You may have heard friends or colleagues talking about their ketogenic diet weight loss. If you aren’t familiar, this article will give you an overview of what the ketogenic diet is and how it’s used for fat loss.

In this article, I’ll be going over some of the benefits of putting your body into the ketogenic state. Furthermore, you’ll learn how to stay in ketosis. I’ll also show you some example meals of the ketogenic diet, along with some keto-friendly desserts.

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Keto diet meaning

The keto diet is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet for rapid fat loss. By going into ketosis, you’ll begin to use stored body fat as your body’s main energy source.

Keto diet macro goals

With the keto diet, in order to stay in ketosis you must keep a macro intake of 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbs.

keto macro chart showing 65% fat, 30% protein and 5% carbs.

How does the keto diet work?

By going into ketosis, you’re forcing your body to mimic the fasted state; dissolving stored body fat and using it throughout the day for energy instead of carbs.

What’s more, you won’t get the hunger pains associated with normal dieting. By having a diet filled with fat and protein, you will remain satiated the whole time.

If you’ve tried a general caloric restriction diet in the past, you know the pain. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you feel like throwing up. This is usually the result of eating carbs and having your insulin spiked.

Man sitting down feeling hungry on a low calorie diet.

When insulin is spiked, the “hunger hormone” ghrelin increases causing hunger pangs. By limiting carbs to less than 5% of your diet, you avoid these hunger pangs altogether.

Though it may seem harmless, the ketogenic diet can be harmful to some. Ketosis can trigger ketoacidosis, which mostly affects those with type 1 diabetes. Stay safe and check with a doctor before starting the ketogenic diet.

Saying this, I also must point out that most doctors aren’t allowed to publicly advocate doing the ketogenic diet for weight loss.

How to start keto

When you’re just starting the keto diet, planning your meals can be confusing. Here’s a grocery list of keto friendly food items.

  • Tuna and other fatty fish (canned with water or oil is okay).
  • Beef, chicken, and pork (aim for the darker, fattier meats).
  • Avocado, all Butters, mayo, and all oils.
  • Eggs, bacon, sausage, and other meats.
  • Greek yogurt, full-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheese, and heavy cream.
  • Peanut butter, almond butter, and nuts.
  • Vegetables, pickles, spices, mustard, hot sauce, horseradish, and other 0 carb condiments.

When doing the keto diet, I found mustard to be a life-saver. Use it in addition to the hot sauce as dips/seasoning for your meat.

Also, in case you’re wondering, there are ways of making keto-friendly desserts. At the end of this article, I’ll give you some links to some of my favorite keto-friendly dessert recipes.

Benefits of keto diet

Using ketones as your body’s main source of energy is great for your brain health and gut health.

It is hypothesized that ketone bodies play a neuroprotective role through an improvement in metabolic efficiency, by sparing glucose, and the degradation of muscle-derived amino acids for substrates.

RL Veech

Which is why dozens of professional athletes are on the ketogenic diet. These athletes include NBA players Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow went on the Dr. Oz show to discuss his ketogenic diet lifestyle. In this video, Tim talks about some of the foods he eats in a regular day on keto.

How to get into ketosis in 24 hours

In order to speed up your transition into ketosis, it’s best to keep carbs as low as possible. With that in mind, these first three weeks will keep your total carb percentage in the 3-5% range.

Initially, to assist with getting into ketosis it’s best to keep net carbs under 20 grams per day. To stay in ketosis, it is generally suggested to keep your total net carbs under 30 grams per day.

What are net carbs? Net carbs are calculated by taking the number of total carbs and subtracting the fiber. Since fiber can’t be digested it shouldn’t be counted towards the total carb count.

For example, say you have a piece of broccoli. Now, a serving of broccoli has 10 grams of carbs and 3.8 grams of fiber. To get the net carbs you would take the number of carbs and subtract the amount of fiber. That equals 6.2 net carbs.

With keto, you want to always go by net carbs of your meals, not total carb number.

Fasting to get into ketosis quicker

I found doing a full 24-hour fast before starting can help speed up ketosis transition. By doing this, I normally go into ketosis within 3-4 days. Otherwise, it can take a week to get fully transitioned into the ketogenic state.

How to know if you’re in ketosis

An easy method of checking if you’re in ketosis is by using these urinalysis ketone test strips. These test strips aren’t as accurate as the Keto-Mojo blood ketone tester, but they will give you a low to high ketones reading.

Keto diet meal plan for beginners

As it can be difficult starting out, here’s an example keto diet meal plan for your first three weeks. These ketogenic meals are based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet.

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Keto diet kababs of meat, cucumber, peppers and onion on the grill.

Week 1

  • Breakfast
    • Coffee with 1 tbsp of heavy cream.
    • 3 eggs with 1 tbsp of salted butter.
    • 3 slices of bacon.
    • 3 sausage links.
  • Lunch
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs.
    • 3oz of boneless, skinless chicken breast.
    • 1 cup of broccoli.
  • Dinner
    • 4 oz hamburger patty.
    • 1 oz of cheddar cheese.
    • 1.5 cup of romaine lettuce.

Week 2

  • Breakfast
    • 1 portobello mushroom.
    • 3 whole eggs.
    • 3 slices of bacon.
  • Lunch
    • 6 oz of tuna with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise.
    • 1 cup of romaine lettuce with 3 oz of cheddar cheese.
    • 1 tbsp of ranch dressing.
  • Dinner
    • 1 turkey burger with 2 oz of parmesan cheese.
    • 1 cup of broccoli.

Week 3

  • Breakfast
    • coffee with 2 tbsp heavy cream.
    • 1 hamburger patty with 1 oz of cheddar cheese.
    • 3 whole eggs with 1 tbsp of salted butter.
  • Lunch
    • 1 celery stick with 3 tbsp of peanut butter.
    • 1 cup of romaine lettuce with 2 oz of parmesan cheese.
  • Dinner
    • 1 red bell pepper with 3 oz of 85% lean ground beef.
    • 1 cup of broccoli with 4 oz of cheddar cheese.
    • 1 tbsp of salted butter.

Ketogenic diet bread substitutes

You can still eat hamburgers on the ketogenic diet. Though you can’t eat the bun, you can still eat mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are wide flat mushrooms that work great as bread slices for keto hamburgers.

In addition, you can also use lettuce wraps. At most fast-food places, you can substitute buns for lettuce wraps. Just be aware of the sugar content in the sauce used (if any).

If you are good at baking, you could also bake your own keto-friendly bread. Below are some keto-friendly bread substitutes.

Cloud Bread

By mixing egg yolks, cream cheese, and seasonings together you can bake your own cloud bread.

Buy keto-friendly breads

If you’re not much of a baker or don’t have the patience to bake keto breads, you can still buy them.

Tracking your ketogenic diet meal plan

There are a number of apps and websites to use for tracking calories and macros for your ketogenic meals. Some of the most popular being MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, Lose It!, and Fat Secret.

If you’re feeling super wild and crazy, try out a keto diet generator such as eat this much or swole.me. These apps will generate a full day of meals based on the macros you set.

With the exclusion of Swole.me, all of the calorie/ macro trackers listed here have apps for IOS and Android.

Do calories matter on keto diet?

No matter what diet you do, you will have to take in fewer calories than your total daily energy expenditure (or TDEE) to lose weight. So if you aim to lose 1 lb per week, you must take in 500 calories less than your TDEE per day.

Find out how many calories you need to be eating with my free online TDEE calculator.

Keto carb limit: how many carbs to stay in ketosis

Once you’re in ketosis, you’re adapted to using fat as your main fuel source. However, when you introduce too many carbs in your diet, your body can transition out of ketosis. When that happens, you may get headaches and other keto flu symptoms transitioning back to ketosis.

Keto potassium levels

Running the ketogenic diet will cause your potassium levels to drop. To resolve this, be sure to include lots of avocados, salmon, mushrooms, and leafy greens in the ketogenic diet.

Ketosis transition

It may seem rather simple to just start the keto diet and wait for results. But, it’s not that simple. These low carb diets aren’t easy for your body to adapt to unless you’ve done it before.

In fact, you’ll most likely experience the “keto flu” when going through the ketosis transition. By taking a few simple measures, you can counteract most of the keto flu symptoms.

Keto flu or low carb flu

Carbohydrate restriction will soon lead to a keto headache, along with other symptoms. Here’s a list of potential symptoms ketogenic diet side effects you can experience.

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • a sore throat
  • irritability
  • body cramps
  • brain fog
  • chills
  • keto breath
  • digestive issues
Woman sitting in pain feeling the keto flu symptoms.

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When does keto flu start?

The keto flu starts in the 24-48 hour mark of being in ketosis and lasts a few days to a week at most.

Overcoming the keto flu

Although these keto/ low carb diet side effects seem daunting, they don’t last long. After all, keto induction only lasts a week at most for the average person.

However, once your body goes into ketosis a few times, the keto induction time decreases to 1-3 days.

Getting rid of the keto headache

Electrolyte drinks are your best friends when doing the keto diet. With the keto diet, it’s important to increase salt intake, supplement with vitamins and stay hydrated.

Supplement daily with the vitamins listed below to decrease keto flu symptoms.

I do receive an affiliate commision for the links to the products I’ve listed here.

When it comes to the keto diet, it’s important to keep magnesium levels up. This will help you avoid painful headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, and weakness.

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Hand holding different vitamins to supplement with on the keto diet.

In order to keep your heart health in check, it’s important to supplement with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. If you aren’t a fan of fish, you can still get your daily dose of omega-3 in vitamin form.

As for a recommendation, the best omega-3 supplement is found in triglyceride form. This is because triglycerides are found naturally in fish oil, whereas ethyl esters are not.

Further, vitamin D and vitamin B will help overcome the keto dizzy spells and feeling of lightheadedness. So if you notice you’re getting dizzy when doing keto, start supplementing vitamin D and B vitamins.

Additionally, if your body has a potassium deficiency, there’s a higher chance you can develop Hypokalemia. The following is a list of symptoms you can expect with a potassium deficiency in the keto diet.

  • Muscle cramping
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.

By supplementing with potassium enriched foods, you can avoid these symptoms entirely. Again, foods such as avocados, salmon, mushrooms, and leafy greens will help keep your potassium levels up in the keto diet.

In addition, use pure MCT oil to raise ketone levels and increase your energy. An increase of ketones will assist brain function and nutrient absorption.

The Ketogenic diet weight loss results

Here are the ketogenic diet weight loss results you can expect in the short and long term.

Keto diet results: 4 weeks

Expect to lose anywhere from 6 to 13 lbs within the first month of your keto diet weight loss journey.  Keep in mind, it’s possible to lose up to 20 pounds of water weight in the first couple of weeks.

Keto diet results: 2 months

After 2 months of the keto diet, expect to have lost a total of 11 to 17 lbs. Additionally, here you’ll begin to see noteable changes to your physique and overall health.

Keto diet results: 4 months

By the 4 month mark, you should expect to have lost a total of 16.5 to 26.5 lbs. Furthermore, this is the point where weight loss slows down a bit in the ketogenic diet.

After the fourth month, expect to lose 1 to 3lbs per week in the keto diet long term.

If you don’t have a scale to measure your weight loss, it’s important to get one. After all, you can’t measure your results without one. I’ve been using this scale by EatSmart for nearly 5 years. It has a large display and comes with free body measurement tape.

Keto-friendly desserts

On occasion, it’s nice to have something sweet when doing the ketogenic diet. Which is why I’m giving you a few recipes for keto-friendly desserts – all of which have less than 6 net carbs each.

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Low-Carb Keto Hazelnut Truffles

If you like hazelnut and milk chocolate, here’s the 1 net carb keto-friendly dessert for you. These are hazelnut truffles made with sugar-free milk chocolate, heavy cream, and toasted hazelnuts.

No-Carb Keto Fudge (Nutella)

This low-carb keto-friendly fudge is great for those that love Nutella. Though you’ll have to make this Nutella at home, it’s worth it. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also a 0 net carb dessert.

Not a fan of chocolate? Here are some non-chocolate keto-friendly desserts you can try.

Low-Carb Keto Carrot Cake

At only 4 net carbs, this keto-friendly carrot cake uses coconut in lieu of walnuts. 

Cookies and Cream Keto Fat Bombs

Fat bombs are usually made with chocolate or chocolate and peanut butter. These are made with coconut oil, protein powder, and macadamia nuts. In addition to the great taste, you get a decent amount of protein with each serving.

How to get out of ketosis safely

After doing the keto diet for awhile, your body will get adapted to being in ketosis. Once this happens, it may put your digestive system under unnecessary stress once you begin incorporating carbohydrates back into your diet.

To get out of ketosis safely, limit the type of carbohydrates and amount when reincorporating them back into your diet. Here’s an easy guide on getting out of ketosis.

Transitioning off the ketogenic diet

If you plan on transitioning out of keto, start by slowly incorporating carbs back into your diet. Each day add +30 grams of carbs to your daily diet for five days. Then, eat 100-200 grams of carbs for two days following.

Be sure to eat low-glycemic foods like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and whole grain bread. If possible, eat most of your carbs after exercise or a workout.

In order to keep your daily calories the same, you will have to decrease the grams of fat from your diet to compensate for the added carbs. Aim for 100+ carbs until your body is fully adapted to carbs and out of the ketogenic state.

An easy method of checking if you’re in ketosis is by using these urinalysis ketone test strips. These test strips aren’t as accurate as the Keto-Mojo blood ketone tester, but they will give you a low to high ketones reading.

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Conclusion

By now you should have an in-depth understanding of what the keto diet is, how it works and how to get into ketosis to start the ketogenic diet. I also showed you how to avoid the common keto flu symptoms and how to stay in ketosis.

If you found this article helpful, please share it and feel free to leave a comment.

Are you currently doing the ketogenic diet? What do you think about the keto diet as a means of losing body fat?

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Published by Tommy Hare

I'm a web designer, blogger, and artist that's into fitness, health and wealth management. I do receive an affiliate commision from the products I share from Amazon.

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