Contrary to what many may think, the keto diet has been around for a while now. People have been preaching the keto gospel since the 1920s, and it’s just now hitting the mainstream. The many health benefits of the keto diet have been studied for years, and more studies now show how much of an effect going keto can have on the body. If you were thinking of starting a keto diet or have already started, but want to make sure you get the results you want, here are a few important tips for success.
Get Ready to Eat Lots of Fat
It may be hard for many people to wrap their heads around the idea that eating lots of fats will make them less fat, but that’s the truth with the keto diet. For some reason, people often correlate ingesting fat with body fat, and it’s one of these misconceptions that prevent people from losing or managing their weight.
The importance here is to stick to healthy fats like those found in fatty fish. You also need to have a good mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet. Those you need to stay away from are fats that cause inflammation like those coming from grain oils. Yes, grain oils can actually be bad for you, so try to stay away from canola, corn and even grapeseed oil at all costs if you can.
Watch Your Electrolytes
If you want to counter the effects of the keto flu, you have to make sure that you stay hydrated at all times and watch your electrolyte levels as well. Electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and sodium are all important for you to maintain your energy and help you function on all cylinders while on the keto diet. The ketosis process strips the body of many of these electrolytes, which is why so many people report flu like symptoms while going from a carb-based diet to a keto diet.
Thankfully, there are tons of supplements out there that will allow you to add electrolytes into your diet without ramping up your carb intake. KetoLogic, for instance, offer a great sample pack with various flavors from their BHB line. Not only are these convenient and will allow you to replenish your essential electrolytes fast, but they also taste great, which isn’t always the case with those types of supplements.
Check Your Protein Intake
One misconception about the keto diet is that it’s a free for all for protein. But eating too much protein could actually cancel the effects of ketosis. Your body is unable to store excess protein, and when your protein intake is higher than what your body actually needs, your liver will process that excess protein and transform it into glucose. A lot of this sugar will be stored as fat.
So, if you’re going keto, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t go over your daily protein needs. Foods to watch include fish, eggs, poultry, red meat, legumes and nuts. For men, the daily requirement is about 90g. For women, the daily requirement is about 50g. This is about three palm sized portions of protein per day.
You also have to take your personal level of physical activity into consideration. If you’re particularly active and are engaged in some form of strength training, your daily protein needs will be higher. The only true way to know how much protein you should be taking in is to regularly check on your ketone levels, which brings us to our next point.
Monitor Your Ketone Levels
All bodies are different and everybody has different lifestyle habits. Some may be more resistant to insulin then others. Some manage their stress better, have better sleep, or are more active than others. You can’t just rely on your food consumption to tell if you’re doing this right. The only way that you can tell if you’re doing it correctly is by checking your ketone levels.
There are plenty of devices out there that allow you to check your ketone levels easily. They work like your average electronic blood glucose meter and you’ll be able to check your blood’s ketone concentration with just a prick on your finger. Nutritional ketosis is around 0.5mM to 3.5mM per every deciliter of blood, and people usually get there within a 2-week range.
You should check your ketone levels once a week, alternating between night time and the morning, to make sure that you are constantly in ketosis mode. After the 4 to 6-week adaptation period, you can increase your intake of protein and carbs slightly and check the next day if you’re still in the ketosis range. If you are, then it means that your body has the insulin sensitivity needed to handle that increase while still allowing you to get the benefits of ketosis. But it’ll be impossible for you to know unless you test regularly.
If you manage to follow these tips, you should be able to reap all the benefits of the keto diet. Make sure that you stay on your path and stick to your plan no matter what if you want to maintain your results.