Starting any new diet can be daunting since it often involves drastically modifying your eating habits while also keeping track of all the new rules.

Although it’s possible to dive pretty deep into the complexities of the ketogenic diet and ketosis, going keto can actually be a remarkably straightforward diet to follow!

Instead of feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of ditching carbs and embracing the keto lifestyle, start following these ten simple rules today to keep you on the right track.

Do Your Homework

If you dive headfirst into the keto diet without doing your research, it’ll be much harder to hit your goals!

Not only do you want to make sure the diet is compatible with your goals and lifestyle, but different versions exist that can be tailored to your needs.

While the standard keto diet may be ideal for losing weight, a modified version exists for those with highly active lifestyles, so it’s important to figure out your best option.

Taking the time to delve into a little more detail will also help you better understand the path to ketosis, what to expect in terms of results and the guidelines you need to follow to be successful.

Watch Your Carbs

The whole purpose of keto is to force your body to metabolize fats instead of carbohydrates, so you’ll need to pay close attention to your carb intake.

You’ll need to be able to accurately count carbs and understand how fiber affects the net carb content of food.

Fiber is fine for keto so you can subtract a food’s fiber content from its total carbs to give you the number you need to keep track of your intake.

Additionally, not all carbohydrates are the same, so while heavily processed carbs need to go, you can still enjoy healthier whole grains in moderation.

While this part may seem to be the most challenging, it gets easier with practice, so don’t despair! Eventually dieters get to the point where they don’t have to read every label and count every carb—it just becomes second nature.

Eat More Fat

Related: How Much Fat Should You Eat On A Keto Diet?

Unfortunately, fat has become a bit of a dirty word in the nutrition sphere; however, this is a wildly inaccurate perception.

While some fats are worse than others—and moderation is always recommended—they actually help you feel full for longer which is beneficial for losing weight [1].

Fat isn’t just a key part of ketosis—there are plenty of high-fat foods which come with numerous health benefits, such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

Stock up on Non-starchy Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are packed with nutrients and form a core part of the keto diet.

On top of their high vitamin and mineral content, they help you fill you up with fewer calories and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is crucial for a healthy digestive system.

Related: Best Low-Carb Vegetables for the Keto Diet

Try More Probiotic Foods

Without sufficient fiber in our diet, our body struggles to digest food which can result in intestinal discomfort and constipation. Keto requires cutting out some of the more popular sources of fiber like fruit, so we need an alternative to keep our gut healthy.

Fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut or kimchi are excellent probiotics that boost the healthy bacteria in our gut [2], as is natural yogurt.

Cook at Home

Due to the somewhat restrictive nature of keto, you’ll naturally find yourself eating out less—which is actually a good thing.

Cooking at home gives you much more control over what you’re eating and you’ll avoid falling foul of the hidden excesses in restaurant meals that could stop you from reaching your goals.

When done right, eating at home will also save you money in the long run!

Plan and Prep Your Meals

One of the most common excuses people have for not being able to maintain keto is that they just don’t have the time to make specially prepared meals every day, despite there being an easy solution.

If you set aside time each week to plan your meals, you’ll have a much better idea of your nutritional intake and it’ll save you from scrambling around in the cupboards for a decent meal come dinnertime.

Planning will also give you a precise idea of the ingredients you’ll need each week, making shopping a breeze and reducing the likelihood of buying cheat-foods that will knock you off track and add more to your bill.

Ideally, you should take the time to prepare the bulk of your meals for the week which will certainly make things more convenient.

Track Your Progress

One of the most critical skills to have for keto is the ability to monitor your diet and progress accurately so you can identify whether you need to make any adjustments. The simplest indicator of success is weight-loss, although more accurate measures do exist.

You can buy keto urine tests that can give you a rough idea of your level of ketosis, but the best method is to invest in a blood-ketone testing device that will provide you with a perfect reading every time.

Based on the outcome of your monitoring, make sure you reassess your diet if necessary and make the right changes.

Try Intermittent Fasting

Since the keto diet has hit the mainstream, many practitioners have combined the program with intermittent fasting—a popular method for losing weight and achieving ketosis. While you may not want to attempt it right away, it can be worth trying once you’re more comfortable with the basics of keto.

By fasting for intermittent periods, your body will burn through its remaining carbs faster and turn to fat for energy, which is the ultimate keto goal.

Don’t Give Up

The keto diet requires discipline and attention, so it can take some time to get the hang of.

Unfortunately, when dieters fall at the first hurdle they write off keto and miss out on improving their health dramatically.

If you do struggle to achieve ketosis initially or manage to get there but make a mistake that kicks you out of it, don’t be disheartened—the benefits of keto are well worth the effort and perseverance.

The more you know, the better, but whether you’re new to keto or have been practicing for some time, sticking to these 10 basic keto rules is guaranteed to help you on your path to a healthier lifestyle.

References:

[1] Montmayeur JP, le Coutre J, editors. Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010.

[2] Shi L. H., Balakrishnan K., Thiagarajah K., Mohd Ismail N. I., Yin O. S. (2016). Beneficial properties of probiotics. Trop. Life Sci. Res. 27 73–90. 10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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