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On a ketogenic diet, significantly reducing carbohydrate consumption forces the body to switch to a different source of energy, drawing on its fat stores instead of sugars or carbohydrates. The body breaks down fats in the liver to create the ketones that become its main energy supply. The keto diet aims to trigger a natural bodily process to burn fat, accomplishing weight loss with a dramatically lower carb intake rather than cutting calories.

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What is the First Step in a Keto Diet?

For maximum success, start the keto diet using a meal plan that works for you. Decide how fast you want to get your body into a ketogenic state. The more aggressively you cut carbohydrates, the faster you can activate this process. Fasting is the quickest way to reach a ketogenic state, but this is not advisable for more than a day. For most people, a gradual transition into the keto diet is the easiest method.

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Cutting Carbohydrates

Reducing the consumption of carbs is the prime focus of a keto diet. Aim to reduce your carb intake to no more than 15 to 30 grams per day or five to 10% of your total caloric count. Cut out bread and other foods made from grains, as well as apples, oranges, and other high-sugar fruits, and forgo using sugar or products containing sugar. Swap carb-heavy vegetables such as potatoes for lower carb options like bell peppers, zucchini, and spinach.

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Avoiding Hunger

Although the keto diet deprives you of many easily accessible high-carb foods, there remains a long list of items you can eat. All types of meat and eggs can be consumed on the keto diet. You can also enjoy broccoli, cauliflower, and many other vegetables. Hard cheeses and other high-fat dairy products are a good choice, as are nuts and seeds. Although you need to avoid some popular fruits, avocados remain on the list, as do blackberries and raspberries.

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What About Flavoring Meals?

The thought of only having bland or tasteless meals puts a fair number of people off the idea of dieting altogether. Due to the focus on fat in the keto diet, however, flavor is easy to come by. Spices contain carbs, but you can use them in moderate amounts. Cinnamon, parsley, chili powder, and cayenne pepper are a few examples of herbs and spices keto dieters can use in moderation. Salt and pepper contain no carbohydrates.

What Types of Drinks Fit into a Keto Diet?

Water is the main drink in this dietary plan, but unsweetened coffee and tea are also allowed. Avoid sodas and other high-carb drinks. Beer and wine are out because they are higher in carbohydrates but occasional consumption of sugar-free cocktails or hard liquors is fine. However, it is important to remember that alcohol of any kind can counteract weight loss.

Dealing With Your Sweet Tooth

Anyone on a keto diet should distance themselves from sugar, which can be difficult for people who crave it. Low glycemic impact sweeteners, such as erythritol, can replace sugar on this diet, and you can substitute xylitol in baking. If you have diabetes, however, it is important to talk to a doctor about which sugar alternatives are safe.

Eating Out on the Keto Diet

At first, eating out on the keto diet seems impossible, but with some modifications, you can enjoy a meal away from home. At most restaurants, you can order a meat or fish meal without bread. Egg-based meals are another good alternative menu choice. Dessert options are more limited, of course; cheeses are the most straightforward option.

Different Types of Keto Diets

The keto diet is a general term that covers several meal plans. While all focus on reducing carbohydrates, there are a variety of approaches. The keto diet most people know about permits very low carb intake and a moderate amount of protein. Dieticians have also developed a high-protein keto diet that allows for protein to make up about 30 percent of carbs instead of the 20 percent on the standard diet. The cyclical keto diet follows yet another approach, with alternating cycles of higher and lower carb intake, for example, five days of strict low-carb eating followed by two days of higher carb intake.

Keto Diet Side Effects

Once you start your keto diet, you might experience some side effects, often called the keto flu, but these symptoms should pass in a few days. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, irritability, muscle soreness, and difficulty sleeping. A gradual decrease in carbs may minimize these issues. Adding more salt to meals or adding mineral supplements to water can help reduce the way this diet changes the body's water and mineral balance, but these changes should be discussed with a doctor.

Is the Keto Diet Safe?

Someone who is healthy can start a keto diet without any special concerns but if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, consult your doctor. It is possible to adapt the diet to those with special dietary requirements but professional guidance is vital. People with allergies also need to be mindful since nuts are a key part of the standard keto diet and a common allergen.

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.