Do you want to learn how to start a low carb diet? I have learned quite a bit about eating a low carb diet and like a lot of things, I feel like I have learned the hard way. The good news is that you don’t have to.
I am sharing my tips on How to Start a Low Carb Diet so you can avoid the potential pitfalls that most beginners are tasked with when trying to start a low carb diet like Keto.
Keep in mind that this post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will receive a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you.
How to Start a Low Carb Diet
There are many different types of diets that have high success rates which can make it hard to choose which one will work best for you. Even when you decide that a low carb diet is for you, there are still some more decisions to be made. How many carbs should you eat? Which carb count works for you and should you try the keto diet?
I hope to clear this up for you by breaking down each type of low carb diet and once you have the facts, you should be able to make a decision on which one is right for you.
What is the Keto Diet?
When following a Keto Diet, the general rule is to stay below 20 grams of net carbs each day and even this is not set in stone. Some people find themselves in ketosis when sticking to 25 or even 30 grams of net carbs per day while others claim that staying under 50 works for them.
Then there are those real overachievers who stick below 20 grams of net carbs per day, I have had a few days here and there that fit into that category but I certainly do not follow this regularly.
What is a Low Carb Diet?
A low carb diet is generally when someone stays below 50 grams of net carbs per day. In my opinion, this is the sweet spot. There are times when I need to cut back for a bit but usually, when staying under 50 grams of net carbs per day, I seem to lose the most weight while feeling full all day.
This does vary depending on the foods I eat, even when sticking to low carb. When my net carbs for the day are mostly made up of salads, I seem to lose more than when my diet consists of keto pizza or a lot of keto ice creams.
While I am technically still eating within the keto or low carb diet parameters when it comes to net carbs, I just don’t lose as much with those types of foods. This could be due to my being more lethargic and not moving around as much or it could be that I am not paying close enough attention to my daily carb intake.
If you are following a Liberal Low Carb Diet, you would keep your intake under 100 grams of net carbs each day.
Is there a One Size Fits All Plan?
Everybody is different and what works for some may not work for others. The best way to start a low carb diet in my opinion is to pay attention to your intake and losses, as well as those dreaded gains.
This way you can do more of what works for you and less of what is keeping you from reaching your weight loss goals.
What is a Net Carb?
I have a lot of people asking me how something can say it has 25 grams of carbs on the label but somehow with keto magic, it’s only 2 net carbs per serving. What gives?
Well, the simple answer is that net carbs are the total carbs, minus fiber, and non-digestible sweeteners. There is a little bit more to it than that but that is all that is necessary to know for someone who is just starting a low carb diet.
As you progress and feel more comfortable sticking to a low carb diet, you can dig a bit deeper and educate yourself on the science of ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
Simply put, Ketosis is when your body is in a metabolic state due to having high ketones in your blood. When your body is burning fat for energy, ketones start to build-up.
Being in this state trains your body to burn the stored fat for fuel instead of burning glucose.
How Do You Get Your Body Into Ketosis?
When following a low carb diet, your body puts itself into a state of ketosis, this could take a while although some report this happening in as little as 24 hours, but 3 days seems to be the general time period for most of us.
While eating a strict low carb diet is the best way to do it, there are a few other ways to get yourself into ketosis quickly.
- Intermittent Fasting
- Exercising More
- Add More Fat
- Short Term Fast
- Add MCT Oil into Your Diet ( Bulletproof Coffee is an excellent way to do this!)
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an easy way to get your body on the right track and give it that extra push to help you get into ketosis faster. While this can differ from one person to another, the most common form of intermittent fasting seems to be following the 16:8 diet.
This means that you only eat during an 8-hour window and fast for the other sixteen hours, every day.
Some have found success with switching up their hours and restricting food intake for longer periods of time. That of course means that you will decrease your eating window from 8 hours a day to as little as 6, 4, or even 3 hours.
If you are anything like me, this is not something you want to do for an extended period of time. The 16:8 diet works best for me and if I indulge in a lot of high carb foods and struggle to get back into ketosis, I think about changing it up.
When this happens, I may do a 2 day period where I decrease my food intake to only 4 hours a day but I get back to the basic 16:8 after a couple of days.
How Do You Know If Your Body Is In Ketosis?
You can simply test yourself using Ketone Test Strips or you can look for some of the signs of ketosis. You will have a decreased appetite, lots of energy, a change in breath odor, increased focus, and rapid weight loss.
What is Keto Flu?
If you have spent any time at all researching how to get your body into ketosis, you have probably heard of the keto flu. This refers to a group of symptoms that dieters claim they have when starting out a low carb or keto diet as well as when falling off, then getting back on.
The keto flu generally only lasts for about a week at the most and it consists of headaches, irritability, fatigue, digestive issues, and nausea. Others have reported trouble falling or staying asleep, as well as a lack of mental clarity.
You can avoid the keto flu all together by slowly making diet changes and removing bad foods from your diet long before sticking to a low carb diet. Gradually transitioning from your old eating habits and just dipping a toe into the low carb lifestyle may work best for you.
Foods to Avoid on a Low Carb Diet
- Some Fruits (Bananas, Apples, Mangos)
- Starchy Vegetables (Corn, Potatoes, Beets)
The Best Foods to Eat on a Low Carb Diet
- Nuts and Seeds
- Healthy Fats
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Small Amounts of Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries)
Recipes that are so good, you won’t believe they are low carb. So easy to make and perfect for those wanting to learn How to Start a Low Carb Diet.
I like to stick to the basics and eat foods that I know are healthy, no matter what the net carbs may be, so a salad is always an easy choice. The hard part usually comes in when selecting which dressing to use, so I created an Easy Vinaigrette Dressing perfect for those eating a low carb diet.
Protein is important and it can get kind of difficult to decide on which supplement is best or which foods I can cram into my diet that are packed with protein but low in carbs. An easy choice for me is chicken. These Easy Keto Chicken Wings are the perfect dinner, lunch, and snack when you want lots of flavor and protein without all of the carbs.
Just because you are eating low carb doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy desserts. This Keto Ice Cream is perfect and so easy to whip up. Another favorite keto dessert in my home is Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies.
When I want a savory snack and need a bit of a crunch, I make these Super Easy Low Carb Crackers that can be made with only four ingredients or less.
See how easy it can be to start a low carb diet? Take a look at all of these easy Keto Recipes for inspiration when planning your meal plan.
I hope I have helped you learn how to start a low carb diet and am happy to answer any questions that you may have. Leave me a comment below and I will do my best to get you the answer. Don’t forget to share this on your favorite social media and subscribe so you never miss a low carb recipe again.