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Want to go on a keto diet? This is how a nutritionist suggests you can do it

Updated on:5 March 2021, 18:58pm IST
There are many people who want to switch to keto, but have legitimate concerns about how to make the transition in the right manner. Read on to know how you can do it.
Vibhuti Jain
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Doing keto the right way is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Quite recently, when I was talking with a friend, he asked me “How do I transition to keto?” He explained to me how he couldn’t suddenly switch from eating regular food on one day to keto the next, without knowing how to do it right. 

Perhaps you’ve had the same question. You’d like to switch to a more ketogenic way of eating, but you aren’t sure about how exactly to do it the right way.  

Well, here are some important steps that can help you ease into it gradually.

For starters, you should know what the keto way of eating is 

A ketogenic aka keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet, where the idea is for one to obtain more calories from fat. The main focus is always fats! Keto involves consuming very little carbohydrates, increasing fat intake, and maintaining a moderate protein consumption. When you restrict dietary carbohydrates, it puts your body in a metabolic state known as “ketosis” in which fat from both your diet, as well as your body gets burned to produce energy.

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Step 1: Know what to eat and what to avoid

The key to succeeding at keto is quite simple. Limit your carbohydrate intake and see to it that the majority of your calories are from fat. You can enjoy low-carb, keto-friendly foods including cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, dark chocolate, unsweetened coffee, tea and milk, cottage cheese, and low-carb vegetables. Fish and poultry are some great sources of low-carb protein. So opt for fattier cuts of meat such as chicken thighs, fatty fish, etc. 

It is best to keep all the grains that can hurt your keto progress at bay- including rice, wheat, oats, corn, Maida, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, sorghum, etc. And as far as fruits and vegetables are concerned you have to avoid those that are high in sugar and carbs like grapes, oranges, pineapples, mangos, pears, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.  Limit your dairy intake to 30 g. Although you can be in ketosis at 100g net carbs,  do not take more than 20~30 g net carb to transition easily into keto.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid of the ‘fats’

The Keto diet is all about getting the majority of your calories from fat, and being afraid of them isn’t going to work! People have always been told that fat is harmful and dangerous for your health, but research today remains mixed. Fat makes up every single cell in your body, and is also the precursor for hormones.

What happens when you up your dietary fat intake?
  • Fewer cravings, less overeating
  • Helps burn body fat
  • Blood sugar levels get balanced and in turn maintains body weight
  • Reduces triglyceride levels and thereby your risk of heart diseases
  • Lowers risk of mental health conditions including depression

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Moreover, fats are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins A, E, K2, etc.  

High-fat diets can be a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but when you start making small adjustments to your diet every day, the transition can be amazing. For example, swap your rice or potatoes for non-starchy veggies. Slowly start pushing out all the carbs

Step 3: How to face the side effects

Your keto friends might have warned you about the “keto flu”. You might experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, stomach aches, and dizziness during the initial days of ketosis. These symptoms are in fact, not caused by ketosis but your body’s response to carbohydrate restriction. And fortunately, these are just the results of mild dehydration. Staying well-hydrated can even prevent these symptoms as you meet your needs for sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Another common side effect of keto can be constipation. Getting adequate dietary fiber by consuming green leafy vegetables can help prevent it.

Step 4: Keep protein intake moderate

It is a very common misconception that the keto diet means eating as much protein as one might like. But to succeed at keto, you shouldn’t just watch your carbs but also your protein intake. Keeping protein intake moderate is key to doing keto the right way. Protein can be converted into glucose and hence, consuming a lot of protein can get your body out of ketosis.

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Step 5: While on the go, keep keto-friendly snacks or order keto-friendly foods online

Diets can be difficult while traveling, mainly due to the lack of familiar dining options alongside food temptations. You can prevent your new diet from going into a tailspin if you take a few steps. Carry with you some keto-friendly and low-carb snacks and do some pre-trip research to find out keto-appropriate options around your hotel. You could maybe opt for accommodation that offers a kitchen.

Vibhuti Jain Vibhuti Jain

Vibhuti is a lead nutritionist & head of research and development at Lo! Foods.