How to Start a Ketogenic Diet: Tips and Tricks

Ketosis has numerous benefits to people from all walks of life. Numerous research shows that ketosis can be helpful for someone with health conditions that require you to watch your diet. This includes type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, glycogen storage disease, and several other neurological conditions.

But you don’t need to have a health condition for you to start nutritional ketosis. For instance, if you are looking forward to losing weight, ketosis can help you. That’s partly because it allows you to suppress your appetite, making it easy to control and cut your carbs.

However, you should note that adopting a ketogenic diet isn’t merely about cutting your carbs. There’s a lot more work that goes into it, and you should be prepared to do it. With good planning, you should be able to manage getting into ketosis. Here are some tips and tricks to help you.

Tips and tricks for beginners in a ketogenic diet

From the types of foods and micronutrients you should focus on, to the easiest ways to increase your ketones, here are tips all beginners should know;

Start with reducing your carb intake

This is probably the simplest place to start.  Reducing your carb intake is a great factor that will ensure your success in ketosis. Apart from sugar and glucose, your cells can use other sources of fuel. But you have to give your body a chance to use these other sources. The main factor in the ketogenic diet is allowing your cells to use ketones as the main source of energy.

So how does reducing your carb intake benefit this factor? It’s simple. Once your carb intake reduces, your glycogen stores reduce as well. More importantly, your insulin levels also decrease. That forces the liver to convert fatty acids into ketones.

Additionally, each person is different and the amount of carbs you need to reduce to achieve this is different. Numerous other factors affect ketosis induction, including the types of workouts you do. The best way to guarantee ketosis induction is to try and limit your net carb to at least 20gms or lower every day for the next 14 days.

Workout more often

A rack of weights in a gym with people in the background using treadmills.
Exercise burns through glycogen stores, pushing your body towards ketosis.

Those working out can naturally reduce their glycogen stores. Of course, you can up these levels by eating more carbs. But the point of ketosis is to reduce carb intake and increase ketone levels. Additionally, when you work out while fasting, your ketone levels can increase significantly.

Even though, don’t expect this to be the magical solution that your body needs to adapt to ketones production. For some, it takes weeks or days. It’s best to be patient and try increasing the physical activities you do in a day.

Short and fat fasting is a great idea

There are numerous ways to induce ketosis, including fasting. This method has been common in children suffering from epilepsy for decades now. It allows epileptic children to get into ketosis faster and reduce the occurrence of seizures.

You can consider having intermittent fasts throughout the day. This involves having short-term fasts while breaking the fast the rest of the time. Additionally, you can try fat fasting. While it’s not technically fasting, it involves you consuming at least 700 calories daily but no more than 1100 calories. Only 20 percent of these should come from other foods, while the rest come from natural fat.

The only issue with this method is that you may not be able to consume enough minerals, proteins, or even vitamins. As such, it’s best to limit your fat fast to not more than five days at a time. You may notice it’s difficult to keep and maintain a complete fat fast for three days straight. But only go for as long as possible until you get used to it.

Always test your ketone levels

Every person has different ways of inducing and maintaining a ketogenic diet. That means your ketone levels will vary from time to time, and it’s up to you to adjust your diet accordingly. Remember that a keto diet is completely individualised. What works for you may not work for your friends.

Additionally, there are numerous tests you can take for the three types of ketones. You can carry out more than one test for a more detailed evaluation of your ketone levels. This will also allow you to make rapid adjustments.

You can do a breath test using a Ketonix meter which tests for acetone ketones. All you have to do is breathe into it and check your levels depending on where the colour flashes. Moreover, you can take a blood test to test for beta hydroxybutyrate ketones using a blood ketone meter. Lastly, a urine test can help you measure acetoacetate ketones.

Consume more healthy fats

Just like in fat fasting, healthy fats can help improve your ketone levels. Besides, minimising your carbs calls for an increase in fat intake. A typical ketogenic diet usually includes at least 80 percent of calories from fat.

A nutritional ketogenic diet for epileptic patients usually calls for at least 90 percent calories from fat. Even so, if you’re doing a keto diet to lose weight, then ensure that your calories intake is not super high to disrupt your goal.

Maintain a good protein intake

An array of raw meats in different forms on a wooden cutting board.
Consuming enough protein is a vital part of a successful ketogenic diet.

It’s easy to ignore our protein intake while focusing on high fat intake. However, you still require a good amount of protein intake for a ketogenic diet to be successful. It’s unhealthy to cut your protein intake drastically for ketone production. Don’t forget that your liver still needs its fair dose of amino acids (from proteins) to make glucose.

While ketones are important, they can’t fuel everything in your body, including some parts of your kidneys and red blood cells. Besides, you need to preserve your muscle mass. According to various studies, you can preserve your muscle mass by consuming at least 0.55 GMS per pound of your lean mass. You can calculate how much protein intake you need in your keto diet by multiplying your ideal body weight in pounds by 0.55 GMS per pound.

Final thoughts

Interestingly, you may have gone into a mild ketosis today sometime between breakfast and dinner. Whether it was intentional or not, ketosis now sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, with these tips and tricks, it may just be. But remember, a ketogenic diet is individualised. Do what works best for you.

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