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Last Updated on February 22, 2021

Keto for Beginners: How to Make Keto Weight Loss Work for You

Keto for Beginners: How to Make Keto Weight Loss Work for You

In the past few years, more and more people have started to suffer from obesity, with associated heart and metabolic problems. If you are struggling to keep your weight under control, you are also probably worrying about additional problems, such as hypertension and diabetes. This is where keto weight loss can help.

People who fight weight gain have a genetic predisposition, but they also need to make a few lifestyle changes, especially with regard to their exercise habits and caloric intake. It has been demonstrated that regular physical activity, as well as improved dietary habits, can promote weight loss and allow one to maintain the same weight in the long term.

In this article, we will look into keto diet basics and how to get started as a beginner.

Keto 101

The ketogenic diet for beginners has been presented as one of the most effective approaches for quick weight loss.[1] Indeed, this nutritional approach has a solid basis, allowing one to lose excess pounds and return to a healthy figure. As you will see for yourself, it can even improve cardiovascular health.

The main idea behind this diet is to drastically reduce your carb intake, so the body begins to use the ketone bodies produced by the liver as energy. As the glucose levels decrease, and the fuel for the body changes, significant weight loss will occur.

This condition was first noticed in individuals who were fasting; at the beginning, the ketogenic diet was used for those who suffered from epilepsy. It was only recently that researchers began to recommend it for weight loss purposes.

Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

It has been confirmed that this dietary approach based on keto weight loss can help one fight obesity, as well as high cholesterol levels. It can improve cardiovascular risk factors, protecting one against stroke and atherosclerosis.

The ketogenic diet can also suppress your appetite. This is related to the fact that you will consume more protein, which has a higher satiety effect.

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It is also worth mentioning that such changes can keep the appetite control hormones in check. Proteins have a thermal effect (your body needs lots of energy to digest them), contributing to the activation of the your metabolism.

Ketone bodies cause a number of changes within the body, contributing to the suppression of the appetite in a direct manner. They prevent the body from storing fat, while activating the metabolism and promoting the fat-burning process. Thus, one experiences a higher metabolic efficiency, consuming more calories in the process.

When formulating the best keto diet guidelines and plan, keep in mind that this diet can help you lose excess weight and offer a wide range of other benefits[2].

For example, the ketone bodies produced in the liver can provide protection against cognitive impairment (associated with weight gain and obesity in general). The dietary approach can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy.

It can even be of use to those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, and it facilitates recovery in patients diagnosed with brain injuries. The ketogenic diet does wonders for those with polycystic ovary syndrome and acne; this is related to the reduction in insulin levels.

The Physiological Changes Associated With Keto

What happens is that, upon reducing the carb intake, a metabolic condition known as physiological ketosis occurs.[3] This is when the body runs out of glucose, using ketone bodies (obtained through ketogenesis). When these began to be used as energy, keto weight loss occurs as a natural consequence of ketone levels rising.

As the glycemic level begins to stabilize, the weight loss process occurs. The risk of metabolic syndrome is reduced, which increases the life expectancy for the individual. Bad cholesterol levels are reduced, as well as one of triglycerides (associated risk of cardiovascular disease).

The metabolic rate is altered, and physiological changes occur. While the lean body mass is preserved, the fat mass begins to be consumed, and weight loss is no longer difficult. Interestingly, all of these changes do not have a negative effect on the metabolism of glucose (eliminating insulin resistance).

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What Happens When You Consume Carbs in High Quantities

Unfortunately, the modern diet is associated with the consumption of foods that are high in carbs. The rates of obesity have increased only in the past few years, when more and more people have fallen prey into the trap of carbs.

The excessive intake of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and obesity in many cases. A diet rich in carbs has a negative influence on insulin resistance. Moreover, it increases glucose levels and reduces the level of good cholesterol.

All of these changes translate into a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease as the metabolism is disturbed.

How It Feels to Follow the Keto Diet for Beginners

The reduction of carb intake, associated with a higher consumption of proteins, has proven to be quite beneficial (both physically and mentally). The sensation of lethargy, normally caused by high levels of carbs, disappears, and the mood improves. However, you’ll have to pass through a couple of days of carb withdrawal, but the symptoms can be reduced by eating plenty of protein and fats, drinking water, and avoiding stress.

Some people have reported that in days 3-5 of a keto diet, you can experience what some call the “keto flu,” which is a set of side effects generated when your body’s glucose reserves are used up, but your body hasn’t completely adjusted to its new diet[4]. If you notice fatigue, shakiness, or irritability, eating a serving of low-carb fruit can help.

In the beginning, you may find it difficult to reduce carb intake. However, as the body acclimates to these dietary changes, the sensation of hunger disappears, and you’re less tempted to give into cravings. As the fat metabolism is improved, you’ll begin to notice the weight difference and feel better overall. You’ll notice these positive changes within a week or two of starting your keto diet.

Tips for Successful Weight Loss on Keto

When it comes to weight loss tips to remember when trying the keto diet for beginners, this is the most important one:

You need to make sure that your daily carb intake does not exceed 20 grams, regardless of how many fats or proteins you plan on consuming that day. The intake of net carbs should not be influenced by the total caloric intake.

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Furthermore, the transition from your regular diet to the ketogenic approach should not take place all of a sudden. You need to take a gradual approach, so that your body has the necessary amount of time to adapt to this new diet.

In order to facilitate the overall transition, you can opt for meals that mimic regular, carb-rich foods. These will help you stay on the diet and achieve your weight loss goals without too much effort.

Which Foods Are Keto Friendly?

If you have decided to try keto weight loss, you need to up your protein intake. You are allowed to consume lean meats, such as chicken and eggs, and dairy products, such as full-fat cheese. Fatty fish, such as tuna and sardines, as well as other types of seafood, is allowed[5].

What You Should Eat on a Keto Diet

    You can also consume olive oil and flaxseed oil, as these deliver beneficial fats to the body. Vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, eggplants, and carrots are recommended. As for fruits, you can consume berries of various kinds, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and avocados.

    Do not be afraid to consume olive oil of good quality as this is one of the best food products for someone who is on a keto weight loss diet[6]. In the Mediterranean, olive oil is eaten in generous quantities, and the people here do not suffer from obesity (they also have a reduced risk of heart problems).

    You can add in an extra dose of healthy oil with the Infuel Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement.

    Which Foods Are Restricted?

    Simply put, as a keto beginner, you need to drastically reduce your carb intake over a span of several days to a week. This means that you should eat white flour products, potatoes, and pasta as little as possible. The same goes for bread and rice.

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    It is important to be aware of the fact that carbs are found in other food products, especially in sweets. Stay away from candies, cakes, and other similar items that are rich in sugar. Of course, fruit juices and soft drinks are on the no list.

    Does the Ketogenic Diet Actually Promote Weight Loss?

    In the introduction, we talked about obesity and the risks associated with weight gain. Keto weight loss can reverse such changes, allowing one to keep hunger under control.

    Proteins are a big part of this dietary approach, offering prolonged satiety. On the other hand, both carbs and fat are less filling, causing one to feel hungry more quickly.

    As one begins to consume more proteins, the sensation of hunger appears at longer intervals. The ketogenic diet will not cause one to feel hungry all the time, presenting a higher success rate than other dietary approaches.

    As the carb intake is reduced to the lowest possible level, the ketogenic state will occur, and the body will no longer rely on glucose for fuel. The ketone bodies produced in the liver, from the fat reserves, will act as fuel.

    Final Thoughts

    It is important to understand that the body needs time to adapt to the state of ketosis. You need to pursue the dietary approach and not be satisfied with the initial weight loss, which is due to the diuresis process. Soon, you will see that your body has begun to burn fat efficiently, allowing you to return to a healthy figure.

    The ketogenic diet presents a number of advantages, starting with the fact that you have plenty of allowed foods to organize your daily meals. Moreover, you can follow this diet without having to count calories or keep track of how much food you have eaten.

    Overall, the keto diet for beginners is a great path toward losing weight and building a healthier lifestyle.

    More Weight Loss Tips

    Featured photo credit: Eduardo Roda Lopes via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Evlin Symon

    Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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    Published on April 8, 2021

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot Powder (And How To Choose A Good One)

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot Powder (And How To Choose A Good One)

    Beetroots are vegetables rich in nitrates, antioxidants, and polyphenol compounds that have a role in improved cardiovascular function and exercise performance.[1] However, beetroot juice has limitations with storage and taste preference, and so other more convenient forms have been investigated. One of these forms is beetroot powder.

    What Is Beetroot Powder?

    Beetroot powder is made by dehydrating or drying out thin slices of beetroot (to remove all the moisture) and then grinding them into a powder. If you don’t like the earthy taste of beetroot, then beetroot powder might be an alternative since it is more concentrated than fresh beetroot but with a relatively neutral taste. One fresh beetroot is the equivalent of approximately one teaspoon of beetroot powder.

    Powdered beetroot can be added to sauces, smoothies, pasta, gnocchi, curries, cakes, muffins, or anything you choose to add nutrients and color to. Watch out that your urine may change color too! Due to the natural sugars in beetroot, it can also be used as a natural sweetener. Beetroot powder is even used in natural cosmetics.

    Beetroot Powder VS. Other Beetroot Products

    One study looked at the total antioxidant potential, phenol compounds, sugars, and organic acids in beetroot juice, cooked beetroot, powder, and chips. They found higher amounts of total antioxidant potential and organic acids in the chips and powder compared with the juice and cooked beetroot.[2] However, it’s important to consider that it is a lot easier to take larger quantities of beetroot when powdered or juiced than just eating it and this means ingesting much more sugar.

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot

    While beetroot may have potential health benefits, it’s not clear if these are temporary or have long-term effects. More research is needed to answer this question and what the optimal dose is. Most studies have focused on beetroot juice, with only a handful of studies investigating beetroot powder. There hasn’t been evidence so far to support the benefit of beetroot powder on blood flow.[3]

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    Despite that, beetroot contains several different compounds with different properties. Here are the six health benefits of beetroot powder.

    1. Beetroot Powder Is Rich in Nitrates

    Firstly, beetroot powder is rich in nitrates. Nitrates have important roles related to increased blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial efficiency, and strengthening of muscle contraction.[4] By causing relaxation of the smooth muscles that encircle arteries and veins, nitrate leads to the dilation of these blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. Nitrate medications are used for people with high blood pressure, angina, and heart disease to relax blood vessels, widening them to allow greater blood flow.[5]

    A meta-analysis that combined 22 different trials and analyzed the results together found that additional beetroot juice significantly decreased blood pressure.[6] However, there isn’t evidence to support the long-term effects.[7]

    2. Beetroot Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    Secondly, beetroot contains antioxidant polyphenol compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are molecules that have the ability to neutralize free radicals and protect against cell damage that can lead to chronic diseases. Eating a diet high in antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.[8] Different polyphenol compounds are different colors, that’s why you will often hear about eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.

    3. Beetroot Has Anti-Cancer Effects

    Beetroot also contains betalains that have been found to have anti-cancer effects in cellular models in the laboratory.[9] Clinical trials are now needed to assess if there are potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects and the nature of these effects. While the anti-cancer effects of beetroot in humans aren’t known yet, including them in your diet may help and is unlikely to risk harm.

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    4. Beetroot Powder Is a Great Source of Vitamins C and Folate

    Beetroots are also a great source of vitamins C and B9 (folate). Vitamin C and folate have many important roles in our bodies. Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, which acts as a scaffold in the skin and ligaments. It is also has a role in wound healing and protein metabolism. Folic acid is vital for the production of healthy red blood cells, and cellular growth. Inadequate intake of vitamin C over a 3 month period can lead to scurvy, and smoking can further reduce the bioavailability.[10]

    5. Beetroot Contains Essential Minerals

    Beets also contain the minerals iron, manganese, and potassium. Iron has a vital role in the transportation of oxygen by healthy red blood cells. Over 40% of children worldwide have iron deficiency anemia and women of childbearing age are also at increased risk because of menstruation.[11] Potassium may actually prevent the harmful effects of eating excess salt (sodium chloride). Manganese has several roles including metabolism, bone formation, and the immune system. Beetroots are a great way of including all these micronutrients in your diet.

    6. Beetroot Powder Is a Great Source of Fiber

    Fiber is such an important component of our diet, with most of us needing to eat much more to reach the recommended daily amount of 30g. For every 10g of fiber you eat a day, you may decrease your long-term risk of bowel cancer.[12]

    Fibre also acts as a pre-biotic, providing food for the friendly micro-organisms in your gut called the microbiota. There are trillions of micro-organisms in your gut that are now known to play a key role in inflammation and both mental and physical health. Eating beetroots can help to increase your fiber intake and support a healthy gut community.

    It’s clear that for relatively few calories, beetroot contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, nitrates, and antioxidants. For these reasons, beetroot is labeled as a “nutraceutical” and supplementation has become increasingly popular.[13] While most studies have looked at the effects of beetroot on blood vessel dilation, there are still many unanswered questions about other potential benefits.

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    How to Choose a Beetroot Powder

    Like all other supplements, there is very little regulation. Therefore, it is very difficult to be sure exactly what is included in the supplement or assess the quality. My recommendations for choosing a supplement are to check for a product license and always buy from a reputable company.

    There are, however, no agreed benchmarks for quality or efficacy. How much and how often are also unknown at this time. Try to avoid powders that have added preservatives, sweeteners, or artificial flavorings. Consider whether an organic powder is worth the extra money to you. I would avoid powders that have added silica to avoid clumping. Some supplements now use 3rd party companies to verify the contents.

    There isn’t an agreed dose of nitrate or beetroot powder, so while some powders do contain nitrate content, it is difficult to know exactly what this means in practice. The higher the nitrate content, the more likely it is to have a beneficial effect on raised blood pressure. But if you don’t have high blood pressure, it’s difficult to know if more nitrate is beneficial.

    In summary, look for:

    • organic beetroot powder
    • tested for quality by a 3rd party company
    • is free from preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings
    • avoid powders containing silica
    • buy from a reputable company
    • look at the nitrate content

    How to Make Your Own Beetroot Powder

    First, wash, peel, and grate your beetroots by hand or using a food processor. Then, place them on a tray, spread them out, and cover them with parchment or grease-proof paper to protect them from direct sunlight.

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    Leave to dry until there is no moisture left and shake intermittently so that it dries evenly. When it snaps instead of bending and feels dry, it is ready for the next stage.

    The drying stage can take up to four days depending on the air temperature. To speed up the drying process, you can do this on low heat in a saucepan for 15 to 25 minutes or in the oven at no higher than 180 degrees Celsius or in a dehydrator. If you use the oven or on the hob, just be careful not to burn the beetroot.

    The final step is to grind the dried beetroot using a grinder. It can then be stored in an airtight container, avoiding sun-light for up to one year.

    Should You Try Beetroot Powder?

    Beetroot is a great vegetable that contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, nitrates, and fiber. The nitrates present in beets may lower your blood pressure in the short-term, but the long-term effects are not yet known. More research is needed to know about other potential benefits such as the effect on cancer.

    So, while beetroot powder may have health benefits unless taken in excess, it is unlikely to have significant side effects. Large doses of beetroot, however, are associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.

    If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking beetroot supplements is best avoided as there isn’t sufficient safety information. Beetroots do also contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols or FODMAPS for short. These are types of carbohydrates that are hard to digest and can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in some people. FODMAPS are thought to act as prebiotics, feeding the friendly micro-organisms that live in your gut (microbiota). So, for those people who can tolerate them, they are beneficial for a healthy gut.

    More Resources About Beetroot

    Featured photo credit: FOODISM360 via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] NCBI: Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide pathway
    [2] SpringerLink: Comparison of total antioxidant potential, and total phenolic, nitrate, sugar, and organic acid contents in beetroot juice, chips, powder, and cooked beetroot
    [3] Maastricht University: Effects of Beetroot Powder with or without L-Arginine on Postprandial Vascular Endothelial Function: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial with Abdominally Obese Men
    [4] PubMed.gov: Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review
    [5] PubMed.gov: Nutraceuticals with a clinically detectable blood pressure-lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta-analyses
    [6] PubMed.gov: The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    [7] PubMed.gov: Medium-term effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    [8] NCCIH: Antioxidants: In-Depth
    [9] NCBI: Red Beetroot and Betalains as Cancer Chemopreventative Agents
    [10] Healthline: Beetroot 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
    [11] NCBI: The impact of maternal iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on child’s health
    [12] Cancer Research UK: Does a high fibre diet reduce my risk of cancer?
    [13] PubMed.gov: The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease

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