5 Things You Should Know Before You Start The Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet has become a hot diet fad over the last few years, and for good reason. A quick Google search is going to return a ton of amazing weight loss results from a wide variety of people from different walks of life, body sizes, and more. People have reported losing 100’s of pounds and feeling better than they ever have.

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If you’ve ever thought about starting the keto diet to try and shed some weight, or you’re interested in exact what keto is, we’ve compiled a list of our top five things you should know about this diet trend!

#1: What Can’t You Eat On Keto

The keto diet is basically very low carb, very low sugar, very high fat, and moderate protein. If you stick to this, you’re pretty much in the right. It makes sense from knowing that fact that you should avoid foods like bread and pasta, right? Because they are high in carbs. But it’s not just that.

Being on the keto diet requires you to cut out pretty much all sugar that you consume, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, cake, and cookies are all a no. But so are most premade sauces, condiments like commercial mustards and ketchup, and even salad dressings. Fruit also has natural sugars and should be avoided. Even though it isn’t a processed sugar, your body will still react to it.

Starches are also on the do-not-eat list. Potatoes, both white and sweet, are things that should be avoided. Anything fried is going to be a big no, because of the breading. Starches you might not think about include rice (Brown and white both), beans, and lentils.

Starting on a keto diet is going to mean a lot more label reading to avoid both sugar and carbs. 

#2: What You Can Actually Eat On Keto

This is the fun item after the last one – what you can actually eaton keto.

The bulk of your calories in a day are going to come from fat, so we’re going to look at exactly what fats you can actually eat first. Butter and olive oil are going to be close cooking companions, because they will add a ton of fat and flavor to anything you make. High fat, no sugar sauces like garlic butter or hollandaise sauces are excellent choices to pour over dishes to improve the flavor and make you feel less like you might be ‘missing out’ on something.

Cheese is a great choice, but be careful with how much dairy you consume. This will be touched on below, but make sure you’re choosing high fat cheeses and full fat yogurt. Lower fat and ‘diet’ choices often contain sugar to make up for what they lack in taste, and that will throw the diet out of whack.

Proteins are an obvious choice, but you shouldn’t be overloading on them. Chicken, salmon, beef and pork are all on the menu with keto.

#3: Yes, You Have to Count Carbs. No, It Isn’t Fun

You may have read about ‘lazy keto’ online, where the person will just eat what is roughly appropriate and hope for the best. This can work for some but it isn’t true keto, and there is a good chance better results could be had with more focus.

Counting carbs is a pain, but if you’re going to stick with keto for any length of time you’re going to have to learn to live with it. There are two schools of thought in the keto community when it comes to counting carbs – counting net carbs or counting total carbs. Total carbs are the first number that you see when you look at the back of a package, and that includes all carbs in the item from all sources.

Net carbs are what some people consider the real number, because the carbs from fiber or sugars can’t be digested. To calculate the net carbs of an item, take the total carbs from the nutritional information and subtract the carbs from Dietary Fiber and Sugar Alcohol. The final number you get is the net carbs. Generally speaking, with keto, the lower the number, the better.

#4: You’re Going to Be Sick At First, If You’re Doing it Right

Sometimes people will get surprised when they are in their first two weeks of keto and they get the flu. Sneezing, running noses, aches and pains all over and exhaustion are some of the common complaints of what is called the keto flu. The keto flu hits every person a little bit differently, but there is a good chance that you will get at least some of the symptoms.

This goes away as long as you let your body adapt to being in such a low carb diet. If you break during the keto flu and consume too many carbohydrates, you will feel better for a short time… and when you go back to the keto lifestyle, you will get sick again.

#5: You WILL Smell Differently… at Least for a While

This is something no one will tell you, but it’s true. The increase in protein, mixed with the decrease in carbs, is going to change a lot in your body… the scent you may carry around might be one of them.

A common complaint is ‘keto breath’, which is a result of your body burning ketones, a great sign. Many people describe this as a fruity odor, while others think it smells like nail polish or paint remover. Some people also get an associated metallic taste in their mouth.

Another, bigger concern are keto farts. Seriously! A decrease in carbs and an increase in protein and fiber can result in some very potent gas passing, an unpleasant side effect for many people that are not used to eating healthier foods. The best way to prevent this is to back down on your protein heavy foods for a day or two and ease yourself back into eating them. As your body adapts to the new way to eating, however, your gut health will adjust, and this won’t continue to be a problem.

Keto has helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off, but it is not as easy as snapping your fingers and getting the results you want. It can be a very healthy diet that will improve your life, but time, effort, and dedication are all required, just like any diet out there.