drops, sodium is released from the body. This causes the loss of 10 pounds of water weight. All of this usually occurs generally in the first five days.

Loss of glycogen and low insulin levels in our body begins to show all the symptoms. Drink a lot of fluids and electrolytes; it will enable some of the cellular symptoms.

T3 thyroid hormone levels may decrease:

Dietary carbs and thyroid are closely linked. When you cut carbs, the T3 levels can fall. In conjunction with T4, your body produces another thyroid hormone T2. It regulates your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. As your body adjusts to a Ketogenic diet, lower hormone levels leave your brain fog and fatigue.

Increase in cortisol level:

Ketogenic diet provoke starvation in the body. So, to increase the energy level, your body releases the stress hormone called cortisol.
When we restrict carbohydrates,

How long does it last?

Before entering this topic, you should know metabolic flexibility. It also answers the question “Why the keto flu affects everyone differently?”

Metabolic flexibility is the capacity of your body to adapt to different fuel sources. Many factors determine the metabolic flexibility. Genetics and your living styles are the two major factors.

So, coming up to the duration of keto flu, it differs from the metabolic flexibility of an individual. For the average person, it lasts over a week or less. In an extreme case, it can last up to a month.

If you are used to eating a diet high in refined sugar and processed foods, you are more likely to experience the symptoms.

How to cure the keto flu?

The keto flu can make you hard to control. It feels miserable. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce its flu-like symptoms and help your body get through the transition period more easily.

Increase your salt and water intake:

Loss of water and salt is responsible for keto flu. So hydration is essential when you are on the Ketogenic diet.

Drink a glass of water with half a teaspoon of salt stirred to it. This action will alleviate your headache, lethargy, and dizziness within 30 minutes.

Perform this action twice a day or more if needed. You can also opt for some tasty alternative, drink consomme, bouillon, chicken stock, and beef stock. Coffee and tea will also contribute toward your fluid intake.

Eat more fat:

Increasing salt and fluid intake usually resolves most of the keto side effects. If you are feeling poor, try eating more fat.

Your body is no longer getting energy from carbs. So, you have to eat more keto-friendly fats. Fat provides the liver cell with acetyl-CoA to produce ketones. This helps you to be habituated.

You can go several hours without eating and have ample energy.

Make sleep a top priority:

Proper rest is another way to reduce the stress level. Quality sleep is essential for Ketogenic dieters. Inadequate sleep will increase the cortisol level making the keto flu worse.

You should sleep at least 9 hours every night. If you feel exhausted at the middle of the day, then take a nap of half an hour.

Turn off all the lights and don’t use your phone for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. This will shift your mind from work mode to sleep mode.

Start your day with low-intense exercise:

Wake up, fill up a bottle with water and a pinch of salt and go for a long walk. Take an easy walk for about an hour. You would feel much better after walking.

This form of low-intensity exercise will help you burn fat and kick start ketosis.

Increase intake of sodium, potassium, and magnesium:

A decrease in insulin on a keto diet will lose sodium and potassium. It causes fatigue, headache and other keto symptoms.

Get enough potassium with leafy vegetables. Replenish your sodium level by sprinkling some unrefined salt on your meal.

Magnesium is another important mineral which makes your transition to ketosis much easier. Although your body doesn’t lose magnesium during keto diet, it is essential to prevent and treat cramps. It improves sleep quality and increases insulin sensitivity. Add some pumpkin seeds, spinach and almonds to get sufficient magnesium.

Note: Recommended doses of minerals

Sodium:

3000-5000 mg of salt per day

Potassium:

3,500 mg per day for the age group of 16 and up

Magnesium:

For male: ~ 400 mg per day
For female: ~ 310 mg per day

Health benefits of Keto diet

Besides its weight loss benefit, a keto diet is one of the healthiest diets. It has many health benefits as it depends on real foods. I want to list the of a keto diet:

  • Focuses the brain (increased memory, clarity, seizure control, fewer migraines, cognition)
  • Fights with cancer
  • Prevents heart disease (lower blood pressure, better cholesterol profiles, lower triglycerides)
  • Decreases inflammation (which improves acne, eczema, arthritis)
  • Improve energy level and sleep
  • Keeps uric acid levels in check (helps kidney function and prevents gout)
  • Assist gastrointestinal and gallbladder health (less heartburn and acid re-flux, lower risk for gallstones, less gas and bloating)
  • Assist women’s health (increases fertility and stabilize hormones)
  • Gain muscle and improve stamina
  • Reduces seizure

Keto Menu

If you are a beginner here is a perfect keto sample menu plan for you.

Monday

Breakfast: Keto pancake with blueberry syrup and fried egg(s)
Lunch: Lettuce with ranch dressing, chicken strips, and cherry tomatoes
Dinner: Ribeye steak with a salad topped with salsa and sour cream dressing

Tuesday

Breakfast: Fried egg(s) and avocado
Lunch: Salas with hard boiled eggs and raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Dinner: Avocado beefs bombs

Wednesday

Breakfast: Poached egg(s) and bacon
Lunch: Lettuce with sour cream and salsa dressing and chicken strips
Dinner: Bacon cheeseburger soup

Thursday

Breakfast: Scrambled egg(s) (sometimes add cheese)
Lunch: Brussels sprouts casserole
Dinner: Sloppy Joe salad or BBQ chicken

Friday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with bacon with avocado
Lunch: Lettuce with ranch, cherry tomatoes, and chicken strips
Dinner: Low carb pepperoni pizza with sugar-free marinara sauce

Saturday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with bacon and avocado
Lunch: Lettuce with sour cream and salsa dressing and topped with cheddar cheese
Dinner: Ribeye steak and ranch dressing topped with avocado

Sunday

Breakfast: Sandwich made with low carb biscuits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese
Lunch: Low carb beef casserole served with a side salad and ranch dressing
Dinner: Spaghetti squash bowls

Snack ideas for the week

Chocolate fat bombs or low carb dark chocolate fudge
Halo top ice cream
Avocado
Cello Whips
Pork Rinds

FAQs related to Keto Diet

Can I drink alcohol on Keto?

High carbs drinks such as cocktails, sweet wines and most of the beers are not allowed. You can enjoy pure liquor and dry wines to two glasses.

You can get drunk quicker when you are on keto, so always go slow.

Aren’t carbs essential for the functioning of your body?

It’s not all true. Carbs are necessary, but there are other nutrients which can replace carbs. Proteins and fats are essential for our body, but they can replace carbs.

Your body especially your brain function needs some carbs to function. But, the necessary amount of carbs is minimal. Your body can produce the required glucose via gluconeogenesis (GNG). So, the human body can function even in zero-carb diets.

Are cheat meals allowed on a keto diet?

We all will agree cheating is a bad idea, but it happens, right?

Cheat meals on keto will kick you out of ketosis and affect your keto-adaptation process. It will provoke carb cravings. If this happens to you, forgive yourself and simply move on. Start your keto again.

Do I need any supplements for a keto diet?

Supplements are necessary. You need to analyze how you are feeling. Electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium should be used as supplements.

Apart from these, many people take supplements like MCT oil, fish oil, creatine and more. These supplements aren’t always essential for everyone but might be beneficial for you.

If I stop doing keto, will I gain the weight back?

To keep your weight off, you need to make sure that you have changed your lifestyle. It not like you have just gone on a diet lose weight and get back to eating junk foods.

If you choose to reintroduce carbs after getting your goal weight, do it slowly. Keep your eye on how your body will react to them. There are plenty of other solutions like Paleo, Primal and Atkins diet.

But if you decide a no longer keto, you will gain some weight back. Usually, you will gain weight between 5 to 10 pounds; this is not fat you have been afraid of. If you don’t want to keep fat, you need to be reasonable and check your calories.