A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively. In general, you should aim for:
60-75% of calories from fat
15-30% of calories from protein
5-10% of calories from carbs
Fat, protein, and carbs are your macros. You can calculate your specific macros using a macro calculator, but I find if you aim for somewhere along these guidelines, you’ll do okay. A calculator can help you set a calorie range. While calories are not the focus of the Keto diet, you also can’t just eat unlimited amounts of food and expect to lose weight. I like the Stupid Simple Keto app to track all of this. You enter your weight and as you add your food for the day, it gives you a running total and a graph to see your percentages of macros.
Ketogenic diets use the state of ketosis to trigger weight loss. You enter ketosis when the body has burned through it’s reserve of stored glucose, commonly referred to as glycogen. By keeping carbohydrate grams low, you will burn through glycogen and will lose weight.
What is the Keto flu?
As you are entering ketosis, you may experience what people call “keto flu” as your body adjusts to this new way of eating. You may feel slightly nauseous, weak, feverish, tired, and/or have the chills. Drink your water, replenish your electrolytes by adding more salt and/or supplements, and wait it out as you detox from sugar withdrawal.
What are Net Carbs?
You will be tracking your carb grams on Keto to keep them ideally around 20g or less. Yes, this means you will have to check food labels or use an app to track them. However, you can subtract the fiber grams from the carb grams to get the “net carb” grams. This gives you more room in your diet to add fiber-rich foods and still be under 20g carbs total.
How I do Keto:
I’m not big on doing math at every meal so I’ve found if you eat as recommended - 3-6 ounces of protein at each meal, veggies, and some fats at every meal - you’ll be close to these numbers. You can use an app (I like Stupid Simple Keto app) to make sure you’re on target if you really want to track numbers.
Keto is not a very high-protein diet. Aim to eat the protein you need (3-6 ounces per meal), but not in excess. A normal amount of meat is enough.
Aim for 20 grams per day of net carbs.
Eat enough fat to feel satisfied. If you are hungry, add a little more fat.
Avoid snacking. If you are hungry, feel free to add a keto-friendly snack, but don’t mindlessly munch on Keto-friendly snacks.
Add intermittent fasting if you like. You can do Keto without it, but it can help get results. An easy way to do intermittent fasting is to skip breakfast and only eat during 8 hours of the day, fasting for 16 hours. I tend to do this on the weekends.
Make sure to drink enough water.
Add salt to food, drink broth, and/or eat pickles to make sure you get enough sodium.
To get enough potassium, eat potassium rich foods like avocado, use Lite Salt which has sodium and potassium in it, or take a supplement.
To get enough magnesium, eating magnesium-rich foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and leafy greens and/or take magnesium supplements.
How is Keto different than a low carb diet like Atkins?
It took me awhile to understand how Keto was any different than other low carb diets, but the main difference is the focus on fat and just enough protein. Other low carb diets seem to emphasize protein (i.e., if you are hungry, eat more protein) whereas Keto says eat more fat instead and only eat as much protein as your body needs