Over the past few weeks, I’ve been focusing on a few different ways to approach our diets to foster weight loss. In my first post, I talked about making changes to the quality of our food and eliminating foods that are inflammatory and drive blood sugar out of control. Last week I discussed how we could build on that basic Healing Reset Diet with specific nutrients that emphasized detoxification and how that can have a very favorable outcome with our weight.
This week, I want to shift gears a bit and focus on a specific diet called the Ketogenic Diet. If you’ve been paying attention to the weight loss world over the past year you’ll agree that the hottest discovery for weight loss is the Ketogenic diet. I have lots of patients asking whether it works and whether it is safe so let’s dive in.
The fundamental concept of the Ketogenic diet is that our bodies can burn two types of fuel – carbohydrates and fat. When we eat a diet that has a moderate to high amount of carbohydrates, our bodies become very efficient at burning carbohydrates into sugar and burning them for cellular energy. When we have too much sugar in our system for our needs, our body converts to fat and stores it for later use. That mechanism was very helpful in times when food wasn’t so abundant. When we needed more calories than were available, we could easily tap into those fat stores for fuel.
When we break down stored fat we create something called a “ketone” (pronounced key tone). Our body then burns those ketones for energy. We call that state “ketosis” and therefore a diet that encourages this state of fat burning is called a “ketogenic” diet.
Does it work?
This is a bit of an oversimplification but in a word, yes. There are some very compelling studies that show excellent results in weight loss when a person follows this approach carefully.
Side benefit: It also turns out that our brains LOVE ketones! Many people follow the ketogenic diet because they notice dramatic improvements in mental clarity, focus and memory. For them the weight management is a happy side effect.
What Does the Diet Look Like?
In order to get the body into ketosis we really have to focus on one major thing…reducing carbohydrate intake to around 10% of your total calories. That is Very Low Carb! That means that the diet is made up of 60-70% fats and 20-30% proteins. Butter, avocado, coconut oil, bacon, heavy fat cream, olive oil, meats…all safe on this plan.
I know that it sounds so counter intuitive to think that you can eat high fat foods and lose weight but that is exactly what the proponents of Ketosis are saying, and these are some of the smartest minds in the field of nutrition by the way.
Is it a Smart Approach for Everyone?
No. Because this approach to eating is pretty extreme it requires some serious commitment. It is actually a very nutrient dense diet but it does become difficult to get all of your daily nutrients in so I’d advise a multi-vitamin.
In addition because there are no grains allowed, the total daily fiber intake goes way down and over time, that creates dramatic changes in the levels of helpful bacteria in our digestive system.
All of that said, if a person has weight to lose and is pretty savvy about what foods are high in carbs, fats and proteins and they have the time to spend getting prepared, running a few 4 week cycles of ketogenic diet can be very helpful.
Many people say that transitioning into ketosis isn’t pleasant. Some people have very low energy for a few days as their body tries to shift gears and begin burning fat when it was so used to burning carbs all of the time.
Never fear, science is here! Turns out there is a bit of a shortcut to get through those first few days when your body is becoming used to burning ketones (the experts call this “keto adapted”). We can actually take ketones in the form of a supplement pill or blend it into a shake. The studies show that within 60 minutes of taking supplemental ketones our bodies are in nutritional ketosis and we are burning those ketones for fuel.
Supplements and diet together can help ease the transition to a ketogenic diet by reducing carb cravings, controlling apatite and boosting energy.
To learn more about our favorite Keto supplement here. (don’t worry, it isn’t another multi-level marketing company)
Free 1 Week Ketogenic Meal Plan
If you want to take a look at what a ketogenic meal plan might look like, we’ve prepared a sample for you.
Here’s a link to a free download. ketogenic diet 1 week sample
If you have more questions about ketosis, talk to Dr. Duggar on your next visit.