The ketogenic (or keto) diet is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, high-fat diet that pushes the body to use fat metabolism instead of sugar metabolism. This “diet” has gained a lot of popularity recently as a great tool for rapid, effective weight loss; however, according to an increasing number of studies, it more importantly reduces risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, metabolic syndrome, and more! Another amazing thing about the ketogenic diet (or as I like to label it, “ketogenic lifestyle”), is that many studies show that even after 2 years, the majority of people that start the ketogenic diet, stick to it. How many of you have stuck to a “diet” for 2+ years?! I hate “DIETS”, and this is literally the first one in my 40 years, that I feel so connected to, for its ease and results.
On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis, your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies (BHB and acetone are the 2 main ones) are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady sources of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates. Stable, steady energy sounds great, right? Stable mood, improved brain power, easily sustained cardiovascular endurance, decrease in hunger, increase in energy, decreased insulin, modulated inflammation, and prevention of many chronic diseases, are all BENEFITS of KETOSIS. Some people; however, do not feel better in a ketogenic state. Gall bladder/liver issues can sometimes be reasons to not live in a strict ketogenic state, or just need specific modifications that I or another Naturopathic Doctor/functional nutrition coach, may recommend.
Entering ketosis usually takes anywhere from 2 days to a week (shorter time needed once fat adapted). Once you’re in ketosis, you’ll be using fat for energy, instead of carbs. This includes the fat you eat, AND stored body fat! I like to think of myself as a fat-fueled biofueled metabolically adaptive superhuman while in ketosis 🙂
Testing For Ketosis:
You can test yourself to see whether you’ve entered ketosis just a few days after you’ve begun the keto diet! Simply use a ketone urine test strip and it will tell you the level of ketone bodies excreted in your urine. You have successfully entered ketosis if the ketone concentration is high enough (but not too high = keto acidosis when sugars and ketones are elevated in your blood usually uncontrolled diabetes). I don’t recommend testing with urine ketone strips after a few weeks, as the body gets adapted and thankful uses more ketones than excretes in urine. Often times you will have a moderate to high level of ketones in your urine INITIALLY, and then low ketones once your body adapts to ketosis. More accurate testing includes blood ketones (like diabetic sugar testing), and breath acetone testing (initially costs more, but saves money over time).
The Truth About Fat:
You may be thinking, “but eating a lot of fat is bad!” The truth is, dozens of studies and meta studies with over 900,000 subjects have arrived at similar conclusions: eating saturated and mono unsaturated fats has no effects on heart disease risks (7,8). Most fats are good and are essential to our health. Fats (fatty acids) and protein (amino acids) are essential for survival. Carbohydrates; however, are not essential!
Fats are the most efficient form of energy and each gram contains more than double the energy in a gram of protein or carbohydrates. My clean keto diet promotes eating fresh, whole foods like grass-fed meat, wild fish, low carb, high fiber veggies, and healthy anti-inflammatory fats and oils. Clean keto recommends avoiding too many processed and chemically treated foods that are often staples in the Standard American Diet (SAD), and in some “dirty keto” foods. The Clean Keto lifestyle is one that many people can sustain long-term and enjoy sticking to more easily than any other “fad” diet right now! I mean, I love enjoying bacon and eggs or a yummy coconut oil coffee in the morning! I actually look forward to my coffee, my 1-2 meals daily, and never really feeling too hungry or food-centric anymore!!!
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