A Quick-Start Keto Guide For Beginners

I’m sure you’re more than excited to try out Keto for yourself, having landed on this article and hearing about all the people dropping weight fast with Keto.

But what you probably don’t hear about is that most folks also can’t stay on
it for very long because they are forced to stop eating their favorite carbs
like pasta, bread, rice and fruits, so they end up putting all the weight they
lost back on (and sometimes even more!).

The Ketogenic Diet

Forget what you know about dieting.

Instead, I want you to dig into a meal of eggs, bacon, and a slab of steak. Oh, and don’t forget buKer–the more, the merrier!

What I’m describing here isn’t a cheat meal. It’s not you “falling off the wagon” either. Instead, it’s a diet plan that’s guaranteed to make you slim down fast. And, over the course of a few years, you’ll not only slim down, but reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer as well.

Sounds like a hoax, right?

Believe it or not, it’s a reality. It’s called the ketogenic diet, a diet plan researchers first used to treat epilepsy nearly a century ago. Now people use it to lose weight without depriving themselves of their favorite cheat meals–hamburgers, steak, and egg yolks are all kosher here.

Chances are you too wouldn’t mind indulging a bit, so let’s go over why exactly this diet works.

History of the Ketogenic Diet

Let’s go back to the year 1921.

This is the year insulin is first discovered. Researcher R.T. Woodyatt, a prominent diabetes researcher, discovers that starvation produces both acetone and betahydroxybutyric acid, helping control epilepsy. The same phenomena occurs in one other scenario, however: when people follow a diet where fat consumption is high and carbohydrate consumption is low.

It’s the breakthrough researchers have been searching for to treat epilepsy
patients.

Without hesitation, researchers begin testing this new diet on their patients. The results are incredibly positive. Later reports show, enthusiastically, that they experience fewer seizures, feel great, and as a side effect, are losing weight too.

But as these experiments prove successful, they find an unintended side effect.

Many patients are getting too thin, regardless of how many calories they eat. One patient weighs as little as 45 pounds. While experiments continue, they’re quick to find an alternative way to treat their patients.

70 years later, someone decides to modify this diet for a different audience.
Robert Atkins, a physician and cardiologist, believes he’s uncovered the key to rapid fat loss. It’s inspired by a study on weight loss first published in 1958, advocating carbohydrate reduction just like the ketogenic diet, but with one catch: you must increase your protein intake too.

Atkins is sure this diet can help people lose weight, in an era where fat is vilified and carbs are celebrated. He even claims it helps people burn more fat, though his claim is unsubstantiated at the time.

Soon his low-carb diet plan, now dubbed the Atkins Diet, reaches worldwide
acclaim in 2003, used by millions of dieters. People are losing weight, proving his theory correct– it’s not as strict as keto, yet allows people to gorge on fat and protein.

However, people soon question Atkins about the origins of this diet. Just why are carbs so bad? And where did he get this idea?

Soon, the ketogenic diet gains national attention again. Some people are even being tube-fed liquified fat as part of a pre-bridal diet plan. It really works, and they didn’t have to count a single calorie.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

Without the need to track calories, just how does this diet work?

Believe it or not, it’s incredibly simple. The ketogenic diet only has two rules: Cut carbohydrates out of your diet and eat more fat instead. The goal?

To reduce your carbohydrate intake and trigger a process called ketosis which initiates the fat-burning process.

So what is ketosis?

Well, when your body needs energy, it uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source.

Consuming them helps keep your cells moving. Your body burns it to keep your organs functioning.

However, when you stop consuming carbohydrates, the body needs to find
another way to create this cell fuel. This triggers a metabolic process called
ketosis, where the liver creates molecules called ketone bodies from fatty acids. As a result, the fat in your body is burned off. The weight falls off effortlessly, and you haven’t had to count a single calorie.

The ketogenic diet is a misnomer as it doesn’t just refer to one diet, however.

Instead, there are several diet plans people follow for different reasons–let’s go over them below.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD). This is the original diet notorious for its minimal carb intake. Only 5 percent of your daily food is allotted to carbohydrates, which you’ll consume incidentally from fat and protein sources. In addition, 75% of your food intake must come from fat (20% to protein). This diet is ideal for treating medical conditions, such as epilepsy–but if you’re just trying to diet, it may be too strict. Weight loss can be extreme.

2. High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD). The biggest change in this diet plan is an increase in protein, from 20 to 35 percent. However, your carbohydrate intake will stay the same. Your daily food intake should be comprised of 60% fat. This is easier for dieters to follow as protein-fat combination foods are easier to find (and some would say they’re tastier too).

3. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD). This diet is ideal for bodybuilders or athletes, who need to maintain muscle as well as slim down. 5 days are allotted to the Ketogenic Diet, followed by 2 days of high-carb refeeding.

The high-carb days allow athletes to have extra energy for days when they plan to overexert themselves.

4. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD). Consider this your typical ketogenic diet but with a twist. Before and after your workouts, carbohydrates are allowed to sustain energy levels. Again, this is a plan ideal for athletes–if you plan on following a sedentary lifestyle, you won’t find this diet useful.

Most people end up opting for the HPKD diet plan. Protein-fat meal options are immense here, and you’ll always end your meals with a full stomach. Again, no calorie counting here. Just keep track of your fat, protein, and carbohydrate intake.

Keto Health Benefits

Let’s now go over the amazing health benefits you could experience with keto.

Sure, cuttng carbs isn’t fun–but the health benefits you could reap far outweigh wanting to eat a handful of fries or a plate of french toast (trust us, it’s worth it).

Just by following this diet faithfully everyday, you could experience these benefits in just weeks. Here’s what they are.

Triple Your Weight Loss?

Yes, you heard right–the ketogenic diet can triple your weight loss. That sure beats tirelessly counting calories.

I’m sure many of you hate keeping tabs on your calorie count every single day.

Just by upping your fat intake and eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, you could slim down three times as fast as someone counting calories, eating a low-fat diet, or following any other fad diet.

Now here’s the science behind it.

In a 2007 study published in Diabetic Medicine, people who followed the
Ketogenic Diet lost three times more weight than people who followed a diet
recommended by Diabetes UK. Their diet recommend consuming vegetables, fish, fruits, lean meats, and dairy, as well as lowering sodium intake. It’s a healthy diet without a doubt–but not many people want to use it, and there are a lot of guidelines to follow.

More people are simply interested in keto, and as the old adage goes, the best diet is the diet you can stick to.

In addition to this, other research shows it’s superior to other diets as well.

Take low-fat diets, for instance (hardly any study shows low-fat diets are worth trying out). You simply lose more weight while following keto, and that’s great news for impatient dieters who want instant results.

It Improves Diabetes

Poor insulin control can lead to type 2 diabetes–a disease that now over 29
million Americans have. Believe it or not, it’s expected to grow. Genetics, lifestyle habits, and most important, the way we eat is to blame.

Going keto, however, could help some people control it. In some instances, it has actually reversed the disease (and this disease, supposedly, is “incurable”).

In one study, diabetics who followed a similar low-carbohydrate plan ended up consuming 1000 fewer calories naturally, which, in turn, improved insulin sensitivity by 75%. It also helped them lose weight, which can reduce the severity of the disease.

Now let’s look at another study, appearing in Nutrition & Metabolism.
In the study, overweight diabetic participants followed a 16-week ketogenic diet.

Researchers wanted to see if it improved specific health markers related to
diabetes. That’s the scary part about type 2 diabetes–it doesn’t just affect your blood sugar control. It’s also correlated with heart problems, your metabolism, and even your mortality.

Well, after the 16 week testing period ended, the results they recorded were
nothing short of amazing. For one thing, their health markers improved
significantly, including blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and fasting serum
triglyceride.

But the shocking part is that many of them were able to stop taking their diabetes medications because their disease had regressed so much.

They nearly defeated diabetes, just by changing the way they ate.

Still, many diabetes organizations maintain that is an “incurable” disease. That may be true, but going keto seems to do serious damage.

Keto’s effects on diabetes cannot be understated.

It Could Fight Cancer

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about cancer.

Like all cells, cancer cells need fuel to survive, thrive, and slowly kill its host. But what do cancer cells feed on?

If you guessed carbohydrates, you’re right.

Once again, carbohydrates prove to be dangerous here. They don’t just fuel your healthy cells; they’re a pick-me-up for the tumors that could kill you.

As you continue to eat carbohydrates, these cells feed on this source of energy, causing them to grow, multiply, and make you sicker, edging you closer to death.

Luckily, there’s something that can harm their precious food source.

That source, according to researchers, is a ketogenic diet, which is critically low in carbohydrates. This starves cancer cells, they hypothesize, making it harder for them to spread. As an added bonus, the ketone bodies produced by ketosis can’t be utilized by cancer cells as well–they only provide energy to your cells!

But I’m sure you’re not interested in a hypothesis. This is where it gets interesting.

Animal studies show keto has a serious effect on these cells. Several studies show that ketogenic diets, when applied to animal models, reduce the growth of colon, prostate, and gastric tumors.

In a case report of two female patients with advanced brain cancer, following a ketogenic diet also reduced the size of their tumors by 21.8 percent.

However, while research shows it hurts cancer cells, nothing has proved it can cure it. So while it may help starve cancer cells, this shouldn’t be your only line of defense.

Still, if you need a winning edge over cancer, going keto could help. That’s
something you should discuss with your physician.

Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Speaking of deadly diseases, have you heard the news about Alzheimer’s disease lately?

By 2050, nearly 16 million Americans could develop the disease–and let’s not forget that no one knows how to cure it.

But it may be possible to prevent it.

Let’s look at a study.

In 2004, researchers gave a group of Alzheimer’s disease patients a certain type of saturated fat found in coconut and palm oil. As they note in the study, this caused a surge in ketone production (remember, this is also produced by the ketogenic
diet).

90 minutes later, they ran them through a series of tests to determine if their memory had improved or declined.

Eventually, the tests show that their short term memory had improved.

Think about that–just 90 minutes. It’s an instant brain booster.

In a subsequent study five years later, researchers repeated this effect yet again.

After giving people with Alzheimer’s disease a “ketogenic compound,” they made great improvements in their cognition.

Now you’re probably wondering: Why does it work?

Well it has to do with something called amyloid plaques, a key factor in the
development of Alzheimer’s disease. When amyloid plaques fill up your brain, it acts like a toxic sludge, poisoning the brain and speeding up the transition from cognitive decline to full blown Alzheimer’s disease.

Ketones, on the other hand, act like amyloid Kryptonite, preventing it from
infecting the brain further. As a result, you face a lesser risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Remember, this disease is on the rise–and there’s always a risk you could develop it. Perhaps this diet could help you avoid it.

Hunger? Not an Issue Anymore

Now let’s talk about its effects on hunger.

For many people, the switch from a high-carb diet to keto has an added bonus:

Hunger suppression. And it lasts for a long time.

Here’s why it works.

When there isn’t enough protein or fat in your diet, you get hungry, prompting you to eat more food. Both macronutrients are incredibly satiating; they fill you up fast. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are digested too quickly (unless paired with dietary fiber), causing spikes in blood glucose. When this occurs, those hunger pangs are the first to strike.

You may reach for a snack, a meal, or even binge.

Because fat and protein aren’t as easily digestible, however, you’ll experience a natural appetite-suppressing effect.

But don’t take my word for it.

Let’s delve into a 2008 study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A group of obese men, under the careful guidance of researchers, follow a high-protein ketogenic diet–as you’ll recall, I mentioned earlier that this the easiest “form” of keto.

Following the diet for 4 weeks, the study reports “hunger was significantly lower” and “weight loss was significantly higher” compared to a medium-carbohydrate diet. And side effects? Nothing important to report.

And, of course, there are numerous anecdotes online. Many dieters report
struggling to eat enough food while on keto; in fact, meals are a struggle to get through! Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for everyone (a small percentage of people report increased hunger), but it’s highly likely you won’t overeat on this diet.

Now let’s go over the changes you’ll experience from the Ketogenic diet–and how it could make you thin fast.

How Keto Actually Works

If you’re ready to make the plunge, here’s what you can expect when you go keto.

This is what happens to people who stick to the diet most of the time.

1. On Day 1, you’ll feel very full, if you’ve never gone low-carb before. If you’re overweight, chances are you already eat a high-carb diet; these diets are notorious for making you hungry all the time. By increasing your fat (and optionally, protein) intake, however, hunger pangs are few and far in between. Perhaps you’ll experience more gas too, or a fuller stomach. But don’t fret–after a week or two on this diet, your body will adjust to the new change.

2. Within 2 to 7 days ketosis will activate. It typically takes this long for the body to use faKy acids for fuel. Ketosis naturally occurs if you keep your carbohydrate intake to fewer than 20 grams per day (or if you fast, but I’m not advocating that here).

Luckily, ketosis is easy to spot. Here are 4 signs you’re experiencing it:

  • Bad breath. Acetone, a type of ketone, can produce a distinct smell when
    exiting your body, present in your breath. Some describe it as smelling
    fruity; others describe it as smelling like nail polish, which also contains
    acetone, incidentally. Either way, it’s difficult to not notice, and much to the
    chagrin of people around you, it’s not a subtle smell.
  • Feeling sick. If you experience symptoms such as headache, nausea, or
    exhaustion, chances are you’re experiencing ketosis. Think of this as a
    transition period from using carbs for fuel to ketones. It’s not fun, but
    usually goes away after several days.
  • Changes in bowel movements. Making any huge change in your diet plan
    usually impacts your digestion, so expect to experience excess gas,
    constipation, or diarrhea during your transition to ketosis. Adding a fiber
    supplement can help make this transition less severe.
  • Fluid loss is common too. As you enter ketosis, you’ll also lose water weight
    as well, caused by the kidneys working overtime to get rid of excess fluid.
    You may also lose electrolytes as well during this “de-puffing” process.

You’ll notice this with increased bathroom breaks–it just seems like you constantly have to go!

3. You should feel better in 1 to 2 weeks post keto. This is typically when the
malaise (general feeling of unwellness) that accompanies ketosis goes away. In addition, many people report feeling a new surge of energy and even an easier time falling asleep. This means that your body is finally adapting to its ketosis state.

4. Expect major weight loss a month into your diet. Most of this weight loss
comes from loss of fluids, which, for some people, ranges from 5lbs to over 10lbs.

Some of it may come from fat loss too–taking waist, hip, and chest measurements should confirm this. Many people also report a permanent lack of appetite at this point.

5. At the six month mark, you probably look much slimmer. Your waist
measurements are down, as well as the number on the scale. Any weight loss experienced after the one month mark usually comes from fat loss, and not fluid expulsion (unless you haven’t been faithful to your diet). You probably feel great too, with enhanced clarity of mind and increased energy levels.

With keto, the payoff really occurs for those who stick with it for at least a few months–and if you can commit, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Pros of the Ketogenic Diet

To recap, let’s go over the pros of adopting a ketogenic diet.

  • You get to eat many “bad” foods this diet, such as steak, most red meat
    products, eggs, and butter. High-fat and protein products are highly
    encouraged on this diet; they help you stay in a fat-burning state.
  • By utilizing ketosis, you’re in a constant state of fat burning, increasing
    thermogenesis. Thermogenesis refers to the amount of calories your body
    burns every day. Your body makes this switch in as little as two days,
    allowing you to lose more weight without modifying your caloric intake.
  •  It could triple the amount of weight you lose. According to research, it’s not
    uncommon for people to lose three times as much weight compared to
    those who follow a low-fat diet or simply count calories.
  • It fights diabetes. Several studies show it improves many markers of
    diabetes, sometimes even allowing type 2 diabetics to stop using
    medication.
  • It also fights cancer. Preliminary research shows it targets cancer cells by
    taking away the fuel it feeds on, preventing it from spreading as rapidly.
  • Going keto could improve your memory. Ketone bodies appear to improve
    cognition in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s
    disease–and many more people report it boosts their memory even when
    they don’t have pre-existing memory issues.
  • It’s a natural appetite suppressant. Both fat and protein work together to
    delay hunger signals, actually making it harder to feel hungry. You’ll struggle to eat too much on this diet!

Now let’s discuss the cons, listed below.

Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

Like with most diets, the ketogenic diet can cause some contraindications and side effects–though, usually, it’s considered a safe diet. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • You could experience “keto flu.” This occurs when you first make the
    transition to using ketone bodies for fuel. Expect to feel tired, nauseated,
    and experience headaches for one to two weeks as you adjust to your new
    lifestyle.
  • Your food choices are restricted. Although there’s no limit to how many
    high-fat foods you can eat, carbs are strictly off-limits, including healthy
    options as well. No more pancakes for breakfast!
  • You’ll need to watch your fiber intake. Most people get dietary fiber from
    high-carb foods, such as bread and pasta. Making sure to maintain healthy
    fiber levels is important for your digestive tract. To keep these levels high,
    you may need to use an over-the-counter fiber supplement or powder.
  • If you’re pregnant, don’t use this diet (yet). Ketosis can harm your baby’s
    development, resulting in developmental problems after birth and increasing the risk of spina bifida. Because little is known about its safety while breastfeeding as well, doctors don’t recommend it for breastfeeding mothers as well.
  • If you take insulin, sulphonylureas, or glinides, don’t follow this diet. All of
    these medications help lower blood sugar, and combined with keto, can
    trigger hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), a potentially life-threatening
    condition.
  • It may temporarily increase gallstone pain. The ketogenic diet doesn’t
    actually make them worse–in fact, it actually prevents them–but many
    people report feeling a surge in gallstone pain ajer the switch. Researchers
    believe this is due to an uptake of fat.

Most of these issues probably won’t affect you, however; as long as you follow the diet carefully and stay active, you should feel better, not worse.

Tips for Success on Keto

Now that we’ve gone over why keto works so well, let’s talk about how to stay on the wagon.

The biggest issue people run into while eating a ketogenic diet is, not surprisingly, the carb cravings. These cravings can be intense–almost as bad as quitting cigarettes–but they can be beaten.

To ensure your transition to keto is a smooth one, follow these tips.

1. Try incorporating low-carb versions of your favorite meals. Having to give up pizza, enchiladas, and sushi isn’t easy. In fact, research shows people who abstain from certain foods completely, instead of trying to find alternatives, are more likely to relapse, binge, and have a higher BMI (body mass index). That’s not good.

To stay on track, try making low-carb versions of your favorite meals instead. For instance, you can make pizza dough out of almond flour, cheese, or even cauliflower. Low-carb versions of sushi rice also exist.

There’s no need to give up your favorite foods; just get creative!

2. Family support is crucial. It’s definitely not easy following any diet if your family members are eating your favorite “cheat meals” around you. To keep on track, have family members join in on your diet plan with you, or if they can’t, encourage them to avoid eating certain foods around you.

3. Make sure to drink enough water. Sometimes when we feel hungry or
experience cravings, it’s our body’s way of saying “I’m thirsty!” Before reaching for a cheat food, drink a glass of water instead–and then wait 20 or so minutes for it to settle in. If it is thirst, you shouldn’t feel hungry. If it is, however, at least you’ve curtailed a binge; reach for a keto-approrpiate food instead.

Easy Ketogenic Diet Meals

To ease into keto, here are 4 easy meal ideas you can try to induce ketosis.

These meals won’t take more than 30 minute to make, will meet your protein and fat requirements, and best of all, are tasty too. 

Protein-Rich Egg Omelet

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp buKer (or ghee)
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 3 breakfast sausages, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

On a stovetop, place a cooking pan and set the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan, allowing it to melt.

While it melts, crack 3 eggs into a bowl and mix thoroughly. When the butter completely melts, add the egg mixture to the pan, making sure it evenly disperses.

When the bottom of the egg mixture starts to grown, add the spinach and
sausages on one side of the omelet. Fold the other half of the egg mixture on top of the spinach and eggs. Allow it to cook for another minute before removing and serving.

Optionally, add shredded cheese on top as a garnish.

Keto-Friendly BLT Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of lettuce
  • 10-15 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1 tbsp of sriracha mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat up a stovetop pan, adding a drizzle of cooking oil. Once it starts to sizzle and bubble, add 6 strips of bacon, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Once browned evenly on both sides, remove and place on a separate plate.
In a bowl, add 2 cups of shredded lettuce. On top add sliced grape tomatoes, 1/2 of an avocado (sliced or diced), and bacon. Over top, drizzle sriracha mayo to enhance flavor and fat content. Store it in the fridge or consume immediately.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 5 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp sriracha mayo
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 tbsp green onions, minced
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

After cooling the eggs, cut them in half, removing the yolks. Place the yolks into a small bowl. Mash them until smooth. Over top, add sriracha mayo, mustard, parsley, green onions, paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix again until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Taking a spoon, fill up all of the empty egg whites. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Low Carb Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a bowl, add sliced, thawed chicken strips and coat with buttermilk. Allow it to marinate in the fridge overnight.

In a separate bowl, add 3 eggs, whisking until smooth. In another bowl, add
almond flour and all spices. Remove chicken from fridge and coat each strip first in spices. Shake off the excess and coat it in the egg mixture. Coat it a final time in the spice mixture. Repeat for all chicken strips.

Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil in a pot until it starts boiling. Add 2 chicken strips to the boil, allowing it to cook. Once it browns slightly, remove and place it on a serving plate. Repeat this for all chicken strips. Serve with mustard or sriracha mayo as a dipping sauce.

Conclusion

We’ve finally reached the end of this report, and you’ve now gained a better
understanding of whether or not you’re ready to start your own keto journey.

Remember, keto is a long-term investment–the longer you stay low-carb, the more fat you’ll burn off. And with its well-documented effects on other health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer, you can rest assured weight loss isn’t the only reason to go keto.

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