Some benefits of going keto are difficult to dispute. Following a high-fat, low-carb diet can be a solid strategy for rapid weight loss and blood-sugar control. The keto diet can also be great for children with tough-to-control epileptic seizures. For decades, people have seen stellar results managing those conditions on a keto diet with the help and guidance of professionals.
There is scientific evidence that supports the use of a ketogenic diet to help manage certain neurologic conditions. There are also medical, nutrition, and fitness professionals that recommend the eating program for patients and clients who have other health goals. But just because the program works for some, doesn't mean that it's the best diet for you.
The ketogenic diet—also known as "keto"—has become the latest big thing in weight-loss plans, touted recently by celebs like Jenna Jameson, Mama June, and Halle Berry. The diet involves cutting way back on carbohydrates, to 50 grams a day or less, to help the body achieve a state of ketosis, in which it has to burn fat (rather than sugar) for energy.
Ketogenic diets often create a significant loss of water during the first phases. This is because carbs are converted to glycogen in your body, which is stored in water within the muscles and liver. As you deplete stored glycogen, your body flushes this water out. This is a huge part of the initial weight loss during the first few weeks of ketosis. While rapid fat loss does occur at first, a lot of water weight is often dropped as well, but this is a great encouragement as it often results in both weight loss and less bloating, allowing clothes to fit better.
Lastly, if you're active, you might need to make some adjustments to take that into account. "For the first one to two weeks, temporarily reducing your exercise load can be helpful as your body adjusts to being in ketosis," he says. "Additionally, for those who have an intense workout schedule, carb cycling may be a good option." Carb cycling essentially means you'll increase your carb intake on the days you're doing exercise, ideally just two to three days per week. "While low-carb days may be around 20 to 30 grams of net carbs daily, high-carb days can range all the way up to 100 grams, although it can vary based on your size and activity level," says Dr. Axe. (Related: 8 Things You Need to Know About Exercising on the Keto Diet.)
"Sunflower seeds are a great snack option whether you follow a keto diet or not," says registered dietitian Katey Davidson, M.S., R.D. Although all sunflower seeds are an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E, many companies use flavorings to season their products which can be high in both salt and sugar, says Davidson. She recommends Terrasoul Superfoods because they aren't flavored or salted. And with only 6 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar (per one 1/4 cup), you won't have to worry about these seeds throwing you out of your hard-earned ketosis. However, Davidson says you'll want to aim to eat just a handful of seeds, which is considered a serving. (Related: This keto smoothie recipe is delicious even without a ton of fruit.)
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
Staying in Ketosis long-term: Chronic Ketosis can cause fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia and nausea. "Unless you have a medical condition that requires you to stay in Ketosis for long-term, you shouldn't stay in that state for a prolonged period without any carb ups," Mavridis suggests. And if you're a beginner, "it’s recommended that you go through the fat-adaptation phase so that your body becomes accustomed to burning both glucose and fat for fuel," says the nutritionist.
All I can say is WOW! I am a week in on this Keto way of eating and came across this simple recipe. Gotta admit, I didn’t think I would like it…I LOVE IT! So easy to make…took me 20 minutes total! It was light, moist and delicious. I used one small loaf pan, doubled the ingredients and made the regular one and the cheese mix in. Can’t wait to share the rest with my co-workers…we are doing this together. Will be back to check for other recipes. Thank you!
You may also want to buy some Ketostix Reagent Strips so that you can check to see if you are in ketosis for the first few weeks. However, after the first 3-4 weeks on the plan, the goal is to become "keto-adapted". Once adapted, the body should be burning the ketones for fuel. The stick shouldn't register as deep purple if you are using the ketones as a fuel source. And they now have blood ketone meters available to track blood ketones at home. This is a much more accurate way to track your individual ketone levels. See my ketosis page for more information.
Take a 2 – 3 cups of lettuce, crumble in some bacon and dice a medium tomato. Mix that with two or three tablespoons of mayo, and toss after adding some splashes of hot sauce. Delicious, filling, full of fiber and healthy fats, and absolutely easy. I know the mayo sounds weird as a dressing, but trust us; it’s amazing! Add in some avocado chunks to boost potassium too!
Chasing blood Ketones instead of focusing on hormone signals: "The higher the number means you have more Ketones circulating in your bloodstream, but that does not mean that you are better at burning fat for fuel," Mavridis points out. "You must be in nutritional Ketosis, which is described as being between 1.5 - 3.0 mol/L on the blood Ketone meter. You will know once you are fat-adapted from hormonal signals, and not from higher Ketones on the blood meter," she adds.
The keto diet is one of the most effective that I’ve come across and one of the more straightforward (as opposed to easy!) to follow. In a nutshell, when you’re on a keto diet, you eat a very low-carb, high-fat diet. That means goodbye pasta and bread, hello cheese and oils. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we’ve been taught our entire lives. But it works if you follow the keto diet food list. Plus, you can make many favorite recipes keto-friendly.
Initially you may be surprised that on keto diets you eat less frequently. That’s because the fats are pretty satisfying. But as you normalize and adjust into a ketogenic state, that may change and your appetite may increase. That’s fine and completely normal. Use whatever diet you decide to follow as a starting point – it should be “written in pencil” so that you can make changes along the way. Consider adding an extra meal, marginally increasing the size of the meals or just adding a shake between meals. It’s up to you – just listen to your body. For example for me, I added a low-carb “green powder” shake supplement to my regimen along with either flax seed oil or some nuts in order to satisfy my hunger.
For a snack that needs zero preparation, reach for the olive jar, Griffin suggests. Olives are mostly made up of fat, specifically healthy monounsaturated fat, Berkley Wellness points out. Plus, as research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry notes, they're loaded with antioxidants, and are low in calories and carbs. Keep in mind that olives can contain a lot of sodium, though — sometimes as much as 42 milligrams in one olive, according to Berkley Wellness.
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.