The ketogenic diet is a fairly simple approach to eating healthy foods that are low carb, high fat, and moderate protein. The lack of carbs forces your body to burn fat rather than glucose to produce energy. The result is ketone production, increased energy, and improved mental clarity, along with a myriad of other health benefits.
How do I get started?
The best way to get started on keto is to do what you’re doing right now, asking the right questions and doing your research. niKETO exists as a resource to help people who want to change their life using the keto diet. We breakdown every part of the keto lifestyle and answer all of the most important questions a new ketoer could have. Our mailing list and social media accounts – twitter, Facebook, and Instagram - are all designed around helping you get started and they are set up to answer any question you may have that’s not covered by the site.
Once you have the knowledge and you know what you need to do, it’s time to jump in. Go to the store, buy the keto foods you’ll need to support your new low-carb life and come see us here at niKETO if you need any recipe ideas or if you want to humble brag about your keto progress.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are basically the main categories your daily calories fall into. There are 3 main macronutrients that keto is concerned with tracking:
FAT: Eat healthy fats and make them about 75% of your daily calories
PROTEIN: Used to grow and repair body tissue, this is a vital macro that must be limited to 20% on keto to avoid gluconeogenesis
CARBOHYDRATES: The only one of the big three macros that you can absolutely live without. Keto limits carbs to 5% of your daily calories so as to prevent glucose production.
What should my macros look like and which ones are important to meet?
Macros are the three main macronutrients we get from our food: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. So when we say macro numbers, we mean what percentage of your daily calories should come from each of these three groups. The breakdown looks like this:
75% of daily calories should come from healthy fats.
20% of daily calories should come from protein.
5% of your daily calories should come from healthy carbs.
It’s important to meet all of these requirements as each macro plays a very specific role in keto.
A high percentage of fat ensures your liver will create ketones as your body’s new fuel, replacing the glucose that’s been causing weight gain and other issues.
Protein is important for muscle and tissue repair, but too much protein can result in gluconeogenesis which takes excess protein and turns it into the glucose we are trying to avoid on keto.
Carbs are severely restricted on keto, but you are allowed 20g per day. Those 20g should come from healthy, leafy greens and vitamin rich sources.
Use our calculator to get your personalized macro numbers.
How long does it take to get into ketosis?
It can take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks to reach a ketogenic state. It depends entirely on you and your physiology. Age, activity level, gender, and height & weight all play a role in your ability to reach ketosis.
The time it takes to achieve ketosis is spent burning off your body’s glucose stores, getting rid of all those saved up carbs. You can help speed the process along by exercising and forcing your body to burn the glucose for fuel at a quicker rate, and you can also speed things up by fasting or trying intermittent fasting.
The important thing is to not give up and to let the process happen. Even if it takes two weeks, be patient.
How can I tell when I'm in ketosis?
There are a few ways to tell when you’ve reached ketosis.
You can pay attention to your body. A metallic taste in your mouth, acetone breath, fruity smelling urine, and a drastic change in energy are all signs that you’ve hit nutritional ketosis and your journey has begun (all of these markers do go away).
For those who want a little more proof these are 3 different kinds of tests you can buy:
Ketostix – These strips are chemically-treated on the end and when they come in contact with urine containing a high level of ketones, will change color, letting you know you are in ketosis. But be warned, these strips are only good in the beginning of your keto journey to let you know you’re in. As you get deeper into keto, your body becomes more efficient with its ketones and fewer are left to deposit into your urine. Using a keto strip late into your keto journey will likely report a false negative.
Breath Meters – These little cigar-sized meters measure the amount of acetone in your breath. Because acetone is a ketone that’s made in direct correlation with the ketone we use for energy (BHB) it can be deduced that a high acetone reading means a high BHB level, which means entry into ketosis.
Blood Ketone Meters – These are the most accurate as they measure the actual amount of ketones in your blood and return an easy to understand number that can be compared to a chart to determine your level of ketosis. The only down side to these is cost and having to prick your finger every time you want to measure.
What does it mean to be fat-adapted?
Fat adaptation typically occurs 30 days into keto and means your body has become used to the process of turning your diet’s fatty acids into ketones for fuel and it has become so efficient at it that fewer ketones are needed strictly for energy and the fatty acids can be used to repair nerves, the brain’s synaptic function, arterial repair, and more.
Fat adaptation is the main goal of eating and living keto. Reaching keto is the first step in fat-adaptation, but it takes your body about a month to catch up to the idea of using this new fuel. Once your body figures out that ketones are the better fuel source, the major keto benefits start:
Improved mental sharpness
Clear, glowing skin
A better, more even tempered mood
Huge amounts of energy