Ketogenic diets focus on high amounts of fat in the diet, including saturated fats, along with very restricted amounts of carbohydrates, in order to create ketones that bypass insulin resistance in brain cells and energize their metabolic functions in lieu of glucose. This has proven efficacious for other central nervous systems problems in addition to Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
However, it is important to know that these aren’t the only health-promoting keto foods. There are plenty of other keto-friendly ingredients that can take your keto diet results to the next level. In my diet, for example, I’ve been experimenting a lot more with shirataki noodles and avocado lately. They have been providing a much-needed change of pace for my palate and my health.
The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy. It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland, England, and Wales and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies. Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet. About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults. A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.
By design, the nutritional intervention induced an important reduction in BMI and fat mass, especially visceral fat mass through the study visits synchronized with the ketone levels in four visits (Figure 1). Thus, at the end of the nutritional intervention, the patients were out of ketosis (0.2 ± 0.1 mmol/L) with a total of 7.7 units of BMI lost (Figure 1). Most of the initial body composition loss was in the form of total fat mass (Figure 1). Relevantly, from the total fat mass, visceral fat mass, the most physiological and clinically relevant fat depot, was significantly reduced after the VLCK diet (−1.2 ± 0.7 kg; p < 0.05).
Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats.
Getting into ketosis is a critical component of the ketogenic diet. You can achieve ketosis by fasting, cutting carbs drastically (typically under 50 grams a day), and/or taking keto supplements, such as BHB (exogenous ketones) and MCT-based meal replacement shakes. After becoming fat-adapted, incorporating intermittent fasting (IF) can help boost weight loss or break weight loss plateaus. The most common method is 16:8 where you go 16 hours without eating, and consume all of your calories during an 8-hour eating window.
This week we’re introducing a slight fast. We’re going to get full on fats in the morning and fast all the way until dinner time. Not only are there a myriad of health benefits to this, it’s also easier on our eating schedule (and cooking schedule). I suggest eating (rather, drinking) your breakfast at 7am and then eating dinner at 7pm. Keeping 12 hours between your 2 meals. This will help put your body into a fasted state.
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
Physical activity was determined by means of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), which is used worldwide to indirectly evaluate an individual’s volumes of sedentary behavior and moderate to vigorous physical activity throughout the last seven-day week . It is readily available, very cost-effective, and can generate large data sets. The IPAQ comprises a set of 4 questionnaires. In this study, the short form of the IPAQ was employed (7 items). This measure assesses the types of intensity of physical activity and sitting time that people do as part of their daily lives, which is used to estimate total physical activity in metabolic equivalent task minutes per week (MET-min/week) and time spent sitting .
Finally, the accuracy of MF-BIA and ADP in the estimation of body composition was studied in relation to DXA. As shown in Table 2, the unadjusted regression coefficients for FM, FM%, and FFM were consistently higher with MF-BIA in comparison with ADP throughout the study. Specifically, regression coefficients for MF-BIA were high (r2 > 0.8) for FM and FFM, whereas those regression coefficients for FM% were slightly lower (r2 > 0.7). However, most of the regression coefficients using ADP were lower (r2 < 0.7) for FM, FM%, and FFM. A similar pattern was observed when adjusting for age and sex. The regression coefficients for both MF-BIA and ADP decreased with weight loss.
Some patients constantly graze on "legal" keto foods that can stall fat loss. Intermittent fasting is the answer here: You naturally reduce your caloric intake and give your gut a break. By not eating, you're allowing inflammation to quiet down in your body, which helps with blood sugar balance and weight loss. As an example, some plans combine daily fasting with a ketogenic diet. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen, and push breakfast as far back the next morning as you can. I talk more about this type of keto diet, which I call a Cyclitarian plan, here.
You know you’re in ketosis by checking blood ketones with a hand-held ketone meter (a test for beta-hydroxybutyrate). A ketone meter can be purchased online for about $100-120, along with ketone test strips. You prick your finger and use a drop or two of blood to measure ketones. Aim for 0.5-3.0 mm. I use Precision Xtra, which can check for both ketones and glucose in the blood (useful if you’re overweight). Some people measure ketones in the urine or via a breath taste, but I’ve found them to be not as accurate.
You can approach keto in a number of different ways. On some keto diets, like dirty keto, it doesn’t matter where your fats, protein, and carbs come from. So dinner could be a bunless cheeseburger with extra bacon. Eating bad fats like low-quality vegetable oils, packaged low-carb snacks, and processed cheese dials up inflammation, making weight loss more challenging.
O n e Y e a r : Thankful for the Gospel and it’s power to transform all areas of life. Only God’s grace allows me to look back one year ago (almost to the day) to reflect on how far He’s actually brought me and my family. Lots of “negative” circumstances took place over the course of the last year, but the perspective of the guy on the left is VASTLY different from the guy on the right. I truly believe there are no negative circumstances in this life, only misunderstandings of what’s actually good (dare I say, “best”) for us. Keep pressing on, keep pursuing, keep searching for the only One worth anchoring your hope to. | #wonthedoit #godisgoodallthetime #stewardshipoflife #identity #hope #fattofitjourney #50lbsandcounting #Keto
If you're doing everything else right but missing these elements, you'll stall your progress. Getting subpar sleep, not moving enough, and environmental toxins are among the factors that can stall weight loss even when you're vigilantly following a keto diet. What you eat matters, but how you live also dramatically affects weight loss. For many patients, dialing up sleep, reducing environmental and psychological stressors, and incorporating high-intensity burst training can be big needle movers to overcome plateaus.
My advice is to keep your food plan in balance—eat mostly vegetables (about 1-2 pounds per day), eat the minimum protein to preserve lean body mass, avoid processed foods and those that inflame you, and track your body composition over time. Extreme works for some people, but not for me, and not for all women. I prefer getting into ketosis via intermittent fasting, on a 16/8 protocol.
A final guideline: Even if you’re keto, portions of fat still matter, says Jill Keene, RDN, in White Plains, New York. “How much you specifically eat depends on your calorie needs and goals, but overconsuming fat can cause weight gain,” she says. Also, considering fat is your body’s main fuel source on a keto diet, she advises spreading out your fats evenly throughout the day.
Your dietary needs change dramatically with keto. Sodium becomes a critical nutrient, as do magnesium and potassium. “At least in the initial stages of being on the keto diet, you will urinate more. One of the key electrolytes lost through urination is magnesium,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a health and nutrition expert and author of The Magnesium Miracle. “Magnesium is an energy mineral, which will help you burn fat and lose weight.”
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.
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Now, Week 1’s shopping list is going to be long. I have to make the assumption you have nothing in your house. Many of the items are common items that most people will have already. These are all staples in my everyday cooking for keto, and should be considered an investment for your health. Once you have all of the items from week 1, there won’t be too much else to buy.
To figure out how many fat grams specifically you want, you would take the total number of calories it takes to maintain your body weight (normally around 14-16 calories per pound of body weight). Subtract your protein calories from that number and then divide by 9 (number of calories per gram of fat). This should give you how many total fat grams you need to eat per day.
HDL is still low and stuck on 45 even after hoping strongly with more healthy saturated fats organic bone broth from lamb bones, etc. LDL way up 170 and triglycerides a a record high of 170, Non HDL choleseterol at 203. Kinda surprizd I cannot more that HDL number aftyer all the keto stuff. And unsure why the LDL has exploded since stress has always been with me these last 9 years.
The ketogenic diet may seem like the Jekyll to the Hyde-like low-fat craze of the 1990s. The bulk of current research finds that the middle ground between the two extremes is more beneficial for overall health. Make it easy for yourself: Eat at least two servings a week of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) and cook with a variety of quality fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil) throughout the week.
“I recommend a ketogenic diet as a powerful tool to treat diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and obesity in general. Oftentimes I am able to wean patients off most of their medications and have seen dramatic improvement in their health as a result of this diet. I recommend Diet Doctor to my patients on a regular basis as a resource to help them eat a ketogenic diet.”
If there’s any excess glucose, it’s converted to glycogen and stored in either our muscles or liver. If we already have enough stored glycogen, excess glucose is converted and stored as fat. This is why when our hand reaches down into a biscuit tin that was full just hours before only to meet its cold steel bottom, we have not successfully fueled our bodies. We have successfully fueled our waistlines.
Long-term compliance is low and can be a big issue with a ketogenic diet, but this is the case with any lifestyle change. Even though the ketogenic diet is significantly superior in the induction of weight loss in otherwise healthy patients with obesity and the induced weight loss is rapid, intense, and sustained until at least 2 year, the understanding of the clinical impacts, safety, tolerability, efficacy, duration of treatment, and prognosis after discontinuation of the diet is challenging and requires further studies to understand the disease-specific mechanisms.
Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
Keep up electrolytes. The major electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and magnesium. Because a low carb diet (especially a keto diet!) reduces the amount of water you store, this can flush out electrolytes and make you feel sick (called “keto flu”). This is temporary, but you can avoid or eliminate it by salting your food liberally, drinking broth (especially bone broth), and eating pickled vegetables. Some people also choose to take supplements for electrolytes, but it’s best to first consult a doctor that understands and supports keto/low carb lifestyles.
“I have been recommending a low-carbohydrate lifestyle as the foundation of treatment for many medical conditions ever since 1999, when I first became associated with the Atkins’ Center for Complementary Medicine and then became the center’s medical director. I founded my own Center for Balanced health in 2003 to further provide patients with expertise in both traditional and complementary medicine, featuring low-carbohydrate nutrition. The Diet Doctor website is an excellent resource for individuals seeking to adopt a low-carbohydrate lifestyle.”
One theory is that an extreme increase in cholesterol may be common in those undergoing rapid weight loss. This is because the fat cells we have stored in our adipose tissue contain high amounts of both triglycerides and cholesterol. When we begin to break down our stored fat to be metabolized for energy, cholesterol in the blood goes up temporarily.
Just to put things in context, I read an old scientific report about a seriously obese man who decided to be without food about a year (under medical supervision) and was given only some necessary micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) during the entire period. In this case all his energy had to come from adipose tissue (plus gluconeogenesis, I assume) in deep ketosis, and eventually he lost a lot of weight, mostly fat. Even more surprisingly, repeated tests during that year and thereafter demonstrated, that his health was continuously improving and he was actually feeling very well. What would be the downside of this kind of “starvation ketosis”, that will obviously last only until the point where the person has lost all his excessive fat?
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.