Here's Exactly How I Lost 50 Pounds Doing The Keto Diet
Of all the places to seek life-changing nutrition advice, I never thought the barber shop would be where I found it. But one day last January, after a couple years of saying to myself, "today's the day I make a change," my barber schooled me on something called keto. Normally, I take things he says with a grain of salt unless they're about hair or owning a business, but this guy could literally be on the cover of Men's Health. He's 6 feet tall, conventionally attractive, and his arms are about five pull-ups away from tearing through his t-shirt. If anyone else had implied that I was looking rough, I would've walked out in a fit of rage, but I decided to hear him out. I should clarify that I was out of shape, but my case wasn't that severe. I hadn't exercised in a few years and basically ate whatever I wanted and however much of it, but I was only about 30 to 40 pounds overweight. My barber went on to explain that this diet, paired with an appropriate exercise routine, allowed him to completely transform his body in less than a year, and all he ate was fatty foods. Once he showed me his "before" picture, I was sold. It was time to actually make a change. Short for ketogenic, keto is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that forces your metabolism into what's called a state of ketosis. There's a much more scientific explanation to that, but it basically means that instead of burning carbohydrates (mainly glucose, or sugars), your body switches to burning fat as a primary source for energy. Keto isn't necessarily about counting calories, though the basic idea of eating less in order to lose weight still applies. This is more of a calculated way to rewire your metabolism so that it burns fat more efficiently over time, using very specific levels of each macronutrient Continue reading >>
The Complete Ketogenic Diet Guide For Beginners
What Is The Keto Diet? The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more1-6. On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates. Entering ketosis usually takes anywhere from 3 days to a week. Once you’re in ketosis, you’ll be using fat for energy, instead of carbs. This includes the fat you eat and stored body fat. Testing For Ketosis You can test yourself to see whether you’ve entered ketosis just a few days after you’ve begun the keto diet! Simply use a ketone test strip and it will tell you the level of ketone bodies in your urine. If the concentration is high enough, you’ve successfully entered ketosis! Note: Any change to the strip color indicates that you are in ketosis. There are other ways of telling you’re in ketosis, though – look for changes in your mood and alertness, as well as a stronger smell in your breath and urine. Many people also report better sleep and decreased appetite when they’re in ketosis. You may be thinking, “but eating a lot of fat is bad!” The truth is, dozens of studies and meta studies with over 900,000 subjects have arrived at similar conclusions: eating saturated and monounsaturated fats has no effects on heart disease risks7,8. Most fats are good and are essential to our health. Fats (fatty acids) an Continue reading >>
What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Food List, Including The Best Vs. Worst Keto Foods
Unlike many fad diets that come and go with very limited rates of long-term success, the ketogenic diet or keto diet has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science. The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with. Yet that’s not a problem with what’s on the keto diet food list. Rather than relying on counting calories, limiting portion sizes, resorting to extreme exercise or requiring lots of willpower (even in the face of drastically low energy levels), the ketogenic diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized — namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) to dietary fat, courtesy of keto recipes and the keto diet food list items, including high-fat, low-carb foods. What Can You Eat On a Ketogenic Diet? Here are some examples of high-fat low-carb foods on the keto diet food list you can expect to eat lots of if you’re following the ketogenic diet: High amounts of healthy fats (up to 80 percent of your total calories!), such as olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, palm oil, and some nuts and seeds. Fats are a critical part of every ketogenic recipe because fat is what provides energy and prevents hunger, weakness and fatigue. All sorts of non-starchy vegetables. What vegetables can you eat on a ketogenic diet without worrying about increasing your carb intak Continue reading >>
Keto Diet Alcohol Guide: Is Booze Okay If It’s Low Carb?
If you’re a boozy babe, you’re likely to ask the million dollar question: “Can I drink alcohol on the keto diet?” This keto diet alcohol guide will point you in the right direction. First, to answer your question: yes, you most certainly can have alcohol on the keto diet. That’s right, not all booze has carbohydrates in it! Most spirits have 0 carbs. Take a shot or four two of vodka, tequila, or gin and you’re still sitting well below your daily carb limit. A glass of white wine, like pinot or sauvignon blanc, only has about 3 net carbohydrates per serving. For the most part, you’re SOL with beer due to the gluten and high carb count. You’ll see in the table below that you can technically make some light beers fit your macros (IIFYM-style), but I’m going to go ahead and give beer a big thumbs down as a keto-approved beverage. In fact, I have a whole comprehensive list of alcoholic beverages sorted by carb count at the bottom of this post if you want to jump to the nitty gritty details of alcohol nutrition data. (CLICK HERE TO SKIP STRAIGHT TO THE KETO ALCOHOL LIST) But before you run off and get white girl wasted with celebratory low carb drinks, there’s a few things you should know about drinking alcohol while you’re in ketosis. I will admit right here and now that alcohol is by far my biggest vice. While my days of telling strangers I love them, sobbing uncontrollably over nothing, and woo-ing too loudly at concerts are over, I do still enjoy a good cocktail (Exhibit A: Vodka Mojito Recipe and Exhibit B: Kamikaze Shot Recipe, two of the keto diet alcohol drink recipes you’ll find on this site). This is a judgement-free zone. The upcoming lecture is just as much for myself as it is for you. The Obligatory Buzz-Kill Alcohol is not a nutrient. Boo Continue reading >>
Why The Ketogenic Diet May Help Fight Diabetes, Cancer
A diet extremely high in fat may not seem like the best way to lose fat. But there’s a growing body of research showing that the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is not only good for weight loss, but also may help in preventing disease. The ketogenic diet, or keto, relies on using your fat as fuel, instead of glucose from carbohydrates or protein. Simply put, the daily ketogenic diet consists of 75 percent fat, 20 percent of protein, and a teeny allotment of carbohydrates, about 5 percent. This balance of macronutrients is intended to put your body in a state of ketosis, which suppresses the release of insulin and blood glucose levels. The benefits of ketosis to your health are improvements in biomarkers like blood glucose, reduction of blood pressure and decreased appetite due to fullness linked to consumption of fats. You might think this sounds a lot like the Atkins diet — it’s not. The main difference lies in the protein content of the diet. Atkins tends to be very high in protein, while ketogenic is moderate. Getty Images stock It's not the easiest plan to follow, but the theory of ketosis as a possible prevention against disease is gaining attention from cancer specialists. Tumor immunologist Dr. Patrick Hwu, one of the leading cancer specialists in the U.S., has followed the keto diet for four years, although he prefers to call it the fat-burning metabolism diet, or fat-burning diet. More research is needed to prove its benefits, but Hwu, the head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson in Houston, believes in it after seeing improvements in his own health. Why keto works The body’s first and preferred fuel of choice is glucose — stored as glycogen. Anytime you eat a carbohydrate, be it lentils or licorice, the body turns it into glucose, or sugar. B Continue reading >>
Is The High-fat, Low-carb Ketogenic Diet Right For You?
In the past several years, as measured by Google Trends, interest in an unusual style of eating called the ketogenic diet has tripled, and chances are you have a friend or coworker who’s tried it. Early adopters are typically people who run or ride a lot and want a food plan that doesn’t just fill their tanks but also boosts performance. Followers scarf eggs, cheese, and olive oil in hunger-killing quantities, turning their backs on just about every carb other than vegetables. They don’t use half-and-half in their coffee—they use heavy cream. Still, they’re likely to look a little lean, since the ketogenic diet turns them into 24/7 fat burners. (Even while surfing the couch.) And don’t be surprised if they report feeling better and stronger than ever. Ketones are a type of organic substance that includes ketone bodies, a collective name for the three molecules that are produced naturally by the liver when it breaks down fat for energy, a process that the ketogenic diet jump-starts. Under normal circumstances—that is, if you’re eating a standard, balanced diet—your body gets most of its energy by turning carbohydrates into glucose, which cells then convert to energy. If you significantly reduce carb intake (typically to less than 50 grams per day), your body undergoes a fundamental change: it starts relying on fat-generated ketone bodies as its primary energy source. The brain, heart, and muscles can all burn ketone bodies efficiently if you’ve been eating this way for a month or so. This metabolic state is called ketosis. Historically used as a driver of weight loss, carb restriction has recently gained favor in ultra-endurance circles and the military’s Special Forces. The idea is to radically crank up fat burning so that athletes and soldiers are Continue reading >>
I Tried The 'atkins On Steroids' Diet For 2 Months — And It Made Me Feel Invincible
I gave up carbohydrates for the ketogenic, or "keto," diet for two months — and it vastly improved my life. Courtesy of Melia Robinson It was 2 o'clock on a Tuesday, and I felt surprisingly awake. Attentive. Even productive. I love my job, but on a normal afternoon, I find myself searching for distractions in the depths of my inbox and on Facebook. That Tuesday in June was different. I knocked out one to-do list item after the next. I felt not just focused, but genuinely happy and relieved to be making so much progress. It was the moment I realized how effective the ketogenic diet could be. The "keto" diet is experiencing a surge in popularity thanks to Silicon Valley tech workers who evangelize its ability to promote weight loss, boost energy, and possibly prolong life itself. The low-carb, high-fat diet — which first became popular in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy and diabetes — limits carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams a day, the rough equivalent of a plain bagel or a cup of white rice. Dietary guidelines laid out by the US Department of Agriculture recommend between 225 and 325 grams of carbs a day. Adherents of the keto diet fill up on healthy fats — like cheese, nuts, avocado, eggs, and butter — as well as leafy greens and animal protein. The body switches from burning carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel source, a process known as ketosis, which gives the diet its name. Like the keto diet, the Atkins diet restricts carb consumption to 20 to 25 grams a day during an introductory phase, then ramps up to 80 to 100 grams a day. So it's less strict than the keto diet — some have called it "Atkins on steroids." For two months last spring, I tried the keto diet to see why it was so popular with techies. The first few weeks challenged me more Continue reading >>
Low Carb Vs Keto: Why Ketosis Is Different From A Low Carb Diet
Are you making a critical mistake when it comes to ketosis? I’ve been extremely guilty of it in the past. One of the biggest mistakes for people trying to improve their health is the misconception that a low carbohydrate diet equals a ketogenic diet. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and could be killing your efforts to get all of the health benefits you are looking for. There are some critical differences in what people think a “low-carb high-fat” (LCHF) diet is and what a ketogenic diet is. High carb doesn’t mean diabetic. Just like low carb doesn’t mean ketogenic. If you’re not super down with what ketosis is, it is simply a metabolic state of using fats for energy. This provides a lot of benefits that we can get into later, but long story short, there are numerous benefits that you’re going to be missing out on if you are simply “low-carb” and not definitively in ketosis. Your low carb diet can actually be pretty brutal if it is not a ketogenic diet. As evidence, this is a maddening conversation that bubbles up more and more as I won’t shut up about ketogenic diets: Person: “Yeah, I tried ketosis and it sucked, I felt awful. Doesn’t work for me.” Me: “Hmm, that’s weird, did you check your ketone levels?” Person: “No. But, I was low carb. Ketosis isn’t for me. It sucks.” Me: “Well… low carb doesn’t mean you’re burning fats and utilizing ketones, so your body was still probably trying to use carbs as fuel, but you didn’t have enough around eating low carb, which is why it sucked.” Person: “I’m not tracking. Ketosis sucks. And so do you.” This person was low-carb, not keto. There is a huge difference. By why? Time for some definitions: Low-carb: Eating an arbitrarily “low” number of carbohydrates, or just a Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low-carb Diet Good For You?
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is it safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. What is a ketogenic diet? In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones. Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and Continue reading >>
A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide
What is a Keto Diet? A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc. When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source. Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body. Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates. Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits. Make keto simple and easy by checking out our 30 Day Meal Plan. Get meal plans, shopping lists, and much more with our Keto Academy Program. Looking for Something Specific? There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical appl Continue reading >>
Why The High Fat, Low Carb 'keto Diet' Fails The Comment Sense Test
Renae Gilley used to be a size 22. Through diet and exercise she is now a size 10 and doesn't plan to look back. She was pre-diabetic and needed to make changes in her life. Two years later she works out nearly every day and keeps diabetes at bay. Michael Clevenger, CJ Last week I discussed the Keto diet, high in fat and very low in carbs, and why it’s not a good choice. A much better choice is a healthy well-balanced diet loaded with complex carbs (fruits, vegetables and whole grains), protein and modest fat intake. Going hand in hand with a healthy diet is daily exercise. When it comes to comparing diets, like comparing the Keto Diet with a healthy and well-balanced diet, it’s best to examine scientific data. Both diets can help reduce weight, which in turn helps lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol. Does that mean both diets are equally good for you? No. With the Keto Diet, kidney stones and accelerated osteoporosis arising from keto-acidosis can occur, along with a host of side effects, including lack of energy, trouble with the bowels, loss of mental acuity, loss of salt which can disrupt electrolyte balance and lead to muscle cramping, etc. But, there is much more to the story, and evidence continually mounts against using a high fat, low carb diet long term. HEART DISEASE A recent interview in the Nutrition Action Newsletter with Dr. Frank Sacks, an internationally respected researcher from Harvard, provided an update on the impact of dietary saturated fat on heart disease risk. Regarding the totality of evidence to date, according to Sacks: “The evidence that saturated fat causes atherosclerosis and heart disease is compelling. Saturated fat increases LDL… and LDL is a cause of heart disease. It’s not a risk factor. It’s a direct absolute cause Continue reading >>
Complete Keto Diet Food List: What To Eat And Avoid
I know it may be challenging to follow a healthy low-carb diet, especially if you are new to it. I hope this comprehensive list of keto-friendly foods will help you make the right choices. The KetoDiet approach is simple: It's about following a low-carb diet where the focus is on eating real food, not just food low in carbs. To help you stick with the diet, I've also created several FREE meal plans including some that are dairy-free and sweetener-free - check them out! For your convenience, you can also download a PDF version of this list here! What to Eat and What to Avoid In short, you should eat REAL food (meat, eggs, nuts, yogurt, vegetables and occasionally some fruits). Apart from the obvious limitation of net carb content in foods, it is also recommended to avoid processed food and any food that may contain preservatives and colourings. KetoDiet is not just about losing weight at any cost; it's about adopting a healthier lifestyle. Below is a list of the most common low-carb foods recommended for the ketogenic diet. If you get my iPad app, you'll be able to search through thousands of foods included in the KetoDiet database. Grass-fed and wild animal sources grass-fed meat (beef, lamb, goat, venison), wild-caught fish & seafood (avoid farmed fish), pastured pork and poultry, pastured eggs, gelatin, ghee, butter - these are high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids (avoid sausages and meat covered in breadcrumbs, hot dogs, meat that comes with sugary or starchy sauces) offal, grass-fed (liver, heart, kidneys and other organ meats) Healthy fats saturated (lard, tallow, chicken fat, duck fat, goose fat, clarified butter / ghee, butter, coconut oil) monounsaturated (avocado, macadamia and olive oil) polyunsaturated omega 3s, especially from animal sources (fatty fish and s Continue reading >>
Which High-protein Diet Is Best: Atkins, Dukan, Or Ketogenic?
If you've been on the lookout for a new way to lose weight, you've probably noticed that low-carb, high-protein diets—like Atkins, the ketogenic diet, and the Dukan diet—have become kind of a big deal. Not only did all three make the cut on Google's annual list of most searched diets, but two (Atkins and Dukan) are also on the 2016 US News & World Report's roundup of best weight-loss diets. Each of these diets follow the same basic premise: limiting carbs means the body turns to stored fat for fuel. But is one of these plans more likely to lead to pounds-shedding success? We caught up with Edwina Clark, R.D., head of nutrition and wellness at Yummly, to find out how these three diets compare. "The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet," says Clark. Up to 75 percent of your daily calories come from fat, 5 to 10 percent from carbs, and the rest from protein. By severely limiting carbs to 50 grams or less, this diet forces your bod to burn fat for energy, a process known as ketosis. Unlike the Atkins and Dukan diets, the keto plan doesn't work in phases. Instead, you sustain the low-carb, high-fat, high-protein eating ratios until you reach your goal weight. There is no maintenance plan once you reach your goal. Unsurprisingly, limiting your carb intake this much means missing out on quite a few (delish) foods, including legumes, root vegetables, and most fruits. Starchy veggies, such as squash and sweet potatoes, are also off the table, along with refined carbs. Thanks to carb counting and food restrictions, meal prepping is paramount to following this plan. The rapid weight loss you'll experience at the start of this diet might be helpful in the motivation department, but you're not dropping fat from the get-go, says Clark. "Carbs are stored w Continue reading >>
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How Many Carbs Per Day On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet?
Although my initial plan was to include this post in All You Need to Know About Carbs on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet, I decided it deserves to be discussed separately. How Many Carbs per Day to Stay in Ketosis? As described in my post How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work? Weight Loss and 3 Main Effects of Ketosis, weight loss on a ketogenic diet is achieved by limiting the daily intake of net carbs and getting your body in a metabolic state known as ketosis. While in ketosis, your body effectively uses fat for fuel. In general, the daily intake of net carbs required to enter ketosis could vary from 20 to 100 grams per day (and very rarely over 100 grams per day). Most people, who have experienced ketosis, claim to have reached that state at about 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. I'd suggest you start at 20-30 grams and see how you can adjust it for your needs. There are two ways to find your ideal net carbs intake: Low to high method Start from a low level of net carbs to ensure you quickly enter ketosis (~ 20 grams of net carbs per day). When you detect ketosis after about 2-3 days, start adding net carbs (about 5 grams each week) until you detect a very low-level or no ketones (using Ketostix or blood ketone meter). This is usually the most reliable and quickest way to discover your net carbs limit. It could be a bit hard the first couple of days, as you have to give up almost all carbs from one day to another but it will be worth it. This method is highly recommended. High to low method Assuming you're not in ketosis, start from a relatively high level of net carbs (~ 50 grams) and keep reducing (about 5 grams each week) until you detect presence of ketones. This is a less difficult approach but not recommended, as you may spend a long time out of ketosis before you find yo Continue reading >>