The Ketogenic Diet: How To Get Started And Avoid Common Mistakes

The Ketogenic Diet: How To Get Started And Avoid Common Mistakes

Ketogenic Meal

The ketogenic diet has become popular among fad dieters in recent years. In reality, the ketogenic diet is a very specific dietary protocol that is easy to apply incorrectly. Because it requires specific macronutrient ratios and specific healthy fats, there are lots of individuals doing “keto” the “wrong way”.

Because the ketogenic diet is very specific, if you do not adhere to the strict ratios or consume the right types food, then your ability to get into or remain in ketosis will be difficult. To be successful with a ketogenic diet you must be consuming 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

Below we cover some common mistakes individuals make when undertaking a ketogenic diet, as well as some tips to ensure you avoid these pitfalls so you’re experience with the ketogenic diet can be a successful as possible.

Common Mistakes

Consuming Too Much Dairy
A common mistake people make is consuming high amounts of dairy products. Although dairy is high in fat, it is also high in the milk sugar lactose (which is a carbohydrate). Dairy can also be inflammatory to the body, so dairy should be consumed in moderation

Not Eating Enough Vegetables
Because the ketogenic diet eliminates all grains, starchy vegetables and almost all fruits, it is easy to establish eating habits that do not provide enough variety in the diet. An individual may be so focused on consuming enough fat that they forget about all the vegetables! Consumption of non-starchy vegetables is crucial because a high meat diet such as keto can be very acidic to the body. High acidity can lead to fatigue, gut issues, and headaches, but to name a few. While on the keto diet you must be consuming a lot of darky green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, asparagus and other low-starch vegetables in order to off-set the acidity of the animal products.

Not Staying Hydrated
Because of the metabolic process of burning ketones and getting into ketosis you are required to drink a lot of water, which often people do not do. When first starting keto the body starts using up all its glucose storage, which is stored in the form of glycogen. Glucose holds onto water so when glycogen is broken down the body releases water, which is why you will find yourself frequenting the washroom in the first 2 weeks and this can often lead you to being dehydrated.

Not Consuming Enough Variety of Fats
On the ketogenic diet it’s important to consume a variety of good fats from sources such as avocado, olives, free range eggs, nuts, olives oil, oily fish, grass fed beef, and coconut oil. It is easy to revert to bacon, processed deli meats, soft cheeses, which are highly processed and contain additives and preservatives that can in fact be detrimental to your health if consumed in large amounts.

Over-consuming Protein
By trying to consume enough fats often individuals over-consume protein in the forms of meats, which results in the consumption of too much protein (>30% intake). When consuming high amounts of protein your body can actually break this down and convert this to glucose which will result in kick you out” of ketosis.

Not Planning Ahead
Going out for the day without preparing what you will eat, or knowing keto friendly options while out, can be a recipe for disaster.


Helpful Tips To Be Successful with the Ketogenic Diet

Prepare Before You Start
You are going to need time to throw out or use up foods in your house that are not “keto friendly”. Keeping these foods in a cupboard or pantry can lead to temptation, especially when you are transitioning into ketosis and your cravings for carbs will be high. So, take time to get rid of the foods that will not serve your goal and replace them with high quality keto-friendly foods.

Meal planning for the week
It can be quite an adjustment to prepare different meals and recipes that you may not be familiar with. Putting together a meal plan in advance so you don’t feel stuck is a great strategy to support your success.

Get educated
The ketogenic diet doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is important to educate yourself properly on the pros and cons of the diet, what foods you should be consuming, and what you need to be avoiding. It might be necessary, especially if you have health issues, to recruit a health professional such as a nutritionist or dietitian to help you navigate the process and ensure your success with the diet.

Recruit Support
Change is always a challenge. It will be even more difficult to be successful on a ketogenic diet if your whole household is still loading up on potatoes, pasta and pizza while you are munching on boiled eggs and guacamole. If recruiting them into the diet is not possible, then creating meals that serve the whole family can still an option! For example, you might make a Greek chicken salad, but serve it with roasted potatoes on the side for the rest of the family. Again, you might find if more stress-free to have a health professional l(ink) assist you with the menu planning to take the stress out of meal times.

Managing the “Keto Flu”
While your body is moving from a carb-burner to a keto-burner, you are going to experience various symptoms as you progress through that transition and your body learns to adapt by making more fat enzymes, readjusting hormones, and so on. You can also experience the “keto flu” as a result of stress, imbalance of vitamins and minerals, dehydration or deficiency in eletcrolytes. If you are someone that has relied heavily on carbs then you are likely to experience more significant symptoms. The “keto flu” usually sets in between day 3 and 7 and ends between day 5 and 14.

Symptoms of the “keto flu” include brain fog, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, heart palpitations, irritability, nausea, carb cravings, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea and muscle cramps.

To help combat the “keto flu” symptoms:

  • Drink Bone Broth – It is rich in electrolytes, collagen and water for hydration.
  • Drink lots of water – Carbs hold onto water so while your body is breaking down glucose (in the form of glycogen) it releases water resulting in frequent washroom breaks as a result you need to be consuming water to offset this water loss.
  • Consume foods rich in electrolytes – You can consume potassium from avocados, nuts, dark leafy greens and salmon; magnesium from dark chocolate, nuts, artichoke, fish and spinach; sodium from Himalayan sea salt, bone broth, pickles and miso soup; calcium from dark leafy greens, almonds and sardines; phosphorus from nuts, seeds, dark chocolate; and chloride from olives and seaweed.
  • Rest – Be mindful of activities that cause you to sweat a lot and lose water. Avoid strenuous activities in the beginning.

Tracking your Macros
It is really important to track your macronutrient intake and calories, especially in the beginning. You can do this by using apps on your phone such as Cronometer or My Fitness Pal. These apps can help you see how much or little you need to be consuming to hit your target macros. You may be surprised to see how hard it can be to get your fat intake up to 75% and to keep your carbs down to the 5%. It is a great learning tool to understand your food and meal combinations.

Use Ketostix to Track Ketosis
In the beginning, while you are learning how to do the diet, it is beneficial to track when you are in ketosis and if you can maintain that state. If you move out of ketosis, you can track how long it takes you to move back in. The keto strips can be purchased at your local drug store and just involves taking your urine sample. Blood tests are more effective but more expensive.


Hopefully that has given you some helpful tips to support your ketogenic journey. Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get more information and recipes to help you on your keto program, or contact us here at Koru nutrition — we would love to help you.

Top 5 Health Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet

Top 5 Health Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Spread of Foods

Although the ketogenic diet was designed as a treatment for epilepsy in 1921 by Dr. Russel Wilder, MD. It’s use declined with the modern era of antiepileptic drug treatment. However, the Ketogenic diet has had a massive resurgence and has gained mainstream popularity in recent years due to its ability to assist in significant weight loss. By now, we’ve all heard that you can lose weight while following the “keto” diet. But, what is the ketogenic diet and what are the health benefits?

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet consists of consuming 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. When eating like this it results in your body switching from burning carbohydrates (glucose) to burning fat (ketones) for energy instead. Having ketones in your body, and using fat as fuel over sugar, does have various benefits.

Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

  1. Weight Loss:
    Multiple studies show that the ketogenic diet helps facilitate (often significant) weight loss (1). One study found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet(2). Another study found that people on the ketogenic diet lost 3 times more weight than those on the diet recommended by Diabetes UK (3).

One of the reasons for this is that fat helps us feel satiated, it fills us up and it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. As a result it helps to reduce cravings, reduce appetite, and reduce caloric intake (4, 5).

  1. May help to Prevent and Address Diabetes:
    Because of the ketogenic diet’s effect on blood sugars research has been done on its effect utility in addressing diabetes. One study found that the ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by a whopping 75% (6). Another study in people with type 2 diabetes found that 7 of the 21 participants were able to stop using all diabetes medications (7). Please remember, it is advised that if you have diabetes and want to embark on the ketogenic diet that you speak with a qualified health care professional first and that you are monitored throughout the diet so any necessary medication adjustments can be made for your safety.
  1. Help Manage Neurodegenerative Diseases:
    Research suggest the ketones that are generated while following the ketogenic diet can provide neuroprotective benefits, which means they can strengthen and protect brain and nerve cells (11). Not only does the ketogenic diet help to reduce seizures, but it has also been shown to slow the progression and improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, (9) as well as reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (8). In one animal study it was shown that the ketogenic diet boosted the clearance of beta-amyloid protein in the brain — the “building blocks” that, in Alzheimer’s, stick together, forming toxic plaques which interfere with neuronal signaling (10).

Research also shows improved cognitive function and improved mood. One study showed lower levels of anxiety and mood-disturbed behavior and children were rated as more productive. Cognitive test results also showed improvements (12).

For more information on Spinal Cord Injury and the ketogenic diet, click here

  1. Cancer Prevention
    Research shows many cancers thrive on sugar, and therefore, that restricting sugar intake might help combat certain cancerous tumor growths by creating an unfavorable metabolic environment for the cancer cells (13). In addition to helping regulate blood sugar levels, a ketogenic diet could help create metabolic oxidative stress in cancer cells. This could also help make the cells more sensitive to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation (14). Research in this area is still in the early phases.
  1. Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
    The ketogenic diet may be associated with some improvements in certain cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and HDL cholesterol levels (16). Research has shown that total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol often decrease while on a ketogenic diet, while “good” protective HDL cholesterol increases. Blood sugar and HbA1C (which is a blood marker that indicates a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels) also tend to go down. Both are positive steps at reducing cardiovascular disease (15).


These are just some of the benefits of the ketogenic diet. However, the diet is difficult to implement and is often done incorrectly. It is recommended that you seek nutritional support if you want to undertake a ketogenic diet, especially if you have a health condition. Please reach out to Koru Nutrition if you would like this support, and please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for some great keto recipes!