Some diets have pretty simple rules, like, “Carbs: bad; everything else: good.” Others have a laundry list of strict commands that thou shalt not break.
And all the way at the strict end of the spectrum is the keto diet. For this, you’ll need a calculator and a “Keto For Beginners” instruction booklet just to get started.
Then, even after you figure out what the heck you’re doing, going through with it is even more difficult. Fortunately, it’s this latter part that we’re going to help you with today.
Below are the most important keto diet tips to help you as you start down this difficult diet path. Avoid common mistakes, like keto flu and burnout, by following these straightforward tips.
The hardest part about the keto diet is, well, everything. That is, everything about your previous dietary habits must change completely.
While most diets are about a few small changes (cut carbs, avoid fried foods, etc.), keto is entirely different. And that’s because you’re training your body to run off of a totally different fuel source: fat/ketones instead of carbs/glucose.
All your previous meal staples, cookbooks, and lunch restaurants are now off-limits. So, your first step is to gather loads of keto recipes and strategize your new meal plans. Then, take your ingredients list to the grocery store and stock up.
Snack on Fat
One of the weirdest changes to get used to in the keto diet is the increased fat intake. That is, you’ll be replacing your carb calories with fat calories.
The neat thing about this is that fat helps you stay full longer than carbs. Thus, snacks that are low in carbs but high in fat will satisfy your cravings rather well.
Nuts are a good option with moderate protein, good fats, and practically no carbs. Non-peanut nuts are best as they are lower in saturated fats.
You can also drink fats. Whole milk is great for this, though it does have some carbs. Or, add unsalted butter or coconut oil to your coffee.
Learn to Avoid Sneaky Carbs
Most diets encourage you to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. However, as healthy as they are, fruits and veggies primarily consist of carbohydrates.
Similarly, many foods that are considered “proteins” or “fats” also contain a lot of carbs. As mentioned, whole milk is one example.
Beans are high in carbs, too. And, we’re sorry, but those condiments you use to make your keto diet more bearable usually contain carbs as well.
There are some simple ways around these carb traps, though. First, simply read the nutrition facts. These labels tell you exactly how many carbs you’re getting per serving in plain black-and-white.
Replace Your Favorites
The other simple way to avoid sneaky carbs is to replace them. Fortunately, low-carb diets have been popular for a long time. So you can easily find low/no-carb alternatives to most of your favorite drinks, condiments, and other fancies.
In fact, there are many products available that are made specifically for keto dieters. You can even get flax flour to make things like pizza crust and pancakes. These alternative products will make this enormous dietary shift a lot easier to handle.
Unfortunately, there aren’t alternatives to everything. For such foods, you can portion control as allowed. Or, find similar foods that you like almost just as well.
Choose the Right Sweetener
Per that last point, most keto dieters choose a keto-friendly sweetener that they enjoy. This way, they can use it in their favorite treats in place of sugar.
However, choosing your preferred sweetener is another common keto hurdle to overcome. For instance, you may not like the taste of sucralose. But have you tried any other low-carb sweeteners?
It may surprise you how many there are to choose from. And the only way to know whether you prefer erythritol vs monk fruit sweeteners is to try them out.
Drink Lots of Water
One of the ways your body responds to carb consumption is to store water. But since the keto diet limits carbs as much as possible, this won’t happen as much.
Instead, more of the water you drink will pass right through your digestive system. Thus, you’ll need to drink a lot more water than normal to stay hydrated.
Get Plenty of Electrolytes
Another result of the phenomenon we just mentioned is the infamous “keto flu.” As your body flushes more water out of you, you also lose some electrolytes.
This causes symptoms such as headaches and body aches until the missing electrolytes are replenished. You can fix/prevent the keto flu by supplementing electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Low-carb vitamin waters and sports drinks might help with this. You should also consider putting extra salt on your food.
Keep Your Goals in Mind
Before you start your keto diet, you should know your reasons for doing so and your exact level of commitment. For one thing, you’ll need to remind yourself of these points frequently to avoid burnout. Also, these goals are going to be important for the next point.
Have an Exit Strategy
The keto diet is not meant to be permanent. Once you achieve your goals, you will transition back to a more normal diet.
That said, the last thing you want to do is go right back to binging ice cream bars at midnight. Instead, have a specific plan for a moderately healthy diet to adopt once your keto term is over. Also, make a plan for how you will gradually transition to your new normal diet.
Remember These Keto Diet Tips
Starting the keto diet is a lot harder when you leap before you look. So, take it slow, follow these keto diet tips, and make the most of this temporary diet plan.
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