The keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, has become an increasingly popular way to lose weight and improve health. Even celebrities are jumping on the keto bandwagon to get their bodies beach-ready for the summer season, but not everyone knows exactly what it entails and what it does for your body! To help you shed some light on this low-carb dieting craze, we’ve outlined seven facts about the keto diet that might surprise you—and help you decide if it’s right for you.
1) Getting into ketosis takes longer than you think
When people talk about going into ketosis, they usually mean they’re finally going to stop burning carbs for energy and start using fat. But that doesn’t happen immediately, even when your body is adapting to using fats as its primary fuel source. You see, it takes time for your body to learn how to best burn fat instead of carbohydrates. For most people who are used to eating a lot of carbs every day, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks up to 3 months before their bodies really begin using fat for energy, once you’ve adapted. It all depends on a lot of factors—the health and fitness level of an individual’s body in particular and also how much protein they consume regularly in relation to their carbohydrate intake.
2) Ketosis comes with physical effects
Our bodies are very good at adapting to what we put into it – when you start a new diet, your body will go through several stages of adjustment while it adapts to using fat and ketones instead of glucose as its main fuel source. As you adopt a ketogenic lifestyle, make sure to consider all aspects of health – including physical and psychological – not just how you feel. Even though you may feel an improvement in mental clarity and mood, that doesn’t mean your sleep patterns won’t be affected or that your joint pain won’t get worse before it gets better. Make sure to consult with your doctor before making any changes to ensure that health changes introduced drastically stay manageable.
3) Getting into the zone takes more time than you think
It’s important to have enough carbs stored in your Muscleblaze and liver for energy, but it can take anywhere from three days to a week for your body to fully adjust to burning fat as its primary fuel source. You can speed up that process by drinking tons of water, tea, broth, or bone broth. A word of caution: too much caffeine or alcohol (especially when taken at night) can throw your cortisol levels out of whack. If you get hungry between meals, fill up on fat-free Greek yogurt (12g protein per 6oz serving), almonds (18g per 1⁄4 cup), avocado (9g per 1⁄2 medium avocado), or cottage cheese (14g per 1⁄4 cup). Stick with whole foods like these and avoid processed junk as much as possible.
4) Building muscle is easier on a ketogenic diet
First, a caveat: there’s no guarantee that building muscle will be easy while on a keto diet. You’ll have to work hard—and potentially change your workout routine and eat different foods—to see results. With that said, it’s certainly possible to build muscleblaze on a ketogenic diet. Studies like this demonstrate that isohumulones (the type of hops found in beer) can stimulate protein synthesis. If you’re not down with alcohol, try taking advantage of the increased fat intake on a keto diet to push your body to new gains.
5) Cheat days are essential
The worst thing that you can do on a low-carb diet is to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. By only allowing yourself cheat days, you’re tricking your body into thinking it’s going through a severe food shortage and will be more likely to store nutrients as fat. Have two or three days per week where you eat what you want, but just remember that if it’s not in line with your long-term goals then don’t get carried away. The key here is moderation! Be careful not to overdo it at these special meals because they can lead to overeating when they become part of a routine. If you are looking for weight loss, aim for no more than one cheat meal per week.
6) Keto smoothies are even better than normal smoothies
Did you know that some fruits are naturally higher in carbs than others? Like many people, I used to assume that all fruit was equally healthy—and it turns out, I was totally wrong. While there are certainly exceptions (I’m looking at you, bananas), there is a noticeable difference between low-carb fruits and high-carb fruits. For example, avocados have more than double the net carbs of raspberries.
7) My biggest fear isn’t failing, it’s not starting.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my career, it’s that growth often comes down to taking a chance on yourself—so don’t be afraid to do so. When I was twenty-two years old, I knew nothing about investing. But I decided to invest in myself and purchased over $50,000 worth of stock in my life savings.