How to Transition to a Ketogenic Diet

5 minute read

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan. This might sound counter-intuitive when it comes to losing weight, but it actually works surprisingly well in helping people achieve weight loss quickly. It’s longer effects on weight and overall health are still being researched, but let’s go through what is known and how you can apply it to your diet for the healthiest effects.

Learn the basics of ketosis.

Ketosis is the metabolic state your body is in when it is burning fat instead of carbs and sugars, which is the goal of a ketogenic diet. This diet was first developed in the 1920s to treat epilepsy because it can reduce seizures. Some epilepsy patients still use it, either in addition or as an alternative to medication.

Since the 1920s, doctors have also found the diet effective in helping patients with type 2 diabetes bring down their blood sugar in a timely manner.

When you are in ketosis, your body has less need for insulin, because it is not processing many sugars to gain energy. Additionally, since you are training your body to burn fat, it more easily taps into and burns fat reserves you have within your body, which is why it is an effective tool for losing weight.

Start your transition slowly and decide on the duration.

This diet is a significant lifestyle change. It is good to know whether you are choosing it for the long term or whether you are using it lose weight before transitioning to a healthy diet that’s a little broader.

Whatever your intended duration, it’s important to start your transition slowly so that your body and your cravings can adapt. Try eliminating carbohydrates (that’s grains, sugars, and fruits) from one meal a day for a week or two weeks. Then, eliminate them from two meals a day, and so on. If you try to do too much too quickly, you're more likely to shock your body, interrupt your energy levels, and feel like you want to quit.

Help yourself out with supplements.

When you transition to a ketogenic diet, your body will flush out a lot of water, and with the water, electrolytes. This means that it is important to replace those electrolytes throughout your transition, and likely for longer. In particular, you want to ensure your body has plenty of sodium, magnesium, and calcium or potassium. There are a number of keto-friendly supplements to help you transition smoothly and feel good on your new diet.

Make sure you include plenty of vegetables.

It’s easy to go hard on proteins and fats in this diet, and those are both important components, but it is essential that you also include vitamin-rich, mineral-rich, and fiber-rich vegetables. Some of the best options include lettuce, spinach, asparagus, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, and eggplant. All of these are low in calories but high in nutritional content and fiber.

Fiber (which is not found in meat, fish, or eggs) is crucial to both intestinal and overall health. In fact, more and more scientists are studying and writing about the connection between gut health and the health of other areas of the body, including the brain, the immune system, and the heart. So, maintaining your gut with plenty of fiber-rich vegetables is a must.

Include small amounts of fermented foods.

Fermented foods can introduce beneficial bacteria, often referred to as probiotics, into your digestive system, which is another way to help out your gut. Fermented foods have been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Try adding some sauerkraut or kimchi to your next meal. You can also look for kombucha that is low in sugar.

Choose healthy fats.

When you’re on a diet that’s focused on fat and protein, you might be tempted to live on bacon and sausage, but neither of these are good options. All processed meats are high in bad fats and in nitrates, which increase your risk of cancer and heart disease.

There are, however, many sources of healthy fats, or monounsaturated fats. These include avocados, olives, olive oil, and many nuts. Polyunsaturated fats are also good for you but they should be consumed in more moderation because they can cause inflammation in your body. Sources of these fats include fish, certain nuts, and flaxseed.

Measure your ketones.

You can measure your ketones by using urine sticks. This will allow you to measure the progress you are making and see how your diet is affecting your body. Urine sticks are not as accurate as a ketone meter, but they are cheaper and will let you see whether or not you are in ketosis. It is not unusual to achieve ketosis early only to see yourself slide “backwards” over time. This is largely due to your body’s adaptation to more efficient ketosis methods.

For more supplement options, visit Regen Health.

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