Ketogenic Diet - How to Get Started


(Meeping up the Science!) #1

This is intended as a very brief introduction with the basics only! Thanks to @Richard who also contributed :slight_smile:

Maybe you want to reverse type 2 diabetes, or maybe you want to prevent disease. Maybe you want to improve athletic performance, or you are simply curious about the health benefits of a ketogenic diet. Regardless of why you are starting this journey, here are the basics!

The Basics
Eating under 20 grams of carbohydrate (ie: sugar or starch) guarantees your body will eventually enter a state of ketosis. Our bodies become good at burning fat for energy, because we are not giving them carbohydrates. Typically we disregard counting calories, as the primary mechanism of weight loss is hormonal equilibrium.

Do Eat: Meat, fish, and other protein, full-fat low carb dairy (cheeses, heavy whipping cream), eggs, and high-quality fats (lard, tallow, animal fats, olive oil, butter, and ghee). Add vegetables to meet macros. Enjoy the high fat meat you avoided for so long - it’s good for ya!

Don’t eat: Sugar and starchy foods. These include bread, potato, rice, beans, corn, and most grains. The main issue with starchy foods and sugar is that only a very small amount fits in the 20g window. Most prefer to eat low carb vegetables instead.

You may see people talk about macros on a ketogenic diet. Macros is short for macronutrient, which are the nutrients we get our energy from: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Most food contains a ratio of these three sources of energy. For instance, most meats are predominantly protein and fat, and most plant based foods are a combination of protein and carbohydrate. Dairy foods are usually a combination of all three.

Usually, people on ketogenic diets follow a certain percentage of fat-protein-carbohydrate to maintain ketosis. What the heck does that mean, you may ask? Depending on one’s particular needs these may change. Carbohydrate is the only macronutrient not necessary for life. Protein and fat are vital for us to eat. Our protein needs differ based on physiology, gender, and degrees of activity. After protein needs are met and carbs are kept to a minimum, the rest of the energy typically will come from fat.

Examples of macro calculators:
Keto Diet Buddy

Hidden Carbs
When starting keto, often we aren’t used to hidden carbs in things. Make sure to read all labels! Here are some places they lurk:

Sauces (Chinese, gravies)
Dairy products
Shredded cheese (cellulose as filler)
Processed meats
Deli tuna and chicken salad
Condiments (ketchup and BBQ sauces especially)
Some salad dressings
Breaded fried foods
Low-fat products (sugar is often used as a flavor replacement)
Chewable vitamins
Cream soups

Keto Food Plan
Macros calculating and deficit or no
Ready to start keto lifestyle?
Keto on a budget or just LCHF?
(Meeping up the Science!) pinned #2

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(Charisse) #5

Thank you for the hidden carb list…I am a newbie and was wondering about sausage. Is coleslaw allowed if it’s sugar-free or do the carrots make it a no-no?

Question about processed meats. I hear people saying when you are hungry take a slice of turkey or pepperoni, roll it up and pop it in. Are cold cuts considered processed meat?

(VLC.MD) #6

if you visually count up the volume of orange in the coleslaw I think you’ll come to the conclusion that it doesn’t contain much carrot. It’s mostly cabbage. Don’t skimp on the mayo is what I’d say :slight_smile:

(Jeremy Storie) #7

Some coleslaw has sugar added for sweetness.

(Kay) #8

Is Spaghetti Squash a No-No?

(Patricia Greenbaum) #9

I’m on day 10, and I’m finding it hard to get enough food in me, which is really a first for me. My ratios seem fine, but other than when there is more than 6 hours between meals, I just have no desire to eat.

I am drinking 16 x 8oz. Of water per day (mostly).

Any suggestions?

(Jeremy Storie) #10

Eat when you are hungry. Don’t worry if you aren’t hungry. You’re body will tell you when it needs fuel.

(Vicki Stroud) #11

I started on the Keto diet today, yes a week and a half before Thanksgiving, maybe I am stupid, but, I could just keep saying oh I will start… I did Atkins in the past and lost a good amount of weight. I stopped due to many various reasons in my life, too many to go into here. I am clinically obese (just turned 51 on Saturday) and really don’t dare to go to the doctors because I am afraid of what I will find out.

So, I started this morning and I either as a coincidence have the actual flu or have Keto flu already. I will follow this the way I am supposed to and I will stick with it. I actually just drank a cup of chicken broth with a Tablespoon of butter added to it and I am feeling so much better, eh maybe it is all in my head. I figured out my macros, and am keeping my carbs below 20g, no sweets of any sort not even artificial sweeteners because I know those will just make me want to have more sweet in my life, so, I figure the best thing is to avoid sweet taste completely.

I am hoping that with my success my husband will decide to change how he eats because he is borderline diabetic, has high cholesterol, and suffers from depression, I think that this diet is exactly what he needs, but, figure if he sees some really good results with me being on this diet it may make him change his eating habits. He is not a sweet eater but loves his french fries, pizza etc which is basically just as bad as you all know.

So, here is to losing weight, getting healthy, getting to a point I won’t be afraid to go to the doctors, and maybe motivating my husband in the process, and being better able to walk my 2 very active Giant Schnauzers.

(Dan ) #12

lots of johnsonville sausage has not filler, OSCAR MYER ALSO CLAIMED TO CHANGE

(Shoshi Tal) #13

Good luck

(Brian) #14

Spaghetti squash is fine so long as you don’t eat huge portions of it. You’ll have to go look at what the actual portion sizes would be and how many carbs that amounts to.

I’ve eaten it without problems. But I don’t tend to eat a whole lot of it. It’s not one of my favorites so it tends not to be something I consume much of. The last one I had was a pretty small one and worked out to about 4 servings. (I ate one serving.) It was part of a casserole my sister-in-law made to convince me that it actually can be tasty. LOL!! (She was right, it was tasty. I still wouldn’t want to wolf down a whole one.)


Chicken broth with butter sounds very tasty! I am going to try that :slight_smile:

(Stacy ) #16

Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock in the little tubs , just add boiling water are THE MOST DELICIOUS! !!

(Marguerite Hollingsworth) #17

Thank you for the calculator link. I think this will make all the difference in the world. So many people say don’t count macros, but that doesn’t work for me. I’ve been on keto for 2 years trying to stabalize bgl, but would like to drop 5 lbs as well.

(Mel Soule) #18

Marguerite, I agree with you totally. Tracking macros maintains personal discipline. Easiest person to fool is ourselves and we should avoid doing that. Tracking helps that alot. With each major life change for example, upped my daily step count from 3,000 to 5,000 per day. After a month I rechecked and my mix shifted slightly. Now working with high intensity resistance and as each new level is reached weight or reps, I’ll re check again. Expanding our movement ecosystems increases 24 hour activity level which impacts BMR and thereby macros. I know I’m a nerd about this, but I do derive some psychic income in measuring something other than the scale. LOL

(Tommie) #19

Question: I am new to Keto. My macro numbers say I should be at 63 Protein, 13 carbs, 79 Fat, and 1016 calories. My question is, if I can’t get all that in, do I need to at least try to have more fat than protein? I usually get my fat from protein and NEVER would consume that much of either so finding a balance there is new to me.


1000 calories are a small number :slight_smile: but it is easy to increase it, a tablespoon of oil for example is 120 calories full of good fat or can use butter. However, you can increase protein intake first with groundbeef, for example, which is high in protein and fats.
everyone should keep an eye on the pros and cons of the keto diet
check this video for more info
it may be promo video, but the first 15mins explain keto