What’s the latest in weight loss trends? The Ketogenic Diet. Wait, what is that? Is this just another diet trend like Atkins or the Paleo diet? Well, there are definite similarities and differences in the Ketogenic Diet and these other diet plans. And what can be found on the Ketogenic Diet food lists. What are the do’s and don’ts?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is a meal plan rooted in a very low-carb and high-fat foots. Yes, I said high-fat! The theory is that by replacing carbohydrates in your diet with high-fat foods, you will send your body into ketosis, the state in which your body burns fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. These types of diets are impressive because they reduce blood sugar and insulin levels dramatically, making them very good for diabetics.
What are the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?
The biggest benefit is clearly weight loss. Studies show that individuals participating in a Ketogenic Diet lose 2-4 times more than those on a low-fat diet. How does this happen? When the body is in ketosis, it selectively uses fat as its energy source, not carbohydrates (which are missing) and not protein. For weight loss, burning more fat is the key, and maintaining muscle (protein) is essential for driving up your core metabolism.
Other benefits include lowering blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity. This is a key benefit for patients with type 2 diabetes. And because body fat is reduced by the Ketogenic Diet, other illnesses are also improved including Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, forms of Cancer, Epilepsy, PCOS, Brain Injury and even Acne.
What are foods to avoid on the Ketogenic Diet?
- Any sugary foods
- Grains or starches
- Root vegetables (starch-based)
- Unhealthy fats
- Diet foods
What are foods you can consume on the Ketogenic Diet?
- Meat: red meat, steak, sausage, ham, turkey, chicken
- Fatty fish: salmon, trout, mackerel
- Butter and cream
- Nuts and seeds: especially almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds
- Healthy oils
- Avocados: can anyone say fresh-made guac?
- Low-carb vegetables: greens, peppers, tomatoes, onions
- Spices and condiments
Some Focused on Fit recipes that are Ketogenic…
Thai-Grilled Salmon – leave out the agave nectar and replace with Stevia; ensure that the soy sauce used is non-GMO and fermented
Very Veggie Frittata – opt for less starchy veggies and remove the squash; replace with breakfast sausage; use a higher portion of whole eggs to egg whites.
Cabbage Pesto ‘Pasta’ – we subbed cabbage for pasta noodles, and slathered these noodles in pesto, using a wok to practically stir fry the cabbage, keeping it al dente!
Pitfalls to the Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic Diet isn’t for everyone, but it does have some real benefits of weight loss, reduced blood sugar and increased insulin sensitivity. Initially, when starting out on this diet, the body will go through a period of fatigue with the loss of carbohydrates, but it will adjust. Hydration is a key component to combat this feeling. Other downfalls to the diet include an increase in blood lipid values like cholesterol and triglycerides. If one is prone to this, they may not be a candidate for this diet. Additionally, due to low carbohydrate intake, the body may enter a micronutrient deficiency, which can be remedied by a multi-vitamin. Finally, this type of diet can prove dangerous for diabetics, as they could face ketoacidosis, when the body has too many ketones. This could be a health risk for those patients.
Take Home Message
At the end of the day, the Ketogenic Diet is another option for anyone trying to lose weight. Because of the restrictions in diet, it can be a shock to the system for many, but can offer real benefits. How do you know if you are trending toward ketosis? High protein, high fat, low carbs and low sugar. Download the Focused on Fit App, log your nutrition, and pay attention to your macronutrients. This app can help you achieve your goals while maintaining a ketogenic diet!
**Focused on Fit does not endorse the Ketogenic Diet. Please consult your physician before starting any new diet or exercise regimen.**