The Keto Diet Plan: What It Is, How It Works, And If It’s Right For You

Trendy diets are a dime a dozen these days, but if there is one specific craze that everyone seems to be hopping on board with lately, it’s the keto diet plan. Keto is everywhere, from big-name celebrity devotees like Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kim Kardashian to a seemingly endless stream of testimonials and plugs on our social media feeds from people we haven’t seen since high school. But what exactly does the keto diet entail, and is it possible to follow it while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Let’s start with the basics.

What is the keto diet plan?

The keto diet plan, or ketogenic diet, is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that aims to put the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a state in which the liver produces ketones (or ketone bodies). These byproducts of the breakdown of fatty acids burn fat for fuel instead of burning glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. Under the keto plan, the majority of daily calories come from fat, with roughly 20% coming from protein — and only 5% from carbohydrates.

While weight loss is the driving end goal for many keto diet followers, following the keto diet properly can also result in positive effects that include increased energy, reduced inflammation, sharper brain focus, and lowered blood sugar. Seems like a win-win, right? Well sure, but it can be difficult to adhere to such a stringent and exclusionary diet.

OK. So what foods can I eat while doing keto?

  • Healthy Fats: The primary source of calories on the keto plan is healthy fats. Operative word: healthy. The healthy fats on the keto food list include things like avocados, grass-fed butter, ghee (a clarified butter used in many Indian and Asian recipes), coconut oil, olive oil and other nut oils, pastured bacon fat, and pastured egg yolks. (“Pastured” is not synonymous with grass-fed, but instead simply means that the animal the product comes from literally eats on a pasture.)
  • Protein: The keto diet is meat-friendly, and followers can enjoy dark meats, pastured chicken, pastured turkey, eggs, fish, shellfish, and pork, to name a few. Plus, the keto diet is cheese-friendly as well.
  • Carbohydrates: The limited carbohydrates on the keto diet come in the form of vegetables such as (but not limited to) broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and asparagus.
  • Nuts and Seeds: While nuts and seeds actually do contain carbohydrates, and as such must be counted in the daily carbohydrate allowance on keto, the plan allows users to enjoy almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and coconut, as well as almond and coconut flours.

What can I expect as a result of the keto diet plan?
In addition to weight loss, a boost in your energy levels, and feeling much “sharper” than normal, some people have reported a side effect known as the “keto flu.” It usually occurs at the beginning of the diet and is a result of the body experiencing withdrawal from carbohydrates. Symptoms of the keto flu can include fatigue, headache, irritability, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, constipation, and difficulty sleeping. Getting plenty of rest, making sure to replenish electrolytes, and staying hydrated are ways to help combat the keto flu symptoms. As the body adjusts to the keto diet, the symptoms should go away. (However, as with all changes in diet, it’s important to consult your doctor if your symptoms are severe and/or not going away.)

How do I maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the keto plan?
There has been quite a bit of debate among experts and in the media as to whether or not the keto diet is safe, at least when it comes to following it long term. There are different variations of the keto diet, some of which experts have deemed healthier than others. A “clean eating” version of the keto diet that stresses healthy fats, lean proteins, and vegetables is preferable to “dirty keto,” which basically consists of eating processed meats and cheese.

If you are ready to hop on the keto diet bandwagon, and want to make sure you’re following a healthy and sustainable diet plan, the Noom program is a great resource. Noom is an especially valuable program for keto diet plan beginners, because it customizes a plan just for you, to align with the specific results you are trying to achieve. Noom also serves as a reliable source of support in the form of a dedicated goal specialist who will monitor your progress, keep you on track, and help you adjust your action plan based on whatever life circumstances are thrown your way. It’s always easier to stay focused when you have a friend cheering you on along the way, and that’s exactly what Noom is!

As an added bonus, if you ever get to a point where the keto diet just isn’t quite fitting into your lifestyle, your handy Noom goal specialist can help you readjust as necessary, depending on how your dietary and lifestyle needs have changed. Maintaining a happy, healthy way of life has never been so easy. So to keto or not to keto? The bottom line is, if you’re going to embark on any new diet plan, it’s important to have all the facts and resources at your disposal.