Eight Great Reasons to Go Ketogenic
Lose Weight without going hungry – sustainable for the long term with no hunger.
Boost Athletic performance – increased endurance
Have Better brain function – feel sharper and prevent memory loss.
Feel More energy! and endurance in everyday life.
Lower your blood sugar – turn around diabetes.
Resolve digestive problems – improves gut flora.
Reduce allergies and autoimmunity
Prevent Cancer – Starve cancer cells.
A Science Based Diet
- It’s the basis of the Duke Diet and Fitness program and used at many other major health centers.
- Very low carbs lower blood sugar.
- Your body then learns to burn fats for fuel. (including your own excess!)
- You can go for much longer burning fats than burning sugar.
- New research shows that being in ketosis protects your DNA.
- High fiber – lots of low carbohydrate vegetables.
- High fat – up to 70% of daily calories to start.
- Moderate protein. – not too much, not too little
- Very low carbohydrates – typically 25 grams to start.
The goal is to get carbohydrate intake down so low that your body is forced to learn to burn fats for energy. The advantage is very low blood glucose levels. Glucose and its twin, insulin, are major causes of aging. This diet tends to automatically reduce hunger. In spite of a high fat intake it is the basis for the Duke weight loss program. When you burn fats, your body produces ketone bodies. These are small molecules which are readily used by heart, brain and all cells for energy.
This is NOT a high meat “paleo diet.”
- Eat LOTS of low carb vegetables – fill yourself up.
- Eat LOTS of good quality fats – keep your energy levels high.
- You can increase your carbohydrate intake based the amount of exercise you get.
- Based on specific, individualized calculations based on your body type, goals and daily energy expenditure.
To get started:
- The best way is to determine your ideal daily intake of fats, carbs and protein.
- You will need your lean body mass. I have a very accurate bioimpedence machine which will determine your % body fat and lean body mass.
- You can look at some pictures and get a general idea of your % body fat and do the calculation but this is less accurate.
- Some gyms offer body fat calculation. These are usually cheaper machines but probably good enough.
- Then, go to the ketocalculator web page. You will have to enter all your information including current % body fat, activity level, etc. and you will get ideal grams of carbs, protein and fats per day. We call these values your Macros.
- The Ketogenic Diet Resource website has very helpful charts of Macros of common foods.
- This website has lots of other very helpful information including recipes, cookbooks and instructions for medical conditions.
- Don’t obsess. Get the general idea. A tablespoon of fat is about 14 grams.
Want HELP? Contact my office.
We’ve done this ourselves and helped lots of patients.
Individual and group coaching on all aspects of the keto lifestyle.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
THE NITTY GRITTY: It is a transition, but it’s easy once you get the swing of things.
Testing yourself to monitor progress in ketosis
- Buy Ketone Test Strips (Brand name is Ketostix but OK to get the store brand). After at least a week following a very low carb diet you can begin testing. Dip the square pad on the end of the stick in fresh urine. It should turn slightly pink (Trace) to slightly purple (Moderate). Some people will take a few weeks for this shift to happen. If in doubt, lower carbs. MCT oil will usually kick start ketosis. MCT oil is pure medium chain triglycerides from coconut or palm oil which are rapidly absorbed and metabolized to ketones.
- If your ketone test strip goes purple, you probably need to add some more carbohydrates. If you get too low in carbs you may experience low energy and cravings. Have a potato! Celebrate.
- Once you have been on the ketogenic diet for 1 – 3 months you may not show ketones on the ketone test strip because your body may be burning the kind that show up in the urine. That’s OK. It is probably time to get a Precision X-tra meter to measure β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). BHB are the ketones that do all the wonderful things like protecting your brain and heart and DNA. You will need to get the matching Ketone Test Stips. Warning: this does involve finger pricks but you can get extra thin lances from the drug store. If you buy glucose test strips you can use the Precision X-tra as a blood sugar monitor also. The importance of checking BHB is so you can find out how much carbohydrate you can tolerate and still stay in ketosis. Maybe you can have that sweet potato or a glass of wine and still be in ketosis. The more you exercise, the more carbs you can have. This is the only way to find out for sure. Your values should be between 0.5 and 1.5.
- Ketone breath testing actually measures acetone on the breath. Some people may have trouble converting BHB to acetone and this test can pick it up. There are single use strips available but these are not too reliable. The multi use unit (Ketonix) is currently on back order. Stay tuned.
Troubleshooting your journey into ketosis
- Your body is adapting at a cellular level so pay attention; you may need
- Drink more water.
- You may need more minerals. I recommend Designs for Health Complete Mineral Complex.
- Use adequate real salt. I recommend Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt, not commercial salts.
- If you have gallbladder issues, or no gallbladder, you may need extra support to handle fats. Bile supplements help with this.
- Use MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) oil. MCT oil is easily absorbed even with little or no bile (gallbladder) and will bring up ketones quickly.
- If you are having trouble with carbohydrate cravings:
- Add more oil!! You will be surprised at how much it takes to make up for very low carbs.
- Gymnema – this herb seems to help and helps support the pancreas.
- EFT or TAT are two self help strategies for working with the emotional component.
- I am available, in person, by phone or Skype if you need more help.
Exercise is absolutely crucial to turning your cells into fat burning machines. Studies have shown this. Studies also show that it is the intensity not the duration of exercise that makes the difference. I recommend burst training also called interval training. The magic formula: One minute total, four times a day, three days a week will do it. Call my office for a handout. The same principle applied to strength training: one or two sets of 10 at maximum intensity, 1 to 3 days a week.
You need to challenge your mitochondria to start burning fats.
Food Quality Counts
- Eat high quality fats:
- Absolutely avoid all trans fats. This can be difficult if you eat out frequently, but do your best. Trans fats actually poison your fat handling system and it can take months to get rid of the trans fats from a single meal.
- You still need Omega 3 essential fatty acids from fish or supplements.
- Avoid all commercial oils from the grocery store that come in clear plastic bottles: Corn, canola, soy. These are heavily processed and are likely to be GMO and contaminated with herbicides such as RoundUp.
- Animal fats are good, depending on how clean the diet of the animal. Pasture raised without antibiotics and hormones if at all possible. Lard from a good source is fine.
- Butter is wonderful as long as you are not dairy (casein) intolerant. Because toxins accumulate in fats buy organic here if at all possible. If you are dairy intolerant you may be OK with ghee – butter with all the milk and milk solids removed.
- Olive oil is good but unless it is organic it is likely to contain pesticides.
- Palm oil and coconut oils are good.
- Nuts are good but do have some carbs, especially cashews. See lists.
What I eat
- Breakfast: I usually have a Bulletproof coffee and that’s it>
- Double scoops of coffee in a presspot – OK to use tea, black, Rooibos or whatever
- 1 tablespoon of Ghee (or unsalted butter)
- 1 tablespoon of MCT oil
- 1 teaspoon of whey protein
- Blend vigorously until emulsified – like a cappuchino!
- Sometimes I have an egg or two, occasionally with bacon, or sausage, or some cooked greens.
- Lunch: Salad:
- I slice up a big bowl of romaine lettuce
- 1 grated carrot.
- maybe some red cabbage finely sliced or a 1/4 cup of grated beets
- A handful of pecans, walnuts, etc.
- Microgreens, sprouts, pea shoots
- A moderate amount of cut up meat: beef, chicken, pork.
- At the office I keep olive oil, avocado oil and MCT oil and apply about 1/4 cup plus apple cider vinegar
- A fresh vegetable, lots of oil or butter and a moderate serving of protein
- Or a stir fry with lots of veggies
- Or a hearty soup or stew
The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis Stephen Phinney This is the doctor who started the ketogenic diet 30 years ago and is still going.
This YouTube video is an exciting interview with the researcher from Stanford who has been demonstrating how a ketogenic diet affects your genome: Low Carb, Ketogenic Diets & Genetic Expression w/ Lucia Aronica, PhD.
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