What Is The Ketogenic Diet, And Should You Do It?
Unsustainable diets tend to have one thing in common: They restrict the foods that normally keep you feeling full and recommend limp alternatives that leave you with lingering cravings. If you tend to make a beeline to the vending machine every afternoon, the fast-growing list of devout fans of the ketogenic diet say it might be the answer. The ketogenic diet, also called the "keto" diet, is hardly new, but it's started to swell in popularity—last year it was the fifth-most searched diet on Google. "The ketogenic diet is too often viewed as simply a sugar elimination diet … but really, it is a low-carb diet [that] drastically reduces the foods that turn into sugar in the body," says Maria Emmerich, author of The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse and The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners. In essence, pasta and bread are out, and vegetables and filling, high-fat foods are in. "Even a less intense, modified version can help you reap the keto diet's benefits," says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS. "By limiting sugars and processed grains, you lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating an array of heart-healthy fats can decrease your risk of heart disease," he explains. Curious? Here's everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet to decide whether it's right for you. So what makes it different from every other low-carb diet out there? "Almost every cell in our bodies can use two fuel sources, glucose (sugar) and ketones (fat)," explains Emmerich. "This diet restricts carbohydrates so that it switches to using fat as its primary fuel." In other words, it encourages eating high-fat foods rather than carbohydrates to put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. We hear you: Isn't fat bad for you? "All of the latest, unbiased science has shown fat is not the villain it has b Continue reading >>
The Ugly Truth About Ketogenic Diets
Here's what you need to know... Ketosis occurs when carbs are in such low quantities that your body relies almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. Ketogenic diets have about 70-75% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat and about 5% from carbohydrates. Ingesting protein above approximately .8 grams per pound is enough to kick you out of ketosis. Ketogenic diets improve body comp, but so does any diet that reduces calories from any source. There is no literature to support that a ketogenic diet is beneficial for promoting increases in muscle mass. Ketogenic diets affect performance negatively. Questions About Ketosis While the ketogenic diet has been used widely and rather effectively in some cases, there's still a lot of confusion about it. What exactly is a ketogenic diet? How does it differ from low carb dieting? Most importantly, at least for the T Nation demographic, is the question of whether ketogenic diets allow you to put on, or at least keep, muscle. Ketosis: What is it? Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when dietary carbohydrates are in such low quantities that your body must rely almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. That sounds simple on the surface, but let's unpack that explanation a bit. To function, your body requires a substantial amount of energy in the form of ATP. So, let's just assume that the average person uses about 1,800 calories per day to create enough ATP to keep him alive (not including any physical activity). Now this is where it gets interesting. You have this thing in your skull called a brain. It uses about 400 or so calories per day and runs almost exclusively on glucose. (There's some evidence it can use small amounts of fat and lactate, but in the big picture it's not Continue reading >>
The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, But Is It Safe?
A new twist on extreme weight loss is catching on in some parts of the United States. It’s called the "keto diet." People promoting the diet say it uses the body’s own fat burning system to help people lose significant weight in as little as 10 days. It has also been known to help moderate the symptoms of children with epilepsy, although experts are not quite sure why it works. Proponents say the diet can produce quick weight loss and provide a person with more energy. However, critics say the diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight and in some instances it can be downright dangerous. Read More: What is the “Caveman Diet?” » What Is Ketosis? The “keto” diet is any extremely low- or no-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age. However, many experts say ketosis itself is not necessarily harmful. Some studies, in fact, suggest that a ketogenic diet is safe for significantly overweight or obese people. However, other clinical reviews point out that patients on low-carbohydrate diets regain some of their lost weight within a year. Where It’s Helpful The keto diet was created by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. He claims great success among thousands of users. In his study, more than 19,000 dieters experienced significant, rapid weight loss, few side Continue reading >>
What Should I Do Before Starting A Ketogenic Diet?
You’ve heard about this new way of eating that promises huge weight loss and health results (Like my own 200 lb weight loss) called keto and you think you want to try it out. Great! I’m glad you found this blog. You are on the edge of an exciting change in your life, your weight, your mood, and your overall health. But before you get started, it would be nice if someone walked you through some of the basics of what you should do before you start. If that’s you, you are in the right place! Here’s what you should do before you start a Ketogenic Diet. Learn the Basics – The Basics are very simple. Don’t any sugar, grains ar simple starches like pasta, bread, potatoes, etc and eat more full fat foods like meat, eggs, butter, bacon, etc. Stay away from seed oils, vegetable oils or canola and cook with saturated fat like lard, coconut oil, etc. I go into far more detail in this post and I would recommend you read it before you start. You May Want to Take a Few Blood Tests – I don’t believe blood tests are necessary before starting a ketogenic diet for most people. All you will be doing is eating the foods you should have been eating all along. However, it is nice to be able to see your progress in hard numbers. I go into what blood tests you should consider before starting a ketogenic diet in this this post. Get Your Starting Weight – You are definitely going to want to track your weight as you do this so make sure you have a way to record this info. Your phone should have a health app like Android Health or Apple Fit already on it you can use but if not, download one from the app store. I started using one of these Bluetooth Bathroom Scales and love it. I don’t have to record anything, just step on the scale and wait for the little chime and it’s all re Continue reading >>
Should You Have Cheat Meals On A Ketogenic Diet?
Damn does that cake look good! Cheat meals. Everyone thinks about them when following any diet, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. You might be wondering if you should have cheat meals while going keto. Is it worth it? Is it okay? Will it mess up your progress completely? Intellectually, why would you want to eat something that isn’t in line with your goals or your health? Let’s face it, cheat day meals are bad for you. We know it. The ketogenic diet is simple, but not always easy, and there are some grey areas, so lLet’s talk a little bit about what happens when you have cheat meals and whether or not they’re worth it. You might know people who do low-carb long-term and schedule cheat meals in at regular times, such as on the weekends or set days each month. While this creates a healthy mindset around not needing to be perfect, things are a little different with the ketogenic diet. Since keto is stricter than other low-carb diets, (see our post on keto vs. Atkins) it’s more tempting to have cheat meals. However, the effects of them can be more dramatic. Disadvantages of Cheat Meals on the Ketogenic Diet Here are some consequences of having cheat meals. These are things to consider before flying off the deep end with some emotional eating. Let’s get the big one out of the way first, Cheating Takes You out of Ketosis Since cheating on the keto diet more than likely will take you out of ketosis—especially if the cheat meal or snack is carb-heavy—you have to be prepared for this fact. Know that it’ll likely set you back some and take some time to get back into a ketogenic state. When you have eaten what you suspect was a “cheat meal,” put it to the acid test, and test your ketone levels. People are often surprised that they stay in ketosis after Continue reading >>
Everything You Should Know About The Ketogenic Diet
Recently I had a client tell me that she and her husband were eating more than 2 pounds of bacon a week—usually three strips for breakfast and one or two with a salad for dinner. I’ve been a dietitian for almost 20 years. Few things surprise me. But I had to ask: “Why?” She told me that her husband had heard about a new diet on TV, the keto diet, and they decided to try it. Six months and countless packages of bacon later, her husband had lost 20 pounds and said he felt more energetic. I’m beginning to hear more and more people lecture me about the benefits of the ketogenic diet. “Keto burns fat fast! It turbo-charges your energy! It fights disease! You can eat all the bacon you want!” But as is so often the case with diets, underneath all the initial excitement, there’s a gut check. Here’s everything you should know about the ketogenic diet and whether or not you should try it for yourself. Ketogenesis has existed as long as humans have. If you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, you starve your brain of glucose, its main fuel source. Your body still needs fuel to function, so your brain signals it to tap its reserve of ketones. It’s like a hybrid car that runs out of gas and reverts to pure electricity. Okay, but what are ketones? They’re compounds created by your liver from your fat stores when blood insulin is low. “Your liver produces ketones all the time, but the rate depends on carbohydrate and protein intake,” says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of human sciences at Ohio State University. Eat a normal amount of carbs and protein, and ketogenesis idles. Cut carbs and protein back, and you push to half throttle. This takes about three days to induce. A ketogenic diet requires that fat comprise 60 to 80 percent of your total calo Continue reading >>
Why This Doctor Recommends Keto (with A Catch)
Would clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNC, recommend the keto diet? "Absolutely," he told POPSUGAR. But there is a catch. You can't do it forever. A brief refresher, if you don't already know: the keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet in which you switch your body's primary energy source from carbohydrates to fat (i.e., from glucose to ketones). Up to 80 percent of your calories come from fat — we're not kidding when we say high-fat! That's what differentiates this diet from something like Paleo or Atkins — they're both low-carb, but with keto, the emphasis is on the fats. "I don't think somebody should be on a full ketogenic diet for more than three months," he said. "What I teach is not that everybody should be on a ketogenic diet — the basis of what I teach is traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM — but if somebody has the goal of overcoming epilepsy, fighting cancer, overcoming blood sugar issues like diabetes, losing weight, or even some hormonal issues, the ketogenic diet is a great temporary diet." "Everybody is different; depending on somebody's genetics, depending on somebody's health goals or struggles, certain people should be on certain diets," said Dr. Axe. For the patients he believes need the keto diet for what he calls "a breakthrough" in their health, he likes to limit it to three months. "When I put my patients on it, it has been for a maximum of three months. I know some people who have been on [the keto diet] and have done it for a year and done well with it. But I don't think people should be on a ketogenic diet fully for more than a year — absolutely not for more than a year." His reasoning for this is rooted in human history and the biology of our ancestors. As Dr. Axe is a clinical nutritionist with method Continue reading >>
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Should You Follow The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet may be on the rise as far as diet trends go, but the concept isn't new. First identified as a beneficial treatment for epilepsy, the high-fat, very-low-carbohydrate approach has been around for close to 100 years. Recently, the diet has become popular among athletes (LeBron James tried it) and those looking for the next weight-loss cure-all. Followers eat foods like butter, oils, fatty meats and cheese. Proponents claim it can lower cholesterol and improve athletic performance, but before you go "keto," here's a look at the science behind the popular diet. Try It: How to Start a Low-Carb Diet the Healthy Way Ketogenic Diet Basics The keto diet requires the body to rely mostly on fat for energy, rather than the usual carbohydrates (see Carbohydrates vs. Fat for Fuel below). When carb intake is very low, ketones—products of fat breakdown in the liver—must fuel the body. According to John Hawley, Ph.D., director of the Centre for Exercise and Nutrition at Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research in Melbourne, Australia, there is no global definition of the ketogenic diet. In other words, no standard exists for how many grams of carbohydrate, fat, or protein should be consumed when following the diet. Most research around the diet has identified a carbohydrate intake between 25 and 50 grams per day, which is equivalent to two medium apples or one cup of cooked brown rice. This extreme reduction in carbohydrate is very difficult to maintain long-term and makes it impossible to meet the recommended amount of fruit, vegetable and whole-grain servings recommended for a healthy diet. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates should make up 45 to 60 percent of daily calories, or 130 grams/day, for most people to eat a balanced die Continue reading >>
10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips
10 Critical Ketogenic Diet Tips A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). I personally recommend a cyclic ketogenic diet for most of my clients where you go low-carb for 3 days and then have a slightly higher carbohydrate day, followed by 3 lower carb days. This cycles the body in and out of a state of ketosis and is beneficial for hormone balance while keeping inflammatory levels very low. The biggest challenge with this nutrition plan is to get into and maintain the state of fat adaption. Here are several advanced tips to get into and maintain ketosis. 1. Stay Hydrated: This is considered a no-brainer, but is not easy to follow. We often get so busy in our day-day lives that we forget to hydrate effectively. I recommend super hydrating your system by drinking 32 oz of filtered water within the first hour of waking and another 32-48 oz of water before noon. I have most of my clients do a water fast or eat light in the morning doing smoothies or keto coffee or tea. So hydration around these dishes should be well tolerated by the digestive system. In general, aiming to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water and closer to your full body weight in ounces of water daily will help you immensely. I weigh 160 lbs and easily drink 140-180 ounces of water each day. Sometimes more in the summer time. As you begin super Continue reading >>
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Where Did My Appetite Go?
It’s the flip side to being hungry all the time: what on earth do you do when your appetite just isn’t showing up to play? When you count up your food and find you’re eating almost nothing – not because you’re trying to starve yourself, but because you just aren’t hungry for it at all. You don’t even want to eat. This can be great for weight loss, but it can also be pretty scary to experience without knowing why, and you might be wondering whether you’re accidentally depriving yourself of necessary nutrients on such a tiny amount of food. So why could this be happening? Ketosis Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body runs primarily on fat for energy, instead of carbohydrates. You achieve ketosis by eating a very low-carb diet. Whether you were intending to eat a ketogenic diet or not, if you don’t make an effort to eat any tubers or fruits, you might end up accidentally taking Paleo in a ketogenic direction. And one of the best-known side effects of ketosis is loss of appetite. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this – it’s one of the reasons why ketogenic diets can be so great for weight loss. If you want to lose weight or don’t mind the appetite loss, then just sit back and enjoy the hunger-free ride! On the other hand, if you weren’t trying to lose weight, this can be a problem. For an athlete going Paleo to improve the health, for example, a ketogenic diet can be a disaster: suddenly, they aren’t eating enough to fuel their workouts, and performance goes down the drain. The fix for this is simple: try adding some more safe starches into your diet and see how you feel. You might find that your appetite comes back all on its own. Hunger as Fatigue Another potential cause for a loss of appetite is that you are hungry; you just don Continue reading >>
What's Up With The High-fat Diet Trend—and Does It Work?
If you're looking for the trendiest diet since Paleo, this might be it—only with more fat, way less protein, and virtually zero carbs. The ketogenic diet, which has reportedly been used by celebs like Kim Kardashian and NBA player Lebron James, is a high-fat, low-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that was originally developed to treat epilepsy in children (experts can't say for sure why it reduces the frequency of seizures, but it does seem to work). The whole diet is based on a process called ketosis, which is when your body is so depleted of carbs that your liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which can be used as energy, says Tracy A. Siegfried, M.D., medical director at The N.E.W. Program, a bariatric and metabolic weight-loss center in California. The ketones replace carbohydrates as your body’s main energy source, meaning you are running on (and burning) fat. To tell if your body is in a state of ketosis, you can measure your blood or urine for elevated levels of ketones (Ketostix, used to test keto-dieters ketone levels, are available at many pharmacies). If this sounds familiar, it's probably because ketosis is also the goal of the first stage of the Atkins diet. But unlike the keto diet, the Atkins diet aims to get you into a mild state of ketosis and allows for more carbohydrates. In other words, keto is more hardcore. So What the Heck Do You Eat? To get your body to reach ketosis, 80 to 90 percent of the calories you consume should come from fat, and the rest should come from a combo of protein and carbs, says Siegfried. Plus, your carb intake is limited to 10 to 35 grams per day. That's roughly the amount in a single apple, glass of milk, or piece of bread. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to eat fruit or milk-based products without su Continue reading >>
Everyone's Calling This Diet The New Paleo
It's the low-carb, high-fat eating plan fitness fanatics swear by. But is it actually worth doing? A dietitian explains. The ketogenic diet has gained popularity in recent years, with some claiming this way of eating can have incredible benefits to long-term health. But what is a ketogenic diet, and does the evidence truly stack up to back up the claims? This is what you need to know, according to accredited practicing dietitian Chloe McLeod. What is a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet is a diet very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat. The reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates places the body in a state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state where fat provides most of the fuel the body requires to function. What constitutes a diet that’s low-carb and high-fat? A standard ketogenic diet is usually comprised of approximately 20 per cent protein, 75 per cent fat, and 5 per cent carbohydrates, where approximately 10-50g of carbohydrates are consumed each day. When compared to a general healthy diet, the distribution is far more even, with approximately 20-30 per cent protein, 20-30 per cent fat and 30-40 per cent carbohydrates. Who should do it? Ketogenic diets are reportedly useful for weight management. When reducing carbohydrates, it is normal to see the number on the scales go down, due to the body losing water as a result of carbohydrate stores being used up. Fat and protein are also very satiating, meaning that it is possible you will feel fuller. This means potentially fewer calories are consumed, so weight loss is as a result of reduced calorie consumption, rather than the low-carb diet. That said there is some research which indicates that low carbohydrate diets can assist with weight loss, particularly in severely obese individuals. The cons? Some Continue reading >>
Do You Need To Exercise On Keto Diet?
It is often said that one of the best things about following a ketogenic diet for weight loss is that you don’t have to adopt an exercise regime to lose weight. Many people don’t like the idea of working out, or think they don’t have time, and this makes the ketogenic diet appealing to them. But is it true? Constant Fat Burning Through Ketosis In essence, yes, you can lose weight, and at quite a good rate, without adding additional exercise to your daily routine. This is for two reasons inherent to the way the ketogenic diet works, which are different to the way a traditional low fat diet works: Firstly, when you are on a ketogenic diet, your body is in a state called ketosis where it is burning fat you eat and your own body fat for energy. Energy of course, isn’t just used up by exercise and conscious activity, but by everything you do. Even when your sleeping, your body needs fuel to keep itself going. Because all of this fuel is coming from fat, you don’t need to exercise to burn it off and lose weight. Secondly, because a ketogenic diet curbs your appetite, even though you don’t count calories you are likely to be eating a low calorie diet naturally. This means that your calorie use every day is likely to exceed your calorie intake, even without burning through extra calories by exercising. So, this is good news for people who are too unfit to exercise safely, or who can’t exercise because of injury or disability. It is also good news for people who just don’t want to exercise, however, don’t rule it out just on that basis… Why You Should Still Work Out if You Can If you are able to work out, from a physical perspective (everybody can make time, so being too busy is no excuse!) then you will find it has an even greater impact on the speed and eff Continue reading >>
What You Should Know Before Trying A Ketogenic Diet
Five people have recently told me they were going to “try keto”—the most recent after gushing about a mutual friend who has been doing keto, aka the popular ketogenic diet, and getting awesome-looking results. You’ve probably heard rumblings about keto, but what the heck is it? And is it too good to be true? Let’s first get you caught up on all the hubbub around the ketogenic diet. Keto is an extremely low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet. You’ll find those on keto gobbling up stuff like fat slabs of bacon, mountains of avocados, and cartons of heavy whipping cream. There’s a lot of enthusiastic fanfare around it, like this comment on Reddit: Awesome. And then there’s this one: Low-carb diets are nothing new for weight loss. And keto is kind of a low-carb diet with a twist in that you emphasize tons of fat. I spoke to Leigh Peele, NASM certified personal trainer who fields questions on all matters of weight loss, metabolism, and nutrition, and is author of Starve Mode; and she told me that the original definition of keto is a 4:1 ratio of fats to carbohydrates or protein. That is, for every gram of protein or carb you eat, you would also eat four grams of fat (hence, the avocados and heavy whipping cream). But you don’t have to stick to that exactly as long as your carbs are low and protein moderate enough to properly be “ketogenic.” Let me explain. Differences Between Keto and a Low-Carb Diet Keto’s trump card against the average low-carb diet is that, after consistently depriving yourself of bread, pasta, donuts, and any carb source, your body goes into ketosis (between a couple of days and a week). Ketosis means your body is breaking down fat and releasing large quantities of molecules called ketones into your bloodstream. Your body t Continue reading >>
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How To Know If The Ketogenic Diet Is Right For You
It’s almost a universally accepted fact that diets leave you hungry. After all, that rumbling tummy two hours after mealtime (not to mention, strict and time-consuming calorie counting) is the reason most New Year’s resolutions fail by February, right? But Dr. Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery, the authors of The Ketogenic Bible, say you don’t need to go hungry or count calories to lose weight. The ketogenic diet, also referred to as “keto,” is a dieting method gaining popularity from people with diabetes to CrossFitters. “The ketogenic diet induces ketosis, which is a state where your body is running primarily off of fat and ketones,” explains Wilson, instead of sugar from carbs. “That can occur through lowering your carbohydrates and having very high fat intake.” Specifically, the ketogenic diet targets about 80 percent of calories from fat, 15 percent from protein and 5 percent from carbohydrates. RELATED: Why You Should Eat More Fat and Less Sugar The Upside of Ketosis While this method may have gained popularity among athletes and other hard-core fitness buffs, they’re far from the only ones who will see benefits from this method. “When you implement a well-formulated proper ketogenic diet, you can see improvement in performance and body composition at the same time,” says Lowery. You’ll look leaner and shed fat, but you won’t feel sapped of energy like when you decrease calories. The bonus is you won’t experience the post-meal crash associated with a higher-carb diet, he says. Lowery also says that for most ketogenic diet newbies, there won’t be a need to count overall calories either. As long as you’re paying attention to your diet and inducing ketosis through high-fat and low-carb consumption, most dieters automatically hit a calorie Continue reading >>