Success with the ketogenic diet is all in the execution.
If it sounds like nutrition scientists can’t make up their minds on whether or not keto is healthy, it’s because there are so many factors controlled by the dieter that can sway the outcome either way.
If you want to switch your body’s primary fuel source from carbs to fat while tiptoeing around all the rookie mistakes, here’s our list of the 5 best keto diet tips for beginners.
1. Make An Honest Assessment
Most of us are aware that carbs are abundant in bagels, cereal, and chips. But the following list is intended to help you cut out the less obvious carb-rich foods you are consuming. Many of which are actually healthy:
- Low-fat dressings, sauces, and condiments
- Spaghetti sauce
- Some seasonings (powdered cumin, garlic, onion, chili, oregano, and more).
- Some vegetables (e.g., onions, potatoes)
- Fried foods
- Protein bars
- Balsamic vinegar
This is just a snapshot of some of the more popular sources of hidden carbs, but never fear, with the help of “the fiber exception” (see below) and savvy meal planning, you can bid a less bitter farewell to these foods and beverages. You can also use a calorie calculator to determine how much calories are you eating.
2. Learn the Fiber Exception
Not all carbs are the enemy, even when on the keto diet; indigestible and partially digestible carbs such as fiber and sugar alcohols can be subtracted from a food label’s “total carbs” value, as these do not affect the process of ketosis.
Most forms of dietary fiber can be fully subtracted from the total carb amount of any given food item. And though it’s a bit of a rough estimate, about half of the sugar alcohol content can be subtracted, as these are the partially digestible forms of carbohydrates.
In many cases, the label will also report the net carbs, but if not, subtracting the fiber and sugar alcohols out yourself just may place the item under your daily carb cap.
3. Simplify Your Meal Planning
To make this super easy, we’re going to lay the typical keto-friendly meal out in three categories: protein, keto-friendly fruit or vegetable, and of course, plenty of fat.
Fruit is a more delicate issue. Considering most fruits are naturally rich in carbs. But you can have avocados, watermelon, lemons, cantaloupe, peaches, and strawberries without spiking your glucose.
Just about any protein not breaded, deep fried and/or slathered in carb-rich sauce should be fair game (pun intended).
Oftentimes, you can knock out the protein and fat requirement in one shot with eggs, red meat and full-fat dairy.
If you’re going with a leaner protein source, you can up the fat content with low-carb, high-fat options. Like butter or cheese.
4. Choose Heart-Healthy Fats
Just like carbs, not all fats are created equal, either.
Monounsaturated fats like those in extra-virgin olive oil, almonds, sesame seeds, avocados, and more are generally healthier than saturated fats, which are found in cheese, some meat products, fast food, etc.
According to the American Heart Association, the former can “help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke,” where saturated fats can promote the opposite effects.
Especially for keto dieters who exercise frequently, you can avoid both saturated fats and carbs by ditching the sugary pre-workout or recovery drink and swapping in a CBD oil made with extra virgin olive oil—visit our CBD Oil Store Near Me page to find a retailer.
5. For Goodness’ Sake, Keep It Clean
If you’re advocating for “dirty keto” (eating low-carb, high-fat junk food), you either don’t care what happens to you more than a year from now, or you’re simply looking to legitimize terrible dieting choices.
Point being, it’s extremely important to discriminate between healthy and unhealthy fats while also steering clear of unhealthy additives as you make the transition from a conventional diet to keto.
Cut out the sneaky carbs, optimize for healthy fats and general nutrition. Stick to it, forgive yourself, keep up the exercise, and enjoy the results.