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Have you just started a low-carb diet or a ketogenic diet? Or perhaps you are thinking about starting a low-carb diet but aren’t really sure if it’s for you. These diets are becoming more and more common as it has become clear that the low-fat, low-calorie approach has not worked to help people lose and maintain their weight. The ketogenic and low-carb diets are gaining mainstream acceptance because there are now studies that show the many benefits such as weight-loss, blood sugar control, appetite suppression, improved cardiovascular factors and mental focus. These studies have shown that subjects lose up to 2 times more weight compared to those on a low calorie-diet.
Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program.
Difference Between A Ketogenic Diet And Low-Carb Diet
Many see low-carb eating as a lifestyle, not a diet. Initially you might start on a strict ketogenic diet (20-50g net carbs per day) particularly if your goal is to lose weight. After succeeding in losing weight, many people continue to eat low-carb but increase their carb allowance a little to 50-100g net carbs per day. I would describe this approach as “low-carb” and it is often referred to as a “modified Atkins diet”.
The reasons for staying low-carb is that people love how they feel while eating this way and because it helps to prevent weight gain as we get older. There are also many health benefits for keeping carbs in the low range such as blood sugar control. Dr. Dom D’Agostino (Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine), a leading researcher into ketogenic diets, believes that our carbohydrate tolerance decreases as we age (40+). This means that we need to reduce carbohydrate intake as we get older or we will gain weight.
For more on the different types of low-carb/ketogenic diets click here.
What’s The Best Way To Transition Into A Ketogenic Diet?
What should you do first, increase fat, reduce carbs or do it all at once? Do you need to count calories and what about these things called macros? What kind of foods should I be eating and what should I avoid?
There are lots of questions about how to go about starting a low-carb diet and at appetiteforenergy.com we have a plenty of articles that address these questions and concerns. Below is our Essential Guide To Starting a Low-Carb Diet. It will take you step-by-step through how to implement the diet in your life and help you create the habits and systems required to successfully lose all the weight you want on the ketogenic diet. If you are completely new to the diet, I would suggest starting at the first article and working your way through each in order. You will be up and running in no time as you don’t need to read them all to get started!
If you are already eating a low-carb diet and just want to brush up on some of the general guidelines jump in wherever you like. Also, you may want to understand something specific such as how to measure ketones. If something isn’t covered below, please drop us a comment and we can look into adding further content.
As always, please consult your Physician before starting any diet. These guides are for information purposes only.
The Essential Guide To Starting a Low-Carb Diet
Start here for the one minute explanation on what a ketogenic diet is all about.
Check out this post if you are still on the fence about low-carb diets and want to explore some of the potential benefits for you.
Easy tips on how to transition from high-carb to low-carb and avoid some of the negative aspects of detoxing from carbs!
This post gives an overview of what foods to eat and what to avoid. Don’t forget to download our free 100 Ketogenic Foods List which can be printed out for easy reference.
How to set up a basic low-carb pantry with just the bare essentials.
This is an important post to read when you are starting out as it’s helpful to have some easy low-carb snacks at your fingertips. In the beginning, you will feel hungry. This is because it takes some time for your body to adapt to burning fat. When you do adapt though, you’ll start to experience suppressed appetite. That’s when you know you are on track, so be prepared with a list of go-to keto snacks.
Starting a low-carb diet will be a lot easier if you have a few “ketogenic carb swaps” up your sleeve. Ketogenic carb swaps are foods that you can use instead of traditional carbs like pasta, mashed potato, bread, rice and sugar. I wish I had embraced these earlier when I first started eating low-carb. It allows you to reduce carbs in your meals easily.
This is a tricky one. I struggle with this constantly as I am the only person in our family eating true low-carb. This post has some ideas on how to manage this without having to cook yourself a separate meal.
When you have been eating low-carb for a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to test yourself so you know if you are in ketosis (burning fat for fuel, not carbs). Find out the 3 methods for testing for ketones.
10. Ketogenic Macros
This post explains the ketogenic macros (proportion of fat, protein and carbs in the diet) and explores whether you need to get into tracking them. Hint – initially it is useful but not something you need to continue long-term. I don’t track my macros and can tell if I’m in ketosis by how I feel (i.e. not hungry!)
We have 3 in-depth posts that cover many of the common problems that come up. It’s definitely worth a read. We cover alcohol, keto flu, hidden carbs, increasing healthy fat intake, protein intake, snacking, calories, weight-loss and supplements.
Keto Diet Not Working Part 1 – Keto flu & salt, hidden carbs, increasing healthy fat intake
Keto Diet Not Working Part 2 – Too much protein? Carb swaps, snacking
Keto Diet Not Working Part 3 – Alcohol on keto, calories, supplements
10 simple habits to set you up for success with any dietary change.
For more info, check out our eBook. It is ideal if you are just starting out on the ketogenic diet and includes a 5 day meal planner with recipes to get you started.
14. Easy, Easy Recipes – Tasteaholics 5 Ingredient Series
If you are looking for a larger selection of recipes, then this is my favorite series of low-carb recipe books from Tasteaholics. I recommend them for anyone but especially if you are new to low-carb and ketogenic cooking. Each book contains 30 recipes that use ONLY 5 INGREDIENTS, have up to 5G NET CARBS and you can make them in 5 EASY STEPS. These books make it so easy to try new recipes without being complicated. They are my kind of recipes!!
We hope you have received value from our Essential Guide To Starting A Low-Carb Diet. Let us know below in the comments if there is something that we should add to this list that might help us and others on their journey.