In today's episode of Easy Keto with Tasha, we identify the steps you need to take to start keto in the easiest way possible. We also go over some tips to help simplify your keto journey, so that you can see success from day one.
What is the easiest way to start keto?
If you are new to the keto diet, you may be overwhelmed with the plethora of information available. And while a lot of that information is useful and relevant, it’s unnecessary to actually start keto. In fact, there is only one thing you need to focus on if you’re interested in the easiest way to start keto: carb restriction.
Carb restriction is the first step in beginning keto, and it may be the only step you ever need to take in your keto journey.
Common Ways That Starting Keto Gets Overcomplicated
- Juggling macros
- Rigid eating schedules
- Elaborate food restrictions unrelated to preferences and needs
- Starting a new workout routine at the same time
- Trying to ketofy everything with complicated recipes instead of focusing on whole foods
When you are in a comfortable place with limiting your carb intake, then, by all means, start experimenting! Counting macros, developing a workout routine, and revamping recipes to fit keto can be fun! But if you are looking for the easiest way to start keto, don’t add even more rules and expectations. Not only will this add a lot of unnecessary stress, but you could be setting yourself up for failure before you even start.
As the name implies, carbohydrate restriction is simple: restrict the number of carbs you consume. Carb restriction is vital to keto, hence why it is the easiest way to start keto. Nutritional ketosis depends on limiting carbohydrate intake!
Keto is commonly associated with high fat intake. However, it is the decrease in carbs that causes the body to trigger ketosis. Increasing fat intake alone will not begin the process.
Once carbs are restricted, your body is forced to switch from being a sugar-burner to being a fat-burner.
This process is not always quick and easy. It is important to give your body time to adjust. In doing so, you are allowing your body to become efficient in burning fat for fuel. Through this extended period of carbohydrate restriction, you are allowing your body to become fat-adapted.
Once fat-adaptation is achieved, you can look forward to many benefits, including an increase in energy, a natural decrease in appetite, and sharper mental clarity. All of this is made possible with carb restriction!
Switching to Low Carb
Now that we’ve determined that the easiest way to start keto is to cut down on carbs, the next step is to determine how you will do it. There are two ways to switch to a low carb diet: a slow taper or cold turkey. The route you decide to go is a personal choice, but some people find more success with one option over the other.
Slow taper: This method focuses on slowing cutting out carbohydrates day-by-day until your body reaches ketosis. These small decreases will give your body time to adjust to fat-burning. A slow taper is especially helpful in avoiding side effects like brain fog and low energy. If you have a high-processed, high-sugar diet, starting keto with this method may be beneficial.
Cold turkey: This method focuses on getting into ketosis as soon as possible through major carb restriction. Going cold turkey does increase the chance of experiencing the negative side effects of an abrupt switch. If your current diet is relatively healthy and low carb, your body might already be metabolically flexible and able to easily switch from sugar-burner to fat-burner.
No matter what option you choose, you are on your way to keto.
Low-Carb Switches to Start Keto:
- No more sugar in your morning coffee
- Opt for eggs instead of cereal/toast for breakfast
- Use cauliflower rice in place of white rice
- Bake with almond/coconut flour
How many carbs can I eat on keto?
The average person can consume 50 grams of total carbs per day in order to achieve nutritional ketosis. However, every person is different. Some people will find that their ketosis maintenance requires more than 50 grams, while others will require less than the average.
When you start keto, 50 grams of total carbohydrates is a good place to begin. This number helps the diet from feeling too restrictive. It also helps to ensure that you are able to get an adequate amount of whole foods and fiber in your diet. The easiest way to start keto includes setting realistic goals.
Do all carbs count on keto?
The simplest answer is no, not all carbs matter on keto. Sugars and starches are carbs that influence your metabolism. These provide the energy and fuel to maintain your body’s status as a sugar-burner.
Fiber is considered a dietary carbohydrate. Because of this, it does not directly impact ketosis or metabolism. Fiber is subtracted from total carbs in order to determine net carbs.
Sugar alcohols and non-caloric sweeteners are not processed by the body in the same way that sugar and starches are. The body does not use these sweeteners for energy, and they do not directly impact ketosis. Sugar alcohols are subtracted from total carbs to determine net carbs.
Net carbs = Total carbohydrate - dietary fiber - sugar alcohols
When you start keto, net carbs are typically limited between 20 and 30 grams daily.
Keto Sugar Substitutes
- Monk Fruit
What happens if I eat over my carb limit on keto?
You may have phrased this question as “what happens if I cheat on keto?”. Eating food should not be equated to cheating. Carbohydrates are NOT good or bad, and they do not have a moral value. There is no cheating, and you are not breaking dogmatic rules or doing anything bad.
If you do consume a higher amount of carbs than what your body requires to maintain ketosis, your body will use those carbohydrates for fuel. You might not be generating ketones at this time. Once your body has burned through the carbs, it will revert back to ketosis. Our bodies are built to switch back and forth between fuel sources.
Fat-adaptation makes switching between fuel sources easier. Becoming fat-adapted will allow future flexibility to temporarily increase carbohydrate intake without losing the adaptations your body has built to become a fat-burner.
0:52 - Easiest Way to Start Keto
1:32 - Limiting Carbohydrates
2:15 - Fat Adaptation
3:54 - Low Carb Switches
5:13 - Slow Taper
5:58 - Cold Turkey
7:55 - Recap
9:38 - Episode Q&A
9:59 - How Many Carbs Can I Eat on Keto
12:41 - Do All Carbs Count on Keto
13:42 - Net Carbs
14:47 - Sugar Substitutes
17:22 - What Happens If I Eat Over My Carb Limit on Keto
21:43 - Diet Mindset
Westman, E. C., Feinman, R. D., Mavropoulos, J. C., Vernon, M. C., Volek, J. S., Wortman, J. A., … Phinney, S. D. (2007). Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 86(2), 276–284.
Wylie-Rosett, J., Aebersold, K., Conlon, B., Isasi, C. R., & Ostrovsky, N. W. (2013). Health Effects of Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Where Should New Research Go? Current Diabetes Reports, (2), 271.
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Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published author dedicated to helping people thrive and succeed using low carb and keto dietary patterns.