Going on a new diet can be a stressful experience. You’re making a major lifestyle change, and it’s normal to have a few nagging doubts.
This is particularly true for the ketogenic diet, which has only recently become popular. There’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know what you’re doing and what to expect.
Fortunately, the ketogenic diet isn’t as complicated or terrifying as many people believe. Here’s everything you need to know about getting started on keto.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
When you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, it leads to many changes inside your body. Primarily, it causes your body to start burning more fat, and to stop relying on carbohydrates for energy.
The main benefit of this is obvious. By training your body to burn fat, you’re encouraging it to get rid of your spare tire. This makes it an excellent option if you’re trying to lose weight.
Because your body is no longer relying on glucose for energy, the ketogenic diet also improves insulin sensitivity. This can be a significant benefit if you have diabetes, and many diabetic keto dieters are actually able to discontinue diabetes treatment under medical supervision.
There are additional health benefits as well. The ketogenic diet has been used to treat epilepsy, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even some cancers.
Intermittent Fasting – Good or Bad?
In recent years, intermittent fasting has become popular in the ketogenic community. Whether or not fasting is a good thing or not depends on how well you tolerate going hungry for a few hours. Other than that, it’s more or less a toss up.
The main benefit of intermittent fasting is that it encourages your liver to create more ketone-producing enzymes and burn body fat. In theory, skipping food for one or two days a week puts you into a deeper state of ketosis than dieting alone.
On the downside, intermittent fasting can also disrupt your meal schedule. You may find yourself eating extra the next day just to make up for the lack of calories. Not only that, but fasting also makes you hungry and tired.
Whether or not the discomfort is worth the extra effort is a question only you can answer.
Essential Supplements For Keto Dieters
When done properly, the ketogenic diet will provide all the nutrients you need for healthy living. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet, and you’ll be just fine.
That said, most people get tired, achy, and feverish during the first few days of their keto diet. In most cases, this “keto flu” is caused by a lack of electrolytes, and an electrolyte supplement can mitigate the symptoms.
Having Fun on the Keto Diet
Just because you’re going on a diet doesn’t mean that life stops in its tracks. People are still hanging out, there are still office parties, and you still want to spend time with your friends. Inevitably, one of two things happens: you want to cheat, or you want to drink.
If you decide to sample some cupcakes or ice cream, your goal should be simple: get back into ketosis as soon as possible. In addition, make sure you’re well stocked on electrolytes. You may or may not experience keto flu again.
Two other supplements that can help you get back into ketosis are collagen and wheatgrass juice. If possible, use a collagen supplement with Vitamin C, since that will help the collagen absorb more easily.
If you’re going to have a drink, your options get more complicated. In fact, drinking may not even knock you out of ketosis. If possible, steer clear of beer, red wine, and dark liquor. Clear liquors like vodka and sugar-free cocktails like a gin and tonic are just fine, as is dry white wine.
Be careful, though. Ketosis makes some people sensitive to alcohol. The first time you go out for a drink, limit yourself to one or two at the most. The alcohol might hit you a lot harder than you expect.
So, you understand the basics, but the keto diet sounds a bit inconvenient. Thankfully, there are a few tools and life hacks that can help you get used to your new lifestyle.
One useful tool is a keto macro app. These smartphone apps help you keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake. This is much easier than keeping track of everything in a notebook and adding up your calories at the end of the day. An app also helps you be more mindful of what you’re eating in general.
Urine test strips are another useful tool. Simply put, they let you know whether or not you’re in a state of ketosis. They’re a less painful alternative to blood test strips, which used to be the standard.