Keto this and keto that. When I walk into a popular bookstore, in the cooking section, there are many books on the various ways to do Keto. What does this new (and very popular) dietary craze mean? And more so, what does it mean to you if you have chronic pain?
Quickly said, it’s high fat and ultra low carb. It tells your body to burn fat for fuel. Yes, it actually reprograms your body to burn fat.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Before you get too excited, I’ll tell you right now: It’s not for everyone. But it works for some people. Perhaps it’s something you’ve considered?
I have some great info on the ketogenic diet in this blog post. As a sampler recipe, I will also share with you an amazing delicious dessert recipe in the next blog post, to finish the Keto 101 portion of the nutrition trends series I am blogging about.
Ketogenic Diet 101
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, very high-fat diet. Take a look at the sample pyramid for keto:
Yes, Keto Nutrition Programs have gained a lot of popularity in the health, wellness, and even medical sphere because of some of its health benefits.
A ketogenic diet has been shown to help some people lose weight (yes, even with high fat). It can also help improve certain health conditions, like epilepsy in children.
Yet, I want you to read on for some of the lowdown on how it reprograms your metabolism (for “ketosis”), and whether or not it’s something for you to consider if you have a chronic pain condition, as there are a lot of other variables to be considerate of.
What Is “Ketosis?”
Carbs (sugars & starches) are the preferred fuel for your brain and muscles. They use carbs first, whenever they’re available.
This is why maintaining stable blood sugar can affect your attention, mood, and energy level.
However, when very low amounts of carbs are available for fuel, your body starts making compounds known as “ketones.” These are your body’s “backup fuel.” And your body makes them from fat.
Ketogenic literally means “the generation of ketones.”
After a while being on a diet very low in carbs, your blood level of ketones increases. This is the metabolic state known as “ketosis.” It’s the same process that your body goes through if you’ve fasted for 72 hours and depleted your supply of carbs as fuel. That’s the trigger for turning fat into ketones.
Pro Tip: “Ketosis” from a ketogenic diet is not the same thing as the dangerous condition known as “ketoacidosis.”
Ketogenic Diet For Weight Loss
Yes, one of the key benefit statements for the Ketogenic Diet is weight loss. With a high fat intake, it may be surprising to know that studies show that a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss. Yet, it is about having the ‘right’ types of fats that help the body out.
It can also have better results than low-fat diets. At least one study showed that people lost 2.2 times more weight on a ketogenic diet than those on low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
How is this possible?
Eating all that fat and protein is filling! It helps release satiety hormones that tell us that we’re full and satisfied, and we don’t need to eat anymore. Many people don’t need to count calories or track food intake, as they do with low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
So, by eating enough fat and protein to go into “ketosis,” you can actually feel fuller and eat less food overall. Of course, this can help with weight loss.
Ketogenic Diet For Improved Health
Some studies show other health benefits of the ketogenic diet.
As you can imagine, having very low levels of carbs can help reduce blood sugar and insulin issues.
One study showed improved blood triglycerides (fat) and cholesterol numbers. Others show lower blood sugar levels, and even up to 75% improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Several studies show reduced seizures in children who follow a ketogenic diet.
Changing your metabolism has widespread health effects. And this can be beneficial for some people. Yet, there are also things to keep in mind: Is there an effect on medications and their efficiency (if you are taking any medications)? What about stress and its effect on the body? Ketogenic Diet is just the nutrition perspective of many facets of your lifestyle.
How To Do The Ketogenic Diet
Ok, so you may be interested in starting this out, however, not everyone should go on a ketogenic diet. Make sure you speak with a trained healthcare practitioner, even your family physician, before you try it. It can have side effects, including the infamous “keto flu.”
'Keto Flu' symptoms may include: constipation, diarrohea, bloating, more than normal flatulence. There may also be dehydration, bacterial imbalances in the gut.
The ketogenic diet involves getting 60-75% of your calories from fat, 20-35% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. Many people find it quite restrictive and are unable to stay on it for a long time.
The foods to focus on for a ketogenic diet are meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb vegetables (cucumber, celery, peppers, zucchini, leafy greens, etc.). Just be aware of your budget and not have to always go “organic” as that can make a dent in your money stash.
The main thing to avoid are foods that are high in carbs. These include sugary foods and desserts, grains, fruit, legumes, starchy vegetables, alcohol and “diet foods.”
And because of the limits on fruit and starchy vegetables, many people on the ketogenic diet need to take supplements. This is because, in addition to their sugar and starch, fruits and starchy veggies are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. So, if you’re cutting those foods out, you still need to give your body those nutrients for balance in your gut and body. And often, it means needing supplements.
Summary On Keto 101
The ketogenic diet is very popular these days. It can be helpful for weight loss, and other health conditions. It’s not for everyone, so make sure you check with a knowledgeable practitioner before you begin to see if there would be any contraindications with medications, as well as if you are looking at doing a Ketogenic Diet Program, plan for it in terms of grocery shopping, nutrition prep time, as well as your nutrition budget.
If you are looking at starting a Ketogenic Diet, in the next blog post I have a delicious Keto-based dessert for you.