LOW CARB & KETO DIET PLAN: HOW TO START A LOW CARB DIET
A super EASY guide for how to start a keto diet or how to start a low carb diet. Includes basics of the keto diet plan, a low carb food list, and delicious keto & low carb recipes!
Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to a Low Carb & Keto Diet Plan! If you are new to Wholesome Yum, or just starting a low carb or keto diet, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will show you everything you need to know about how to start a low carb diet, or how to start a keto diet. Then, be sure to check out all the keto diet recipes and the customizable keto meal plan app!
WHAT IS A LOW CARB DIET PLAN?
A low carb diet plan is a way of eating that is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. It ends the rollercoaster of blood sugar spikes and crashes, allowing the body to burn fat.There are different variations of low carb, and the keto diet is a special type of low carb with added characteristics. The number of carbohydrates will vary depending on your insulin tolerance and activity level, but on average, these are the common numbers of carbs:
- Keto diet – Under 20g net carbs per day (sometimes under 25g or 30g works)
- Low carb diet – Under 50g net carbs per day
- Moderate low carb diet – Under 100g net carbs per day
Some people opt to count carbs diligently and some choose to simply focus on eat low carb/keto foods.
WHAT ARE NET CARBS?
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sweeteners, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic ones, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sweeteners in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about keto sweeteners here, or see a keto sweetener comparison here.)
Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sweeteners and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
Learn more about how to calculate net carbs here.
BENEFITS OF A LOW CARB OR KETO DIET
Low carb diets have numerous benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Stable mood & energy levels
- Blood sugar control
- Reduced cravings & appetite
- Lower blood pressure
- Higher good cholesterol
- Skin improvements
- Digestive support
- Even possibly increased lifespan
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET PLAN?
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet plan, is a specific type of low carb diet that is focused on a specific ratio of macronutrients, or macros, with a goal of reaching a state called ketosis.
Macronutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet is generally 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
WHAT IS KETOSIS?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. It’s very effective for weight loss, energy and mental clarity.
Ketosis is the primary goal of the keto diet plan. We achieve it by severely limiting carbohydrate intake, not calories, but calories are often restricted as a byproduct. In the absence of carbs, the body switches to burning fat for fuel.
- Signs of ketosis include increased energy and focus, decreased appetite, and changes in smell of breath or urine. You can test yourself for ketosis using ketone test strips (use code WHOLESOME for 15% off!), or a blood monitor if you want to be super accurate (not usually necessary).
It usually takes about 3 days after starting a ketogenic diet to enter ketosis, but a few weeks before you are “fat adapted” and burn fat efficiently.
The keto diet plan has the same benefits as low carb diets in general (above), but they are usually amplified. In particular, the weight loss results, mental focus, and energy levels on a keto diet can be incredible.