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Thanks for stopping by to read my ultimate beginners guide to the ketogenic diet.
Over the past year I have dedicated myself to consistent ketogenic dieting in addition to intermittent fasting and daily practice of The Wim Hof method (breathing, cold exposure & meditation/mindset).
“The combination of the Wim Hof Method, fasting and keto have made me healthier, happier and stronger than ever.”
Let me show you why I think the ketogenic diet is the best dietary option for people who want to become a better version of themselves, plus lose some weight in the process!
You will find this article very helpful if you have ever wondered:
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In this article I will educate you on everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet and how it can:
A keto diet is normally very safe for most people, but there are three groups that often require special consideration. These are:
Of course before you start any diet you should always do your research and get professional medical advice on it’s suitability for you.
After you read this full article be sure to leave your thoughts on the ketogenic diet in the comments section below.
Tell me about your ketogenic journey or why you are interested in trying it out. If there is anything that you feel I left out of this guide, please let me know, and I will do my best to add it.
My goal is to make this the most comprehensive keto guide online.
Interest in the ketogenic diet, or keto diet as it is often referred to, has dramatically increased over the past few years.
The ketogenic diet has been hailed as the savior diet for sugar addicts that struggle to deal with constant hunger and never seem to feel full.
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So what is the keto diet exactly and can it really help you cut down on the hunger driven feeding frenzies that lead to weight gain?
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Well, basically the body can run efficiently on two different fuel sources.
The first fuel source option is carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are found in foods such as cereals, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, soft drinks and fruits etc. In the average western diet carbohydrates make up a very large proportion of the total foods consumed.
The other fuel that the body likes to burn for energy is fat.
However, the body prefers to burn carbohydrates for energy when both carbs and fats are present in the diet.
The keto diet is an extremely low-carb diet which lowers insulin levels and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
In fact, the ketogenic diet is so low in carbs that the body has to no choice but to switch over to using fat as the major fuel source.
You can say goodbye to your beloved sugary treats on keto (although there are plenty of delicious alternatives made with butter, natural sweeteners and cream etc).
My personal favorite snack is hemp seeds, blueberries and cream.
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Artificial sweeteners are also avoided as these can be detrimental to those trying to get in, or stay in ketosis.
The ketogenic diet is very high in fat.
Let's take a look at the perfect macro-nutrient breakdown of a Keto diet.
On the keto diet you will be eating roughly:
Remember the 5% carbs is net carbs, and not counting the fibrous component of carbohydrate dense foods.
Protein intake is kept low to moderate as a surplus of protein can boost insulin levels and potentially knock you out of ketosis.
This is a much different composition of macro-nutrients compared to the average western diet which is around 20% fat 30% protein and 60% carbs.
Or your typical bodybuilder cutting style diet which calls for a much higher protein and moderate to low carbs and fat.
There are a few different styles of Ketogenic Dieting. The most common variations of the ketogenic diet are:
Regardless of the style of ketogenic diet you choose, for the most part you will avoid sugary carbohydrate dense food and drinks and instead fill up on foods such as eggs, meat, avocados, butter, olive oil, nuts, and green vegetables.
List Of Popular Keto Approved Foods:
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When the body is void of sugar, fat goes through many complex chemical reactions in the liver that I wont bore you with in this article.
In the liver, the fat is then converted into energy molecules called ketone bodies which can be released into the bloodstream and used as a fuel source.
Hence why the diet is called the ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short.
If your body is carb depleted and fueled by fats for long enough, the body will enter a state called “ketosis”.
Living in a state of ketosis has many benefits and more research is continually coming out in favor of this popular way of eating.
I am personally interested in the anti-inflammatory benefits that the ketogenic diet can provide.
There is also some interesting research coming out suggesting that the ketogenic diet may be helpful in the treatment and prevention of auto-immune and neurological diseases.
However, most people are attracted to keto for it's weight loss benefits.
Essentially the Ketogenic Diet turns you into a fat burning machine, 24 hours of the day.
Some people also like to supplement with exogenous ketone supplements to help accelerate the fat burning process plus boost energy levels and mental function.
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Contrary to what we have been led to believe by mainstream media and our so called “need for carbs to fuel the brain”, your brain and muscles can actually function very well on ketone bodies alone.
In fact, ketone bodies provide more energy per gram for the brain verses glucose, which can greatly improve your mental clarity (I will discuss this in more detail shortly).
The suitability of the ketogenic diet for athletes is still up for debate.
Studies have shown that power output decreases in cases where maximum intensity effort is required for athletes in ketosis.
This is because the breakdown of glucose via glycolysis plays a crucial role in providing immediate energy for your muscles.
When no glucose is present in the diet you may find that intense workouts become much harder.
However, recent research is showing many great benefits of keto dieting for endurance runners who train and compete at a lower maximal intensity.
You see, the body’s supply of stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen only lasts for a couple of hours of intense exercise, or less. But your fat stores carry enough energy to easily last for weeks or even months.
Studies also suggest that the lack of glycogen may also affect the potential for muscle growth since there’s a strong positive connection between glycogen availability and protein synthesis.
If you are a power athlete or bodybuilder the ketogenic may not be the best option for you.
However in saying that, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise as many people following the ketogenic diet report significant gains in lean muscle and are still performing very well in high intensity events.
Often these people are using ketogenic preworkout drinks, oil blends and exogenous ketones for an extra boost.
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I personally found that my strength levels dipped during my first month on keto, but have since bounced back better than ever.
These days I have such low inflammation that I can back up a heavy weight training session very quickly.
A heavy leg day would sometimes wipe me out for 5 days due to muscle stiffness and soreness.
These days I am fine with just one day rest between sessions.
This quicker recovery time has led to greater gains.
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People who stick to a ketogenic diet long enough to enter ketosis report rapid weight loss and best yet, they do so without dealing with constant hunger and cravings for sugary treats.
After spending a few days on a strict keto diet you become fat adapted, which is around the time the hunger drops and the other benefits, which we will discuss shortly, begin to kick in.
The ketogenic diet is nothing new.
In fact it has been used for decades in the clinical world.
The foundation of the ketogenic diet is very similar to many other diets. As I mentioned earlier, It’s a strict low-carb diet, it’s primarily a gluten-free diet, it’s similar to the paleo diet and it’s very similar to the Atkins diet.
The Ketogenic Diet is quite simple if you have the right plan to follow and is based on consumption of whole, high fat and nutrient dense foods.
If the thought of giving up carbohydrates is too much to bare then this might not be the best diet for you. After all it is very possible to eat carbohydrates and still lose significant amounts of stubborn and dangerous body fat.
However, People on a high fat keto diets do tend to report that once they are fat adapted they feel very satisfied from eating foods like cheese, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and veggies.
It is this fact that makes keto a great option for people who battle with sugar and carb addiction and the mental warfare and hunger games that come along with it.
These days there are so many yummy keto snacks available that you can still have plenty of satisfying treats.
The keto way of living has actually been around since the first humans roamed this earth.
Looking from an evolutionary perspective, our ancestors did not have constant access to carbohydrates or sugar like we do today.
Hunters went long periods of time running on ketones before their next feast.
It has become evident that sugar is the main culprit behind many of the horrible chronic diseases that kill humans, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, not fat.
People around the world are having great weight loss success on keto, hence why the word has spread, and it has become such a juggernaut in the world of dieting today.
There are many studies showing that low-carb diets improve important health markers, including:
When constructed properly, the ketogenic diet is much more than just a weight loss solution.
Many people are having long term success with weight management plus enjoying the many other benefits that come along with adhering to the diet.
Many people in “ketosis” feel energized with vastly improved mental clarity.
This is a major reason why it has become the “trendy” diet for silicone valley entrepreneurs and CEO’s around the world.
It is the combination of stable blood sugar levels and high ketone bodies leads to much less hunger and reduced thoughts of eating.
The brain just loves to run on fats. For busy workers, this means more time to focus on the things that matter and a deeper level of workflow.
Biohacking work-a-holics like myself often take this a step further by combing keto with brain stimulating nootropics and special keto coffee blends for the ultimate in mental performance.
Personally, on the ketogenic diet, I find that hunger pangs have almost completely disappeared, especially my cravings for sugary foods.
Sometimes I honestly forget that I have to eat.
If you have an eating disorder I would definitely recommend against starting the ketogenic diet due to the severely decreased appetite.
Losing your appetite is a strange sensation that I’m sure that you guys who have already been in ketosis can relate to.
Once ketone levels get high enough to suppress appetite, keto is a breeze to adhere to.
Although, I must admit that my first few days on keto were quite rough.
While getting into ketosis, for the first few days I had severe hunger and felt very lethargic, but after that it was smooth sailing.
There are some cool little tricks that you can do help you get into ketosis much faster without dealing with the extreme hunger and “keto flu” like I did.
If you tend to struggle with hunger pangs exogenous ketones may be a solution for you to look into.
Perhaps the most beneficial keto hack that I have learnt is to supplement with electrolytes during the first few days of the transition into keto.
I wish I would have known this little trick before I started my first keto venture, as the keto flu is no fun at all.
The keto flu which isn’t an actual flu but brings on symptoms such as headaches ,fatigue, coughing, nausea and even upset stomach.
The positive note though, is that it passes quite quickly and won’t come back again unless you come out of ketosis. Use electrolytes and you can avoid the keto flu completely.
One thing I personally love about been on keto (combined with intermittent fasting) is that you don’t have to constantly snack.
I have saved a tonne of money by eating fewer meals.
Eating high fat foods and fibrous veggies on the ketogenic diet really satisfies.
One of my favorite things about keto is that you can have a treat meal, but because it is fat based you feel satisfied for so long after.
You don’t get that rebound hunger and lethargy that you get from eating carb based treats.
I think that is why the people who embrace the keto lifestyle do so well with long term weight management.
Having the option to binge eat without insulin spikes, blood sugar fluctuations and subsequent hunger means that you are just living a more steady and sustainable lifestyle.
Getting into ketosis is not a black or white thing.
It’s not like you’re either in ketosis, or out of ketosis.
Instead, you can be in different degrees of ketosis, as this chart demonstrates.
The numbers below refer to values when testing blood ketone levels.
Around 1.5 – 3 mmol/l is called optimal ketosis and is recommended for optimizing mental and physical performance. Staying in this range also maximizes your fat burning potential.
Telltale Signs That You Are In Ketosis:
If you are really serious about sticking to the ketogenic long term, it is vital that you measure your ketone levels on a frequent basis.
There are a few ways to measure ketones, which all come with certain pro’s and cons:
Urine strips are the most affordable and simple way to measure ketosis.
Breath-ketone analyzers are a simple way to measure ketones in your breath. These analyzers do not give you a precise ketone level when used on their own, but provide a color code for the general level. You can also hook it up to a computer or mobile phone (newer models) and get an exact ketone number via the app.
Blood-ketone meters show an exact and current level of ketones in your blood. They are the gold standard of ketosis testing and a must have for any serious keto dieter.
I hope you guys enjoyed this beginners guide to the ketogenic diet.
Hopefully you now have a greater understanding of the many benefits of going keto such as weight loss, reduced hunger, reduced inflammation and a sharper mind.
Please leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts on the keto diet.
I would also love to hear about your personal keto journey!
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