When you're scrolling your social feeds, you're sure to see people discussing the keto lifestyle. Many people buzz about the keto diet, sharing recipes, providing tips and posting before and after photos that show their progress toward their goals. So, what is the keto diet? The short answer is that the ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carbohydrate eating pattern. This guide provides a more complete answer and is your introductory keto 101 that answers the most common questions about the plan.

What Is Ketosis?

The primary goal of the keto diet is to place the body into a state called ketosis where metabolism burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. To achieve this, someone following the keto diet consumes no more than 50 grams of carbs per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Reducing carb intake to this amount causes the body to begin breaking down fats into substances called ketones that then become the primary source of fuel for the body.

Something similar happens to your body when you fast. If you don't take in any food, your body must break down existing muscle tissue to generate the fuel it needs. With the keto diet, the foods you eat give you fats for your body to utilize. As a result, your body is less likely to burn muscle and more likely to use up fat stores for energy. In this way, you can say that another answer to the question "what is the ketogenic diet?" according to Harvard Health is that it's a low-carb, high-fat diet plan. *

How Long Does It Take for Ketosis?

Many people who are new to the keto-friendly lifestyle wonder how long it will take to see results, but there is no universal timeline. How long ketosis takes depends on the rate of metabolism and body mass index. In addition, protein consumption and whether you intermittently fast can also have an impact on both how long ketosis takes and how quickly weight is lost when the body does enter ketosis.

Different Types of Keto Diets

When discussing a low carb diet vs keto, the major difference is what you eat in place of carbohydrates. There are different types of keto diets, and while all of them feature reducing carb intake, they also require you to eat more fats than protein. With a traditional low-carb diet, you normally replace carbs with increased protein consumption and fewer fats. Here is a look at the breakdown for each of the ketogenic diets:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): SKD’s eating plan is high fat and low carbohydrate with a moderate amount of protein. Normally, the breakdown is around 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrates.
  • High protein ketogenic diet (HPKD): This eating plan is a variation of SKD that increases daily protein consumption. The typical breakdown is 60 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): With this eating plan, carbohydrates may be reduced or restricted for 5 days and a high-carb diet is eaten the other two days.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): TKD allows for more carbohydrate consumption around scheduled workouts.

*All percentages are cited from the National Library of Medicine.

How to Live a Keto Lifestyle

To get started on a keto diet and manage eating plans going forward, follow these tips:

  • Consult a physician: No diet is ideal for everyone, making it important that you discuss any new diet with your healthcare provider before you start. The high-fat foods included in the keto diet plan may be less than ideal for you if you have or are at risk for certain medical conditions like pancreatic disease, liver conditions, thyroid problems, eating disorders and gallbladder disease. Please be sure to consult with a physician before starting the keto diet.
  • Remember it's not just meals: The snacks that you eat while following a keto*-friendly diet matter as much as the meals. Check the yogurt aisle for keto*-friendly snacks like Ratio Food keto*-friendly dairy snacks.
  • Plan and prepare ahead: With a hectic schedule, it can be all too tempting to abandon the diet plan during the week. To set yourself up for success, plan and prepare meals ahead according to your macros. Choose one day every week to prepare lunches and dinners for the rest of the week. This way, you can simply reheat and eat.
  • Mix things up: Even though you need to be choosy about the foods you eat to follow a keto*-friendly diet, you don't need to eat the same things day in and day out. Find recipes online and experiment with different flavor combinations. Bringing as much variety as possible into your meals and snacks can encourage you to keep to a keto lifestyle. The keto-friendly lifestyle does not have to be boring. You can get creative with how to utilize keto-friendly foods to create a filling meal.

Find Keto*-Friendly Snacks Near You

Keto*-friendly snacks may contribute to your success with the ketogenic diet. The right snacks may battle cravings and give you an option for on-the-go dining. Discover a wide range of tasty Keto*-friendly snacks from Ratio Food.

*Always consult your physician before starting an eating plan that involves regular consumption of high fat foods.

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