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 Food List
Here’s a low carb food list to help you get started. I have also included buying techniques and tips that will point you toward ketogenic foods that are clean, whole and offer the best nutrition. This includes information on the types of fats that are the healthiest, and where to find grass-fed meat and poultry. Fats and Oils Since the majority of calories on a ketogenic diet will come from dietary fats, choices should be made with digestive tolerance in mind. Most people cannot tolerate eating a large amount of vegetable oil, mayonnaise or even olive oil over time. And this is a good thing, since vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids. The Omega-6 fatty acids (found in nut oils, margarine, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, and canola oil) trigger inflammation within the body and they will make you sick if they are your only fat source. In addition, cooking with them is not recommended. Most nuts (with the exceptions of macadamias and walnuts) are high in Omega 6 fatty acids as well, so go easy on them). However, there are polyunsaturated fats which are essential and these are the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. Your intake of Omega 6 and Omega 3 types should be balanced, and you only need about a teaspoon a day. Eating wild salmon, tuna and shellfish will provide balancing Omega 3 fatty acids and are important part of a low carb food list. A few nuts or some mayonnaise will provide the Omega 6. If you don't like seafood, then consider taking small amounts of a fish oil supplement for Omega 3s. Saturated and monounsaturated fats such as butter, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, avocado and egg yolks are tolerated more easily by most people, and since they are more chemically stable, they are less inflammatory. Fats and oils can be combi 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
5 Most Common Low-carb Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)
A few months ago, I read a book called The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living. The authors are two of the world's leading researchers on low-carb diets. Dr. Jeff S. Volek is a Registered Dietitian and Dr. Stephen D. Phinney is a medical doctor. These guys have performed many studies and have treated thousands of patients with a low-carb diet. According to them, there are many stumbling blocks that people tend to run into, which can lead to adverse effects and suboptimal results. To get into full-blown ketosis and reap all the metabolic benefits of low-carb, merely cutting back on the carbs isn't enough. If you haven't gotten the results you expected on a low-carb diet, then perhaps you were doing one of these 5 common mistakes. There is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a "low carb diet." Some would call anything under 100-150 grams per day low-carb, which is definitely a lot less than the standard Western diet. A lot of people could get awesome results within this carbohydrate range, as long as they ate real, unprocessed foods. But if you want to get into ketosis, with plenty of ketoness flooding your bloodstream to supply your brain with an efficient source of energy, then this level of intake may be excessive. It could take some self experimentation to figure out your optimal range as this depends on a lot of things, but most people will need to go under 50 grams per day to get into full-blown ketosis. This doesn't leave you with many carb options except vegetables and small amounts of berries. If you want to get into ketosis and reap the full metabolic benefits of low-carb, going under 50 grams of carbs per day may be required. Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren't getting enough of. It can improve satiety and incr Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
A Keto Diet For Beginners
A keto or ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet, which turns the body into a fat-burning machine. It has many proven benefits for weight loss, health and performance, as millions of people have experienced already. 1 Here you’ll learn how to eat a keto diet based on real foods. You’ll find visual guides, recipes, meal plans and a simple 2-week get started program, all you need to succeed on keto. Get even more, custom meal plans, ask the experts and low-carb TV, with a free trial. 1. Introduction: What is ketosis? The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”. 2 This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar). Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, 3 and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones. On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. When the body produces ketones, it’s said to be in ketosis. The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but nobody can fast forever. A keto diet, on the other hand, can be eaten indefinite Continue reading >>
Goodbye Carbs, Hello High Fats: The Atkins Diet Is Back, And This Time It's Called Keto
Carbs, the saint or the sinner? It's the part of our food that gives us fast energy when we most need it – but cutting out the carbs has long been seen as a quick way to lose that blubber around your belly. The keto diet is the latest low-carb craze to hit the active scene. In truth, it's been around for a while – decades, in fact, and has been used in the treatment of children with epilepsy – but the term is now finding a mainstream health following. On the plus side, it offers fast weight loss, and on the minus side ... well, according to Australian nutritionist Susie Burrell, writing for news.com earlier this week, there really isn't much on the minus side. "There is no evidence to show that keto diets are damaging to the body," she wrote. The keto (short for ketogenic) diet works when your body produces ketones from broken down fats in the liver for energy, rather than relying on insulin to convert carbohydrates. The body enters a state of ketosis – in layman's terms, just think of it as using fat rather than sugar for energy. Chief Executive of X-Pert Health, Dr Trudi Deacon describes these ketones as "a natural fuel for the body." "Ketones are an excellent source of energy, especially for the brain," explains Dr Deacon. "The only time they are harmful is when they are produced in abundance by people with Type 1 diabetes, where you have insufficient insulin and high blood glucose levels – known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)." If you think you’ve heard of all this before, perhaps under the name ‘the Atkins diet’, then you’d be right – to an extent. Hannah Sutter, founder of the Natural Low Carb Kitchen has been following the keto diet since 2000 and insists that whether it’s the Dukan diet, the real food revolution or the Atkins diet, they all Continue reading >>
The Keto Diet: A Low-carb Approach To Fat Loss
Along with the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet, individuals who are interested in low carbohydrate approaches to dieting will likely want to look into the Keto Diet. Popular among many who are trying to maintain blood sugar levels and lose body fat, the main premise of this diet is, 'eat fat to lose fat'. So How Does It Work? The idea of the ketone diet is to get your body into a process called Ketosis where you stop burning carbohydrates as fuel and instead turn to the burning of what are known as ketones. This will occur when you bring your carbohydrate levels to around 50 grams per day or lower. Many keto activists advise that number to be 30 grams of carbohydrates but most individuals can still maintain ketosis while consuming the 50 grams and this allows for a little more leeway in the diet since you can increase the consumption of vegetables and a variety of flavoring's that contain a few grams of carbohydrates. TKD Or CKD Usually people who are involved with exercise will follow either a TKD (targeted keto diet) or a CKD (cyclical keto diet). TKD A TKD is one where you will eat carbohydrates right before and right after your workouts. This is the best bet for those who are involved in more intense activities and require some carbohydrates to fuel them and who are not as interested in doing carb loads and depletion workouts. CKD A CKD on the other hand is a diet where you will eat a minimum amount of carbohydrates per day (that 30-50 gram number) and then on the weekend (or at a time that is appropriate for you) do a large 'carb-up' phase where you will eat a large amount of carbohydrates in an effort to refill your muscle glycogen stores so you can continue to workout the coming week. Normally right before the carb-up phase you will do a depletion workout wh 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 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>