Ketogenic diet, what’s all the fuss about?
Ketogenic diet is known also as a low-carb diet or to be more precise low-carb high fat diet (LCHF). The main purpose of this way of eating is that your body is producing KETONES in the liver to be used as energy.
Let’s break it down slowly for a moment. Once you eat carbs (think potatoes, pasta, rice, cookies…) your body produces both GLUCOSE and INSULIN. What happens is that glucose is used as a primary source of energy and insulin will take the glucose around your body (in the muscles preferably). As you can see, since your primary source of energy is the glucose, your fats are not really used and as a consequence they are stored in the body. You don’t get the chance to access them because you eat carbs that are once again primary source of energy.
What happens when you eat less carbs? Once you drop the percentage of carbs from your diet, your body will enter in a state of KETOSIS, start producing KETONES and will use your fat as a source of energy because there is no more glucose to use.Keep in mind that eating less carbs doesn’t mean that you don’t eat anything else-you will loads and loads of healthy fats and moderate amount of protein to keep your going.
Benefits of ketogenic diet
-Weight loss: you will lose weight once your body starts using fat instead of glucose as a source of energy. On this program, your insulin level drops obviously and turns your body into a fat burning machine
-Blood sugar: with the HFLC diet, your blood sugar levels will get down
-Increased mental performance
-Super powerful state of your body: due to the healthy fats that you are consuming on this diet, you will feel way more energetic.
-Cholesterol: research show that ketogenic diets have a tendency to lower the BAD cholesterol and increase the good one all the while keeping triglycerides in check
-Regulates insulin levels
How do you start?
To start eating this way you have to understand that this is probably not something your body is used to. You will experience symptoms called the “KETO FLU” where you will feel like you actually have the flu. Why is that? Because your body has been running on sugar, carbs for years and years and now all of a sudden you want it to work without it. it is an adaptation period and can be managed properly. You may also experience some other side effects in the beginning besides the ketones flu such as:
- cramps (supplement with salt, magnesium and drink plenty of water)
- constipation (as you will see below don’t skip the vegetables and water again)
- reduced physical performance (this is just temporary)
What you should not eat:
- refined carbs such as pasta, bread, cereals, cookies, muffins, you get the picture
- starchy vegetables
You should eat:
- meat-lamb,turkey, beef…
- fish-tuna, salmon, white fish…
- leafy greens-spinach, romaine, lettuce, boy chop…
- vegetables above ground, cauliflower, broccoli…
- avocados and berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. Your intake should be no more than 1 hand per day)
- nuts (pay attention to the quantities due to their high calories:)
- full fat dairy-no more low fat this low fat that. Anything which is LOW FAT is loaded with sugar as a substitute
- oils such as avocado, olive, coconut oil…dip and sip
What is means in everyday life?
The more you restrict the intake of carbs the faster you will enter in the state of Ketosis. My advice is to start slow and try to incorporate in the beginning vegetables with all 3 meals.
For example if you have eggs, avocado and bacon for breakfast put some spinach on the side. Vegetables are important to keep the fiber up, for minerals, vitamins and to keep your digestion on track
For lunch and dinner the advice would be the same-you can have meat, fish but adding vegetables (from above the ground and mostly leafy greens) won’t feel as you are suffering tremendously.
On a ketogenic diet it is imperative to drinks A LOT OF WATER.
Another thing to keep in mind is that because you are eating more fatty food, you should feel fuller. Stop snacking between meals and try to incorporate maybe some IF (see my article on intermittent fasting)
Keep in mind when you eat high fat food that they are not processed, full of sugar type of foods. That can be dangerous and really not good for your body. Eating food with a lot of trans fat and sugar is big NO NO!
If you decide to eat a ketogenic diet, keep in mind that the carb intake should be reduced. Keeping them both high will not get you the results you’re after.
I have tried in the last 4 months to be on a HFLC diet along with the Intermittent fasting and honestly my results are very good. I used to eat a very high carb diet (like vegan diet) and I still enjoy these foods but now my body is craving more fats, protein and vegetables on the side. I typically have eggs, fish, vegetables, full fat dairy with no sugar, tofu, tempeh, some fruit, loads of nuts, avocados, coconut and I truly feel fuller once my meal is done.
I have my treats higher in carbs here and there but there are certain food items I barely eat such as : bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, processed cheese or some processed carbs. I am more of a fat diet kind of a person these days:)
If you have any questions, let me know and if you do try the HFLC diet share your results and thoughts!