A low carb keto diet: the beginners guide.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s very hard to find a bulletproof diet, especially one that actually works…
But don’t’ worry,because we have done some research about the low carb keto diet and came up with information that will give you a clear look on the matter.

In this blogpost we will talk about the benefits of the low carb keto diet, what it actually means, things to consider when making the switch and extra helpful information like things to do when feeling a bit down due to the diet.

Most of you have probably already heard off the rising and nowadays so often talked about low carb keto diet. What exactly is this new phenomenon and should you consider following a diet that sounds like u are transforming into some sort of action figure? Let’s find out together!

What is the low carb keto diet?

The keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet – yes it says high fat- where the body produces these so called ketones in the liver. When we lower the input of carbs, our body will become into a state of ketosis. This is a natural process that helps our body survive when our food intake is too low.

It’s in this state that the mighty ketones are assembled and in combination with the high intake of fat, it forms the actual fuel for the temple (read body). It also replaces the carbohydrates that we’ve taking for ages. So if you’re not a fan of the carbs you found the right spot ;).

If you are still a non-believer and you won’t separate from the carbs than your liver won’t produce the ketones mentioned before because the carbs will make our body produce glucose which in fact is the easiest molecule for the body to gain energy from.

The body also produces insulin, which processes the glucose. Because the body uses mainly glucose as its primary energy source fats are not needed and therefore stored.

Sounds perfect right?! Than why should we even consider this keto diet? 

10 Reasons for following a low carb keto diet.

First of all:

Let’s clarify that the body doesn’t become in the state of ketosis due to starvation but through starvation of carbohydrates which indeed is a big difference.

Once the intake of carbs are close to nil and the ketones start to kick in and reach an optimal level there are countless physical and mental health benefits that should at least make you consider becoming a superhero following this low carb keto diet. We have listed some proven benefits.

1. A ketogenic diet will kill your hunger in a good way!

A lot of diets will lead to the never-ending feeling of hunger which indeed is one of the worst feelings mankind will ever know ;). The keto diet however will lead to a reduction of appetite and since you eat more proteins and fat while cutting the carbs, you’ll end up with taking in way fewer calories. Personally, this is definitely what I wanna hear when following a diet!

2. A low carb keto diet reduces the harmful abdominal fat.

Having a lot of fat around the organs, also known as visceral fat can be unhealthy for the body. It can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance. A keto diet however is extremely effective at reducing this visceral fat, it is even proven that they cause more fat loss than any current low-fat diet out there.

Over time the effect of this diet should lead to reduced risk of heart disease and even type 2 diabetes.

read more about how to prevent inflammation in our awesome blogpost about sulforaphane and its powerful benefits!

3. U will lose more weight than with a low fat diet.

Holding back on carbs is definitely one of the most effective ways to lose weight.

Studies show that low-carb diets are way more effective when your goal is to lose weight in comparison with low-fat diets. This can be explained because of the fact that low-carb diets result in getting rid of excess water from the body. The kidneys will start shedding excess sodium since they have low insulin levels.

This will very quickly lead to weight loss in the first week or two! Read more about the study behind this information.

4. Triglycerides go down with the low carb keto diet.

Triglycerides are those fat molecules which are a direct and strong heart disease risk factor. When u cut the intake of carbs people tend to have a dramatic reduction in these blood triglycerides. When you compare this to a low fat diet it’s without a question a big plus as low fat diets often results in triglycerides going up!

5. Increased levels of High Density Lipoprotein

High density lipoprotein (HDL) is often referred to as the good cholesterol although it’s not correct to call it cholesterol. HDL refers to the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol around in the blood. There’s a big difference in high density lipoproteins and low density lipoproteins (LDL) as LDL carries cholesterol from the liver and to the rest of the body. HDL carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver where it’s either reused or excreted.

 What you should remember: The best way to increase levels of HDL is through eating a lot of fat and that’s exactly what a low carb keto diet is all about! It is also proven that higher levels of HDL decrease the risk of heart diseases which is obviously
a huge benefit.

6. Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels.

When eating carbs they are broken down into simple sugars in the digestive tract. From there on they will enter the blood stream and make blood sugar levels elevate. Since high levels of blood sugar are toxic our body will respond with setting of a hormone called insulin, which will force the glucose in our cells and starts burning or storing it.

People who suffer from type two diabetes are having major problems with this ‘system’. Their cells cannot detect insulin, therefore it is way harder for the body to bring the blood sugar into the cells. It’s a very common disease afflicting about hundreds of million people worldwide.

However:

There’s a simple solution to the problem, you’ve guessed it…
A low carb keto diet is the answer as this will remove the need for all of that insulin and at the same time reduces the levels of blood sugar.

Wait what?

There is even a study in type 2 diabetics that shows us that 95.2% of the target audience had managed to reduce or even eliminate their glucose lowering medication within 6 months!
For those interested in the finer details of the research please take a look:

Take note: 

You should always talk to your doctor first when you have type 2 diabetes before you change to a low carb keto diet. A good doctor will tell his patient the right dosage for reducing a carbohydrate intake in order to avoid hypoglycaemia which occurs when blood sugar decreases to below normal levels. This may result in a variety of symptoms such as clumsiness, confusion, seizures, shakiness… and in extreme cases even death.

Always make sure you are informed well!

7. Blood pressure goes down with a low carb keto diet.

Studies show that reducing carbs leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of many common diseases such as heart diseases, strokes, kidney failure and many others.

8. An effective treatment against the metabolic syndrome.

The metabolic syndrome is a medical condition that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The great advantage of a low-carb diet is that it helps improve this condition drastically.

It’s quit a shame that governments and health organizations still recommend a low-fat diet in order to improve
these peoples condition instead of promoting a low-carb keto diet which will actually help the patients. A low fat diet is basically useless as it does not address the metabolic problem.

9. Improving the pattern of LDL cholesterol.

U can probably guess since HDL is often referred to as the good cholesterol, LDL is referred to as the bad cholesterol
but once again it’s actually a protein so let’s stick with that. Why it’s often called a bad cholesterol will become clear
right away since people with high LDL are much more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Now:

Scientists have discovered that the type of LDL matters as not all of them are the same. They differ in size which is a very important finding because people with mostly small particles will have a greater risk of heart disease and people with mostly bigger particles will have a low risk.

Link with a low carb keto diet?

When you eat a low-carb diet however, your LDL particles change from small LDL to large LDL – which is incredible. Cutting the intake of carbs may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream.

read a study about carbohydrate restriction and the link with lipoproteins here.

10. A low carb keto diet works therapeutic for the brain.

Glucose is definitely necessary for the body since some parts of the brain can only digest glucose. That’s why our liver produces it out of proteins if we don’t eat carbs. However a large part of the brain is also capable of burning ketones. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet which is used to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to a drug treatment.

Wait a minute…

In lots of cases this diet can cure children of epilepsy. In one study, over half of children on a ketogenic diet
had a greater than 50% reduction in seizures while 16% of the children became seizure free.

Read more about the study on the ketogenic diet for pediatric epilepsy.

Making the switch.

By now I can imagine you are either all the way in or either convinced that a healthy diet isn’t what turns you on.
Before making the switch to a keto diet or starting to scream in disbelief we would like to inform you with the following.

Look:

Getting your macronutrients correct is probably the most important thing when going down the keto path.
Macronutrients refer to carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Making sure you balance the intake of these is probably
not the most fun aspect and it could even be experienced as boring but during the first weeks it’s absolutely essential.

A low carb keto diet will bring big change no matter your physical background therefore it’s strongly recommended that u keep track of your macros.
Most people will be critical when reading about a keto-diet because it results in reducing proteins. It should be very clear that a keto-diet is a carbs restricted, moderate protein and high fat diet. Here’s how the macros end up looking for most people:
  • Carbohydrates: 5-10%
  • Fats: 70-75%
  • Protein: 15-20%

The famous bodybuilder Jason Wittrock claimed the following:

When you start a keto-diet it’s important to keep he intake of carbs under 50 grams per day. “I recommend only 5 percent of calories should come from carbs, which usually averages out to less than 30 grams,” he says. “So, I understand why people get nervous and panic, thinking ‘Can I even eat a salad?’ This is why I recommend tracking only ‘net carbs‘, which is total carbs minus fiber.

For example:

an avocado has 12 grams of carbs but 10 grams of fiber, which means it has 2 grams of net carbs. Also, green leafy vegetables are very nutritious and contain a lot of fiber, so you can almost eat them as much as you want and stay below your limit.

The protein cut.

Most people have a protein intake well over their body weight therefore they tend to be skeptical about a
low carb keto diet, since it demands reducing your protein intake quite significantly. Some people get worried that they lose muscle mass due to the low protein intake. However this is not the case at all because ketones have a protein sparing effect therefore high intakes are simply not necessary.

It’s quite important that you reduce the protein intake when following a keto diet since ketosis will disappear when protein levels reach a certain level. Some amino acids are gluconeogenic which means that they can be used to make carbohydrates.

What happens if you go too high?

Simple:

Say goodbye to ketosis! Certain amino acids are gluconeogenic, which means that they can actually be used to make carbohydrates. Keeping your protein intake too high is basically the same as eating too many carbs.

In terms of protein, it is often recommended that ketogenic athletes set protein between 0.6 and 1.0 grams
per pound of lean mass which is not the same as per pound of body weight!

Welcoming the fat life.

The easiest macro to calculate in the ketogenic diet is fat. Once you’ve got your carbs and protein set you can simply fill the rest of your daily calorie needs with fat sources. People who prefer to gain a bit of weight should add approximately 500 calories worth, or 55 grams. If you want to lose weight you should cut down on your fat intake by 200-500 calories, or 22-55 grams.

When suddenly a new diet pops up claiming you should increase your fat intake massively people tend to be very critical. For many people it could be hard and challenging to increase their fat intake since they hear all their life that fat makes you fat and causes several heart diseases.

Butter, nuts, coconut and olive oils, and fatty cuts of meat are all on the menu. However, don’t go overboard with
polyunsaturated fats like soybean, corn, or sunflower oil. low carb keto dieters who increase their intake of those fats often end up with gastrointestinal distress that causes them to jump ship too soon.

Feel better by adding bouillon, water and fatty treats to your low carb keto diet.

It’s important that you add chicken broth or bouillon cubes with at least 1gram of sodium in it to your menu.
For many people this makes all the difference. When carbs are cut, we rapidly deplete glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate.

For every gram of glycogen we lose, we lose three grams of water. Adding the bouillon will help prevent dehydration and improve the way you feel on the diet. Water isn’t enough on keto, you also need enough sodium.

Another must:

Is definitely having some super-fatty treats to help you hit your ambitious macros. Luckily, you are not alone in your
quest of finding these and people have already gone where you’re planning to go. Therefore you can find a lot of ‘fatty’’ recipes on the Internet that are often very good at satisfying your sweet tooth, and a great way to increase fat consumption without going over on protein.

Feeling unwell-failing the keto diet?

When cutting your intake of carbs it’s perfectly possible that you may experience fogginess and discomfort.
However you should always keep in mind that these feelings don’t have to be intense if you handle it right.

Within just a couple days of cutting out carbs and raising the intake of fats, ketone concentrations in the blood will
begin to rise and the brain will begin using them for energy preferentially. This initial keto-adaptation process usually takes about four weeks to complete, at which point you’ll reach peak fat-burning adaptations.

Basically:

All of the side effects you’ll hear about, happen in those first four weeks or even in the first 4-5 days. Experienced ketogenic dieters like Wittrock claim that the primary reason they get these symptoms is due to a shortage of the three primary electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium. If you are deficient in any of these, you will suffer mentally and physically.

It’she single-biggest reason people fail on the keto diet.

How can you increase your intake of elektrolytes?

One way u can make sure u get enough of these electrolytes is by using supplements, however it’s not necessary.
For improving the level of sodium u could salt your food, eat salty snacks or use chicken broth. One way to increase your levels of potassium and magnesium is by eating avocados, greens and nuts.

Green leafy vegetables are also a great source of both potassium and magnesium .

Fatty nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are the ones that contain the most magnesium. Eat these as much as you want, it’s even recommended

Takeaway.

In this post we talked about the main benefits when following a low carb keto diet. These benefits are extremely powerful since they include reduced risks for many common (heart)diseases. Basically your body should be in a healthy state when following this diet.

Make sure to keep on track with your macro’s because the low carb keto diet will bring a lot of changes! Getting sure your macro’s are correct is essential if you want to do it right.

Don’t be scared of the fact that this diet will demand a cut in proteins. It will not translate into losing muscle mass
because the ketones have a protein sparing effect on their own, extra intakes are just not necessary! Remember,
a to high intake of proteins actually harm your keto diet.

Fatty snacks and bouillon are key when just starting the low carb keto diet. The bouillon will actually help against
dehydration since you will lose a lot of water when just starting the keto diet. The fatty snacks will help you with hitting your macros!

At last, make sure your primary electrolytes are on point. People tend to feel a bit unwell in the first four weeks but
the side effects are in most cases due to a shortage in these electrolytes. Check out the ‘’feeling unwell’’ section for additional information. Obviously, maintaining a diet demands discipline and self  motivation, you can find out more about this here.

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