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steak with grilled asparagus

Keto 101: Getting Started

This page is designed to provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the ketogenic diet and all the information you need to get started on your journey to better health and wellness!

broccoli, fish, egg
What is Keto and how does it work?

Ketosis, or keto, is a state in which your body burns fat as its primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates.

Introducing carbs into your system raises blood-sugar levels and in-turn produces insulin to manage it. When
you intake large amounts of carbs, your body struggles to keep up in producing enough insulin and begins to convert the sugar to fat and stores it in cells, causing you to gain weight. Your body burns through carbs at an extremely fast rate producing intense bursts of energy, which then cause the energy shortly after.

Fat and protein are burned at a much slower rate than carbohydrates, keeping you satiated (full) for longer and providing a much more consistent stream of energy, eliminating the usual energy crashes you may experience throughout the day.

Smiling woman eating a salad

Your body burns through fat and protein slower than carbohydrates, and provides a much more consistent stream of energy

Keto-friendly proteins, including chicken, eggs, beef, pork, salmon, nuts, legumes, greens, etc.
Tell me more about Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates

Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are the are the three main types of nutrients that make up the food we eat, known as macronutrients, or "macros".

Maintaining sufficient protein levels is essential to ensuring your body does not consume muscle tissue for fuel, but instead uses carbohydrates and fat as it's main energy sources. Restricting carbohydrate levels forces the body to resort to fat for fuel instead.

Contrary to what you may have heard, you don't need to consume extreme amounts of fat to maintain a keto diet, especially if you're trying to lose weight. When your body has burnt through the energy from the food you consume, it will resort to the fat cells stored in your body for fuel instead.

While the exact number varies on an individual basis, restricting your 20 grams or less of net-carbs per day will easily keep most people in a state of ketosis. 

chicken, fish, steak

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to consume large amounts of fat to maintain a keto diet, especially if your goal is to lose weight.

What are Net-Carbs? Is Fiber important?

The number of Net-Carbs in any food is determined by the Total Carbohydrates minus Fiber.

For example, if a food has 8 grams of total carbohydrates, of which 3 grams are fiber, then the net carbs of the food are equal to 5 grams. When tracking, you would only count this as 5 grams of carbs towards your daily limit of 20.

The reason for this is because fiber is technically a carb, however our bodies cannot digest it and it doesn't produce an insulin response. While there isn't much evidence that you require fiber in your diet, it greatly helps regulate various bodily processes - like bowel movements.

It's also important to get your carbs from healthy sources like nuts and vegetables (simple carbs) as opposed to other options containing complex carbs. Because leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients, they should be a major staple for most on the keto diet.

Total Carbs - Fiber = Net Carbs
Cauliflower, salmon, beef, nuts

Fiber is technically a carb, however our bodies cannot digest it and it doesn't produce an insulin response.

Man outside drinking water
What can I drink? Do electrolytes make a difference?

Water. Lots and lots of water.

Water is essential for overall health, and even more so on a ketogenic diet. It supports healthy digestion and keeps your body hydrated, which is important for proper metabolic function.

Coffee and tea (without milk and sugar), s
eltzers, and diet-sodas are also acceptable, but plenty of plain old water is essential.

Low-carb diets diminish your ability to retain water due to redu
ced glycogen cells, which in turn leads to an increased loss of electrolytes through increased urination. This leads to dehydration which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations, commonly known as the "keto flu". Without sufficient electrolytes; the more you drink, the more you become dehydrated.

This can be prevented by increasing your electrolyte intake (primarily sodium, potassium, and magnesium) through dietary sources, such as leafy greens, avocados, and electrolyte supplements. For more on electrolytes, click here.

water droplet with postive and negative ions

Without sufficient electrolytes, dehydration can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations, commonly known as the "keto flu"

checklist and target
Putting it all together

Now that you understand the basics, it's time to put it all together and get started!

  • Step 1: Determine your macros with the help of this                               

    • Set the calculator to Expert mode

    • Enter your desired deficit, if any. 

    • Set your carb limit to 20g and it will determine your other macros to maintain to achieve  the deficit you've set for your current height and weight. You'll want to re-calculate every 5-10 pounds lost.

  • Step 2: Create a meal plan based made up of healthy fats, healthy sources of protein like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Low-carb vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower, should make up the majority of your carb intake.

  • Step 3: Use an app or website to keep track of everything you eat and drink and their nutritional values to stay within your macros.

  • Step 4: Keep your net-carbs consumed per day below 20 grams

  • Step 5: Keep your electrolytes consistently replenished to adequate levels and drink lots of water. We have a several articles on hydration, though this one goes into more depth than we ever could.

  • Notes:

    • You should eat sufficient protein to maintain healthy muscle mass. Most people should aim for 0.8 -1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass.

    • Fat is for satiety, or feeling full. You don't have to hit your fat macros if you you're not hungry.

Woman tossing keto salad

Limit your carbs     -    Hit your protein goal
is for satiating hunger, it's not a goal

basil and pesto
Bullet coffee infredients, coconut, mct oil, coffee beans, ghee


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