Keto for Beginners: What does Keto Involve? [The ULTIMATE Beginner Guide]

  • Author: Katie
  • Date: July 12, 2023
  • Time to Read: 9 min.

Confused about Keto? Wondering what does keto involve? This keto for beginners starter guide will answer your questions and get you started on your journey…What are you waiting for? Learn what keto is, and how it can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.

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So what is Keto? – Key Terms

Let’s start at the beginning/ The ‘keto diet’ or ‘keto way of living‘ or ‘keto way of eating’ and is also referred to as the ‘ketogenic diet’; they all mean the same thing.

Keto way of living (WOL) – this is used to refer to the lifestyle that people following keto have chosen to adopt

Keto way of eating (WOE) – this term is used as some people are really precious that keto is a sustainable way of eating / WOL for life and therefore is not a ‘diet’. Diets are normally a temporary adjustment.

Keto Diet / Keto Diet / Ketogenic Diet – others that are not so precious about using the term ‘diet’ call this way eating a keto / ketogenic diet.

Keto – is the term that covers all of the above – this is mainly what I will use keto – is the term that covers all of the above – this is mainly what I will use.

Phew! That was a lot to take in! Trust me, Keto is simple when you get into it!

Keto Starters Guide

When you join any social media groups or read anything about keto you will see that the above terms are used interchangeably.

Ultimately, they mean the same thing, which is that an individual has chosen to adopt the principles of keto which we will go through in this keto starter’s guide.

New to Keto? Check out these Keto for Beginners articles;

Here comes the science bit….

What is Keto and what does Keto involve? [A Keto Starters Guide]

Keto is a way of eating which focuses on the reduction of carbohydrates (carbs) and increase in fat in your diet which results in your body going into a state called ketosis.

It is different from a low-carb diet in that keto restricts the number of carbs consumed even lower than that of a low-carb diet….read more about this below.

Keto involves our bodies entering a metabolic state known as ketosis.

What is Ketosis?

For most of us, our bodies are geared up to burn carbs as our primary source of energy. Our bodies know no different as this is likely what we have all always done.

The average UK woman eats around 200 grams of carbs a day, and men typically eat around 250 grams a day.

This is more than 10 x the number of carbs that are recommended on a keto (ketogenic) diet of 20 grams of carbs per day.

Ketosis is a state where our bodies burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

So what does Keto Involve to get into Ketosis?

Our bodies just need reprogramming for it to understand that once they have run out of carbohydrates, they need to turn to fat as their energy source.

We do this by reducing the number of carbs that we eat, so our bodies are forced into finding an alternative energy source, i.e. fat.

Once they have adapted to burning fat, they need to continue to do so.

If you want to know more about ketosis, including, how to know whether you are in ketosis check out this guide.

So what does this mean?

In short, you can eat really amazing tasty food without the guilt.

For more about keto and my personal keto journey keep reading on.

What does Keto involve?

On any other ‘diets’ you may have done; Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Slim Fast all focus on low fat, low-calorie foods and restricting the volume that you eat.

Whether measured as points or synns all of these diets are trying to do it restrict the number of calories that you eat. In addition, they reduce the amount of fat that you consume.

They do not concern themselves with the quality of the food that they consume. 

I have done this time and time again. Every time I’ve gone to the meetings, had the last-minute rush to the toilet in the vain hope of losing ½ a pound.


After this ritual shaming of getting on the scales in front of people you don’t know, I’ve then sat listening to everybody’s stories of how they’ve had two bottles of wine, a kebab and cake and still lost half a stone. At the same time, I’ve put on a pound because I dared to sniff somebody else’s food.

A lot of research has been done that largely discredits the big weight loss companies as a credible way to lose weight.

Despite numerous celebrity endorsements, they run a short-term process whereby you limit foods and do lose weight – when you do, whichever program you are following is a ‘success’.

The second you put on weight, you blame yourself, which only adds more credibility to the program and its ability to make you succeed.

Based on this reinforced belief that the only way you can succeed is by being part of the program, you part with your hard-earned money again and join the program.

Again, you see some ‘success’, and the cycle begins again.

At no time do any of these companies acknowledge that this is their business model. You failing and going back to them is the only way that they make money. They do not educate you to a point where you can live a lifestyle without them, as they wouldn’t make money.

Certainly, at no point do they tell you that their ‘diets’ are not sustainable.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I have done all of the above diets and more ‘fad’ diets.

On all of these, I have left the dreaded ‘weigh in day’ feeling dejected, I’ve gone home to a no fat, fleck of a meal. Then I’ve gone to bed early to avoid ordering the left side of the menu from the nearest takeaway!

Or worse, I’ve stopped off at the shops on the way home. I have bought every item of food that I have deprived myself of and have turned into Ms. Pac-Man working through the packets until I’ve eaten everything in sight without taking a breath in between.

Has this worked?

Yes – in the short term I’ve lost weight.

However, I have never been able to stick to it as these diets are just that, diets, they’re not ways of eating that are sustainable.

The constant feeling of being hungry and planning the minutes of my day around my next meal and still going to bed hungry were not sustainable for me. Also, I constantly felt tired and never had the energy to get through the day let alone do exercise. All this has changed with keto.

Fat does not make you fat

So firstly, if you are new to keto you will hear and read that keto is a way of eating and not a diet. The reason is that it is sustainable for life. You can eat gorgeous full-fat food, fuel your body, feel amazing and lose weight.  Break away from the myth that fat makes you fat!

A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, higher-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively.

Let’s dive deeper to find out whether keto is for you.

What does Keto Involve for Beginners?

Macros on Keto : Keto Starters Guide

Your daily food intake should be – 75% fats, 20% protein, and 5% from carbohydrates.

If you note down what you currently eat, you probably eat nearer to 65% carbs and only 15% fat; even less if you have been on a low fat diet.

For more about macros on Keto – check out this guide.

This will explain everything you will need to know about your macros on Keto including how to calculate yours.

Keto sounds simple right?

No? Not everybody (including me!), finds this concept easy to get their head around.

For years, before finding keto, all of the diet plans that I had attempted had heavily focused on low-calorie and low fat foods.

These diets often advocate high carbohydrate foods such as unlimited fruit, pasta, rice etc. Keto works the opposite way. By feeding your body with good fats and restricting the number of carbohydrates that you are eating. Your body enters what is called ‘ketosis’, as discussed above.

Keto Starters Guide – Let’s Learn all about Carbs!

Carbohydrates come in different forms such as basic sugars (for example fruits, honey, and root vegetables) and in more complex forms such as fibers (i.e brown rice and whole grains) and starches (i.e breakfast cereals and bread).


Your body metabolizes sugars, fiber, and starches into glucose. The body then breaks down that glucose into simple sugars.

It then uses these simple sugars to feed the body’s cells which in order to give them energy.

On a keto, low carb, high-fat way of eating, the number of carbs that you eat is dramatically reduced.

With fewer carbs in the body to break down into glucose, your body is looking for energy, but cannot get enough. It still needs energy in order to perform all of the functions it does on a day-to-day basis, even when we’re asleep. In order to function, the body needs fuel (energy) from somewhere.

As you are mainly eating high-fat foods, the only source of energy the body can find is fat.

Keto is different from a sugar free diet though.

Foods like meat and low carb vegetables are perfect. There is also a selection of fruits that are great to eat on a keto diet. You can even eat sweets.

Yummy stuffed mushrooms and chicken pie with keto friendly pastry and buttercream frosting, are all still on the menu.

Keto Starters Guide – What are Ketones?

As fat is what is available as an energy source, the body adapts and starts to burn fat in order to generate energy.

When the body has burned the energy from the food you’ve eaten and needs more energy, it looks to the fat in cells in order to break these down in order to produce more energy.

Ketones are a by-product of fat cells being broken down. These provide an indication as to whether a person is in ‘ketosis’.

For more on ketosis and checking whether you are in ketosis, check out this article.

Keto Starters Guide – What foods can you eat on keto?

Let’s get to the important bit and discuss what you can eat on keto. Keto is not restrictive – there are a whole host of foods that you can eat whilst following a keto lifestyle. Below is a list of some of the main food categories and a list of foods that you can enjoy.

Check out the recipes section for some amazing sweet treat recipe options!

Keto Starters Guide – Foods not to eat on Keto….

See – the ‘not to eat list’ is a lot shorter than that of what you can eat. Trust me, you will not miss out on anything! There are plenty of keto-friendly alternatives to a lot of your starchy favorites.

Worried that you will miss your bread and baked goods on Keto?

That’s nothing to worry about at all. There are infinite keto alternatives for bread and baked goods that will mean that you never have to go without.

Don’t worry about missing your pasta and like. There are a number of alternatives to this as well.

There are plenty of sugar-free sweeteners that are keto-friendly.

Check out the recipes on this site to see how easy a keto way of life is!

Want to learn from all of my mistakes so you can nail keto the first time? Check out our mistakes to avoid guide, so you can hit the ground running from day one.

Summary – So what does Keto Involve?

This starter’s guide should have taken you through the basics of what keto involves, here’s a summary as a quick reminder.

  • Reduce carbs to fewer than 20 grams per day
  • Macros should be 70% Fat, 25% Protein, 5% Carbs
  • Does NOT force you to starve yourself all week
  • Focuses on good quality filling food
  • Does NOT mean that you can’t eat baked goods and sweet treats
  • Does NOT set you up to fail as the big diet companies do

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out more of our keto guidance articles from the menu at the top.

Clearly, I am crazy about keto! I love to hear from fellow keto-ers. If you have a question or have a favorite non-keto meal and don’t know how to make it in a keto-friendly way.

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