- Why is a ketogenic diet important for me?
By eating a nutritionally balanced ketogenic diet you can feel good in your skin again. You could fit in those old jeans without having to lay down to button them, you could go shopping for a new bikini to show your healthy new body in. By eating this way you could wake up in the morning full of energy and not be afraid to tackle the day ahead! You could say goodbye to that nagging anxiety and forget the meaning of the word depression. Life could be smiling at you again!
- What is a Ketogenic Diet?
It is a way of eating which aims to induce nutritional ketosis (a metabolic state where you burn fats instead of sugar) by restricting carbohydrate intake and balancing daily amounts of fat and protein.A Ketogenic diet is NOT a high protein diet It is a high fat, low carb moderate protein diet.
- How does the ketogenic diet work?
Our body is designed to use different kind of fuels for energy but some fuels are more efficient than others. We are taught that glucose is the main source of energy in the body, but when we withdraw it, our body activates an ancient, dormant genetic program called ketosis. In ketosis the body uses fats instead of glucose for fuel. That means both dietary fats and stored body fats are burned. Ketones are small molecules used as a source of energy in a state of ketosis.
- What is the main benefit of doing a ketogenic program?
A nutritionally well balanced ketogenic diet can help you alleviate chronic pain, lose fat while maintain muscle, and even stabilize blood glucose for diabetics and pre-diabetics: #1. If you need to lose weight you will be able to shed fat pounds while preserving your muscles. #2 If you are pre-diabetic or insulin resistant, it will lower your glucose levels and make them stable. #3 If you have chronic pain, it will lower inflammation levels and reduce the pain. Those are just few examples of how this way of eating can relieve you of the symptoms of many different conditions.
- What do I eat on a keto food plan?
That really depends on your food allergies and sensitivities. A nutritionally balanced ketogenic food plan can include meat, fish, eggs, low carb vegetables, oils and nuts.
- What are some of the advantages of being in ketosis (keto-adapted)? When you are in ketosis you do not depend on glucose and insulin for energy, so your energy levels are very steady. You will find yourself having more energy than you have ever experienced, without those crashing moments, like after a heavy meal or mid-afternoon. Ketosis also reduces inflammation, sometimes completely eliminating chronic pain. Ketosis helps heal your digestive system, minimizing the symptoms of heartburn, GERD, irritable bowel and more. Being in ketosis greatly reduces or completely eliminates sugar and carb cravings, making it much easier to stick to your food plan. Other benefits are lowering the risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and much more.
- Is a keto diet going to cost me more than the way I eat now?
Definitely not. First of all your grocery list is going to be greatly simplified on a ketogenic food plan You will buy more expensive products, but will still save more from all the snacks/junk foods/unhealthy foods you eliminate. Second, there are ways to get the best ingredients for the least money that I can share with you. You will discover that this way of eating by no means deprives you of delicious comfort foods. My food plans and many recipes will keep your palate and your body happy!
- What if my family/friends/spouse is not supportive of my decision?
Usually after a week or two, as they see your results, they will be interested and more inclined to support you.
- How about traveling and social situations?
You will develop the skills to eat adequately in any situation. A ketogenic food plan is not hard to master, you just have to get used to it and it will be like second nature.
- What if my MD tells me this kind of diet is bad for me?
Most MD’s are not trained in nutrition and do not understand the difference between nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition that occurs exclusively in people with Diabetes I, who can not produce insulin. There is a lot of misleading information that can lead people to believe that anybody could easily go into ketoacidosis, but that is absolutely not true. It is impossible for a normal, insulin producing individual, to reach ketoacidosis. I have a letter for your doctor, which explains the difference and why the diet is not dangerous or unhealthy.
- What are the costs of not doing a ketogenic diet?
If you feel like you can’t afford doing a ketogenic program, both because of time and finances think about the following: How much would a hospital stay cost you? Or lost work time for an illness? Did you know that in 2012 (2 years ago!) diabetes cost $245 billion in medical costs and lost worker productivity in the United States? Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Those are just two examples, the list is long.Compared to the possible health risks we are all facing when eating a SAD diet, (standard American diet) the investment in a nutritionally balanced ketogenic program is a very small investment. Especially if you are vey busy and stressed, you will appreciate all the great tools that simplify your daily meal planning, and the extra energy this way of eating will give you!
- How do I get started with a ketogenic program?
To get started with keto you could just read few websites on the internet, but there is a danger in doing so. Most approaches to the ketogenic diet you will find out do not take into consideration healthy eating. Even if you just want to lose a few pounds, it is important to think about the big picture. You are making an investment in yourself, so do it the right way. Your food choices and a eating a nutritionally balanced diet with proper supplementation are very important to prevent future problems and to address your current concerns.
You can use my Keto meal plan to help you get started on eating Keto the right way: One week of keto meals with macros and a shopping list for only $10! Get the meal plan here!
Let’s now get more into the science of ketosis and what does it mean to eat a Ketogenic diet!
WHAT IS A KETOGENIC DIET?
A Ketogenic diet is a way of eating which aims to induce nutritional ketosis by restricting carbohydrate intake and balancing daily amounts of fat and protein.
Ketosis is an alternative form of metabolism the mitochondria use to process fatty acids instead of glucose for energy. How does this process work?
Let’s look at Glucose Metabolism first:
- When carbohydrates are ingested (sugars and starches) they are broken down to glucose so that they can be utilized in the cell’s Mitochondria where they are converted to energy though glycolysis.
- When glucose from the digestion process is released into the bloodstream,the hormone Insulin, produced by the pancreas, also enters the blood in order to store the excess in circulation and maintain glucose levels within certain parameters. (Our blood contains about 1 teaspoon (15gr) of circulating glucose, more than that can be life threatening )
- This glucose is then stored in the form of Glycogen in the liver and muscles, to be available for later use. The liver can only store about 50-90 grams of Glycogen the rest is stored in the muscles. This amount is also quite limited, even a very athletic person can’t store more than 500 grams total.
- After all the glucose has been turned to glycogen or burned and no other carbohydrates or proteins have been ingested, the liver releases Glucagon to start using up those Glycogen reserves for energy.
- The liver can also produce new glucose from amino-acids though the process of Gluconeogenesis
- ONLY after all stored Glycogen has been burned can the body finally access stored fat for energy!
The Effects of a High Carbohydrate diet:
- When we eat a high carbohydrate diet, we keep releasing more and more glucose into the blood stream, never giving our liver the chance to release glucagon and burn all the stored glycogen.
- When we eat a high carbohydrate diet, Insulin is constantly being released, making the receptor cells less and less sensitive and leading eventually to Insulin Resistance.
- Another effect of a high carb diet is that blood glucose levels remain elevated longer, as Insulin can not keep up with storing it at an efficient rate into desensitized cells. This high glucose levels bind with proteins to form damaging AGE (advanced glycation end-products) and cause inflammation.
- High levels of glucose also cause Triglycerides levels to go up, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
The second type of cellular energy source comes from Fatty Acid Metabolism.
- When blood glucose goes below a certain level, and all glycogen stores are depleted, the body calls for a different type of metabolism: Fatty Acids (both dietary and stored in fat cells) are broken down in the liver though a process of Beta Oxidation, into water-soluble bio-chemicals called Ketone Bodies or Ketones, then they are transported to the mitochondria to be used as fuel.
- The process of creating Ketones is called ketogenesis, and the metabolic state which uses ketones as the primary energy source is called Ketosis.
- The three endogenous ketone bodies are acetone, acetoacetic acid, and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. Two of the three are used as a source of energy in the cells while the third (acetone) is a degradation breakdown product of acetoacetic acid. (1)
- Nutritional Ketosis (very different form Ketoacidosis see next paragraph) is a genetically correct metabolic state as our genetic profile is still designed on the model of the hunter-gatherer. The influence of agriculture (10k years VS 2 million year old genus) has had only minor influence in our genes. (2)
Nutritional Ketosis VS Ketoacidosis
When a type 1 diabetic suffers a stressful event or fails to administer enough insulin they may suffer the pathological condition ketoacidosis. Liver cells increase metabolism of fatty acids into ketones in an attempt to supply energy to peripheral cells, which are unable to transport glucose in the absence of insulin. The resulting very high levels of blood glucose and ketone bodies lower the pH of the blood and trigger the kidneys to attempt to excrete the glucose and ketones. Osmotic diuresis of glucose will cause further removal of water and electrolytes from the blood resulting in potentially fatal dehydration, tachycardia and hypotension. (3)
THE BENEFITS OF BEING KETO-ADAPTED
Being keto-adapted means you have successfully transitioned from a glucose metabolism to a fatty acid metabolism.
Here is a list of advantages of the keto-adapted state.
- You can oxidize and use both dietary and stored fat for energy. Fat is now more likely to be used for energy than stored in fat cells.
- You are not dependent on Insulin and the presence of Glucose for energy. This means that your blood sugar levels will not go up and down like a roller-coaster but will remain even.
- Even blood glucose and large amounts of energy resources available (pounds of fatty acids Vs grams of glycogen) mean no hunger and no reactive hypoglycemia!
- You will be able to exercise in a fasted state.
- You will be able to go long periods without eating and still feel great, reducing your dependence on readily available processed foods.
- You will become Leptin Sensitive again! (A high carb diet leads to resistance to the satiety hormone Leptin, causing to never experience a feeling of having eaten enough)
- A ketogenic diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup.
- and 3. Wikipedia: Ketone Bodies
- Internet Scientific Publications – http://ispub.com/IJNW/4/2/8738
Are you interested in getting started with a Ketogenic diet?
Here are some very important factors to consider before you start.
- Is your liver healthy? A toxic liver will compromise your results and stand in the way between you and weight loss / health.
- Is your thyroid healthy? If you are either on thyroid medication or suspect a thyroid problem, a modified Ketogenic diet is the option for you. You could be doing more harm than good by doing a conventional keto diet.
- Do you have underlying nutritional deficiencies. A keto diet might exacerbate them! Read THIS POST to learn more about supplements and their possible negative effects.
- Is your endocrine system out of balance? Imbalanced glands and hormones will override your best efforts to get healthy and lose weight!!
If you suspect any of the above is true for you, and would like to find out more about how to proceed with Keto, you can fill out my inquiry from HERE. Learn about my approach to a healthier you through a ketogenic lifestyle and health restoring program. I will be happy to look at your situation in depth and determine what kind of help would work best for you.