We present you with the ultimate beginner’s guide to losing weight fast on the ketogenic diet. This low-carb, high-fat diet helps you both efficiently burn body fat and reduce your appetite. A recent study shows that the ketogenic diet can help you lose weight 2.2x faster when compared to an alternative low-fat diet.
Our starter guide provides everything you will need to begin a successful weight loss journey. This includes an extensive list of delicious keto-friendly foods as well as the most common pitfalls to avoid as you progress through your diet program.
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What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to reach and sustain a metabolic state known as ketosis, thereby maximizing your ability to access fat as energy by limiting the consumption of carbohydrates.
We eat to consume calories which provide our body with the energy it needs to survive and thrive. Our preferred energy source is glucose, which comes from eating soluble carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches. The calories you consume from carbs either get used as energy, stored as glycogen, or converted into fat.
If you stop consuming carbohydrates, your body will eventually run out of energy. However, rather than die from starvation, your metabolic state shifts in order to access an alternative fuel source known as ketones, which are converted from body fat.
With so much food readily available and served in ways to make us crave the next bite, our bodies rarely have an opportunity to experience scarcity and burn away excess fat, leading to obesity and associated health risks.
Reaching a state of ketosis can take three to five days, but this varies by individual. You may experience adverse reactions such as sugar withdrawals and lethargy, which is expected when eliminating highly processed foods from your diet.
You might have noticed that the information mentioned above does not cover specific foods. That’s because the ketogenic diet is about managing macronutrients. While some can achieve results following a meat-based diet, others can do so by following a plant-based diet. Depending on the individual, fasting may be an even more effective path to reaching ketosis.
What are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?
Studies have shown promising outcomes when following the ketogenic diet, helping participants lose up to three times more weight when compared to a conventional diet. Additional benefits of the ketogenic diet include improved mood and better sleep.
Other Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
Most people aim for ketosis to achieve weight loss, but a ketogenic diet can offer additional health benefits:
Decrease Diabetes Risk
Not only does reducing visceral fat make you look trim, but it can also improve your health. This is because visceral fat sits in and around your vital organs, which can cause inflammation or insulin resistance, potentially leading to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, controlling levels of visceral fat via ketogenic dieting will lessen your risk of disease.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase heart disease, stroke and kidney problems. Keto diets can help to reduce your risk of these diseases by lowering blood pressure.
Lessen Risk of Heart Disease
Eating fewer carbs reduces triglycerides, a fat molecule found in your blood and a risk factor associated with heart disease. LDL, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, also increases the risk of heart disease because it builds up plaque in your blood vessels. ‘Good’ cholesterol, known as HDL, can be increased by high-fat diets, such as keto. When you have higher HDL relative to LDL, this lowers your risk of heart disease.
Best Fats for Keto
The fats listed are great additives to a meal that bring flavor.
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
Avoid These Fats
- Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
Best Protein for Keto
Meats are free to consume on the ketogenic diet, but with a few exceptions.
- Fish (Salmon)
- Poultry (Chicken)
- Pork (Uncured Bacon)
- Soy (Tofu)
Avoid These Proteins
- Cured Meats (Contains Sugar)
- Sweetened Protein Powders
Best Vegetables for Keto
A common misconception about the ketogenic diet is the you can only eat meats and cheeses. Although the list is shorter without starchy variants, there are still quite a few options.
Avoid These Vegetables
Best Fruits for Keto
A few fruits are rich in fiber and can fit within your net carb limit. To keep your diet simple, fruits should mostly be avoided.
- Lemon (Flavor)
Avoid These Fruits
Best Cheeses for Keto
Many people on the ketogenic diet enjoy their cheeses without issues.
Avoid These Cheeses
- American Cheese (Contains Sugar)
Best nuts, Seeds, & Legumes for Keto
Certain nuts are safe on the ketogenic diet. Legumes are less so. Peanuts are technically not nuts, and cashews contain a large amount of soluble carbohydrates making them an unfavorable choice. Yet, these two are very common to find as ingredients. Here’s a list of nuts you can eat on the ketogenic diet.
“Nuts” to Avoid
Best Drinks for Keto
Beverages can provide momentary satiation with a bevy of flavors to choose from, with artificial sweeteners providing a free pass to accessing a sweet profile without a caloric hit.
- Sparkling Water
- Coffee (Black)
- Tea (Unsweetened)
- Diet Sodas
- Almond Milk (Unsweetened)
- Flavored Water (Droplets)
Drinks to Avoid
- Sweet Tea
These short lists should provide a foundation to get started on the ketogenic diet while helping to avoid common pitfalls in each segment.