Written by: Raymie Musser
The ketogenic diet has become a popular diet for people who either want to lose or just want to live a healthier lower carbohydrate lifestyle. The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet while achieving ketosis. Once you start to understand how Keto works it is easy to follow. I personally used it at first just for weight loss since I was 50 pounds overweight after two kids. Always tired and dreading the upcoming deer hunt since we always hike so much. I decided to try Keto to shed the pounds that I needed to lose before September. I did lose the weight, but I also started noticing my energy and endurance level heighten. I wasn’t itching for a snack while hiking either, I could go hours without eating or feeling hungry.
When you first decide to start the ketogenic diet, you first need to set your Macronutrients. Macronutrients are basically deciding how many carbohydrates, fat and protein you will consume in a day. Usually your macronutrients should stay close to: 5% carbohydrates, 70% healthy fats and 25% protein. My daily macros are 20g. carbs, 145g. healthy fat and 90g. protein. You can find a ketogenic macro calculator that will give you personalized numbers on how much of each you should be eating. The macro calculator I recommend is on Perfectketo.com, I feel like it is the simplest calculator to use. Once you have an idea of where your macronutrients need to be then you can start the ketogenic diet.
What is Ketosis?
A normal body uses carbs and breaks them down into glucose also knowns as blood sugar. When you start a low carb, high fat diet (keto) your body does not get the enough carbs to break down into glucose for energy. Your body starts looking for another source of energy to use. The Alternate energy it goes to is your fat stores. Your liver takes the fat stores and turn them into ketones in which your body uses as energy.
To reach a state of ketosis, you need to drastically cut carbs and up your healthy fats. Avoiding high carb foods like: grains, beans and starchy vegetables like potatoes. You want to get most of your daily carb intake from low carb vegetables like: kale cauliflower, zucchini, and broccoli. The recommended carb intake is between 20-50 grams of net carbs a day, and if you use the macro calculator it will give you an idea on where to keep yours to achieve ketosis for your height and weight. Once lowering your carbs to start, you’ll need to start upping your healthy fats. Upping your healthy fats sounds scary to a lot of people since there are so many “low fat” food in the supermarket. It’s not, if you understand what healthy fat is. Healthy fats are: grass fed butter, avocados, coconut oil and nuts are just naming a few. Ketogenic professionals recommend you eat about 140-170 grams of healthy fats. You can’t forget your protein, because if you are like me you love meat. Getting your protein doesn’t change much except you’ll want to switch your cuts of meat to more fatty cuts. Switching from chicken breast to chicken thighs and so on. The only thing you want to watch is making sure your protein intake does not exceed your fat intake. Another great source of healthy fat and protein is from eggs. Cutting out all sugars is a must too because first it’s not very good for you anyways and sugar is full of carbohydrates. There is an alternative sweetener called erythritol that will not spike your blood sugar. Now that we’ve gotten the basic down, we need to know how to count carbohydrates.
There are two ways to count carbohydrates: total carbohydrates and net carbohydrates. Most on keto count net carbohydrates since it is less restrictive once you understand how to do it. To count net carbohydrates is: total carbohydrates - dietary fiber - sugar alcohols (if any) = net carbohydrates. The reason you can subtract dietary fiber is because it is a nonimpact carbohydrate. Which means it won’t spike your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis. Sugar alcohols are basically a low calorie and low carbohydrate sweetener. Our body does not absorb all the carbs from them into our blood stream, which again will not raise your blood sugar. Then the big question is how we know when we are in ketosis.
Checking Ketone Levels
Checking your ketone levels is a good way to keep yourself on track and know where you stand. There is a couple test to check your ketone levels: urine, breath or blood test. The urine test is the simplest test to understand and use. The ketone strip will turn a color within 45-60 seconds and that color will indicate if you are in ketosis or not. Even though this is the simplest and cheapest test to buy it is not always the most reliable. Your body can start using ketones more efficiently and you’ll stop releasing as many ketones into your urines. If you test this way you might be seeing a lower level of ketones, then you are actually producing. The blood ketone test is probably one of the best ways to check your levels. It works by pricking your and letting the meter get the blood. The meter will tell you what your levels are at. It is costlier by $50.00 but worth it if you are wanting to get a more accurate reading on your ketone levels. If you are not ready to spend that much money the urine strips give you a good baseline to start with. Last test is the ketone breath meter. I am not too familiar with the ketone breath test, so I am not going to go much into it. Basically, a breath ketone meter measures acetate which is a type of keto. Acetate is made by gas exchange in the lungs. All you do is blow into the meter it will flash a color indicating how much acetate you have in your body. The breath meter is good for someone who doesn’t want to prick their finger, but whatever way you choose will give you a good start on learning about ketosis.
There is so much more that I could go into with the ketogenic diet. Once you get the basics down then you will find it much easier to follow. I have really found a passion with helping people learn more about it. The ketogenic diet is the way to go if you are looking into losing weight or exercise without getting fatigue. As an avid outdoors woman, I really recommend that you try it. My changes physically and mentally, as well as my energy levels have helped me better prepare for the hunting season and become a better hunter in the field.
Raymie has come a long way in her weight loss and fitness journey and is a great inspiration and knowledge base for information about Keto dieting. Be sure to check her story out and follow along on her Instagram: @keto_huntress
**Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information presented in this article is based on her personal experiences and what has helped her. The information in this article is not to be used or taken as a direct plan for you or anyone else. Anyone considering a Keto diet should consult a physician to ensure a Keto plan is the right option for them.