How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?
A perennial question, argument and debate in the field of nutrition has to do with how many carbohydrates people should be eating. While the nutritional mainstream is still more or less advocating a large amount of daily carbohydrate (with fat being blamed for the health problems of the modern world), groups often considered at the ‘fringe’ of nutrition are adamant that carbohydrates are the source of all evil when it comes to health, obesity, etc. They advocate lowering carbohydrates and replacing them with dietary protein, fat or both. This is a topic that I discussed in some detail in Carbohydrates and Fat Controversies Part 1 and Carbohydrate and Fat Controversies Part 2 and I’d recommend readers take a look at those for a slightly different look at the issue than what is discussed here. Arguments over recommended carbohydrate intake have a long history and it doesn’t appear to be close to ending any time soon. Typical mainstream recommendations have carbohydrates contributing 50% or more of total calories while many low-carbohydrate advocates suggest far fewer (ranging from the 40% of the Zone diet to close to zero for ketogenic diets). This article looks at the topic in detail. And while I originally wrote it quite a while back (some of you have probably seen it before), it was nice going over it with fine toothed comb for an update. While the majority of it stands up well over time, I was able to make some slight changes to the values, along with removing some original stuff that wasn’t really relevant. Enjoy. Introduction It’s safe to say that most carbohydrate recommendations that you will see are put in terms of percentages, you should be eating 45% of your calories as carbs, or 65% or whatever number is being used. As I discussed in Diet Percentag Continue reading >>
Is There A Dark Side Of Ketosis?
I can’t remember what appetizer she pointed to, but the woman sitting to the left of me said this so casually, and several folks at the table knew exactly what she meant, confirming what I’d long suspected: Ketogenic diets have officially gone mainstream – or recognizable at a party mainstream at least – in 2017. Let’s back up and demystify ketosis, which simply means you’re utilizing ketone bodies – more commonly called ketones – rather than glucose as your body’s primary fuel. Just like your car uses gasoline, your body needs fuel. That usually means glucose. But let’s say you’re on a very-low carbohydrate, higher-fat diet. Your body doesn’t get a lot of glucose, which primarily comes from carbohydrate and to a lesser degree protein. That means your liver’s backup glucose (glycogen) also becomes in short supply. Unlike your car, your body doesn’t just shut down. Thankfully, you have an alternative fuel source called ketones. Ketones are organic compounds your liver always makes. You’re cranking out ketones right now as you read this. During starvation or (more likely) when you restrict carbohydrate and increase fat intake, your body uses ketones as its primary fuel. In other words, when your body doesn’t receive or can’t make enough glucose, it shifts to this alternative fuel. Almost every organ can utilize ketones except for your red blood cells (which don’t have ketone-metabolizing mitochondria) and liver. Your liver, in fact, does the heavy lifting. This hardworking organ metabolizes fat into three ketone bodies: acetoacetate (ACA), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and acetone.(1) BHB is the first substrate that kicks ketosis into action. Among its benefits, BHB reduces chronic inflammation and restores healthy inflammation levels. In Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Should I Eat To Prevent Ketosis?
When you’re on a low-carb diet, your body kicks into action, breaking down fats into ketone bodies to use for energy. This increase in ketones -- called ketosis -- is a normal adaptation to cutting carbs. In fact, the switch to ketosis is why low-carb diets work. Even though you could eat enough carbs to prevent ketosis, it's important to clarify why you want to avoid it. There's nothing unhealthy about ketosis, so you may just need to correct any misinformation to make the best decision for your weight-loss goals. Video of the Day Deal With Concerns Over Ketosis Ketosis is often confused with ketoacidosis, which is unfortunate -- ketosis is normal, while ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition related to type 1 diabetes. Most people on a low-carb diet tolerate ketosis without any problems. Then after the pounds are dropped, carb intake is gradually increased so you're out of ketosis by the time you reach the maintenance phase. If you decide to stay in an induction phase longer than the low-carb plan recommends, consult your doctor to be safe. People with type 1 diabetes are at risk for developing ketoacidosis from lack of insulin. Due to the complex metabolism of diabetes, they end up with high levels of blood glucose and ketones, which upsets the body's normal acid-base balance. When that happens, ketosis becomes ketoacidosis, causing symptoms like thirst, frequent urination, dry mouth, nausea, belly pain, rapid breathing and fruity-smelling breath. If you have symptoms, contact your doctor immediately -- diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency. You may be wary about ketosis because you've heard about "ketosis flu." It's not really flu, but in the first few days or weeks of a low-carb diet, some people experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation or wea Continue reading >>
5 Mistakes To Avoid On A Ketogenic Diet
I promise that this is the next to last blog post about dietary stuff for a while. I just wanted to conclude this series with some pointers on things to avoid if you should find yourself curious about implementing a dietary shift, away from carbs and towards fat as an energy source. There is, of course, plenty of information available courtesy of my good friend Mr. Google, but I want to highlight the pitfalls I experienced in hopes that you can learn or be entertained by my failures–or possibly even both. I’d like to remind you that I am not a doctor or dietician. The following statements have not been approved by anyone other than myself, and likely reflect significant gaps in objective factuality! I wrote an eBook compiling my experiments with the ketogenic diet and type 1 diabetes which you can check out here: Low-carb and Ketogenic are not synonymous. A ketogenic diet is by definition “low-carb” but unless you are consistently bringing your carb intake below 50 grams (ideally below 30 grams) daily, your body will maintain glucose as a fuel source. This may still be useful for managing blood sugar, but athletic efforts will still require higher loads of carbs with corresponding higher doses of insulin. The benefit of ketosis requires commitment and some time to fully achieve. Keto acidosis or DKA and Ketosis are not the same things. DKA is an extremely high level of ketones which lead to a shift in the pH level of the blood–it is not the ketones themselves as much as the acidic condition that is dangerous. Ketones are a natural byproduct of metabolizing fat and are no more a cause for alarm (in small quantities) than glucose in the blood. When any chemical in the blood accumulates too rapidly, bad things happen. Ketosis is not a drastic “dump” of ketone Continue reading >>
Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?
Does alcohol stop ketosis? What happens if you eat more fat than your body needs? And will a slightly higher carb intake kick you out of ketosis? Get the answers in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt: Alcohol stopping ketosis? We are trying to get into ketosis and measuring blood ketones which seem to be sitting around 1.0 mmol/L. We have adjusted and readjusted our protein and carb amounts to be within the limits you suggest. Last night I had three vodkas – being no-carb alcohol, can this still affect ketosis levels or would we be doing something else wrong? Thank you, Meg Alcohol should not have any major effect on ketosis, as long as it’s no-carb alcohol like vodka (without sweet ingredients in a drink of course). If anything, pure alcohol tends to somewhat increase ketosis. For best results choose low-carb alcoholic drinks like wine or other low-carb drinks, see the guide below. Also note that many people get more sensitive to alcohol on a ketogenic diet. Be careful and never drink and drive, this is especially true on keto. Best, Andreas Eenfeldt If I eat more fat than my body needs for fuel, what happens to the excess? I understand that if one eats more carbs (glucose) and/or protein than one’s body can immediately use, the excess can be stored as fat. What happens to dietary fat if one eats more of it than can be used? Is it, too, stored, or does the body excrete it? Kathleen It’s mostly stored, though there may be a slight increase in calories burned on low carb. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry, and this should not really be an issue on a low-carb diet, as fat is very satiating. Best, Andreas Eenfeldt Will going moderate low carb >50 carbs turn brain back to using carbs for fuel instead of ketones? I think I need to up carbs for energy. I e Continue reading >>
The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners
Most people that start a keto diet plan find that they have some intense cravings for sugar in the beginning, but will dissipate after a few weeks. Even the seasoned low carber will tell you that they have cravings every once in a while, sometimes burning inside them so deep they want to give up to temptation. That’s where sweeteners come in, where you can make or bake things you usually can’t eat. Of course, you will have to watch out because most things that say “carb free” actually still contain carbs. Make sure you take the net carbs of any impacting sweetener into consideration when tracking your macros. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to try to avoid sweeteners in the beginning. They’re well known to cause cravings and some may stall your progress with over-use. Stay strict and try to only occasionally consume sweet treats when you are on a low carb diet. Types of Sweeteners In general, there are a few classifications of sweeteners. There are natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and synthetic sweeteners (or artificial sweeteners). There are a few others that aren’t exactly classified in these categories (like glycerin based sweeteners) but they are quite uncommon and rarely used, so we’ll skip going over them. For a ketogenic diet, I personally suggest sticking with erythritol and stevia (or a blend) because they are both naturally occurring, don’t cause blood sugar or insulin spikes, and sweeten just perfectly. When used in combination, they seem to cancel out the aftertaste that each has, and work like a charm. When you purchase sweeteners, make sure to take a look at the ingredients on the packaging. You normally want the pure sweetener, rather than having fillers such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or polydextrose which can cause spik Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Foods To Avoid
I see a ketogenic diet as a lifestyle and I would have liked to say that there are no foods to avoid on a ketogenic diet. In an ideal world I would have told you to eat any food, but just eat all foods in moderation. That is kind of what we are told all the time. Isn't it? The reality though is that there are plenty of foods that we should never have eaten in the first place and now to just say eat them all in moderation is therefore not a valid or useful argument. Whilst on a ketogenic diet the foods to avoid can be summarized as all sugary and starchy food. This is a topic I intend to cover only once, as I prefer to focus on what we should be eating and doing, rather than what we shouldn't be. If you feel the same and want to rather check out what you should be eating, then check out our list for a comprehensive shopping list and our ketogenic diet checklist that summarizes it all. Now, let's look into the different categories of food we shouldn't be eating and why. What Now Now that you know what foods to avoid on your ketogenic diet, focus on what you CAN have. There are lots of amazing real foods and snacks that you can enjoy every day. Once you feel how good it feels when you eat healthily, you won't miss these foods. And if you miss any of them, then check out some of these amazing recipes. Continue reading >>
Preventive Strategies For Ketosis
Parturition and the onset of lactation challenges calcium and energy homeostasis in dairy cows predisposing them to periparturient disorders that affect health, production and reproductive performance says Carlos Risco, DVM, Dipl. ACT, University of Florida. Dairy cattle experience a negative carbohydrate balance, from -3 weeks and + 3 weeks from calving and are at risk to develop ketosis, Risco explained at the 2010 Western Veterinary Conference. Milk production, in particular, drives the high requirements for glucose because other fuels cannot substitute for lactose in milk. To counteract this, the cow mobilizes body fat and protein stores in the form of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and amino acids. This promotes gluconeogenesis and occurs under the influence of low serum concentrations of insulin. Volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate, butyrate [BHBA]) produced in the rumen are also presented to the liver as fuels. Acetate and butyrate are ketogenic, and propionate is glycogenic. The key to prevention of ketosis is to maximize dry matter intake before and after calving to prevent excessive NEFA mobilization. Preventing ketosis in the first place is key to avoid some post-partum issues. Risco outlined some preventive strategies: The transition ration. To prevent ketosis the transition ration should maximize DMI, provide adequate energy density, and minimize ketogenic precursors. Silage with a high butyric acid content should not be fed. Introduce ration changes gradually. Manage transition cows to maximize DMI, e.g., provide adequate bunk space. Avoid over-conditioning of cows in late lactation and the early dry period. Niacin (nicotinic acid) fed in transition rations at 6–12 g /d may help reduce blood ketone levels. Propylene glycol may be administered pr Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Foods To Avoid: 108 Foods That’ll Slow Your Fat Loss
There are 108 ketogenic diet foods to avoid that will slow down (or shut down) your body’s fat burning capability. Remember that carbs must be kept very low to remain in ketosis. Most people need to stay within 20-30 grams of net carbs per day, and protein shouldn’t make up more than 20-25% of total calories. Too many carb or protein-centric foods can very quickly bring you out of ketosis and slow down your body’s fat burning capabilities. This is why the foods below should be avoided on a ketogenic diet. Not to worry, though. We’ve made it easy for you with this cheat sheet covering the biggest keto foods to avoid and why. We chunked it down by macronutrient: Want a quick and easy meal plan that doesn’t include any of these keto-unfriendly foods? We’ve created one for you. Click here to get the FREE downloadable meal plan now. Carbs to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet Grains All grains—and foods made from grains (yup, even whole grains)—should be avoided. Grains contain too many carbs and will interfere with ketosis, slowing weight loss. That includes*: Beans and Legumes Beans provide nutrition for those on a regular diet, but they’re not fit for the ketogenic diet due to their high starch (carb) content. Avoid legumes including*: Fruit is healthy, right? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re keto-compliant. Fruit is high in sugar and carbs, so is usually a no-go on the keto diet. That includes tropical fruits, fruit juices, dried fruits, and fruit smoothies (for the most part). If you do have fruit, choose lower-sugar options like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and eat them sparingly. Starchy Vegetables Avoid any vegetables that grow beneath the ground and focus on more on the leafy greens. The high starch content of some vegetables (like tho Continue reading >>
Does The Ketogenic Diet Work For Type 2 Diabetes?
You’ve probably seen dozens of headlines about the ketogenic diet by now, which has made its way into popular culture largely by celebrities and supermodels giving the long-standing fad diet a repeated stamp of approval. Is this the diet to follow if you have diabetes? Studies suggest the answer isn’t so simple. Some science shows its meal plan may be helpful, while other research, like one study published in September 2016 in Nutrients, highlights the importance of whole grains in the diets of people with diabetes — a restricted food category in the ketogenic diet. While the keto diet can offer many potential benefits for diabetes management, following it requires pretty serious commitment. So take a beat before you take the plunge — and consider these questions that can help you and your medical team determine if it’s right for you: How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work Exactly? There’s a good reason the ketogenic diet is also referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet. Indeed, following the ketogenic diet means reducing carbohydrate intake to typically less than 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, while increasing fat and protein intake, according to a review published in August 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To put that into perspective, an individual on an average, non-restricted diet can easily eat more carbohydrates than that in one typical meal — for instance, a turkey, cheese, and veggie sandwich on whole-grain bread with a small, 1 ounce (oz) bag of classic potato chips would come in at around 51 g of carbs. These dietary changes drive down insulin levels, eventually leading your body into a state of ketosis, during which it is burning fat rather than carbohydrates. What Are Some of the Potential Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for Continue reading >>
Know The Precautions Of A Ketogenic Diet
Overview The ketogenic diet focuses on calories from fat and protein while avoiding carbohydrates. When carbs are absent, your body uses fats and protein for energy. The ketogenic diet is named for the ketone bodies that are waste products of fat breakdown and can be measured in the urine. Applications include weight loss and the treatment of neurological disorders, though the dietary specifics may be substantially different among applications. Regardless, a ketogenic diet is extreme and can be a potent stressor for your body. If you pursue it, do so with caution, knowledge and your doctor's supervision. Does the Ketogenic Diet Really Work to Help Control Seizures? Seizures disorders, such as epilepsy, occur when the activity in your brain occasionally is out of control, resulting in a cluster of uncontrolled behavior, sensations or movements. The ketogenic diet has proved to be very effective in controlling seizures that have resisted other treatments, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Scientists do not yet know how the ketogenic diet that mimics starvation helps control seizures or why it only works in a subset of people. In the manifestation of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy, more than 80 percent of your daily calories come from fat. Can a Ketogenic Diet Work for Tourette's? Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disorder defined by uncontrollable, repetitive movements or sounds called tics. Evidence supports the role of energy metabolism in regulating the level of certain neurotransmitters that control the level of brain activity, according to a 2009 review in "Current Neuropharmacology." However, the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in controlling Tourette's syndrome tics has not been determined. Can a Ketogenic Diet Prevent Kidney Stones? Kidney stones are Continue reading >>
How To Prevent Weight Loss (or Gain Muscle) On A Therapeutic Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly popular as we learn more about the potential benefits in terms of both performance and chronic disease management. However, the diet also has to be tailored to your personal goals, and we’ve previously written about some of the pitfalls for athletes using a ketogenic diet. For instance, satiety may be one of the most notable benefits of a ketogenic diet , which seems to provide an advantage during weight loss. But if you’re already lean and your ketogenic diet is causing you to undereat, losing lean mass can be a concern. This is important for athletes, but also for patients using a therapeutic ketogenic diet to control a chronic neurodegenerative disease, because muscle mass and strength are two of the best predictors of long-term health and mortality. Thus, the question that naturally arises is: how can I implement a ketogenic diet without losing weight? The topic of gaining or maintaining weight (specifically lean mass) on a ketogenic diet is often left out of the discussion. In fact, the following question was recently sent to the team at Nourish Balance Thrive: I just finished listening to your latest podcast. Very informative! At the end, you were asking for suggestions for possible topics. I have one: the combination of ketosis and an ectomorphic body type: issues for people like myself who don't want to lose weight or outright cannot afford to but want to apply ketosis for other reasons. In my particular case, it is a neurodegenerative disease I'm dealing with (Parkinson's). There is quite a bit of literature indicating that a keto diet could be helpful, but my BMI varies between 19 and 20 and ketosis tends to lower that considerably. Are there things one can tweak to do keto without the weight loss, or do you t Continue reading >>
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Diabetes & Ketogenic Diet: Can You Manage Your Diabetes On A Ketogenic Diet?
In this article we will cover what a Ketogenic diet is and if you can manage your diabetes while on this diet. Ketogenic diet for diabetics is a highly controversial topic, but we will break down everything here for you! As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have to tell you from the start I will have a biased view here. Sorry, but I feel that I need to be completely honest right up front! I will however, present all the evidence that is available currently on the subject. As a CDE, I have been taught to follow the American Diabetes Association Dietary Guidelines for Americans which is low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, with fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The Ketogenic Diet this article will be discussing is much lower in carbohydrates, in order to promote the state of nutritional ketosis, or the fat burning state for weight loss. What is a Ketogenic Diet? The Ketogenic Diet is a low carbohydrate diet, consisting initially of less than 20 carbohydrates per day. Not per meal, yes, you heard me correctly, per day. It is not for the faint of heart and yes I am writing from experience. Of course I have tried it! Hasn’t everybody in America at some point who has wanted to lose weight? Does it work you ask? Of course it does! The problem is how long can you keep it up? Your body uses the carbohydrates you eat for energy, so if we restrict how many carbohydrates we eat, the body has to get its fuel source from fat. A byproduct of this fat burning state are ketones which are produced; this is called nutritional ketosis. You can determine if you are in this fat burning state by purchasing urine ketone testing strips from your local pharmacy. The Ketogenic Diet with Diabetes Some precautions must be made clear; this diet is not appropriate for people with any Continue reading >>
The Paleo Guide To Ketosis
Ketosis is a word that gets tossed around a lot within the Paleo community – to some, it’s a magical weight-loss formula, to others, it’s a way of life, and to others it’s just asking for adrenal fatigue. But understanding what ketosis really is (not just what it does), and the physical causes and consequences of a fat-fueled metabolism can help you make an informed decision about the best diet for your particular lifestyle, ketogenic or not. Ketosis is essentially a metabolic state in which the body primarily relies on fat for energy. Biologically, the human body is a very adaptable machine that can run on a variety of different fuels, but on a carb-heavy Western diet, the primary source of energy is glucose. If glucose is available, the body will use it first, since it’s the quickest to metabolize. So on the standard American diet, your metabolism will be primarily geared towards burning carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel. In ketosis, it’s just the opposite: the body primarily relies on ketones, rather than glucose. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand that some organs in the body (especially the brain) require a base amount of glucose to keep functioning. If your brain doesn’t get any glucose, you’ll die. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need glucose in the diet – your body is perfectly capable of meeting its glucose needs during an extended fast, a period of famine, or a long stretch of very minimal carbohydrate intake. There are two different ways to make this happen. First, you could break down the protein in your muscles and use that as fuel for your brain and liver. This isn’t ideal from an evolutionary standpoint though – when you’re experiencing a period of food shortage, you need to be strong and fast, Continue reading >>
How You Can Avoid The “keto Flu”
Have you heard of the keto flu? Most people in modern society have basically been eating sugar all day everyday for their entire lives. Getting into the Keto Zone switched the mitochondria from burning sugar for fuel to using fat instead. For people with particularly deranged metabolisms, this transition can cause a myriad of symptoms commonly referred to as the “keto flu.” What is Keto Flu? The keto flu is a result of the mitochondria in your cells “re-learning” how to use fat for energy. When you were born and subsisting off of your mother’s milk you were in a mild state of ketosis. As soon as you were weaned off milk and onto high sugar foods such as starches (such as carrots and potatoes), grains (such as wheat and corn), and fruits (like applesauce and bananas), the metabolism switches over to primarily using sugar for fuel. In essence, keto flu is sugar withdrawal. Most have us have gone our whole lives eating sugar from the moment we wake up (oatmeal, fruit, toast, pancakes, waffles, bagels, cereal, etc) until the moment we go to sleep (ice cream, cookies, brownies, crackers, chips, and candy.) This has created a situation where most people bodies no longer possess the metabolic machinery required to burn fat for fuel. When you eliminate carbs from your diet to get in to the keto zone for weight loss and better health you may experience symptoms as the body adapts to this new fuel source. Symptoms of The Keto Flu Keto flu symptoms will generally occur during the adaptation phase of a ketogenic diet (the first 3-14 days). Symptoms may also result from cheat days or “falling off the wagon.” Keto flu symptoms include: Fatigue Cramps Aches and Pains Heart Palpitations Nausea Constipation Diarrhea Sugar Cravings Brain Fog Irritability Sleep Disturbances Continue reading >>