Advertising

Last Updated on February 22, 2021

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

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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).

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    More Weight Loss Tips

    Featured photo credit: Eduardo Roda Lopes via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Evlin Symon

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

    This Is What Happens When You Start Drinking Turmeric Milk Keto for Beginners: How to Make Keto Weight Loss Work for You 15 of the Best Fruits for Weight Loss and How to Enjoy Them Daily 15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight Is Saturated Fat Bad for Your Health? (And How to Eat Healthy Fat)

    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

    1 What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work? 2 13 High-Protein And Low-Fat Foods For A Healthy Diet 3 13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach) 4 How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 5 How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on August 24, 2021

    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

    Advertising
    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

    I’ve been a dietitian now for a long time (more years than I care to mention), and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that fad diets are best avoided. This is why I’m so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

    Rather than a “diet,” I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, it’s delicious and—in my opinion—not limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

    A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Lean protein
    • Nuts
    • Water

    This is essentially all a whole food diet is. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accepted definition of the whole food diet, which means that there are some highly restrictive versions around and some involve principles to frame your diet around rather than strict rules.

    Read on to learn more about the whole food diet as a framework for eating rather than a strict rule book of dos and don’ts that restricts your lifestyle.

    What Is a Whole Food Diet?

    By definition, a whole food diet consists of eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of organic, local, or pesticide-free, but a whole food diet is basically food in its most natural form. Obviously, spices can be ground and grains can be hulled, but you get the idea. You eat the whole food rather than what’s left after being refined or processed.

    In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

    Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

    Advertising

    Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets?

    Here’s where it gets confusing—yes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

    For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:[1]

    • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
    • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
    • Berries five times a week
    • Five or more servings of nuts a week
    • Olive oil five times a week
    • Whole grains five times a week
    • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
    • Legumes and pulses five times a week
    • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
    • Vitamin D supplement
    • Minimally processed foods
    • No more than one glass of wine a day
    • One or two coffee or tea a day max
    • Two liters of water a day

    That’s pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

    Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so it’s important to read labels really carefully. But it’s only some, not all.

    And here’s where it gets woolly. If you don’t need to eliminate certain food groups for whatever reason—ethical, health, religion—then a whole food diet can be great. But if you do exclude certain foods, then it could be beneficial to include certain “processed” foods. This is to make sure that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

    Processed Foods That Are Okay on a Whole Food Diet

    Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.

    For example, vitamin B12 (needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and mood-regulation), is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians don’t take a B vitamin supplement.[2]

    So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.

    Advertising

    As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.

    Benefits of a Whole Food Diet

    In a 2014 analysis by Yale University, they concluded that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”[3]

    A diet rich in fruit and vegetables or other high-fiber foods like whole grains and nuts is really important in maintaining good long-term health and preventing health problems like diabetes and cancers. These kinds of foods also help our bodies to cope and control the effects of inflammation.

    In fact, one review from 2019 stated that “diets high in plant foods could potentially prevent several million premature deaths each year if adopted globally.”[4] This is a big endorsement for a whole food diet.

    Whole Foods and the Gut

    Whole foods are loaded with fibers that are sometimes lost during processing or refinement. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut because aside from its traditional “roughage” reputation, it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, providing a whole host of other benefits.

    They also provide a lot of variety, which the gut loves. The more variety, the better. So, even though you might fall in love with certain recipes, it’s important to mix up the kinds of whole foods you eat to maintain a healthy gut. Aim for 30 different whole foods each week. It’s easier than you think!

    Whole Foods and the Brain

    The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best is—you guessed it—a whole, unprocessed food.

    In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s.[5]

    Advertising

    Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:[6]

    • Oily fish
    • Nuts
    • Eggs
    • Berries
    • Broccoli
    • Whole grains

    Is It Easy to Follow a Whole Food Diet?

    Once you’ve got your head around having “ingredients” rather than “ready-to-eat” things in your kitchen cupboards, it’s actually very easy. The only issue is the lifestyle and habit changes that come along with it.

    It is very likely that for many people, following a totally, religiously whole food diet may be unattainable at least some of the time. For example, there are days where you don’t get time to make your lunch or if you want to enjoy social eating. Similarly, people who have young children or who are working more than one job are unlikely to be able to follow a whole food diet all of the time.

    Sometimes, we put ourselves under pressure to be as perfect as we can with diets like this, which can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia, which is a preoccupation with healthy eating.

    This means that following a whole food diet, in principle, can be healthy and accessible for some people but not for everyone. It also means that those with previous disordered eating, as always, need to avoid any form of dietary restriction or rules around their diet.

    Is a Whole Food Diet Boring?

    Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.

    Here’s my advice if you’re just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. You’ll use them all the time in sauces.

    Best Hacks for Sticking With a Whole Food Diet

    Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.

    Advertising

    1. Practice Batch Cooking

    Especially in the beginning, if you’ve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, you’re likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, I’d suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, you’ll have enough quantity to last several meals.

    For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and that’s breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

    I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.

    2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods

    Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

    Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.

    If you’ve got a container of carrot sticks on hand or can happily munch on a few pieces of melon from the fridge, use those—it’s almost easier than grabbing something from a package. This can extend to your other vegetables, too. If you get your veg delivered or buy it from a market, choose a few things to slice after you wash them. That way, if you need a speedy lunch or a lazy dinner, it’ll be ready in minutes.

    Ready to Try a Whole Food Diet?

    If you’re looking to maximize your overall health, well-being, and vitality, I’d absolutely suggest a whole food diet. But, as with everything, it’s important to do what works for you and your own lifestyle.

    Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel – Restaurant Photographer via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Reference

    Read Next