One of the most popular dietary approaches is called the Ketogenic Diet. Although it seems new the fact is that this approach has been around for many years – initially it was popularized because it was proven to be a highly effective treatment for epilepsy.
Just a warning upfront – the Ketogenic diet is NOT for everyone. It is VERY different and it will take your body a good 2 weeks to a month to adjust to this major shift in eating patterns. That being said once you do – you will likely feel phenomenal and notice more energy, better mental focus, and improved exercise endurance.
This approach causes a major metabolic shift forcing your body, including your brain, to use ketones for fuel which are derived from fat. It quite literally ramps up fat use, but it is a big adjustment for some.
Who should NOT try this approach?
People who cannot eat fats such as people without a gall bladder or with gall bladder disease.
People who really dislike fats and cannot imagine not eating lots of high sugar and starch foods such as pasta, bread, rice, fruit juices et.
People being treated for any disease including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, etc. - unless under the supervision of a physician
Who is this approach good for?
People interested in maximizing fat burning and minimizing appetite
People who want to optimize endurance and minimize bodyfat levels
There are two ways to do it:
Slow adjustment over time – results less quick but less challenging
Best book to really understand the power and health benefits of this approach once your body adjusts to it: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living – Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney can buy it Amazon or anywhere and here is their website: http://www.artandscienceoflowcarb.com/
If you want to embrace this approach download the CRON-O-Meter food tracking app. To track your intake of protein, fats, sugars, starches, and fiber along with net carbs (total carb minus fiber). It is available for android or iphone.
Keys to Success:
Ideally you really keep your macronutrients tight at 70 – 90% fat, 10 – 20% protein, and 5% carbs – the chronometer app will help you get a handle on this.
You must count EVERY gram of sugar and starch and fiber you eat. Fiber is non-digestible so has no caloric or metabolic impact. Higher fiber intake is important, and one of the keys is avoiding sugar and starch while increasing your intake of fiber – see lists of foods to avoid and foods to eat below.
It is VERY important to NOT eat low fat – 70 – 90% of your calories MUST come from fat. If you try to eat low fat and eat low carb all you eat is protein – you will feel HORRIBLE – not good for you!
Water intake is very important – try to drink your bodyweight in ounces of water – you will get rid of a lot of water which is all good but you need fluids!!!
VERY important to eat PLENTY of salt – your body will dump salt like crazy so either use salt liberally or consider drink 2 – 3 bouillon cubes per day in hot water. This can make the difference between feeling good and feeling lousy!
Supplement that can really help make the transition easier:
Potassium and Magnesium Aspartate – best brand is Twinlab CellsMins – Potassium and Magnesium Advanced Mineral Transport
Organic Psyllium Fiber – mix into a shake
Organic Whey Protein (Jay Robb is great stuff) – one serving/scoop 20 25 grams of protein – Strawberry flavored which comes in single serve packets as does Vanilla and Choclate.
Organic Half and Half – Quarter to half cup – remember you NEED fat on this diet!
OR Organic Cream – quarter cup
Water or Unsweetened Blue Diamond Almond Coconut Milk – want low or no carb.
You must reduce your intake of Sugar/Starch to less than 50 grams per day. The lower the better and under 30 grams is even better – will help you make the shift FASTER!
Remember ALL starch turns into sugar so it is exactly the same thing metabolically! So this effectively means eliminating all of the following:
All sweets and deserts
Most fruits – small quantities of strawberries or blueberries or blackberries but most other fruit has tons of sugar
Potatoes and other root vegetables high in starch
No beer and stick with dry white wines or Vodka with a zero-sugar mixer for alcohol
No crackers or cereal or pretzels – no grain!
No Milk – can use cream and half and half as per below
No breaded/fried foods
No lima beans
FATS- are important to eat liberally!
Butter – want to buy and use grass fed organic butter such as Kerry Gold
Cream – organic only
Cream Cheese – full fat organic only
Avocado - organic whenever possible
Half and Half – organic only
Olive Oil - organic is always preferred
Coconut Oil - as above organic whenever possible
Cheeses – just full fat cheeses with no sugar/starch in them! As above it is always better to choose organic cheeses to avoid contaminents.
VEGETABLES – Also important to eat liberally!
Tomato – raw
Okra – nothing breaded or fried
PROTEIN – 50 – 100 grams per day – excessive protein intake is not helpful
Meat – preferably grass fed organic and EAT the fat as well – very important you do NOT try to eat low fat on this diet – you need fat because it will become your preferred fuel
Shellfish – all good but nothing breaded and no added carb – fine to use butter!
Chicken – nothing fried or breaded!
Fish – stick with Alaskan Salmon or Salmon that says “Wild Caught Only”
Cod – no breading
Eggs – organic only – in any way you like them
Full Fat Organic Peanut Butter – but has some sugar/starch so count ALL of it!
Macadamia nuts – THE BEST – pure monounsaturated fat
Sample Day’s Meals:
2 Tablespoons of Medium Chain Triglycerides from a product called Brain Octane – a very clean, easy to burn fat – about 130 calories all from fat – no taste whatsoever and immediately absorbed – really boosts energy!
Shake – either EAS Myoplex Ketogenic – https://eas.com/keto OR the shake described above – these are about 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs and about 400 – 500 calories
Snack – Full Fat Cheese – Cheddar usually and/or walnuts or almonds
Chicken (dark meat for fat) or Salmon (4 – 6 ounces smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese)