Seems like it’s on the front page of nearly every magazine out there. If you haven’t seen it in print, then a friend has definitely dropped the K-word. I’m talking, of course, about the ketogenic diet.
Are you wondering what is up with this keto craze that is featured on every trendy social media fitness account? Let’s take a closer look at what the ketogenic diet is and the benefits of keto. We’ll also tell you how to start the keto diet and avoid beginner mistakes.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet focuses on increasing healthy fats while reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat daily.
The goal of going keto is to stop using glucose as a primary fuel source. Instead, the body will transition to using ketone bodies, entering a state of ketosis. Better known as ketones, these compounds are produced in the liver by converting fatty acids.
Many of the benefits of keto that we’ll discuss below are the result of using ketones in place of glucose from carbohydrates.
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
Why are so many people adopting the ketogenic diet? Outside of weight loss, the benefits of keto extend into overall health and wellness.
Increases Fat Loss
One of the most popular benefits of keto, the diet effectively promotes healthy weight loss and many experts recommend it as a long-term strategy for weight management.
The keto diet promotes weight loss in two key ways:
First, it helps to reduce caloric intake throughout the day. Fat provides nine calories per gram. It’s also the slowest macronutrient to digest.
This makes it the most satiating macronutrient, ensuring you feel fuller longer. Studies found that individuals following a keto diet reported a decreased appetite compared to traditional diets. 
Second, the ketogenic diet directly promotes fat loss since the body is using fat as a fuel source.
One study published in Experimental & Clinical Cardiology focused on obese diabetic subjects who managed to successfully lose weight and keep it off. What’s more, the symptoms of their diabetes decreased while their insulin sensitivity increased.  
The ketogenic diet is a tried-and-true way to increase fat loss, but if you want an extra boost for weight loss, try LC20 – Lean Cuts.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
The ketogenic diet can help with decreasing cardiovascular risk factors. Studies show that the keto diet can have the following effects on your cardio health:
- Lower levels of triglycerides 
- Improved cholesterol levels 
- Stabilized blood sugar
- Lower levels of insulin and increased insulin sensitivity 
Supports Lean Muscle
While the ketogenic diet may not be ideal for gaining monster size, it certainly helps you achieve a lean and cut look. More importantly, it helps to protect lean muscle gains while increasing fat burning.
Since your body will be utilizing ketone bodies as a fuel source, you don’t have to worry about protein breakdown (catabolism) in order to provide energy to the body. 
The implication here is that you can build solid lean muscle without the extra fat weight. There’s no need for a traditional bulking and cutting program like the bodybuilders of a few decades ago were using.
Taking this one step further, the keto diet might be of value to athletes who need to cut weight such as boxers and wrestlers. Instead of going through potentially dangerous procedures to drop weight for a sport, athletes can utilize the ketogenic diet to be competition-ready all year round.
Gives You a Cognitive Boost
One surprising benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it significantly improves the health of your brain.
Ketone bodies are an effective fuel source for your brain and they do not produce cellular waste the way glucose does.
Ketone bodies have been linked to a decreased risk in age and lifestyle-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. 
How to Start the Keto Diet
Did the benefits of keto convince you? If you’re interested in getting started with the keto diet, the most important thing to do first is calculate your keto macros.
Keto Macros Percentages
Calculating the grams of each macronutrient tends to be easier than tallying a total daily caloric intake.
First, figure out your daily caloric intake. Using an online calorie calculator, you’ll provide a few pieces of information and receive an estimated number of the calories you should be eating each day.
You’ll take that number and multiply it by the following percentages.
There are two sets of macronutrients you can follow on the ketogenic diet depending on your activity level: therapeutic and athletic.
The therapeutic value for macronutrients is commonly used, especially for sedentary individuals.
- Healthy Fats: 80%
- Lean Proteins: 15%
- Carbohydrates: 5%
The athletic macronutrients for keto focus a bit more on protein and carbohydrates. The goal is to consume enough protein and carbohydrates to support muscle performance and recovery without knocking yourself out of a ketogenic state.
- Healthy Fats: 65%
- Lean Protein: 25%
- Carbohydrates: 10%
How to Calculate Your Keto Macros
Take the number of calories you received from the online calorie calculator and multiply it by each percentage. Then divide by the number of calories per gram for each macronutrient. One gram of fat is equal to nine calories while one gram of protein and carbohydrate provides four calories.
My daily caloric total is 2,500. I am an active person who exercises five days per week. I will use the athletic macro percentages:
- Healthy fats: 2,500 x .65 = 1,625 calories / 9 = 181 grams of fat
- Lean Protein: 2,500 x .25 = 625 calories / 4 = 156 grams of protein
- Carbohydrates: 2,500 x .10 = 250 calories / 4 = 62 grams of carbohydrates
Every day, I should eat 181 grams of healthy fats, 156 grams of lean proteins, and 62 grams of complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Beginner Tips for Going Keto
To enjoy the benefits of keto, we recommend starting the process one or two months out. Focus on a gradual progression toward a full ketogenic diet to ensure compliance, reduction of cravings, and avoidance of keto flu.
This, Not That: Start by reducing carbohydrate-based foods and replacing them with healthy fat foods.
Fluids and Electrolyte: Increase water AND electrolyte consumption. The keto flu is caused by low levels of electrolytes.
Stay Active: Maintain or increase exercise and physical activity if you have a sedentary lifestyle. We have a few great home bodyweight workouts to get you on the right track.
Start Fasting: Consider intermittent fasting to help the body use up more of the stored glucose.
Prepare: Buy testing supplies to check ketone levels and ensure you’re in a state of ketosis.
Go Keto without Keto Flu
Fatigue and brain fog are just two symptoms of the keto flu, which is caused by low levels of electrolytes. MR46 – Muscle Recovery contains the perfect balance of electrolytes to help you transition into ketosis.
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