The Ketogenic diet is rapidly ascending into the mainstream. Check out this Google Trends chart for the search term "Ketogenic diet":
The diet is essentially a low carb, high fat diet. The Atkins Diet is a kind of Ketogenic diet.
It's revered by those that have adopted it and the various health benefits are profound. They include: weight loss, lack of hunger, clearer thinking (no more "brain fog"), lower blood pressure, improved skin appearance and increased energy. People that go Keto continue to tout how good they feel because of the diet.
Yet transitioning to Keto from a traditional US diet can be challenging. No carbs?! What the heck do I eat? And with the increasing number of online resources and meal plans it can be overwhelming to get started.
My goal with this post is to not convince you to adopt the diet. Instead I aim to introduce you to the Ketogenic diet and document how I followed it for two weeks. I'll share links to resources and products that helped me. This will give you a starting point for "going Keto".
If you have any questions send me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
TL;DR / Bullets
- If you have a pre-existing kidney or heart condition, avoid this diet.
- The Ketogenic diet macronutrients breakdown is: 70-75% Fat, 20-25% Protein, 5-10% Carbs.
- Restrict your daily Net Carb intake to 25-40 grams.
- Ketosis happens by restricting Carbs. Not by eating Fat.
- Your choices of Fats matter. Think more avocados, less ice cream.
- Here is everything I ate for 2 weeks.
- My goal during the diet was to either maintain or gain a little bit of weight.
- Weigh and record everything you eat. Purchase a food scale and maintain a diet journal in a tool like MyFitnessPal.
- Get your Electrolytes! Maintain your levels of Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.
- I'm not endorsing the products linked in this post, they are just the ones I used. The Amazon product links are affiliate links.
If you have a pre-existing kidney or heart condition, this diet is not recommended.
If in doubt, check with your physician.
The Ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet.
If followed correctly your body will enter a state of Ketosis. A metabolic state where your body switches from using carbohydrates to fats as your primary energy source. Fats are converted into Ketones which are metabolized by your cells for energy.
In order to enter Ketosis, you'll need to restrict Carbs to about 20-50 grams per day. The exact number varies by individual so it will require some experimentation. Remember, Ketosis happens by restricting Carbs, not by eating Fat.
During my two week period I was in the range of 25-40 grams of Net Carbs.
Here is the daily nutrient caloric breakdown of the Ketogenic diet:
- 70-75% calories from Fat
- 20-25% calories from Protein
- 5-10% calories from Carbohydrates*
*Count Net Carbs (Carbs - Fiber = Net Carbs). For example if you ate an Avocado that is 12g Carbs and 10g Fiber, Net Carbs equals 2g.
What I Ate For Two Weeks
Disclaimer: I'm a skinny and active 30 year old male living in New York City (I walk a lot). My goal was to either maintain or gain weight while on the diet. Thus my Protein intake was a bit higher than the norm. Use my meals as a starting point and adjust to your needs.
The above sheet contains a detailed Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks/Supplements breakdown of everything I ate for two weeks.
Below is a randomly selected day in a simplified breakdown:
September 13, 2017:
- Total Calories = 2,833
- Fat = 212g (69%)
- Protein = 173g (25%)
- NET Carbs = 32g (5%)*
*If the macro percentages seem off, read this.
Breakfast (Calories: 1,308)
Fat: 110g /// Protein: 48g /// Net Carbs: 8g
- Bulletproof Coffee
Lunch (Calories: 1,057)
Fat: 73g /// Protein: 76g /// Net Carbs: 14g
- Power Greens Mix (Kale, Chard, Spinach) (2 cups)
- Liverwurst (88 grams)
- Trader Joe's Canned Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon (1 can)
- Kerrygold Aged Cheddar
- Cauliflower (53 grams)
- Cucumber (34 grams)
- Tomato (55 grams)
- Avocado (1 medium)
- Gold's Horseradish (2 teaspoons)
- Olive Oil (1 tablespoon)
- Himalayan Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Dinner (Calories: 288)
Fat: 17g /// Protein: 33g /// Net Carbs: 6g
- Chicken Thighs (149 grams)
- Steamed Broccoli (134 grams)
- Pure Indian Foods Grass-Fed Ghee (14 grams)
Snacks (Calories: 180)
Fat: 12g /// Protein: 16g /// Net Carbs: 4g
- Green Tea (2 cups)
- Rooibos Tea (2 cups)
- Pure Indian Foods Grass-Fed Ghee (14 grams)
- Good Karma Flax Milk Unsweetened with Protein (2 cups)
Keto Flu & Electrolytes
The Keto Flu is a thing and you may experience some side effects from going low carb.
The side effects and their duration will depend on your unique situation (past diet, current diet, body composition, etc.). For example if you go from eating 300g to 30g of Carbs a day, you will shock your body.
The good news is our bodies are incredibly resilient and eventually adapt to the new energy source. But it will take time and some fortitude.
The side effects I experienced were light-headedness and leg cramps. The cramps came at night or early in the morning. I would also get fatigued while climbing stairs after coming home from work. My problem was I wasn't getting enough Sodium. After increasing my Sodium intake I started to feel better and the cramps went away.
In order to mitigate the Keto Flu side effects, you must maintain your Electrolyte levels.
This means everyday you'll need:
Here are various random products I used that helped me adhere to the diet. I don't endorse these, but I was happy with all of them. The Amazon product links are affiliate links.
- MyFitnessPal App: This app made it really easy to track everything I was eating. It's not necessary, but it makes things so much easier. To track Macros you'll need to upgrade to the Premium version ($9.99/month)
- Food scale: A must have in order to weigh out your portions
- Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Olive Oil
- Crown Prince Natural Smoked Oysters in Olive Oil
- US Wellness Meats Beef Liverwurst, Braunschweiger, and Ground Beef
- Pure Indian Foods Grass-Fed Ghee
- Kerrygold Unsalted Grass-Fed Butter
- Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil
- Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil
- Paleovalley Grass Fed Beef Sticks
- Ketogenic Diet Resource
- Reddit: Everything about Keto
- Facebook Group: Ketogenic Dieters
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- The Joe Rogan Podcast
- FoundMyFitness Podcast by Rhonda Patrick
- March 23, 2016: Dominic D'Agostino, Ph.D. on Modified Atkins Diet, Ketosis, Supplemental Ketones and More
- The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever by Mark Sisson
- The Perfect Health Diet by by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet.
- Not Keto specific, but a lot of great relevant dietary information
- Ketogenic Dieters Keto Diet Overview Document (a very rich resource with a lot of great information)
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