Thinking About Starting the Ketogenic Diet? Read This First

By H&W on 1st Sep 2018

Ah, the Keto diet. It seems as if everyone and their mother is doing it nowadays, but are they doing it the right way? Probably not. Many people make mistakes on the Keto diet which causes some pretty unpleasant symptoms. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to eliminate the unwanted effects of this diet. Leslie Losey, explains how. 

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

 There are many different styles of the keto diet, but the general goal is to get the majority of your calories from dietary fats so that you turn your body into a fat burning machine. The keto diet allows your body to use ketones for energy, which are delivered from the mitochondrial matrix of liver cells when the body is falling short on glucose production due to lack of carbohydrates. Sounds scary, right? Consider this: being in a ketogenic state can actually improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and can even improve cognitive functioning. 

Rethink Your Healthy Fats

Many people question where their fats should come from on a ketogenic diet, and that is indeed a good question to ask! Most of your fats should ideally be coming from plant sources. Avocados, raw nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed beef, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are all great choices because of their high nutrient content. Wait, but isn’t dairy allowed on the keto diet? This is where things get interesting. Dairy, in all of its forms, is generally allowed on a ketogenic diet, but dairy can cause widespread inflammation thanks to lactase, casein and whey. Many people are sensitive to all of these, which is why dairy may not be the best choice for this diet while trying to combat inflammation. If you choose to have dairy, do not make it a staple in your diet, but an occasional treat. Processed oils such as: canola, soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed and peanut oil should also be avoided due to GMO qualities and inflammation producing PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fats). When these oils are heated, they become toxic to our bodies, so it is best to avoid them!

Drink all the Water!

During the ketogenic diet, water should become your best friend. There are several reasons why it is absolutely essential to up your water intake while eating an extremely low carbohydrate diet. It is pertinent that you keep your electrolytes in balance! Many of those trying out the keto diet often give up because of the unpleasant side effects that they experience during the first couple of weeks such as dehydration, leg cramps, and dizziness. However, these symptoms are not actually caused by the lack of carbohydrates but by lack of hydration and proper electrolyte restoration. It is ideal to drink to thirst, and then some. Drinking enough water can ensure that the kidneys are flushed and that your cells are properly hydrated for max functioning. Add some organic lemon juice and some sea salt to your water to help balance your electrolytes and say goodbye to those nasty “keto flu” symptoms!

Consider Magnesium Supplementation

It is generally a good idea to take a high-quality multivitamin on any diet, but there is one mineral that you should especially focus on during the keto diet. Many people tend to lose magnesium through urine excretion on keto because of lack of glycogen stores. Magnesium is responsible for maintaining proper nerve and muscle functioning, heart health, and keeping the immune system in tip-top shape. Without magnesium, you may experience leg cramps, anxiety, and insomnia. Magnesium citrate is the most bioavailable form of the mineral, and can be found at most health food stores. You can take the mineral alone, or choose a high-quality multi-vitamin that provides magnesium in optimal doses.  

The Takeaway

Starting a keto diet may seem overwhelming, but once you start reaping the benefits, you will be glad that you decided to give it a try. By keeping your healthy fats in check, drinking enough water to ensure proper hydration (don’t forget the sea salt and lemon for electrolyte balance), and supplementing with magnesium you can be ensured that the ketogenic diet will be a pleasurable experience. Your ketogenic diet should be made up of mostly plants and healthy fats, with some moderate amounts of high-quality proteins like grass-fed beef, pastured eggs and chicken, and wild caught fish. Keep your carbohydrates to a minimum by keeping them under 15% of your daily calorie intake. Most of your carbs should come from leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other low-carb veggies, but you are allowed to have some berries too, as long as they fit into your daily carbohydrate intake!

Happy “Keto’ing”!

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