A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet
Unless you've just arrived from Pluto, you probably know that the keto diet is currently very popular, and there’s a good chance you know at least a handful of people who have been following it. While the diet seems simple on paper (low-carb and high-fat), it can be a little intimidating to start. What does every beginner or fitness enthusiast need to know about the keto diet? We're glad you asked.
What Is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is low in carbohydrates and high in fat, and designed to help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Depending on which research you delve into, keto can offer benefits for patients dealing with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. By replacing the carbs you would normally be eating with fat, your body will enter a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, you're burning fat instead of carbs for energy. The fat will be converted into ketones to fuel your body and brain.
What Are the Benefits of Keto?
The keto diet has been shown to help people lose weight and lower their risk factors for disease. Because the diet contains high-fat foods, many people find it much more satisfying than a traditional low-fat diet. After all, who doesn’t love a hamburger with cheese, even if it’s tucked into a lettuce bun? Some of the benefits of the keto diet include:
- Lower body fat levels.
- Good HDL cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Better regulated blood sugar
- Improved energy levels
Are There Dangers Associated With Ketogenics?
The primary downside of the keto diet is known as the “keto flu,” and it occurs as your body converts from using carbs as fuel to ketones. The symptoms include poor mental function, low energy levels, an increase in hunger, insomnia, nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort. It can also be difficult to change to a keto way of eating if you are used to eating a high-carb diet filled with fruit and vegetables. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, the keto diet also will be exceedingly difficult due to the limited high-fat low-carb food options available to you. As with any diet or exercise plan, you should always talk to your doctor before restricting your intake of any food group and to ensure that the keto diet is appropriate for your health conditions and situation!
How to Get Started
- Restrict your carbohydrates! In general, you should aim to eat less than 20g of net carbs every day for a keto diet. It can be hard to adjust, so there’s nothing wrong with tapering down over time.
- Limit your protein intake. A diet that is too high in protein will put unnecessary stress on your kidneys and body.
- Don’t be afraid to eat fat and experiment with different fat sources. While many people think of red meat and cheese when thinking about the keto diet, there are plenty of other fat sources, like avocados, that are healthy and appropriate for the diet.
- Make sure that you drink enough electrolytes. The keto diet reduces the amount of water that your body stores, so staying hydrated and balanced is essential.
Let RX Fitness Equipment Help You Get Started
If you're considering Keto for yourself, and you'd like to discuss your goals with a professional, we work with hundreds of nutritionists, dietitians, personal trainers, and fitness coaches and we're happy to offer a referral to one that suits you. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.