Keto Diet Plan for Beginners (with FREE downloadable meal plan)
Among the various diet plans popular these days, the term ‘Keto Diet’ has gained popularity among youngsters. It is being preferred especially by those who look forward to different weight loss regimes. The idea of this low- carb, high- fat and moderate -protein diet has been in existence since the 1920s. Many nutritionists consider this diet to be highly helpful in weight loss and for better health. Read on to know more about the Keto Diet Plan for Beginners.
What is a Keto Diet?
As mentioned above, the Keto diet consists of those food items that are rich in fat and low in carbohydrates. A Keto diet plan helps the person to metabolize the fats faster helping in maintaining a healthy body weight(1). Since the intake of carbohydrates is minimized in this diet, the body burns the next source of energy i.e. the fat stores. This is an elaborate process where a process called Ketosis takes place.
In this process, the body produces substances called Ketones from the fat reserves. This happens in the liver where fat metabolism takes place. Usually, these ketones are one of the most important energy sources for the body especially for the optimal functioning of the brain.
This above-mentioned step takes place on a larger scale when there is a scarcity of glucose in the body of those taking a keto diet. The body then depletes the alternate reserves of energy sources. This is one of the easiest ways to burn off the extra fat accumulated in the body.
Some studies have even proved the effectiveness of the keto diet against diseases like diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. This Keto Diet Plan for Beginners is the best way to start your keto diet.
Types of Keto Diet
Based on the type of carbs consumed and the frequency of food intake, the keto diet can be classified into 4 main types:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet -This type of keto diet typically consists of 5% carbs, 20% proteins and close to 75% fats.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet– It is categorized based on the frequency of carb refeeds. Mostly, there are 5 ketogenic days which is then accompanied by 2 days with high carb yields.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet– One of the most effective diets for those working out daily. It is flexible and allows the person to add carbs as and when required.
- High- Protein Ketogenic Diet– Here, the protein content is higher than the standard keto diet. The diet typically has 35% protein, 60% fat and 5% carbs.
Standard ketogenic diets are the most preferred for losing weight. It can lead to about 2.2 times higher weight loss than the other weight loss regimens(2). Due to the numerous health benefits, doctors sometimes prefer this diet for diabetic patients(3).
Benefits of a Keto Diet
Certain other benefits of a keto diet need mentioning:
- Lowering the blood sugar levels considerably
- Enhancing the sensitivity of insulin in the body whereby helping to control type 2 diabetes
- Maintain healthy levels of ketones in the body
- Reducing the chances of health disorders
- They may affect slowing down of tumor growth and treating many types of cancers
- High content of ketones can help in reducing the seizure frequency in epileptic patients
- Those prone to acne-like conditions can consider shifting to a keto diet for improving the condition (4) (5)
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Top 5 Foods to Eat in a Keto Diet
Because there are several food items that will support a keto diet plan, it is important to select those that complement a balanced diet regimen. Some of the most sort after keto foods available in the market are given below:
It has some of the most beneficial properties in the food kingdom. Sometimes referred to as ‘Superfood’ by experts, the egg yolk is rich in about 13 different kinds of vitamins and minerals. Eggs also contain antioxidants that are found to protect the eye. Since eggs keep a person feeling full, there is a lower intake of calories afterward. Also, the amount of carbohydrates is less than 1% making it the best part of a keto plan. (6) (7)
2. Marine Food Items
These protein-rich food items are the greatest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Salmon, sardines, shrimps, tuna, mussels, etc. are some of the best foods to be included in the keto diet plan since they are rich in proteins also.
Nuts like macadamia, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and brazil nuts are not only rich in proteins, they also keep you feeling full between meals. There is also a list of beneficial fatty acids that makes them perfect fit for a keto diet.
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Olive oil falls under the category of keto-approved packaged foods. Along with ample amounts of antioxidants, olives are also a rich source of healthy fats with little carbs. Olive oil can also be included in the meals to achieve similar benefits. Nutritionists often prefer extra virgin olive oil for cooking since it contains a high quantity of stable fats. Others like coconut oil and avocado oil also serve the purpose of ketogenic support. (8) (9) (10)
5. Dark Chocolate
The cocoa content in dark chocolate makes it one of the tastiest members of the keto diet plan. Make sure to opt for a low-sugar type dark chocolate for the best results.
Read More: Best Fruits for Weight Loss (Science-Based)
Here is an informative video on the keto diet for beginners from RuledMe
Top 5 Foods to Avoid in a Keto Diet
Along with a set of preferred food items for a ketogenic diet, one has to look out for those that spoil the purpose. (11)
Most grains are rich sources of carbohydrates which is exactly why they are to be avoided during a keto diet regimen. Therefore, bread, pasta, cookies or pizza made from wheat, rye, oatmeal, corn, rice, barley, etc. must be avoided. These constituents will hinder the ketogenic activity in the body.
2. High Sugar Fruits
These are some of the worst culprits in enhancing the carbohydrate content in the body. Citrus fruits, bananas, apples, mangoes, dried fruits, fruit smoothies, etc. can considerably increase the carb levels in the body.
3. High Starch Vegetables
Certain vegetables contain high levels of starch which breaks down further into carbohydrates in the body. Hence, their intake is to be monitored and minimized during a keto diet plan. Potatoes, cassava, peas, yams, artichoke, and corn contain the highest starch contents.
4. Sugars and Sweeteners
Any food items containing sweetening agents are a complete no-no for those following a keto diet. These extra sugars can topple the process of ketosis in the body by enhancing the glucose levels in the bloodstream.
Legumes- though these are rich protein sources for the body, they have very high levels of carbohydrates. Different types of beans, peas, and lentils are to be avoided for obtaining the best results of a keto diet plan.
7 Days Sample Keto Diet Plan
For those looking forward to kick-starting a keto diet plan, the following sample diet regimen might help in choosing the right type of food items to be included for the same.
- Breakfast– includes eggs, spinach, and Cheddar cheese
- Lunch– chicken parmesan with cauliflower soup or tofu
- Snacks– zucchini noodles
- Dinner– roast turkey or salmon, cucumber and broccoli
- Breakfast– coffee made with butter and coconut oil, boiled eggs
- Lunch– tender chicken with almond flour, cucumbers with goat cheese
- Snacks– celery and pepper strips with guacamole
- Dinner– pork chop along with mashed cauliflower and cabbage slaw
- Breakfast– scrambled eggs with butter with lettuce and avocado
- Lunch– grilled salmon along with spinach salad
- Snacks– beef roasted along with cheese rolls
- Dinner– meatballs on zucchini noodles and cream sauce
- Breakfast– cheese omelet topped with spinach, avocado, and salsa
- Lunch– frozen crustless Atkins with chicken pie
- Snacks– ½ medium-sized sliced zucchini along with jack cheese 1 oz
- Dinner- hamburger with jack cheese, small tomato, avocado and lettuce
- Breakfast– 3 egg muffins
- Lunch– white turkey chili with 2 cups leafy greens and 1 tbsp olive oil
- Snacks– 1 portobello mushroom cap with ¼ cup salsa cruda and 1 oz jack cheese
- Dinner– portobello cheeseburger with celeriac oven fries and keto mayo
- Breakfast– breakfast bowl of keto powder
- Lunch– cheesy chicken salad
- Snacks– 1 cup bell pepper with 2 tbsp ranch dressing
- Dinner– 4 oz grilled steak, 2 cups leafy vegetables, olive oil and avocado
- Breakfast– avocado breakfast bowl
- Lunch-roasted chicken stacks
- Snacks– cucumber roll-ups with smoked salmon
- Dinner– cheesy broccoli meat
Keto Diet Plan for Beginners
Limitations of the Keto Diet
The Keto diet has been promoted by a lot of celebrities as being one of the easiest ways to lose weight. The added health benefits supported by claims has added to its popularity. However, there are certain ill effects of keto diets that have also been gaining public attention lately. (12) (13) (14)
Some limitations of the Keto diet are :
- The excessive levels of ketones in the body can result in bad breath (usually an ammonia-like smell)
- Many people who follow a keto diet tend to feel abnormally thirsty. This could affect their daily routines.
- There might be situations where the carbohydrate intake becomes below the required levels. This can result in lower energy levels in the person.
- The high-fat content in the keto diet could lead to higher cholesterol levels leading to many cardiac disorders
- The normal digestion processes might get affected by the keto diet regimen. This could further lead to problems like low absorption of other essential nutrients and fibers
- Some people also feel side effects like nausea, headaches, and irritability while following a keto diet. These symptoms are usually categorized under ‘Keto Flu’ and happen due to the severe lack of carbs in the body.
- There could be a rebound weight gain once you stop the keto diet plan.