Keto For Beginners: How The Ketogenic Diet Works

There are many diets out there, some are fads and only work for a short period, and some may not even be a nightmare to be on! The ketogenic diet is not one of those fad diets.

So, you’re probably wondering exactly what the keto diet is and how to get started with it. In this article, we’ll give you all the need-to-know information about the keto diet: from what it is and how it works, to who can go on it and the pros and cons of doing so.

What is a Ketogenic Diet? 

infographic of a keto diet

The ketogenic diet often called “keto” has become one of the hottest trends in health and fitness. And for good reason. It is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet. It’s similar to other low-carb diets like the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet.

But, the keto diet is a more extreme version of these diets. The main difference between keto and other low-carb diets is that on keto, you replace carbs with fats. This can lead to some pretty amazing health benefits, which we’ll talk about more later.

What Is Ketosis?

a woman holding her belly fat

The goal of the keto diet is to get your body into a state called “ketosis.”

Ketosis is when your body starts using fat for energy instead of carbs. This happens because, on a keto diet, you drastically reduce your carb intake. When you do this, your body has no choice but to start burning fat for energy.

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state, but it’s not something that happens overnight. It can take days or even weeks to get into ketosis. But, once you’re in ketosis, you’ll start seeing some pretty amazing benefits.

How Does Keto Make You Lose Weight?

a woman measuring her waist

One of the main reasons people go on a keto diet is to lose weight without any surgery. And, it definitely works!

Think of it this way – when you eat carbs, they are turned into sugar. And, when you eat too much sugar, your body stores it as fat. So, by reducing your carb intake, you are essentially preventing your body from storing fat.

At the same time, when you replace carbs with fats, your body starts burning more fat for energy. So, you end up burning more fat and losing weight! In fact, keto gummies can aid in weight loss.

Can Anyone Go on Keto? 

a group of diverse women

While the keto diet has been proven to be substantially great for people, the keto diet isn’t appropriate for everyone. Consult your doctor if you have any type of chronic health issue, comprising diabetes or heart disease.

Having said that, numerous people with chronic health conditions have observed significant advances in their overall well-being by sticking to the keto diet.

Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet 

a woman posing a heart-shaped hand gesture

There are many potential health benefits of following a ketogenic diet. These benefits include weight loss, improved mental focus and concentration, reduced inflammation, and more. Here are some of the benefits of following a ketogenic diet:

Weight Loss 

The keto diet is an extremely effective weight loss tool. One study showed that people on the keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. Not only that, but they also experienced greater reductions in body fat percentage in a keto diet as opposed to a low-fat diet.

Improved Mental Focus and Concentration 

When you follow a ketogenic diet, your body is forced to use ketones for energy instead of glucose. This can lead to improved mental focus and concentration.

One study showed that people on a ketogenic diet performed better on cognitive tests than those on a high-carb diet.

Heart Disease

The ketogenic diet lowers insulin levels, which may prevent your body from making more cholesterol. Scientists do not know all the long-term effects yet, but some people think this might be why these diets have been linked to higher “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol. People who follow a ketogenic diet are also less likely to experience high blood pressure, hardened arteries, heart failure, and other cardiovascular problems.


A ketogenic diet may help prevent or treat cancer. Cancer cells feed on glucose, so a diet that eliminates carbs could potentially starve cancer cells. Because a ketogenic diet burns through your energy stores quickly, your body won’t need to produce as much insulin. In one study, people with advanced cancer followed a ketogenic diet. This, however, is not a cure-all, and much more research needs to be done in this area.

What are the Side Effects of Being on Keto?

a woman suffering from digestive issues

Although a ketogenic diet provides many health benefits, some potential side effects may occur. Here’s a list of some of the most common side effects that people experience when they’re first starting out on a keto diet:

  • The “keto flu”: When you drastically reduce your carb intake, your body has to adjust. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. These symptoms usually go away after a few days or weeks.
  • Low energy levels: When your body doesn’t have enough carbs for energy, it may make you feel tired and sluggish.
  • Digestive issues: You may experience constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive issues when you first start the keto diet. These usually go away after a few days or weeks as your body adjusts to the new diet.
  • Muscle cramps: When you lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, you may experience muscle cramps. To avoid this, make sure to eat plenty of low-carb vegetables and drink plenty of water. You can also supplement with electrolytes.
  • Increased hunger: You may find yourself feeling hungrier than usual when you first start the keto diet. This is usually temporary and goes away as your body adjusts to the new diet.
  • Sleep issues: You may experience insomnia or other sleep issues when you first start the keto diet. These usually go away after a few weeks as your body adjusts to the new diet.

If you experience any of these side effects, don’t worry! They’re usually temporary and will go away as your body gets used to the keto diet. But, of course, if you’re experiencing any side effects that are severe or don’t go away, be sure to talk to your doctor.

How Do I Start A Keto Diet?

a happy woman holding a plate of vegetables

If you’re interested in starting a keto diet, there are a few things you should know before you get started. First, you’ll want to make sure that it’s the right diet for you. Keto isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new diet.

You’ll need to calculate your “macros.” This is the number of carbs, fat, and protein you should be eating each day. You can use an online calculator like this one to help you figure out your macros.

Once you know your macros, you’ll need to find recipes that fit within those guidelines. There are plenty of keto-friendly recipes online, or you can find a keto cookbook to help you get started.

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough water and electrolytes. When you first start the keto diet, you may find yourself feeling a bit dehydrated, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also supplement with electrolytes to help prevent cramps and other side effects.

The Verdict

Before beginning any new diet, it is important to do your research. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been shown to offer many potential health benefits. However, it is not for everyone and should be used with caution. If you are considering this lifestyle change, be sure to read up on all the possible pros and cons before making a decision.

Ketogenic diets are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are looking for new and innovative ways to lose weight. We aim to provide the easiest solutions to all questions regarding health and fitness.

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Article by Sylvie

Hi, my name is Sylvie and I am an enthusiast of health and fitness. I love spending time outdoors and traveling in my free time. I grew up in France and moved to the United States a few years ago. Ever since then, I have been passionate about learning more about American culture. I am currently majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. I love writing (hence why I am here) and sharing my experiences with fellow readers!