6 Tips for Starting a Ketogenic Diet
Since the ketogenic diet has gained such popularity, many people are interested in trying this “fat burning” diet. One interesting thing about a ketogenic diet is that if you aren’t doing it properly, you WILL NOT BE IN KETOSIS. It can’t be cheated! There is a right way and a wrong way to do keto, and many people are so close to being in ketosis but they are making small mistakes here and there that are costing them the results they want. After coaching many people on how to effectively implement and troubleshoot a ketogenic diet I consistently find the same mistakes being made. These 6 Tips will help assure you that your ketogenic diet is successful.
The first three are Must-Have Strategies to use. Strategies don’t cost anything, they are approaches and principles to follow that will dramatically increase your chances of success. The next three are Must-Have Tools - things you need to have in hand in order to maximize your chances of fat-burning ketogenic diet success.
3 MUST-HAVE Strategies
1 - Study Ketosis - and continue to study it!
There are an increasing number of good resources out there to support your successful ketogenic diet, but there are also some that aren’t as great! Here are some of our favorite resources and episodes to continue studying and learning.
Real Health Guide to the Ketogenic Diet Webinar
Dr. Mercola Ketogenic Diet Article(s)
Cellular Healing TV - Ketosis Episode
Cellular Healing TV - Ketosis Q&A
2 - Increase good fats and decrease carbs while COUNTING NET CARBS.
Increasing good fats and decreasing carbs is a foundational principle of a keto diet, but how many carbs are you eating? You have to measure! As you begin studying the ketogenic diet, start looking at net carbs. As you learn more about what you are eating, you may be surprised!
It’s impossible to break into ketosis if you are consuming too many carbs, so the counting of carbs is critical, especially at the beginning. The key is to count NET CARBS, which are total carbs MINUS fiber.
www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com is the best place to learn about net carbs in foods, which can be found here .
You want to be under 40g of net carbs per day to break into ketosis. If you stay under 30g, you will keto-adapt faster. Especially at the beginning it is necessary to know how many net carbs you are eating to make sure you aren’t accidentally sabotaging your fat-burning.
We teach Dr. Pompa’s 10-20-30-40-50g rule - 10g net carbs/day for a week, then 20g/day, then 30g/day, so on and so forth. The more carb restriction you have at the beginning, the faster you will keto-adapt, and as you stay in ketosis longer your carb tolerance goes up and you can handle more carbs while still burning primarily fat.
3 - Use fasting to your advantage - Full-day fasting, Multi-day fasting, Intermittent Fasting, Keto Coffee
If you feed your body nothing for a few days, it will be searching for fuel, and it WILL begin to burn your fat stores. That is the fastest (no pun intended) way to get into ketosis! Beginning your ketogenic diet with a few days of strict fasting (I suggest either doing a 24 hour fast or going 4 days if you are going to go for it!) will kickstart you into ketosis the quickest, but there are many ways to use the strategy of fasting - you can do a 24-hour fast 1x/wk, you could fast every-other-day, or you could do intermittent fasting, the most popular method, which is to skip breakfast so your body is in a fasted state for 14-16 hours.
My favorite way to use this strategy is to skip breakfast and consume a version of Keto Coffee - which is coffee (or tea) with grass-fed butter and MCT oil blended into it. These are great ‘ketogenic’ fats, which your body can quickly convert into ketones and can kickstart your ketosis for the day. I have written an article called 6 Ingredients for Your Keto Coffee that gives some other suggestions for Keto Coffee, but this is a very useful strategy to get into and STAY in ketosis.
3 MUST-HAVE Tools
1 - Blood Meter - Precision Xtra
I DO NOT SUGGEST doing a ketogenic diet without a blood meter! The blood meter gives you an exact number of where your ketone levels are at - are you in mild ketosis? Strong ketosis? Not in ketosis even though you think you are? The blood meter will tell you! The Precision Xtra is $25 on Amazon. If you are going to do a ketogenic diet, I would order this tool immediately.
Amazon - Precision Xtra Blood Ketone Meter
I personally buy my ketone strips on eBay here to get the best price - $2/strip is standard.
2 - MCT Oil
MCTs, or Medium Chain Triglycerides are one of the most ‘ketogenic’ fats - meaning they can be broken down and converted into ketones quickly. MCT oil can be used in Keto Coffee (the best usage), but also used as salad dressing or drizzled on just about any meal. MCTs are found in coconut oil, but MCT oil takes the best part of coconut oil and gives it to you straight, so you get a lot more MCTs from MCT oil than from coconut oil.
3 - Sea Salt (Real Salt)
Implementing a ketogenic diet can create electrolyte imbalances, which can affect water retention, brain fog, rapid heart rate, and many other symptoms. Common electrolytes include sodium, chlorine, potassium, and magnesium.
Table salt contains only sodium and chloride, whereas real salt contains 80+ minerals and electrolytes in the correct balance that they are present in nature. This can be Himalayan Pink Salt, Celtic Sea Sea, Real Salt, but I suggest getting some salt variety while following a ketogenic diet.
While on a ketogenic diet, I recommend Dr. Pompa’s rule of 2-2-2; which is 2 TBSP grass-fed butter/day, 2 TBSP MCT oil/day, and 2 TSP real salt per day. This can be added to Keto Coffee, to your meals, but the easiest way is to mix it in water and just drink it down. As you continue your keto diet, your body will get more used to the salt and you will actually begin to crave it when your electrolytes are imbalanced.