The keto diet is one of the most popular methods to lose weight, involving a low-carb and high-fat eating plan.
Loved by celebrities including Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Megan Fox and Adriana Lima, it’s hailed for rapid weight loss as your body goes into ketosis.
The diet forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates with many keto followers completely changing their eating habits. In the absences of glucose – found in carbs – a process called ketosis occurs.
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Hannah Sutter, founder of Natural Ketosis, explained exactly what is involved and shared top tips to succeed with this famous diet.
It should be noted that following the diet should not be attempted without first talking to your doctor.
Here is everything you need to know if you are planning to make some lifestyle changes with the keto diet this year…
What is the keto Diet?
Hannah explained: “The keto, or ketogenic, Diet is a very low carbohydrate diet.
“Reduction of carbohydrates to less than 50g per day puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis in which you burn fat for energy instead of carbs and sugar.
“Unlike a calorie-controlled diet it is important that once you get into ketosis you stay ketogenic for at least a week in order to see and feel the benefits.”
How to begin a keto Diet?
Hannah said: “Getting started on a keto diet can seem daunting.
“Restricting carbs to less than 50g per day can be very tricky especially for beginners.
“Most ready meals and snacks as well as fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrate.
“The foods which are carb free like chicken, fish and eggs can become very boring, very quickly.
“Lack of variety of food to eat and the complexity of counting and calculating all the food you eat can lead some to give up but I have ten tips to help you go keto.”
1. Be prepared
Hannah advised: “Start by making sure you rid yourself of any temptation then stock up your cupboard, fridge and freezer with keto friendly foods.”
2. The side effects will pass
The expert said: “Some people experience some initial side effects of going into ketosis – also dubbed as the ‘keto Flu’ – this is completely normal when making a big change to your diet as your body needs time to adapt.
“Symptoms vary from person to person and may include a headache or feeling lethargic but they will pass.
“Most people will start to feel the positive benefits of keto, including feeling more energetic, reduced hunger and better sleep quality, within three or four days.”
3.Choose an information source
Hannah explained: “The internet is awash with information and a lot of it is conflicting.
“Overtime keto has developed into different versions designed to deal with different health issues.
“Therefore pick the keto diet that suits your needs and stick to it and follow one set of guidelines to get the best results.
“Overtime your knowledge and confidence will grow helping you to build the plan which is perfect for you.”
4. Listen to your body
“As mentioned above, not all keto diets are the same and they certainly are not one size fits all,” she added.
“What works for one person may not be quite right for another.
“Listen to your body and work with what it is telling you. If you are hungry or feeling low on energy, eat a keto friendly snack.
“If you are still feeling satiated from breakfast, skip the elevenses and wait until lunch.
“If you have been more active, you may need more water and a small snack.
“Your body will tell you what it needs,” Hannah commented.
5. Don’t let yourself get hungry
“When we go too long without eating our blood sugars can drop and can leave us feeling really hungry, or even worse, hangry,” she said.
“Make sure you eat regularly through the day and listen to what your body needs.
“This can lead us to reach for carb heavy convenience food to lift our mood and banish the hunger.”
6. Stay hydrated
Hannah revealed: “Whilst is seems cliché, we often mistake thirst for hunger so try to make sure you stay well hydrated through the day by drinking about two liters of water.
“If you do have a craving or hunger pang, have a few sips of water as this may be just all you need.”
7. Avoid sweeteners
“When going keto a common mistake people make is to simply replace all sugar with sweeteners,” she stated.
“In reality replacing one sweet food for another does nothing to help you break the addiction to sweetness or allow your body to overcome it.
“Continuing to use sweeteners in your diet will affect your hunger levels and cravings.”
8. Don’t fear fat
Hannah revealed: “While we don’t recommend glugging bottles of olive oil or nibbling more cheese than a mouse, fat will become the body’s energy source when you are following a keto Diet.
“Having a higher amount of fat in your diet will help you to stay feeling fuller for longer after meal times.
“Plus, with the removal of sugar in your diet, fat brings the flavour.”
9. Always check the label
The expert said: “Some foods make claims to be keto, low in sugar or no added sugar but in reality the overall make-up of the product is still not keto friendly.
“Never trust the claims, always make sure you read the label and understand what is in your food.
“Look at the overall carb amount per serving of product to make sure it is low enough to keep you in ketosis.
“Remember to also look for other names for sugar like dextrose or sucrose and, of course, check for sweeteners.
10. Make sure you get enough sodium
“A combination of eating less processed foods paired with a keto diet can lower the body’s sodium level and knock electrolytes out of balance,” Hannah added.
“Sodium plays an important role in regulating our internal water balance.
“Too little sodium can mean the body does not absorb water as well as it should causing issues like brain fog, fatigue, muscle cramps and stomach problems as well as causing the initial ‘keto Flu’ side effects to be more intense.
“Keep everything in balance by adding a pinch of good quality salt like rock salt or Himalayan sea salt to your meals.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.