People today are considerably more aware of the health hazards associated with being overweight. In addition to exercising, following a ketogenic diet can help you reduce weight naturally and learn to prepare meals with whole, healthy ingredients. There are also many benefits of this lifestyle that go beyond weight loss.
Common wisdom says it takes 21 days to form a habit. The science behind that idea is not conclusive, but one thing’s for sure: eating keto for 3 weeks will give you a good idea of whether or not this type of lifestyle could work for you.
It’s also enough time to get your body adapted to the eating style and achieve ketosis, which can improve physical health and mental performance.
Once the three weeks are complete, you'll have the foundation you need to maintain the dietary regimen if you choose.
So let’s learn more about what 21 ketogenic days will look like!
Keto is a carb-restrictive, high-fat, moderate-protein eating plan that can assist you in achieving your health goals. This eating style helps your body to burn fat that has already been accumulated in your body.
Controlling macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) is at the heart of the ketogenic diet. The most important thing to keep track of is carbs. Each person’s daily limit is different (calculate yours here), but most people need to keep their intake in the range of 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day. The remainder of your diet is made up of healthy fats and protein.
Restricting carbohydrate intake induces a metabolic state known as nutritional ketosis. Carbs are the primary source of energy in the body, but when you follow keto, your body's energy demands are no longer met by carbs. So it turns to its stored fats for energy instead.
As the body’s primary fuel source is switched to fat, the ketosis state makes the body burn fat more efficiently, potentially resulting in greater weight loss.
Furthermore, blood glucose levels are more consistent throughout the day, and many individuals report feeling more energized and having a reduced appetite, making it simpler to keep track of how much food you eat.
Who should try the keto diet?
The 21-day ketogenic meal plan can be utilized to help you lose weight. This is a low-carb diet that involves limiting carbs while increasing fat intake and maintaining a reasonable protein intake. However, it is not suitable for everyone. It can be used by the following people:
However, everyone should speak with a doctor before trying this style of eating. Furthermore, it is not recommended for:
The human body is remarkably adaptable when drastic changes are made to normal dietary consumption. When you limit carbs and eat enough fats, it will begin to produce and burn ketones as the main source of energy, inducing ketosis.
Most people are able to enter ketosis in two to four days. So even if your body takes a bit longer than normal, 3 weeks of eating keto should give you plenty of time to start experiencing the health and weight-loss benefits keto is known for.
Aside from the always appealing weight management benefits, changing dietary intake to a sustainable low-carb regimen optimizes cellular metabolism, boosts natural energy levels, and improves digestion. You may experience improvements in mood and appetite control, as well as increased mental clarity and focus.
Due to the enhanced satiety effects of proteins and lipids, weight reduction is partly a result of lower calorie intake. These foods take longer to digest and may help you control hunger and cravings.
Following a keto diet can assist in lowering cholesterol, which is critical in lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems. It also aids in managing blood sugar levels, which may offer long-term benefits in regard to the treatment and prevention of type II diabetes.
Other possible ketogenic diet advantages, according to experts, include the prevention of some malignancies and neurological diseases including Alzheimer's and epilepsy.
The diet's potential benefits are noteworthy, but there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. The ketogenic diet's ability to help people lose weight is undeniable. That said, the eating plan does not guarantee weight reduction. A carb-reduced diet demands discipline and consistency, which takes time because of how different it is compared to normal dietary habits.
It's also worth noting that there may be some adverse health effects that are very common to experience within the three weeks when you first start keto.
For the first several days after lowering carbohydrates, you lose a lot of water weight, which can lead to dehydration. Those who begin the diet frequently experience what is referred to as the “keto flu,” which are flu-like symptoms that include, but are not limited to, headaches and lethargy. The flu-like symptoms may also worsen as a result of dehydration. To combat this, make an extra effort to drink water and consider supplementing your fluid intake with electrolyte tablets.
Kidney stones, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive irritation and/or irregularities are all possible complications. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to develop nutritional deficiencies when you eliminate and restrict certain food groups. To mitigate risks, your diet should be well-planned in order to cover your body’s fundamental nutritional requirements.
If you'd like to maximize the benefits of a keto, try the following suggestions:
How to hit keto macros
The amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you need every day varies depending on your exercise level, body size, and other factors. Once you've figured out your personal macro amounts, you’ll keep track of what you eat to ensure that you stay within your goals.
It takes some time to get used to recording how many grams of each macronutrient are in your meals, but like anything, it becomes simpler with practice! Keep it up for 3 weeks and you’ll see that each day it gets a little bit easier.
A great way to make ketogenic eating easier is to prepare large quantities of foods or ingredients that you can take in different directions.
Instead of buying just the drumsticks, buy the whole chicken, rub it with olive oil and spices, and pop it in the oven over a bed of vegetables like Brussels sprouts and red peppers. Eat one portion when it’s done cooking, then set aside the leftovers and store them in the fridge. Now you’ve got cooked chicken on hand to easily make:
By making a large batch of homemade tomato sauce, you can quickly whip up things like:
Tomato sauce is a good example of something that’s easy to freeze and use later in weeks 2 and 3.
As you can see, it’s best to plan out all 3 weeks of your ketogenic diet plan at the same time. That way, you can cook fewer dishes and spread them out over the 21 days.
You can repeat many of the same meals to make food prep easier, but recipe diversity is also important. To get a variety of nutrients and avoid getting tired of certain ingredients or dishes, not every week should look the same.
List of keto-friendly foods:
After you set up your chart of meals for 21 days, the next step is to write out a shopping list. Since you’ll want to incorporate fresh vegetables, meat, and seafood, it’s best to go to the store once a week.
Here is an example of ingredients you might include on your list:
Fruits and veggies
Food that won’t go bad in 3 weeks
Looking for recipe ideas? Here's a full day of ketogenic eating to get you started.
Calories: 1,448 | Macros: 27 g net carbs, 95.5 g protein, and 109.1 g fat.
|BREAKFAST||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Smoked salmon roll-ups||Avocado||1/2 avocado (101g)||161||1.8||2||14.8|
|LUNCH||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Kale||3 cups (63g)||22||2.8||1.8||1.9|
|Coconut oil||2 tablespoons (27.2g)||242||0||0||27|
|Kale salad||Garlic (raw)||3 cloves (9g)||5||1.1||0.3||0|
|Lemon juice||from 1 lemon (48g)||11||3.2||0.2||0.2|
|Soy sauce||2 tablespoons (36g)||22||2||3.8||0|
|Cherry tomatoes||1/2 cup (74.5g)||13||2.9||0.7||0.1|
|Red bell pepper||1/2 pepper (37g)||12||2.2||0.4||0.1|
|EVENING SNACK||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Celery||2 medium stalks (80g)||11||1.1||0.6||0.1|
|Celery and almond butter||Almond butter||2 tablespoons (32g)||197||6||6.7||17.8|
|DINNER||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Caesar salad dressing||1 tablespoon (14.7g)||80||0.4||0.3||8.5|
|Healthy Caesar salad||Spinach, raw||3 cups (90g)||21||3.3||2.6||0.4|
|Chicken breast||1 piece (174g)||275||0||55.9||5.6|
|Olive oil||2 tablespoons (27g)||238||0||0||27|
|Parmesan cheese||1 tablespoon (5g)||21||0.2||1.9||1.4|
|DAILY TOTALS||1,448 cal||27g net carbs||95.5g protein||109.1g fat|
Not exactly. Although most individuals can safely lose weight on the ketogenic diet, there’s no single plan that is right for everyone. Before beginning any diet, you should always consult with a medical expert.
Before starting a ketogenic diet, it is essential to speak with your doctor. This is especially true if you have certain health conditions, like diabetes (type 1 or type 2), high blood pressure, or both. Ketogenic diets are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Everyone should speak with a medical professional before changing their diet.
In week 1, it’s possible to lose 2 to 10 pounds. In subsequent weeks, 1 or 2 pounds per week is the norm. So if you stick to ketogenic eating for 21 days, you could potentially lose around 14 pounds.
That said, the amount of weight loss truly depends on each individual. Starting weight, exercise, age, gender, and how strictly you adhere to the diet are all contributing factors.
Unfortunately, yes. The keto flu is one possible side effect of following keto. Your body is used to running on carbohydrates, so when it turns to fat burning, it takes time to adjust.
You may have less energy, and you could feel ill and lethargic, like you've had the flu. However, your body adapts to the dietary changes and will acclimate to this new manner of getting energy, which might take a few weeks.
Yes, in moderation, although it depends on which kind of alcohol. Check the carb count, especially for beers, which may vary widely. The lowest carb option is spirits, followed by wine.
The keto flu symptoms should have subsided by week three. Ideally, the gradual elimination of carbs and sugar has reduced these symptoms. You're likely to feel more confident in your ability to manage the plan altogether. Many people report being able to think more clearly, sleep more soundly, and have more energy by week three.
Here are other options to explore when building new eating habits: