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What Is A Keto Diet? All Guides for Beginners

“Keto diet” has become a keyword that many people are searching for diversifying weight-loss meal plans. In addition to improving the physique, it also has the effect of enhancing overall health. So what is a keto diet? How to get started on the keto diet? Get all the guides for beginners in this article.

foods for keto diet

An in-depth look at the keto diet

Firstly, you should understand clearly everything about the phrase “keto diet”.

1. Keto diet explained

Keto diet is an acronym for “Keep Eating The fat Off” diet, is the diet that minimizes the number of carbs you eat. Instead, fortified fats are added to provide the body with calories. In this keto diet, the body burns more energy from its reserves, the goal being fat and excess fat to accumulate in the muscles.


2. What “keto” means?

A “keto” or “ketogenic” diet is so named because it causes your body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones.” This is an alternative fuel source for your body that can be used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.

When you eat very few carbs or very few calories, your liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain.

The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose – or ketones.

On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat all day long. When insulin levels drop very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off.

This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there can also be other benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy — without the sugar peaks and valleys that often occur when eating high-carb meals. This may help keep you alert and focused.


3. Ketosis: the fat-burning mechanism

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that occurs when the body does not have enough glucose stores for energy. When these stores are depleted, the body resorts to burning stored fat for energy instead of carbs. This process produces acids called ketones, which build up in the body and can be used for energy.

Keto, ketogenic diet with nutrition diagram, low carb, high fat healthy weight loss meal plan
KETO Diet – Keep Eating The fat Off Diet

Also see: Healthy Meal Plan For Weight Loss


Advantages and disadvantages of the keto diet?

Like many other diets, keto has both good and bad points. 

1. Advantages

  • Lose weight

The principle of eating keto is to help the body switch to burn energy from stored carbohydrates in the muscle, then burn energy from stored fat to effectively lose weight. Thanks to this principle, people on Keto weight loss diets often feel more comfortable and persistent to the end than other fat-controlled diets.

In addition, if the body accumulates excess fat, it will affect energy metabolism, a higher glycemic index and possibly impaired insulin function. Eating keto has the effect of burning excess fat also reduces the risk of diabetes and better prevention and control of the disease.

  • Boost your brainpower

In principle, the active brain needs glucose to supply, when the body reduces the amount of carbohydrates it takes, the liver automatically produces glucose from the protein for the brain. This state improves brain function better in children with epilepsy, people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

a girl is eating keto diet for weight-loss
Keto diet can help you to lose weight

2. Disadvantages

  • Reduced muscle growth

When the body goes into a state of burning energy by eating keto, the body uses the fat and carbs stored in the muscle. This makes it harder for your muscles to develop follicles. Moreover, carbs play an important role in muscle building, when the Keto diet is strictly controlled with carbohydrates, your muscles are also affected.

  • Feelings of discomfort

The body’s mechanism of metabolism and use of energy changes, so people who perform keto will inevitably avoid unpleasant feelings such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, body hangover, … especially during early execution. However, if you persevere, when your body has adapted, you will not encounter this situation anymore.

  • Flatulence, constipation

One downside of eating keto is that carbs are limited with fiber intake, so you may experience digestive problems such as constipation, flatulence, indigestion, …

  • Frequent muscle aches, muscle cramps

The restriction of fruits and vegetables reduces the amount of calcium, potassium, magnesium and other vitamins, resulting in muscle fatigue, uncomfortable cramps, especially in the calf area.

  • Affects the brain and liver’s ability to function

Despite its beneficial effects in improving epilepsy and impaired brain function syndromes, the keto diet can make the brain less energetic, less agile and more alert than usual. This problem is often seen in the early stages of keto or in people with impaired liver function.

The liver in the keto diet has to be more active. The first is to convert energy from carbs and fat in the muscle, increasing the secretion of glycogen that feeds the brain. Along with that more fat intake increases the fat in the liver, if this situation is overloaded for a long time, the consequences of fatty liver are inevitable.

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Many people who eat keto have this condition, but it can be improved by adding magnesium, electrolytes, and fiber to the body in addition to food sources. In addition, this supplement helps you also reduce the unpleasant symptoms of keto diets such as difficulty sleeping, headache, fatigue, constipation, loss of concentration, dizziness, …

The harmful effects of keto eating can be limited and controlled if you follow the instructions correctly, regularly monitor your condition and replenish your nutrition when needed.


Starting a keto diet

Are you a beginner and do not know how to get started on a keto diet? Let’s check the following knowledge to build a perfect keto diet plan.

1. Different types of the keto diet

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

  • The standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 25% protein, and only 5% carbs.
  • The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
  • The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
  • High protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.

However, only the standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.

ketogenic diet proportion
Standard keto diet

2. Principles of foods

To build an effective keto diet, you should remember based on the principle of low carbohydrate and high fat to choose the right foods.

  • Foods you should avoid

Based on the foundational principles of the keto diet, avoid the following high-carbohydrate foods:

    • Beans: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, green beans …
    • Foods high in sugar: Soda, fruit juice, smoothie, cake, ice cream, candy …
    • Grains or starches: Products from wheat, rice, pasta, cereals …
    • Unhealthy fats: Limit the use of used vegetable oils or mayonnaise …
    • Fast foods: These are usually processed foods with a lot of carbohydrates.
    • Alcohol: High in carbohydrates, so many alcoholic beverages can disrupt your diet.
  • Keto diet what to eat

You can formulate a keto diet based on these recommended foods:

    • Fatty fish: Salmon, salmon, tuna, mackerel …
    • Meat: Beef, sausage, bacon, chicken …
    • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds …
    • Healthy oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil …
    • Cheese: Unprocessed cheeses such as cream, cheddar, mozzarella …
    • Low-carbohydrate vegetables: Green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers …

ketogenic food pyramid

3. A sample keto diet menu for beginners

You can have a variety of daily keto meals based on the following standard menu:

  • Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1 slice of salmon, with avocado oil or olive oil.
  • Mid-morning snack: Eat nuts, such as almonds.
  • Lunch: Bell peppers, chicken breasts, fatty vegetable salads.
  • Mid-afternoon snack: Cheese.
  • Dinner: Beef, mushrooms, vegetables.

Foods that you can change for each other for a keto meal include:

  • Meat: beef, chicken, bacon, sausage, …
  • Fatty fish: tuna, salmon, mackerel, …
  • Nuts: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, … should be used for additional energy meals.
  • Cheese: unprocessed cheeses such as mozzarella, cream, cheddar, … should be used.
  • Low-carbs: Tomatoes, green vegetables, bell peppers, onions, …
  • Boiled eggs, strawberries, dark chocolate.


Some notes

1. Who should not do a ketogenic diet?

  • Pregnant women

During pregnancy, the expecting mother needs to be extra careful about her diet and eating habits. They need to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet for the growth of the baby. Keto diet actually deprives them of carbs and fiber. Besides, the extremely restrictive diet lacks some essential micronutrients, which makes it an unhealthy diet choice during pregnancy.

  • Vegans

It is difficult to follow a keto diet for vegetarians, but for vegans, it is even more challenging and risky. This diet restricts the intake of high carbs and high fiber foods like some vegetables, whole grains and fruits. For vegans, fruits and veggies are the primary sources of nutrients as they completely avoid dairy and animal products. If they will even restrict natural produce then they will be deprived of basic nutrients required by the body to function properly.

  • ​Digestive disorder

One of the common side-effects of the keto diet is constipation. Due to low carb and low fiber intake, people often feel constipated when following this diet. If you are already suffering from any stomach-related issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation then this diet can make the situation worse.

  • Kidney issues

Keto is a high-fat diet and to break the fat and flush out extra fat from the body, your kidneys have to work very hard. If you are already suffering from kidney issues then following this diet will put extra pressure on your organ and can even worsen the symptom.


2. Keto tips and tricks

Although getting started on the ketogenic diet can be challenging, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to make it easier.

  • Start by familiarizing yourself with food labels and checking the grams of fat, carbs, and fiber to determine how your favorite foods can fit into your diet.
  • Planning out your meals in advance may also be beneficial and can help you save extra time throughout the week.
  • Many websites, food blogs, apps, and cookbooks also offer keto-friendly recipes and meal ideas that you can use to build your own custom menu.
  • Alternatively, some meal delivery services even offer keto-friendly options for a quick and convenient way to enjoy keto meals at home.
  • Look into healthy frozen keto meals when you’re short on time
  • When going to social gatherings or visiting family and friends, you may also want to consider bringing your own food, which can make it much easier to curb cravings and stick to your meal plan.

healthy foods

Now you have the answer to the question “What is a keto diet?”. In conclusion, only a serious, long-term diet can bring you weight loss and health benefits as you want. And combining this diet with regular exercise and reasonable rest absolutely helps you build a healthy and balanced routine. Good health!


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