A six step quick start guide to eating a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Getting Started Step 4: Track Your Carbs For the first two weeks of the ketogenic diet, the only macro you need to track is your carbohydrates. On nutritional labels, carbs will be broken down into dietary fiber, sugar and sugar alcohols. Starchy fillers are not listed, though they may appear in the ingredients lists on the food package. You will be tracking net carbs. This means, you will take the total carb amount and subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from that total. So, if the item has 10g of carbohydrates, 2g fiber (soluble or insoluble) and 2g sugar alcohols, your net carbs will be 6g. That 6g will include all sugar and fillers. Sugar Alcohols Not all sugar alcohols are created equal. Sugar alcohols are artificial or non-sugar sweeteners. These include: • Stevia • Erithrytol • Maltitol • Sorbitol • Aspertame • And others. Each one reacts differently in the body. Most of them do not trigger much of an insulin response, which is a good thing. However, Maltitol, Sucralose and a few others can be problematic. They can trigger hunger and cravings. You will need to test and figure out which sugar alcohols you can tolerate without problems and which to avoid. In order to track, you will want to use either a notebook or a phone app. These are the most popular tracking apps at the time of this writing:
• My Fitness Pal (user generated information can be unreliable at times) • Cronometer • Carb Manager (limited without paid upgrade) • Senza It doesn’t matter which app you use (or if you decide to go the pen and paper route), so long as you track carefully. This means that you will want to weigh out your serving sizes to keep yourself honest. Invest in a good kitchen scale. It will pay for itself quickly. Aside from tracking your carbs, simply eat when you are hungry and stop when you get full. Important Note: Electrolytes As your body gets accustomed to using fat for fuel, you may experience withdrawal symptoms from sugar. This is normal. A good way to minimize this experience is to stay hydrated and be sure to get enough sodium, potassium and magnesium. Since glucose binds to sodium in our bodies, when we reduce glucose, our bodies shed sodium quickly. This can leave us feeling tired, weak and sick. You will want to take in at least 5000mg of sodium per day to offset this loss. It seems like a high number, but it matters. The same applies to potassium (any salt substitute is potassium). You will want to ingest at least 3000mg per day. And at least 500mg of magnesium. The best way to get these supplements is to add the salt and salt substitute to your food and drink. For instance, you can mix two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of salt substitute in a container, then add 1/2 teaspoon of that mixture to a liter of water. For flavor, you can add a sugar free drink mix, such as Crystal Light or Mio. Not only will this method help you get your electrolytes, it will help you stay well hydrated. Both of these will make the first two weeks (and beyond) of keto far more simple.