As interest in the keto lifestyle grows, I get a lot of questions about how best to take advantage of the benefits. If you’re a keto diet beginner, there are three important SAQs (Should Ask Questions) that I want to answer for you here.
These can make the difference between your success and failure. They provide insight, direction, and awareness for both the expected and unexpected. They point out landmines to help you navigate around them safely.
3 IMPORTANT “HOW TO BEGIN KETO” SAQs
#1: How much protein is too much?
The early 2000s ushered in the low-carb craze when the Atkins Diet made headlines with its endorsement of large slabs of steak and meat-lovers pizza (hold the dough). It, along with other low-carb diets such as South Beach and The Zone, made protein a household name—disrupting the nation’s obsession with bread and pasta.
A ketogenic diet is, in fact, low carb. What it’s not is high protein, a common misconception.
While macronutrient requirements vary slightly from person to person, generally speaking, this moderate-protein diet sets a limit of 20-25% of your daily intake, with 70-80% from fats and 5-10% from carbs.
If you’re a keto beginner, you may find yourself eating too much protein to make up for the reduction in carbs. It’s often easier to add an extra drumstick to your dinner plate than it is to determine how to add more fat and veggies.
Some sources of extra protein are obvious, such as meat. Others are not, such as protein-packed dairy, nuts and seeds.
If your protein intake exceeds what your body needs to support the functions that depend on it, like building muscle, producing hormones and supporting healthy skin and hair, then it could cause a spike in insulin and convert protein and fat into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis.
Until you can ‘eyeball’ the right portion of protein per meal, it’s wise for you to calculate and track the amount of protein you eat to make sure you don’t overdo it.
#2: Are there fats I should avoid?
Fat started to get a bad reputation more than 60 years ago when one study and a politically well-connected researcher deemed fat to be the enemy of our health.
As a result, omega-3s from fatty fish and nuts, saturated fat from coconuts, butter and meat, and monounsaturated fat from avocados were placed in the same food jail as industrialized trans-saturated fat and partially hydrogenated oils.
Thankfully, that flawed research has been debunked!
Yet fat is still feared, even the good kind.
Fact: fats are not all the same.
The right fats nourish cells and promote healthier aging with the power to recharge the heart of our cells—the mitochondria. The wrong fats can lead to inflammation, which is at the root of many conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, acne and rosacea, and metabolic diseases.
A keto diet favors fat, as you know. For the body to enter the fat-burning state of ketosis, where it burns through available carbs (glucose) and then starts to burn stored fat for energy, a steady supply of fat is critical.
Because of this high demand for fat, it’s no surprise that keto spinoffs such as “dirty keto” have become popular.
Dirty keto attempts to make a keto diet easier to plan and follow by allowing any fat from any source.
For example, a bacon cheeseburger (hold the bun) from a fast food restaurant is fair game. Regular ice cream for dinner is too, as long as the carb count remains within guidelines.
Clean keto, on the other hand, prioritizes good fats from natural sources: fatty fruits like avocados and coconuts, nuts and seeds, meats and whole fat dairy, and fatty fish.
It also restricts processed oils such as vegetable, corn and canola oils, because they contain too many omega-6 fats, which can create inflammatory activity.
#3: What if I can’t meet my fat goals?
It’s understandable why fallacies surrounding fat consumption may have you feeling shy about consuming 70-80% of your calories from fat.
But getting the right amount of fat shouldn’t be stressful or cause for anxiety. In fact, many individuals consider eating more fat one of the best parts of keto!
The joy of being able to enjoy egg yolks in an omelet with guacamole… a fatty cut of beef at dinnertime… a generous portion of creamy or oily dressing on a crisp salad… is something to celebrate!
It can be a challenge though to eat enough fat to keep you satisfied energized throughout the day.
For this reason, many keto followers boost their fat intake by adding butter or oil from coconut, olive, MCT or avocado to their meals, coffee and smoothies.
And if you ask an advanced keto follower—they’ll swear by MCT oil.
That’s because medium-chain fats are metabolized differently in the body and are converted to energy faster than other fats. MCT oil can help you reach ketosis quicker and increase your fat intake without additional food preparation.
The trick is to use a pure, toxin-free MCT oil. If you don’t know where your MCT oil is sourced, manufactured and processed, you could be doing damage while thinking you’re doing something great!
MCT oil derived and processed conventionally could have traces of toxins, mold or heavy metals because of chemical extraction or lack of safety testing… about 80% of MCT oils are conventionally processed.
Because I’m personally committed to knowing everything about the health products and supplements that I bring into my home and yours, I want to introduce you to the one I trust:
Simply GOODFATS Organic MCT Oil is made from non-GMO, organic coconuts that are processed close to the source to maintain freshness, especially in humid tropical climates. Every batch is tested for mold and mycotoxins.
To extract the precious oil, we gently cold press the oil as is done with high-quality olive oil. And our oil is purified through a process called the “spark of life”—a clean yet advanced method of using enzymes found in nature.
Conventional MCT oils often use harsh chemicals to “purify” the oil and render it safe for consumption.
But if you’re committed to toxin-free living like I am, then you’re going to love Simply GOODFATS Organic MCT Oil!
For those of you who are further along in the keto lifestyle, I will bring you a series of advanced keto diet SAQs in our newsletter next week. Stay tuned…