As a nutrition coach, one of the most common questions I get asked is what I think of a certain diet.
It’s not surprising. After all, no one diet is 100 percent right for everyone, all the time. Our biochemial individuality makes us unique in many ways, and what’s good for one person is not necessarily good for another.
Plus your choice of diet largely depends on what you’re aiming to accomplish. Of course, losing weight is numero uno, but there are many other health concerns as well that are affected by your diet.
Generally speaking, as long as a diet provides a good array of nutrients and enough energy for your body’s needs, and is centered on real (NOT processed) foods, if it’s something that works for you, great.
Now, one diet that keeps popping up all over the place is…
The Keto Diet
The idea behind the keto diet is to severely restrict your body’s consumption of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) so that it is forced to burn fat for fuel.
Under typical circumstances, your body converts the carbs you eat into glucose and uses that as its front line source of energy. But in the absence of any significant intake of carbs, your liver instead has to convert fat—from your foods and ultimately your love handles—into fatty acids and small fuel molecules called ketones.
The ketones then replace glucose as your body’s primary energy source—this is known as the metabolic state of ketosis.
Now it’s important to note that your brain is a “glucose glutton” and usually helps itself to all the glucose it needs. But your brain can also use ketones as an effective energy source, so its vital needs are taken care of even in the absence of large amounts of glucose in your bloodstream.
Since your intake of carbs will be greatly reduced, the other half of the equation is that you will be concentrating much more on good fats and, to a lesser extent, proteins.
But don’t let that scare you! So many people have been brainwashed to believe that meat and fats cause heart disease, but that’s simply not true. Sugar (and the resulting inflammation it causes) are the real demons behind heart disease, and the keto diet has you avoiding sugar like the plague.
Fats and proteins also fill you up better than carbs and keep you fuller longer—which also translates to weight loss!
Is it for everyone?
According to current research, the keto diet can be an effective way to lose weight and accelerate fat burning for most people.
It’s especially helpful for diabetics and people with elevated blood glucose and insulin. Many people who are full-blown or on the verge of Type 2 diabetes have seen their condition completely disappear before their eyes with the keto diet.
Other documented health benefits include:
- Improved mental performance, due to a consistant supply of ketones to the brain, instead of carb spikes and drops
- Improved cholesterol and blood pressure
- Increased physical endurance
- Improvement in epilepsy
- Fewer digestive issues or IBS symptoms
Although the keto diet is pretty universally safe, people who take medication for Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their doctors first before changing their diets.
Also, the keto diet would not be indicated for people who have had their gallbladder removed (due to a reduced ability to digest fats), those with a history of kidney stones, people with eating disorders and/or those suffering from pancreatic insufficiency.
And here’s a really cool tidbit
So you can be sure that even if you follow the keto diet, you’ll still be eating meals that are easier on your GI tract, and help pave the way for tip-top digestion and fewer symptoms of heartburn, gas and bloating!
How to get started
A typical ketogenic diet calls for the following breakdown of your daily calories:
- Healthy fats: 70-75 percent
- Proteins: 20 percent
- Carbohydrates: 5-10 percent
In addition, your total carb intake should be between 20 – 50 grams per day, the closer to 20 the better.
Don’t let this overwhelm you! It’s really as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you get the hang of it. Here are the simple rules to follow:
1- Load up on good fats! Fat is where it’s at. Put generous amounts of good fats like butter, olive oil, coconut oil, cream sauces, sour cream, salad dressing, grated cheese, etc. on your vegetables, salads, and meats. Choose marbly cuts of red meat and don’t trim the fat.
2- Don’t overdo it on protein. The ideal protein consumption is one-half gram per pound (or 1 gram per kilogram) of lean body mass per day.
So, for example, if you have 20 percent body fat, that means 80 percent lean body mass. If you weigh 150 pounds, your lean body mass is 120 pounds (150 x 80 percent = 120). 120 pounds x 1/2 gram per pound = 60 grams of protein per day.
Here are the grams of protein in common foods so you can get an idea of how much you should be eating:
|Food||Serving size||Grams of protein|
|Fish||3 oz.||15-22 depending on type|
|Turkey breast||3 oz.||26|
|Chicken breast||4 oz.||36|
3- Have your daily carbs be primarily comprised of non-starchy vegetables (generally anything green!) and stay away from sugars and starches (including most fruits). Trust me, you’ll have NO PROBLEM staying below 50 grams a day.
Make sure your bases are covered
If you decide to try the keto way of eating, it’s important to make sure your body adjusts accordingly and has what it needs.
For example, by severely limiting carbs, you may not take in as many B vitamins, vitamin C and various minerals.
But you can ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs by supplementing with a complete multi-vitamin and mineral formula like Super Core.
Super Core provides a wide ranging, health-supporting blend of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as natural sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories!
In addition, you may experience some constipation if you suddenly take in less fiber than you used to.
But as long as you drink enough water, eat lots of green vegetables, and help your intestinal tract along with Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula, you can help ensure that your BMs continue running smoothly and regularly!
Beware of the food giants
As you would expect, the food giants have seized the keto diet as a golden marketing opportunity and they have created a variety of snack bars, chips, cookies, etc. that are all “keto friendly.”
Don’t be fooled, my friend. Even if these processed creations are allegedly keto friendly, they’re still processed food and about as good for you as eating an old shoe.
Keep it real. That’s how you will enjoy the best success from the keto diet or any other way of eating. Nature always knows best.
To your health,