The Ultimate Keto Guide for Beginners

If you’re primary goal is to achieve rapid fat loss in the most efficient and effective way possible, you have found the right place! The keto diet was designed on the scientific principles that govern body chemistry. Therefore, this is not a diet that you will see recommended in mainstream sources. For many years now the FDA has advocated a “balanced” diet of low fat, moderate to low protein, and high carb. To achieve weight loss, they merely recommend eating this same diet with a calorie deficit.

But, will this archaic system make you lose weight? Absolutely! Almost any diet applied with discipline will result in weight loss. However, the number you see on the scale provides a very incomplete picture. What is far more important is the amount of FAT LOSS you can achieve. Ideally, you will be simultaneously adding lean muscle mass and losing fat to achieve a far more aesthetically appealing body composition. However, this is close to impossible on the dietary recommendations the FDA provides. Additionally, the vast majority of people who start such a diet end up failing because this system is very difficult to apply for a long period of time.

Even though there are many ways to successfully lose weight, why would you not want to utilize the method that is both the fastest and the easiest to follow. For this, we need only look to the world of bodybuilding. In terms of nutrition science, bodybuilders are decades ahead of widely accepted knowledge. The primary goal of any bodybuilder is to achieve the ideal body composition that is muscular and low in fat. The keto diet has been one of the community’s insider secrets for years.

Even if you are now convinced that a keto diet is something you would like to try, starting anything without first understanding how and why it works is setting yourself up for failure.  Therefore, I’ve tried to set this site up in a way that makes it easy to learn about the ketosis diet and how to get started properly.

The Basics of the Ketosis Diet

The defining characteristic of a ketosis diet is extreme Carbohydrate restriction. It differs from many other low carbohydrate diets in that daily net carbs are kept extremely low (typically less than 30g). This puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbs. The actual maximum number of net carbs allowed to remain in ketosis will differ for each individual based on a variety of factors including size and exercise level.

To balance out the macronutrient intake, a person on the ketosis diet should consume a majority of their calories from fat and a moderate amount of calories from protein.

This type of diet has been used since the early 20th century to treat epilepsy and may prove to be an effective treatment for several other illnesses. Patients on these treatments began to notice rapid weight and fat loss as a notable side effect. Therefore, the popularity of carb restricted diets began growing until they became highly popular in the 1970s. However, due to a lack of peer-reviewed scientific studies, particularly long-term studies, there was some concern about health risks. There have been a growing number of long-term studies in recent years that suggest that a ketogenic diet is not only safe, but may actually improve overall health, and is the most effective fat-loss diet.

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD Diet) is a long-term carb reduced diet for individuals that do not perform high-intensity activities such as weightlifting or heavy cardio, but would still like to reduce weight and body fat percentage. Even though this diet alone is extremely effective for initial weight loss, results can be accelerated with the addition of exercise. If you are able to perform weightlifting or intense cardio, an advanced variation of the diet should be used. Athletes, bodybuilders, and those interested in attaining the lean and ripped look of a fitness model should apply either a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD Diet) or a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD Diet).

Before beginning any diet, it is always important to learn the basics and the scientific principles that provided the basis for the diet. That knowledge will allow you to determine whether or not that specific diet plan is the best for you. Following a ketogenic diet plan is no different! So, make sure to read through this article and make sure you know the rules, potential symptoms and effects of ketosis before you begin.

ketosis

What Is Ketosis?

The goal of the keto diet plan and this entire method of weight loss is dependent on the fact that the dieter is able to control their eating and get their body into a state of ketosis. But what exactly is ketosis? Well, read on below to get a more in-depth description of what ketosis is and why it turns your body into a fat burning machine!

How Our Body Normally Works

In today’s society, our diets are composed of an excess of carbohydrates. When we ingest carbs, our body uses them as the primary source of immediate energy or stores them in the liver and muscles as glycogen. These glycogen stores are saved by your body for extended periods of fasting when you haven’t eaten anything. So, usually, when people think they are burning fat by crash dieting, they are in fact burning through reserve glycogen stores that your body has saved for exactly this purpose!

What is Ketosis?

Now comes the exciting part! As soon as liver glycogen stores are depleted the body will begin to burn fat through lipolysis and beta-oxidation to produce acetyl-CoA. The molecule acetyl-CoA is then used in the liver to produce ketone bodies.

These ketone bodies are then used as the primary source of energy for your body. In fact, one of the primary signals of entering ketosis is the smell of acetone in your urine. This is due to the fact that the ketone body acetone can’t be processed and is instead excreted through urine. You can read more on how to tell if you are in ketosis by reading the article “Will the signs of ketosis be obvious?”

So, to summarize, once you are in ketosis your body will burn fat to produce ketone bodies for energy. And the longer you force your body to produce ketone bodies, the longer you will be in a fat burning metabolic state. Once you have reached your target weight, you can return to a moderate carbohydrate diet in order to maintain your ideal weight.

Hopefully that has shed some light on what is ketosis. Getting into ketosis requires strict dieting and careful carb counting. But, once you have reached this state, your body will become efficient at using fatty acids instead of glucose as energy. And in the end, you will see consistent and steady weight loss like no other diet plan you have ever tried!

How to Set Up a Keto Diet Plan

Step 1: Determining Metabolic Rate and Caloric Requirements

Many dieters make the mistake of starving themselves in an attempt to lose fat through extreme calorie deficits. Even though this method may produce results in the short run, it causes a drop in metabolic rate, which is counterproductive. This results in quickly diminishing returns and rapid regain of weight after ending the diet. Therefore, one of the most important components of a keto diet plan is knowing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and assuring that your caloric intake remains in the optimal fat and weight loss zone.

The body constantly burns energy and generates heat through a process known as thermogenesis. Your BMR is the amount of energy (calories) you would through this process in a given day if at rest. Your total calorie expenditure is the sum of your BMR and the additional calories you burn through physical activity throughout the day. Simply put, if you injest more calories than this total you will gain weight while if you injest less calories you will lose weight.

Any number of online calculators can be used to calculate BMR, but you have to multiply by your activity level to find true maintenance calories.

BMR Calculator

Step 2: Determine Target Calories

There are 3500 calories in one pound, which means that in order to lose one pound a week, you must eat 500 calories less than your maintenance number from Step 1. Although you can use a greater calorie deficit to lose weight more quickly, I suggest starting with this number. So, if you found that your BMR is 2500 calories per day, I would target 2000 calories per day to start.

Step 3: Determine Macronutrient Ratio

The macronutrient ratio for a keto diet plan should be

  • 65% calories from fat
  • 30% calories from protein
  • 5% calories from carbs.

Protein and carbohydrates have four calories per gram while fat has nine calories per gram.

So, for a 2000 calorie diet, your macros should look like this:

  • 65% Fat = 1300 calories (144 grams)
  • 30% Protein = 600 calories (150 grams)
  • 5% Carbs = 100 calories (25 grams)

Read over the list of Allowed Keto Diet Foods to get a good idea of what you will be eating to achieve these macros.

Step  4: Track Yourself for Success

Studies have shown that dieters that document and track their daily food intake are considerably more successful in achieving their goals. Therefore, I recommend using an online food tracker like my personal favorite, Keto Diet Tracker, which makes it easy to keep track of your caloric intake and macronutrients.

Additionally, keep track of your weight at the beginning of each day and, more importantly, your body fat percentage. Many scales nowadays have a bodyfat measurement included. Though body fat is notoriously hard to measure accurately and different scales will have wildly variable numbers, if you use the same method each day all that matters is a downward trend.

The Science of Ketosis

If you have already ready the general information about The Keto Diet, and you are now committed to understanding the science behind this diet, good for you! In my experience, this is the only path to long-term success. By blindly following any information without a solid understanding of why or how it works you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Many diets or fitness programs out there today simply try to sell you a plan without really explaining why it works. Therefore, my goal is to provide you with a basic understanding of nutrition, body chemistry, and the principles of a ketogenic diet. Hopefully, learning a bit about the “boring” science side will make it much easier for you to achieve your fitness goals.

Additionally, there is another important reason I believe you should become familiar with why this diet works. A ketogenic diet goes against a lot of mainstream diet advice and, for this reason, there seems to be quite a bit of negativity associated with it. I can guarantee that when you tell people you are eating a low-carb and high-fat diet you will encounter people who try to persuade you that this is a huge mistake. You will hear that it is dangerous and unhealthy. In general, these people have absolutely no knowledge on the subject and are merely speaking based on their preconceived notions. Therefore, when you are knowledgeable about the subject, you can confidently refute their statements and hopefully reduce some of the misinformation that is so prevalent about this type of diet.

Ketosis Weight Loss Principles

Sources of Energy

In order to understand ketosis weight loss, one must understand what fuels the human body uses for energy. When in need of energy, the body can utilize stores of protein, carbohydrates, fat or, under certain circumstances, ketones. Typically, the body stores carbohydrates as short-term glycogen reserves whereas fat is stored for long-term reserve energy as body fat. The body uses a combination of glucose, free fatty acids and ketones for energy depending on the individual’s diet and activity level. However, for a typical high carbohydrate diet, glucose is used as the primary energy source by the body. If glucose becomes scarce, such as in a ketogenic diet, the body must use alternative energy sources to compensate. This increases the production of ketones which also prompts the body to metabolize a combination of ketones and free fatty acids for energy.

Nutrient Intake

The four possible sources of calories are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and alcohol. In general, the body uses whatever fuel is most readily available. Since the goal of ketosis weight loss is to use fat as the primary energy source, it follows that carb intake must be kept extremely low. Additionally, the body produces insulin as a response to glucose in the blood. Insulin spikes immediately after eating carbs and prevents fat cells from releasing free fatty acids.

Water Weight Loss

Glycogen is stored in the body along with a significant amount of water. As glycogen stores are reduced over the first few days of a ketogenic diet, a significant amount of weight from water loss will occur. For heavier individuals with high-carb diets, this weight can easily represent ten pounds on the scale. However, this is not actual fat loss, which is why it is extremely important to track other success metrics like body measurements and body fat percentage. For an individual on a CKD Diet, a significant amount of weight can be gained after the carb-loading period, but should be lost within 48 hours.

The first step of ketosis weight loss is to make sure you understand these principles. Without this knowledge, it will be very difficult to actually reach ketosis. However, you have taken the first step! Now, make sure to read about ketogenic diet meals and the signs of ketosis to make sure you are able to get to and be able to also recognize when your body has entered a state of ketosis.

Benefits of Low Carb Diet

Using a low carb diet to lose weight has been all the rage in recent decades. But, even though many people follow these diets, they don’t know how they work or the benefits of low carb diet plans. Well, there have been a lot of potential benefits of low carb diet plans reported by various health organizations.

Less Cravings and Cheat Meals

One of the most widely reported benefit is having less cravings for sugar and junk food, which inevitably leads to cheating on your diet less. This is due to the fact that low carb diets maintain an appropriate blood sugar level which reduces the frequency of sugar cravings. That is why low carb diets are great for those that have difficulty with sugar in general or rely on sugar snacks as fuel for quick energy.

Weight Loss

One of the most obvious benefits of low carb diet plans is the fact that they will provide you with the greatest chance of losing weight. This theory is based on how the principles of the different processes your body uses to metabolize various compounds as energy sources. When ingesting carbohydrates, your body creates insulin to properly digest the carbs and use them as a primary energy source. However, when carbs are reduced to low enough levels, the body begins to rely on fat stores as a primary source of energy, thus leading to weight loss.

Stable Energy And Mood

On the biggest benefits of low carb diet plans is the fact that you will have cut out all the foods that give you sugar or caffeine rushes throughout the day. This consistency in your diet will lead to more stable energy levels and a more consistent mood. This is a stark contrast to the low energy and mood that most people experience when attempting to follow other types of diets.

Plus, the changes you see in the mirror will keep you motivated and working hard at getting into the best shape possible. But, you’ll never know the benefits of low carb diet plans unless you try them out for yourself and see how your body reacts. For the majority of people, you will lose weight and get the results you have always been hoping for!

Keto Diet: The Best Extreme Fat Loss Diet?

The Worst Fat Loss Diet: High Carb and High Fat

As carbohydrates are ingested, the body stores excess carbs as glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue. These glycogen stores are used as fuel during activity. However, when activity levels are low and these stores become full, excess carbs are converted and stored in fat cells. Though this process alone may not contribute significantly to fat gain, at this point, the body is using carbs as an energy source almost exclusively. This means that any dietary fat consumed will not be burned for energy and will be stored entirely as body fat. Therefore, as expected, low-activity people that consume a diet high in fat and carbs tend to have large amounts of body fat.

Extreme Fat Loss Diet

Now that we know that a high carb and high fat diet is a guaranteed recipe for obesity, how do we determine what the best fat loss diet is? Clearly, it is necessary to reduce either carbohydrates or dietary fat. Unsurprisingly, all effective diets fit into either a low-fat or low-carb category. Intuitively, it seems reasonable that reducing fat intake would be the most effective fat loss diet. However, an understanding of how the body uses carbs and fat makes it clear that a reduced-carb diet allows the body to use fat as a fuel source. Even though it is counterintuitive, you must eat fat in order to burn fat.

Is a Ketogenic Diet the Best Fat Loss Diet?

Weight and fat loss will occur on any diet that maintains a caloric deficit. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people who attempt dieting cannot lose weight or regain all weight lost shortly after. This occurs because even though a wide range of diets can be effective, some are more restrictive and psychologically difficult than others. All other considerations aside, the best diet is the one that you can actually adhere to. For most people, a ketogenic diet, particularly a CKD diet, is optimal for successfully losing weight and body fat. Extreme fat loss diets typically fail because they require extreme calorie deficits and the elimination of all foods that people crave. The advantage of a ketogenic diet over low-fat diets is that it is a natural appetite suppressant, which makes it extremely difficult to overeat. Additionally, for those that choose to include weight-training or other intensive physical activity, the cyclical variation allows time each week to indulge in carbs. This alone can be a major psychological advantage over other diets that fail if any “cheating” occurs.

Ketogenic Diet Menu

After starting a ketogenic diet for the first time, it seems almost impossible to construct an actual menu that won’t seem overly repetitive and boring. When you’re used to eating carbs with almost every meal, it can feel like your dietary options are ridiculously limited. However, it just takes a little bit of learning and experience to really develop a ketogenic diet menu that will work for you.

For the most part, people on a ketogenic diet tend to find 10-15 meals that they really enjoy and that are easy to fit into their schedule. Getting into an eating routine generally makes it easier to stick to a diet plan long-term. However, everyone is going to have a different meal plan that works for them. Therefore, I suggest starting by reading through Allowed Keto Diet Foods and then taking a look at A Sample Ketogenic Diet Menu that I might use for a day on the diet.

Once you have read through those articles, you should have an excellent idea of how to approach the development of a meal plan. Don’t feel limited by recipes or suggestions that I post on this site though. The real key to success is finding menu items that work for you. There are a several excellent specific keto recipe blogs as well as a multitude of low-carb and Paleo blogs that all provide some excellent options that will work for this diet. So, do a little research, experiment with different foods, and have fun coming up with new meals you like!

The most difficult part of maintaining a keto diet by far is making sure that you properly restrict your meals to the allowed keto diet foods. Since the carb requirements of the diet are so low, a single food has the ability to kick you out of the state of ketosis. Therefore, I suggest keeping a very detailed food log when you begin the diet and make sure you look at nutritional information to assure that you only consume allowed keto diet foods. Eventually, you will be able to estimate the macronutrient breakdown of your meals with high accuracy and avoid carbs easily. However, until you feel confident that you have an intuitive understanding of macronutrients, you should make sure that all of your keto diet foods are on the following list.

Allowed Keto Diet Foods

Meats:           

The vast majority of meats are allowed on a keto diet and your diet will likely contain a large amount of meat products such as chicken, pork, beef.

Avoid: Any meats that are breaded or cured in a sugar or honey glaze.

Vegetables:

Although many vegetable do contain carbs, most of them are from fiber. Remember, when it comes to keto diet foods, it is net carbs—carbs minus fiber—that matters. It is important to eat a large amount of of fibrous and leafy green vegetables on this and any diet. However, make sure you avoid eating large quantities of the vegetables that are higher in carbs such as corn, carrots, and onions.

Avoid: All beans, potatoes, and yams are extremely high in carbs and are prohibited keto diet foods.

Dairy:

All forms of cheese are allowed and are a staple component of most keto diets.

Avoid: Yogurt and milk which are quite high in sugar (heavy whipping cream is okay for recipes).

Other Fats:

It is crucial to injest keto diet foods that have adequate fat levels. For beginners, getting enough fat in the diet can be difficult, so it is important to make some of these ketogenic foods staples of your diet.

The Healthiest Fats:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts (except cashews which are too high in net carbs to eat in large amounts)
  • Oil

Other Allowed Fats:

  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour Cream
  • Dressings such as Caesar and Ranch

A Sample Ketogenic Diet Menu

When first starting, many people struggle with knowing how to structure a ketogenic diet menu for a full day. This process will become much easier and fairly intuitive once you have been doing it for a few weeks. However, I wanted to provide a full day’s keto diet menu to give a better idea of how to structure of full day.

Breakfast:

Though I’m sure you have heard it before, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and an integral part of any ketosis diet menu. People who consistently eat breakfast lose significantly more weight than those who don’t. It is crucial to help spread your calorie intake throughout the day and keep your metabolism high. Eating a high protein breakfast within an hour of waking is the best start to your day.

Sample Breakfast: Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole eggs
  • ½ Hass Avocado

Nutritional Facts:

  • Total Calories: 419
  • Fat: 31
  • Protein: 25
  • Net Carbs: 5

Lunch

Since most people usually workout in the mornings and usually only have a protein shake or small snack until lunch, you can slightly increase the number of carbohydrates at lunch to get you through the rest of the day. But be careful! You don’t want to go overboard with this meal. A cheat meal here can sometimes lead to binge carb eating all day long. And that, is a very easy way to kick yourself out of ketosis and set yourself back a few more days.

Sample Lunch: Chipotle Salad (No Dressing)

Ingredients

  • Lettuce
  • Chicken
  • Mild Salsa
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole

Nutritional Facts

  • Total Calories: 585
  • Fat: 38
  • Protein: 45
  • Net Carbs: 9

Dinner

At dinner, you should try to lower your carbs again since you will be going to sleep soon.

Sample Dinner: Cheese Covered Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 Tyson Grilled & Ready Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • ½ Cup Cheese

Nutritional Facts

  • Total Calories: 380
  • Fat: 15
  • Protein: 62
  • Net Carbs: 4

Snacks:

Make sure all your snacks fall within 1-5 carbs. You don’t want to ruin a day of dieting by eating a sugary snack loaded with carbs. Try to also space out your snacks in between your 3 large meals. This way, you will be able to keep your hunger satisfied throughout the day.

Sample Snack 1: Large Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • Spinach
  • Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing

Nutritional Facts

  • Total Calories: 340
  • Fat: 32
  • Protein: 4
  • Net Carbs: 2

Sample Snack 2: Almonds

Ingredients

24 Almonds

Nutritional Facts

  • Total Calories: 160
  • Fat: 15
  • Protein: 6
  • Net Carbs: 3

Ketogenic Diet Menu Daily Totals:

  • Calories: 1884
  • Fat: 131 (63.7% of calories)
  • Protein: 140 (30.9% of calories)
  • Net Carbs: 24 (5.4% of calories)

Advanced Keto Diet Variations

If you currently have a body fat percentage greater than 15% as a man or greater than 20% as a woman and your primary goal is to lose weight and body fat, most reasonable diets will be effective in helping you achieve this goal. I personally believe a ketogenic diet is the most optimal because it acts as a natural appetite suppressant and, for me, the food options are far easier to stick to than other diets. At these levels, finding a diet plan you can actually stick to is the most important principle.

However, if you are an athlete, bodybuilder, or plan on training with weights during the diet, the advantages of a ketogenic diet become much greater. By correctly applying an advanced keto diet variation, it becomes possible to maintain or even gain strength and muscle mass while losing body fat even for people in the low ranges. I suggest that everyone who truly wants to improve their overall body composition work towards applying one of the advanced systems. Even if your body fat is currently in the higher range, weight training can make a massive difference in how you look as you lose weight. Everyone who is lifting in the gym or doing intense cardio workouts should apply one of these advanced keto diet variations for optimal results.

The two effective advanced structures of ketogenic diets are the:

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

I strongly prefer CKD as it maintains a traditional ketogenic diet for most of the week, but allows a 24-30 hour carb-up period each weekend. I find this quite easy to structure within my schedule and, in general, this diet is usually optimal for bodybuilders.

However, if you are an athlete such as a runner or cyclist that requires training for intense periods of cardio, TKD may be optimal for you since it allows structured periods of carbohydrate intake around each workout.

The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD Diet)

About the CKD Diet

A more advanced type of ketogenic diet that is specifically designed for athletes and bodybuilders is the cyclical ketogenic diet, primarily known as the CKD diet. This program should be used by people who are training heavily at least four times per week and wish to maintain strength, performance, and muscle mass while cutting body fat.

The defining feature of the CKD diet is a 24 to 30 hour refeeding period of heavy carbohydrate consumption each week. Other than this period of time, the rest of the week is a typical ketogenic diet. This carb-up period replenishes the muscle glycogen that has been fully depleted throughout the week’s workouts. Therefore, this diet should only be used by experienced athletes who are completing enough training each week to fully deplete muscle glycogen before the carb-up period.

The Carb-Up

The refeeding period should last about 1.5 days each week. For convenience, I suggest starting on Friday or Saturday late afternoon and continuing until late the next night. Many individuals may find that they can adequately replenish glycogen stores simply by eating a large amount of carbs without worrying about quality or overall macronutrients. However, it is possible optimally structure this period to minimize any fat gain, which is what you will want to do if you are a serious bodybuilder.During the first 24 hours of the refeeding period, you should eat 4-5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of lean body mass. For example, if you are 200 pounds at 20% body fat, you have 40 pounds of fat and 160 pounds of lean body mass and you would consume between 640 and 800 grams of carbs during the 24 hour period. This should be about 70% of overall calorie consumption with the remaining calories spread evenly between fat and protein. Feel free to indulge in some of the cravings you have been missing all week. However, a truly clean carb-up will contain primarily healthy sources of carbs. Eat plenty of fruit for simple carbs since you haven’t gotten any all week and eat whole wheat breads, pastas, yams, oatmeal, and brown rice for good complex carbs.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD Diet)

If you are more of an endurance athlete that will be perming aerobic activity at a relatively high intensity level for longer periods of time, a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) may be right for you. This type of diet schedules carbohydrate consumption around exercise on training days to avoid the difficulty of performing long sessions of aerobic activity while in ketosis. Ideally, this system allows you to utilize carbs for the energy required during the activity and rapidly return to ketosis afterword.

Before the Workout

Consuming carbohydrates before the workout should provide a noticeable increase in performance and should maintain glycogen levels allowing a return to ketosis shortly after. Take between 25 and 50 grams of carbs about 30 minutes before the workout depending on the expected intensity. High GI carbs usually work well, but you should experiment with different pre-workout sources and make sure you find one that does not upset your stomach during training.

After the Workout

It is not strictly necessary to consume carbs after the workout as 25-50 grams of protein will often be sufficient to help you recover. However, if the workout duration is long or particularly intense (if you are feeling light-headed afterward), an additional 25-50 grams of carbs should be consumed. For these carbs, you should avoid fructose or sucrose sources, but feel free to experiment with sources and amounts that you feel aid your recovery the most.

Other Considerations

Outside of this crucial period of time around training, you should follow a traditional ketogeic diet. However, remember to factor in the amount of carbs consumed around training into your overall macronutrient and calorie ratios. The extra calories from these carbs should be subtracted from the daily fat total to assure that your calories are still on track.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions I have received since I started ketodietplans.com. Most of them relate to following ketosis diet plans, symptoms of ketosis diet plans, how to know if you are in ketosis and a few other topics. I will continue to update this list as I receive more questions.

Is Ketosis Dangerous

Many people are afraid to start a ketosis diet because they think it is dangerous. However, this is not true. Getting your body into a state of ketosis is only dangerous for a small percentage of the population (diabetics and ketoacidosis). For the average individual, there are symptoms and side effects, but nothing that would classify the ketosis diet as dangerous. One major concern many people cite is that reduced glucouse levels will not allow your body to function properly. However, our body is able to convert protein into glucose when needed. In addition, the production of ketone bodies as the primary source of energy makes glucose levels insignificant.
Please consult your physician if you feel as though you do have an issue that might make a ketosis diet negatively affect your body. We do not propose you start a ketosis diet without consulting a physician, but from our research there is no danger from following a ketosis diet for the average individual.

Will the Signs of Ketosis Be Obvious?

Knowing whether you are in or out of ketosis can be a very difficult, yet important, task. Especially since efficient weight loss on a low carb diet is dependent on the fact that you are able to limit your carbs enough to force your body into ketosis. Well, make sure to look for the following signs of ketosis. These symptoms will allow you to evaluate your progress based on the appearance, or lack, of these signs. For example, if you do experience these signs, just keep doing what you are doing! If you have not experienced these signs of ketosis, then you know you need to reduce your daily carb intake even further.

Weight Loss
Obviously, the first and most important sign of ketosis is weight loss. Once in ketosis, you should see rapid weight loss over the next few days until your carb up phase. If you are not losing weight, you should reevaluate your diet and see if you are not properly counting your carbs. If that’s not it, you may want to consider lowering your carb intake a little further. However, if you are already below 50 grams of carbs a day, you should make very small jumps down until you get into ketosis.

Keto Breath
Keto breath is one of the most common signs of entering ketosis. You may begin to notice that your breath has an acetone smell and taste to it. This is due to the ketone bodies in your body being released. For more information please refer to the article “Keto Breath”

Always Thirsty
Another sign of ketosis is always being thirsty, but not due to dehydration. If you are following a keto det plan, drinking a gallon of water a day and still have a dry mouth making you feel thirsty, you are most likely in ketosis.

Emotional Signs
Some people report that another sign of ketosis are mood swings and a lower emotional state. I personally have never experienced this sign of ketosis, but it should still be on your list of things to look for. If you do experience this sign, you may want to strongly consider an alternative dieting method in order to lose weight.

Fatigue
Another common sign of ketosis is fatigue and exhaustion. Most people can’t initially handle the complete lack of carbs in their diet. It does take a while for your body to adjust, but soon you will be able to dip into ketosis with no change in energy levels. This is due to your body ability to adapt to environmental changes and become more efficient at metabolizing fat in place of carbohydrates.
When starting a keto diet plan, you should always make sure to know the signs of ketosis and keep an eye out for them. This is the only way, except for ketostix, to know that your body has entered ketosis. Plus, since everyone is different, the ability to recognize these signs will allow you to refine your diet until you are at your optimal state.

What Are Common Ketosis Symptoms?

Before beginning a ketogenic diet plan, most individuals have concerns regarding the symptoms of ketosis. Most people associate unique dieting methods with nausea, lack of energy and a multitude of other adverse effects. Well, some of those symptoms are true for a ketogenic diet plan as well, but the symptoms will go away after about a week. After that point, your body will be adjusted to metabolizing fat as the primary energy source and the symptoms of ketosis should begin to fade. However, you should still be able to recognize the symptoms of ketosis before you begin your diet. This way, you can monitor your progress and adjust your daily carbohydrate intake until you are able to enter ketosis with ease. So, read through the top 3 ketosis symptoms below and make sure to keep an eye out for them after you begin your ketogenic diet plan.

Fatigue
The first ketosis symptom that will appear is fatigue and lack of energy. As your liver glycogen stores begin to deplete, your body will go into famine mode and you will experience a lack of energy. However, your body does have other metabolic pathways and will begin to activate them once you have lowered your carbs for an extended time period. Once your body has gone through this metabolic shift, your energy levels will go back to normal.

Weight Loss
Even though it is not a symptom, weight loss is the next byproduct of following a ketogenic diet plan. During the first week, the lack of carbs will cause you to lose a lot of water and see a quick decrease in body weight. Don’t get too excited though, the weight loss will begin to slow after the first week as your body begins to hold less water.

Ketosis Breath
One of the final symptoms of ketosis is ketosis breath. Once you get closer to ketosis, ketone bodies will be released in to your blood stream. Acetone is a byproduct of ketone bodies being metabolized as energy. The acetone in your body will cause your breath to give off a fruity odor that some people find repulsive. Another thing you should also keep an eye out for is an acetone smell in your urine. This is almost a definite symptom of your body entering ketosis!

As with any diet, you will experience a short adjustment time during the first week. But, being able to recognize the symptoms of ketosis is an important part of learning the limits of your body and finding an optimal fat burning keto diet plan! So, don’t hesitate because of a few temporary symptoms. If you can fight through it, you won’t ever regret it!

What is Ketosis Breath?

One of the most common “side effects” of a low carb diet is bad breath, also referred to as ketosis breath or keto breath in the health and fitness community. Even though most people would rather avoid bad breath, ketosis breath is actually a great sign when following a low carb diet! And don’t worry; there are ways to minimize the effects of ketosis breath without having to sacrifice talking to people for the sake of losing weight.
In essence, ketosis breath is a byproduct of the body entering in to a state of ketosis. By following a low carb diet and depleting your liver glycogen stores, you force your body to metabolize fatty acids as an alternative energy source. Once this occurs, your body begins to release ketone bodies. One ketone body in particular, acetoacetate, is a volatile compound that is decarboxylated into acetone, the molecule responsible for the odor, and is expelled from the body through the breath and urine.
So, even though you may not want your breath to smell, it’s actually a good sign! You can use ketosis breath as a loud and clear signal from your body that you have entered ketosis and are now a fat burning machine!
But wait! Even though it’s a sign that we are doing a good job of sticking to our low carb diets, no one really wants to have keto breath all day, every day. Well, just follow a few of the tips below and you can easily mask ketosis breath and its effects.

Ketosis Breath Tips

Drink Water
A dry mouth can exacerbate the effects of ketosis breath.  Make sure to drink close to a gallon of water every day.

Gum and Mints
Use sugar-free gum and mints. But be careful! You don’t want to go over on your carbs for the day because you chewed gum.

Hidden Mouthwash
Keep a travel sized mouthwash container in your car or desk at work and forget about it. This can be a life saver if you ever forget, or run out of, gum and don’t have the time to get some.

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis?

Ketosis vs ketoacidosis is one of the biggest misconceptions in the world of health and fitness. In fact, many people hear about ketoacidosis and instantaneously become fearful of starting a ketosis diet. Well, you should stop worrying. Those two terms are commonly confused with each other, but there is a HUGE difference. Ketosis is a normal metabolic pathway while ketoacidosis is a dangerous medical condition that is only of concern to those with Type I diabetes.
Ketosis, in essence, is a metabolic pathway that is initiated when the body is deprived of carbohydrates. The ketosis pathway then will begin to metabolize proteins and fats for energy since all liver glycogen stores have been depleted. As a byproduct of lipolysis, the body will begin to produce ketones which can be used by the body as energy.

Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a state in which there are extremely high levels of ketones in the blood which causes the blood pH level to become dangerously acidic. This usually only occurs in diabetic individuals, since their bodies either have no insulin or doesn’t respond to insulin.
For the average individual looking to lose a few pounds, ketosis vs ketoacidosis should not be on your mind. Going into ketoacidosis is not a real threat. Only those that have been diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic should be concerned with the possibility of ketoacidosis. If you do have any concerns though, you should consult your family physician or dietician.

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