You’ve heard a lot about the keto diet, and you’ve heard it not only helps in weight management but may also improve one’s general wellness. So what, exactly, is the keto diet, how does it work, and how does one embark on the keto lifestyle?
How to Start the Keto Diet
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It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when starting the keto diet. The percentages above are an excellent guide so that all the elements of the diet are in balance. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Drink Lots of Water – Normally, the extra carbs that are stored in the liver are bound to water molecules. Eating fewer carbs means you’re storing less water so it’s easy to get dehydrated. It’s advisable to double your water intake.
- Don’t Forget Your Electrolytes – If you happen to not be drinking enough water, your electrolytes can become depleted. To restore them, salt your food a bit more than normal and eat pickled vegetables.
- Watch Protein Intake – If the percentage of protein in your diet is greater than the 20% advised, it can stress the kidneys. Plus, the extra protein converts to glucose, which is counterproductive to the keto diet.
- Don’t Over-Eat – Eat only if and when you’re hungry. You may feel like you’re not eating enough or feel like you should be eating small meals throughout the day, but neither of those are part of the keto diet. Because the keto diet suppresses the appetite, it’s natural that you’ll feel like eating less often, so the rule is: Eat when you’re hungry.
What is the Keto Flu?
Bird flu, swine flu, now there’s keto flu? Trust us—you’re not really sick when you have the keto flu. During the first week or two of being on the keto diet, the body is adjusting to using fat for energy rather than using glucose. This adjustment may give dieters a variety of flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, headaches, trouble sleeping, constipation, indigestion, irritability, increased urination, and moodiness.
Foods to Avoid During Ketosis
The list of foods to avoid is rather lengthy, which shows how many foods today contain carbs and sugars. According to Perfect Keto, try to avoid these foods:
- Grain products – breads, pastas, cookies, crackers, pizza crusts, cereals
- Beans and legumes – peas, pinto beans, lentils, black beans
- Starchy vegetables – sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, carrots, parsnips
- Sugars – honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, raw sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar
- Milk and dairy – all low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt products, shredded cheese, fat-free butter substitutes
- Factory farmed animal products – grain-fed meats, hot dogs, salami, packaged sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat, smoked meat, cured and salted meat, bacon, chicken nuggets, fish sticks
- Fats and oils – Soybean, canola, corn, grapeseed, peanut, sesame, sunflower, and safflower oils
Foods to Eat During Keto Diet
Unlike many restrictive diets, the keto diet includes a lot of keto-friendly foods other diets wouldn’t allow. Health magazine has a pretty extensive shopping list, which includes:
- Meat, poultry, and eggs – chicken, turkey, beef, venison, pork, and lamb
- Seafood – wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, crab, tuna, mussels, and cod
- Low-sugar fruits – tomatoes, avocados, most berries, coconut, lemons, and limes
- Low-carb vegetables – spinach, arugula, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, cabbage, celery, and more.
- Nuts and seeds – Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- Dairy products – cheese, cream, butter, plain Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Oils – extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, nut oils, coconut butter and MCT oil
Happily, avoiding sugar doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite desserts and homemade meals. SweetLeaf Stevia Sweeteners are a keto-friendly sweetener for foods, beverages, and recipes. The SweetLeaf Conversion Chart is a good place to learn how to make the change from sugar to SweetLeaf, as is the interactive SweetLeaf Conversion Calculator, which automatically converts all recipe amounts for you.
There are many dessert recipes specifically created for keto diets and they will satisfy any craving for sugar. Try this Keto Chocolate Smoothie or Keto One-Minute Fudge Cookie and you’ll see that being on the keto diet doesn’t mean sacrificing the things you love.
Use SweetLeaf to Enhance Your Keto Diet
Thanks so much for reading through our guide on starting the Keto diet off right! We are dedicated to helping people find alternative sweeteners so they can enjoy their favorite foods while still keeping their body in Ketosis. Use our store locator to find SweetLeaf products near you!