Have you heard of the ketogenic diet also commonly called “keto”? I’m sure you probably have since it seems to be the latest craze. It is similar to low carb, the diet craze from the 90s but this one is a bit different, and in my opinion sustainable long term. People are losing hundreds of pounds easily and they are not hungry or deprived. It’s a simple concept really. I wrote a post last year comparing keto and paleo you can check out here but I have more info and am proud to say experience I have lost almost 20 pounds so far, lets dive in.
What Is Ketosis?
When we are consuming the standard American diet, our bodies are using the carbohydrates for fuel. If we consume more than we use for energy, our bodies store that as fat. If we starve our bodies of carbs ( it is not dangerous ), the body creates ketones. Ketones are molecules that are water-soluble and produced by the liver as by products when our bodies are burning fat for energy instead of carbs.
When our bodies are using fat for fuel we lose fat. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet. There may be a few misconceptions which I will go over below. After cutting down our carb limit daily, the body uses up its stored glucose as energy then starts burning fat. The carb limit is different for everyone, but a good starting limit is 20 grams of carbs a day. This may sound difficult but its really not!
There are so many choices now that you will not be deprived or hungry. Back in the day we were taught that fat is bad but the real culprit is sugar. I have arthritis in my knees and had inflammation in my body. The ketogenic lifestyle is basically an anti-inflammatory diet. After just 3 days, my knee felt better and I tried everything such as physical therapy and shots to no avail. All I had to do was change my diet! Who knew? Well the doctor did not tell me, I found out through a ton of research. Let’s get into how to lose weight on a ketogenic diet.
How To Lose Weight On Keto
When starting out on this lifestyle there are a few things you need to know. First off the main source of your food will come from healthy fats. Meat, low carb vegetables, protein is the main source for your meals. Fish, chicken, beef are all great sources of protein and healthy fats.
We want to keep our NET carbs no more than 20 grams at first. To figure out NET carbs you need to look at the label and subtract total carbs and fiber, this will give you the net amount. If something has 5 carbs and 3 fiber your net carbs is 2. Like I stated above many people can go a bit higher and still achieve ketosis but when starting out, staying at 20 will make it easier.
There are 3 ways to test if you’re in ketosis. The most affordable is urine test strips. These will detect ketones that are expelled into the urine, note once your body is fat adapted and you’ve been on keto for a while, the ketones will not be expelled into the urine and the strips will show negative so don’t panic. Another way is through a blood test meter. These are a bit on the pricey side and the strips needed average about a dollar a piece.
You prick your finger then place the stick in the meter and you will get your blood ketone level. The third way is through a breathalyzer you blow into it and it measures the ketones in your breath. Like the urine strips, these will not show ketones after a certain period. That time to become fat adapted is different for everyone. I personally only test when I have eaten something so I know if it possibly kicked me out of ketosis. There are other ways you can tell if you are in ketosis. Here are some physical signs:
- Appetite suppression
- Bad breath
- Different odor to your urine
- Weight loss
- Increased energy and focus
- Mental clarity
- ” Carb flu ” ( which happens to some people after coming off carbs for fuel)
What Can I Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?
Always read your labels for carb count. There are hidden carbs in many products today. Here’s a list of can and shouldn’t eat. (when counting vegetables the ones listed here have the lowest carb count but don’t forget to count them in your daily amount):
- Any meats
- Heavy cream
- Brussels sprouts
- Pork rinds
Stay Away From:
- White flour
You can eat many of your favorites just tweaked to make them keto friendly. The best flour substitutes that are low carb are Coconut flour & Almond flour. As far as sugar substitutes my personal favorites are Monk fruit and Eyrithrotol. Stevia is safe as well and none of these will spike your insulin. There are many recipes on YouTube and online so that you will never get bored.
The ketogenic diet has been around for years and was original used for people with epilepsy to quell their symptoms. There are studies out there proving the benefit for a good deal of health conditions including but not limited to Diabetes, Arthritis, Autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer and even certain Cancers. Depression and Anxiety are also on the list. There are plenty of articles online containing misinformation to dissuade people from changing their health this way.
Try it for yourself. I wish I had tried it sooner. Before changing your diet always speak to your doctor first. This is an amazing way to reduce inflammation in the body and you will feel amazing. Give it a month, or even two weeks. Here is an awesome guide the website DietDoctor.com has tons of information on the keto lifestyle plus recipes and a free 2-week eating plan. This is how I got started. Have you tried the keto or low carb lifestyle? I would love to hear your thoughts!
As an Amazon associate I get paid for qualifying purchases