Keto Tip: Eat More Salt On A Ketogenic Diet!
I said last week that most issues with the Ketogenic Diet can be fixed by doing one of three things; drink more water, eat more salt, or eat more fat. Last week we talked about water, now let’s talk about salt. Of all the things that were difficult for me to start to do once I started eating on a Ketogenic diet, it was probably upping my salt intake that really messed with me the most. All my life I have had high blood pressure and of course, the first thing the Docs tell you to do is cut your salt intake. You may have heard of the DASH diet that consists primarily of veggies, lean protein, low fat dairy, fruits and whole grains and no added sodium. Well guess what that diet also happens to be low in? That’s right, our old friend sugar. And according to a 2010 University of Louisiana study, reducing your dietary sugar has a much bigger impact on your BP than added salt. Why is that? Here are 3 reasons. Hydrophilic Effects of Sugar One reason is that sugar is hydrophilic, in other words it tends to absorb water. So if you have high levels of blood sugar it will tend to absorb water creating a larger volume of fluid in your veins and arteries. This increased volume raises blood pressure. Insulin Resistance Blocks Magnesium Insulin helps your body store magnesium but if you are insulin resistant (and if you are obese, you are by definition insulin resistant) your cells wont take up the insulin or the magnesium that come along with it. Magnesium stored in cells relaxes your muscles and without it, the blood vessels become more rigid which increases blood pressure. On a personal note, once I started taking these Magnesium supplements I saw a huge drop in my overall BP as well as an easier time sleeping through the night. Fructose Elevates Uric Acid The metabolization of Continue reading >>
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Ketones And Carbohydrates: Can They Co-exist?
For reasons I’m still struggling to understand, the idea of “nutritional ketosis” (NK, to be distinguished from starvation ketosis, SK or diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA) is often discussed and debated in much the same way as religion or politics. Perhaps this can be said of all nutrition, which is a shame. Nevertheless, in my continued defiance of such sensitive topics, I’d like to add another layer of complexity and nuance to this discussion. The “rule of thumb” for NK is that caloric intake is determined as follows (this excludes a subset of ketogenic diets known as calorie-restricted KD which, as the name suggests, is specifically restricted in calories): Carbohydrate (total, not “net”): less than 50 gm/day, but ideally closer to 30 gm/day Protein: up to 1 to 1.5 gm/kg, but ideally below about 120 gm/day Fat: to satiety Let me illustrate what this looks like for Joe (left), Jane (middle), and Jeff (right — an example of a calorie restricted KD), three hypothetical people in NK — but each with different caloric requirements. As a general rule, as caloric requirement increases the proportion of calories derived from carbohydrate and protein decreases (and the contribution of dietary fat increases), even while absolute intake of carbohydrate and protein increases. Anyone who has bought a blood ketone meter knows how tough it can be to get “into” ketosis by carbohydrate restriction (since everyone asks, I use the Abbott Precision Xtra meter which uses two different strips: one for glucose and one for beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB). Most practitioners consider the minimum threshold of NK to be a fasting serum level of BHB above 0.5 mM. I’m a bit more stringent in my practice and like to see fasting BHB levels above 1 mM. To give you a sense of one per 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 >>
Keep Yourself In Ketosis
When talking about a Grain Brain lifestyle, and the very similar ketogenic diet, it’s frequently mentioned that we are aiming to keep our bodies in ketosis. However, if you’re new to my work, it may be that you’re not exactly sure what ketosis is, or why we should be worrying about getting our body into this state. Allow me to explain. Ketones are a special type of fat that can stimulate the pathways that enhance the growth of new neural networks in the brain. A ketogenic diet is one that is high in fats, and this diet has been a tool of researchers for years, used notably in a 2005 study on Parkinson’s patients finding an improvement in symptoms after just 28 days. The improvements were on par with those made possible via medication and brain surgery. Other research has shown the ketogenic diet to be remarkably effective in treating some forms of epilepsy, and even brain tumors. Ketones do more than just that though. They increase glutathione, a powerful, brain-protective antioxidant. Ketones facilitate the production of mitochondria, one of the most important actors in the coordinated production that is the human body. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our bodies are said to enter ketosis at the point when blood sugar levels are low and liver glycogen are no longer available to produce glucose as a fuel for cellular energy production. At this point, not only is the body doing the natural thing, and burning off fat, it’s also powering up the brain with a super efficient fuel. We can jump start ourselves into ketosis with a brief fast, allowing our body to quickly burn through the carbs that are in our system, and turn to fat for fuel. A ketogenic diet is one that derives around 80% or more of of its calories from fat, and the rest from carbs and prote Continue reading >>
Is Chocolate Allowed On The Ketogenic Diet?
You may be wondering, is chocolate a keto food? Or, is chocolate allowed on the Ketogenic Diet? Well, it depends. First, some background on the Keto Diet. I went on the Keto Diet in 2014 and have found it gives me more energy than a high-carb diet. I think more clearly and I feel great eating keto. I love low-carb high-fat living. For me it’s the way to go. My diet consists of a good amount of fat and protein along with a small amount of carbohydrates that I get primarily from vegetables. For some fun ideas on replacing high-carb grains in your diet with low-carb vegetables, see my Healthy Low-Carb Swaps for Noodles post. I was diagnosed with MS in 2006. I’ve found that the Keto Diet has been helpful in stabilizing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Studies show that a Ketogenic Diet can increase the production of brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), an anti-inflammatory protein that promotes the growth of nerves.1 You may be wondering, what is the Keto Diet? The classic Ketogenic Diet has three to four times as much fat as protein and carbohydrates combined according to the Charlie Foundation. A modified Keto Diet contains ratios of 2:1 and 1:1. What does this mean? In terms of macro-nutrients, a 2:1 keto meal would have around 60 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and 10 grams of carbs. When I went through the hassle of weighing all of my food and following a very strict Keto Diet, I used a 1.5:1 ratio of fat to protein + carbohydrates. I no longer weigh everything I consume because I enjoy eating a bit more intuitively and don’t like counting macro-nutrients. After much research on the Ketogenic Diet, I fine tuned my knowledge of it under the tutelage of the amazing folks at the Charlie Foundation, a non-profit that promotes the use of the Ketogenic Diet i Continue reading >>
The Beginners Guide To Ketosis: Investigating Low-carb, High-fat Eating
The only hard and fast rule of health is that health is personal and what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Aside from that rule, there are “frameworks” that seem to benefit large groups of people. One more level down from that are alternative strategies that benefit smaller groups. Ketosis is likely one of those alternative strategies that works well for certain, smaller groups of people. So, right off the bat I want you to understand that Ketosis might not be for everyone. I’m going to lay out the case for potential benefits of Ketosis. If it sounds interesting and beneficial to you, then consider trying it. (see our free cheat sheet to help you). What is Ketosis Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen gets depleted and the body burns fatty acids for fuel. The primary driver of this state is a very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it also requires a low protein, higher fat intake. You can also achieve a state of ketosis by not eating altogether. The creation of ketones is a byproduct of this metabolic state. Ketones are a source of fuel, just as glucose is a source of fuel. Ketones tend to have some added benefits, though. What role does Ketosis play in human health? Ketosis allows our bodies to function in the absence of carbohydrates, both physically and mentally. Instead of burning carbohydrates, or converting protein to glucose, the body burns ketones. This is pretty much a survival mechanism. It allows your body to function in a state of caloric deprivation. This is why ketosis often gets bad press (as it’s linked to “starvation”). Being a survival mechanism doesn’t make it invalid as a strategy, though. There can still be potential benefits to be had. Let’s cover a few of them… Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Loss Being in ketosis Continue reading >>
Ketosis And Raw Honey.
I do not eat raw honey every day but sometimes I will have two cups of coffee in the morning (only once or twice a week, normally I only have water or plain green tea) and I will sweeten it with raw honey (one teaspoon each cup) together with heavy cream. Will the honey ruin my ketosis, will that little damage my weightloss results? 1 1 Worst Carb After Age 50 If you're over 50 and you eat this carb you will never lose belly fat. healthplus50.com 2 3 Foods to Throw Out Cut a bit of belly bloat each day, by avoiding these 3 foods nucific.com Note: I also have not been eating anything but meat lately and will reintroduce vegetables closer to my goal weight. Continue reading >>
Keto Problems: Too Much Protein?
A ketogenic diet requires that a person eat a high fat diet while keeping carbohydrates to a minimum. The third macronutrient category, protein, is an interesting one and often creates heaps of discussion. Carbohydrates and fat are primary energy sources for the body. Protein, on the other hand, is a source of essential amino acids which are the building blocks for the body. However, the amount of protein needed by each person varies greatly based upon a number of factors, including activity level, lean mass, sex, and personal preference to name a few. One question I am often asked is, “can you eat too much protein on a ketogenic diet?” Protein is a very satiating food, and usually the more protein a person eats, the less hungry the person is. One trick people use is to eat a diet high in protein (150 grams + per day) while limiting carbs and fat. This strategy is often wildly successful for fat loss, but it can create other problems to eat so much protein while limiting carb and fat calories so dramatically. I do not advocate eating a high protein/low carb/low fat diet, especially for women. But I do believe wholeheartedly that it is important to eat enough protein. This is even more critical on a ketogenic diet, where carbs are so limited. Under eating protein can cause the body to lose muscle. Some argue for limiting protein because 1) doing so leads to higher ketone levels and 2) they believe that eating too much protein can lead the body to create new glucose from protein (gluconeogenesis) and keep a person from transitioning effectively to fat burning. My friend Mike Berta explains the fallacies of this thinking so well that I am sharing his post rather than recreating my own. Mike can be contacted directly at [email protected] His Facebook group is cal Continue reading >>
Can I Eat Fruit On Keto?
Fruit is delicious, no one can really argue that point… but, how do fruit and keto mix together? Can you eat fruit on keto? Well then, what fruits can I eat on keto? So many fruit-based questions! We’ve already talked about what vegetables you can eat on keto. Now we’re going to have a discussion about fruit. Fruit? But there’s so much sugar in fruit! Are you trying to make me fat? Calm down there, champ. Yes, there are many fruits that are pretty high in sugar, but there are also a bunch that aren’t really that bad. Fruit contains a lot of beneficial vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, and if you’re really craving some pomegranate this time of year, you might as well go for it. Just in moderation. I like to add freeze dried fruits to baked goods in lieu of fresh fruit because they don’t go to waste, the portion is easy to control, and I find they pack in more flavor because they’re so concentrated. But, on to the questions! So, what’s so great about fruits? They’re all sugar! Okay, kind of true. Fruit does contain a lot of sugar. However, fruit also contains a lot of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber not only helps to keep our micro biome by acting as food for our gut bacteria (technically, called a prebiotic) healthy and well-fed, but it can also bind to excess cholesterol and hormones, and clear them from our guts. Fruit is also high in a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other polyphenols. As many of these compounds are destroyed with cooking, and we tend to cook our vegetables, fruit can be the best option for obtaining necessary vitamins, like vitamin C. Well, what fruits are best on a keto or low carb diet? Berries. I’m not even going to pretend like it’s a close call. Berries are loaded with nutrition, and tend Continue reading >>
Keto And Sugar Cravings: What You Need To Know
Keto and Sugar Cravings: What You Need To Know ~ This post contains affiliate links to help you find the products we use. Sugar is your nemesis, but you would probably be surprised to learn how many products in your home right now are loaded with sugar. Being that sugar is such a dangerous drug (yes, I said drug) food manufacturers can’t simply call it by its name. After all, if you know that the products labeled to be healthy are loaded with sugar, you would probably be less likely to put them in your cart. Sugar is everywhere you look, and it might pop up in some surprising places like your cheese or maybe even your all natural Stevia. Did you know that most whole grain bread has at least one form of sugar in it, yes even if they tout “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”? We have a national sweet tooth epidemic. Even if you don’t eat a lot of sugary treats you may experience intense sugar cravings in the first few weeks of the Keto Diet so don’t let it surprise you. Even if you don’t typically eat sugary foods, carbohydrate loaded foods have hidden sugars in them (a carbohydrate is made up of fiber and sugar), and your body will probably experiencing withdrawal at some point. Keto and Sugar Cravings: Names Of Sugar Let’s start by taking a look at the names of sugar, so you know exactly what we’re working with here. I’ll skip all the names that involve the word sugar because those are pretty obvious. Top Offenders: Aspartame Acesulfame Maltodextrin Dextrose Soluble Corn Fiber (made from corn syrup) Corn Starch Dextrin Sorbitol High Fructose Corn Syrup Evaporated Cane Juice Lactose Glucose Solids Glucose Maltose Sucrose Evaporated Cane Juice Corn Syrup Solids Fructose Food Starch Other Common Offenders: Agave Nectar Molasses Diastatic Malt Florida Crystals Ga Continue reading >>
Can You Eat Fruit On A Low-carb Diet? It Depends
Ask any random person on the street whether fruit is healthy... I'll bet that 9 out of a 10 will say that it is. Pretty much everyone "knows" that fruit is a health food... it's right up there with vegetables, right? However, in certain circles, many people think that fruit is unhealthy. There are even people who go to extremes and say that fruit is downright poisonous. These people are usually low-carbers, which do not eat fruit for a very specific reason. The topic of fruit and low-carb diets seems to come up all the time, so I thought I'd do the subject proper justice and write an article about it. The primary goal of low-carb diets is carb restriction (duh). This involves limiting the foods that are highest in carbohydrates, including the usual suspects like candy, sugary soft drinks, root vegetables like potatoes, as well as grain products like pasta and bread. But fruit, despite the health halo, also tend to be fairly rich in carbohydrates, primarily the simple sugars glucose and fructose. Here is the net carb (total carbs – fiber) count for a few fruits: Net Carbs (Total Carbs – Fiber) for Several Fruits Grapes (1 cup / 151g) 26 grams Banana (1 medium) 24 grams Pear (1 medium) 22 grams Apple (1 medium) 21 grams Pineapple (1 cup / 165g) 20 grams Blueberries (1 cup / 148g) 17 grams Oranges (1 medium) 12 grams Kiwi (1 medium) 9 grams Strawberries (1 cup / 144g) 8 grams Lemon (1 fruit) 6 grams Fruits are much higher in carbohydrates than low-carb veggies, but low in carbs compared to foods like bread or pasta. It's important to keep in mind that not all low-carb diets are the same. There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a low-carb diet. Whether any one person can or should include fruit in their diet depends on a lot of things. This includes cur Continue reading >>
7 Tips To Get Into Ketosis
And convert fat into energy. By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits. During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy. Studies have found that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, due in part to their appetite-suppressing effects. Emerging research suggests that ketosis may also be helpful for type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders, among other conditions. That being said, achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It’s not just as simple as cutting carbs. Here are 7 effective tips to get into ketosis. 1. Minimize Your Carb Consumption Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis. Normally, your cells use glucose, or sugar, as their main source of fuel. However, most of your cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes fatty acids, as well as ketones, which are also known as ketone bodies. Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. When carb intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body. Your liver converts some of these fatty acids into the ketone bodies acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These ketones can be used as fuel by portions of the brain. The level of carb restriction needed to induce ketosis is somewhat individualized. Some people need to limit net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 grams per day, while others can achieve ketosis while eating twice this amount or more. For this reason, the Atkins diet specifies that carbs be restricted to 20 or fewer grams per 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 >>
Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?
A common question people have when starting keto is “will this kick me out of ketosis?” I’m going to address as many items as I can think of and explain why it will or will not kick you out of keto. This is going to be as comprehensive as possible so either use ctrl + f to find what you’re looking for or buckle up and read on. How do humans enter ketosis in the first place? Things will become much more clear if we explain how humans enter ketosis. Mainly, liver glycogen is what determines if ketones will be produced. Specifically, glycogen in the liver signals malonyl-coa to be formed by carboxylating acetyl-coa. Acetyl-coa is used in many processes and it’s the main substrate used to be turned into ketones. The wiki on regulation of ketogenesis which applies to this scenario says “When the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy. Acetyl-CoA is not being recycled through the citric acid cycle because the citric acid cycle intermediates (mainly oxaloacetate) have been depleted to feed the gluconeogenesis pathway, and the resulting accumulation of acetyl-CoA activates ketogenesis.” Basically, when there is more acetyl-CoA than oxaloacetate, the acetyl-CoA becomes acetoacetate, a ketone body. In plain English, carbs provide oxaloacetate, so if it doesn’t have carbs, it likely isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis. I’ll state the exceptions later. Why do humans enter ketosis so readily? Humans enter ketosis faster than any animal on the planet. It usually takes 24-36 hours before we enter ketosis.This is because we have huge brains and tiny bodies. Our brains need ~400 calories/day, which for most people that equates to 20% of our total energy demands. To put this in perspective, most anim Continue reading >>
Cheating And You
Cheating, or eating hidden carbs, whatever you want to call it. Let’s have a brief talk. What is cheating? Cheating is, in the most simple terms, eating a lot more carbs than you would normally. There’s no hard and fast figure, suffice to say that if you had somewhere in the realm of 50g – 100g you would likely break your ketosis, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It also stands to reason that you would possibly not have to go through unpleasant keto-flu again. How does it happen? Cheating can happen for a number of reasons, but there seem to be two main causes. Emotions Alcohol Comfort eating is something everyone I know does, and I’ll admit to eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s on my own, no problems at all, when feeling down. Though those days are also long gone. You could be stressed, sad, angry, or any number of other things, and may choose to seek comfort in sugary foods. After all, they raise your mood, though it’s only short term. You’ll probably feel down that you’ve stalled your progress or simply eaten foods that aren’t great for your body. You might even drink alcohol for a range of the same reasons, or, as is very often the case, it may be a social event. A birthday, after work drinks, oh how I could go on… One thing’s for sure, too much can and will impair judgement. The last time I cheated was definitely after a few refreshments and I said “Hey, you know what, chocolate is a GREAT IDEA!” But it wasn’t really. You’ll Feel Like a Failure – But that’s OK! The worst part is knowing that you’ve failed, but you must remember that it’s ok to fail, if you don’t, then you’re probably not doing a lot of trying or learning. I recently read some great advice on failing. It stressed one point, and one point only, Continue reading >>