If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
Try Googling “TDEE Calculator”. Once you plug in your stats, the site will calculate your total daily energy expenditure. This is a useful guide in determining how many calories to eat. From there, if you are trying to lose weight, just reduce your caloric intake, increase your expenditure (through exercising more), or use a combination of the two.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital protocol for initiating the ketogenic diet has been widely adopted. It involves a consultation with the patient and their caregivers and, later, a short hospital admission. Because of the risk of complications during ketogenic diet initiation, most centres begin the diet under close medical supervision in the hospital.
Children who discontinue the diet after achieving seizure freedom have about a 20% risk of seizures returning. The length of time until recurrence is highly variable but averages two years. This risk of recurrence compares with 10% for resective surgery (where part of the brain is removed) and 30–50% for anticonvulsant therapy. Of those that have a recurrence, just over half can regain freedom from seizures either with anticonvulsants or by returning to the ketogenic diet. Recurrence is more likely if, despite seizure freedom, an electroencephalogram (EEG) shows epileptiform spikes, which indicate epileptic activity in the brain but are below the level that will cause a seizure. Recurrence is also likely if an MRI scan shows focal abnormalities (for example, as in children with tuberous sclerosis). Such children may remain on the diet longer than average, and it has been suggested that children with tuberous sclerosis who achieve seizure freedom could remain on the ketogenic diet indefinitely.
A lot of people take their macros as a “set in stone” type of thing. You shouldn’t worry about hitting the mark every single day to the dot. If you’re a few calories over some days, a few calories under on others – it’s fine. Everything will even itself out in the end. It’s all about a long term plan that can work for you, and not the other way around.
But people who started following the keto diet noticed weight loss for a few reasons: When you eat carbs, your body retains fluid in order to store carbs for energy (you know, in case it needs it). But when you’re not having much in the carb department, you lose this water weight, says Warren. Also, it's easy to go overboard on carbohydrates—but if you're loading up on fat, it may help curb cravings since it keeps you satisfied.
Now, Week 1’s shopping list is going to be long. I have to make the assumption you have nothing in your house. Many of the items are common items that most people will have already. These are all staples in my everyday cooking for keto, and should be considered an investment for your health. Once you have all of the items from week 1, there won’t be too much else to buy.
Also make sure that you know what foods have mostly carbs, fat, and protein, so you can make the right choices. For instance, it’s not just bread, pasta, chips, cookies, candy, and ice cream that contain carbs. Beans may contain protein, but they’re also very high in carbohydrates. Fruit and veggies also mostly contain carbs. The only foods that don’t contain carbs are meat (protein) and pure fats, like butter and oils (including olive oil and coconut oil).
However, ALSO be aware that most doctors get very little training on nutrition and don't understand the general effect of foods on the body. They are also taught that ketosis is dangerous, and so they know even less about ketogenic diets. Hence, if you ask your physician about this diet, you may get push back and a scary "ketosis-is-dangerous" sermon.
Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome, which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication. On the other hand, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism. A person with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation is unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their body would consume its own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.
When you get to one meal a day, just make sure the meal is a robust one, containing all the needed nutrients to fortify your body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, those important fatty acids, trace minerals—all of it. (This can be aided with green drink powders and high-quality electrolyte supplements that will help you get your daily requirements for potassium.)
It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body's stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feeling wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)
Thai and stop me from eating this whole bowl of Spicy Thai Zucchini Noods with cashews and Loch Duart Fresh Salmon made fresh by my peeps at Urban Remedy! Day 2 and I’m feeling so fly. I actually feel satisfied after eating the meals and snacks (yes there are snacks!!). They are full of healthy fats and fiber filled veggies and guess whose janky digestive system is actually loving it?! This girl. Also, I was telling my roommate, every meal has been fresh, crisp, flavorful and truthfully so good. Like a 10/10 will order again which is saying a lot as I can be very picky when it comes to ordering food!
"Healthy in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs, SunButter makes for a tasty addition to a keto diet," explains registered dietitian Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D. (Especially since you can't have peanut butter on the keto diet.) The sunflower seeds used in SunButter are also locally grown, roasted, and processed in a dedicated peanut-free and tree nut-free facility, she adds, meaning it's fair game if you have nut allergies.
The only issue, however, is that while it’s easy-peasy to load up on veggies, meats, and dairy during mealtimes, finding yourself starving at 4 p.m. without a suitable snack can be quite the downer. Fear not, keto crusader, because there’s more to life (or more to Amazon, at least) than tortilla chips and chocolate chip cookies. These nine keto snacks are only a couple of clicks away.
So, we have a situation where the body has way too much insulin in the blood—yet the insulin is not able to do its job in the cells, either. The cells are resisting it. As a result, the body keeps making more and more insulin. These hormones are on a constant feedback loop, sending and receiving messages of “Sugar is high—release more insulin. . . . Must lower blood sugar for the body to stay alive.”
Seidelmann recently published a massive, blockbuster global study of the eating patterns of more than 447,000 people around the world. What she discovered — and what is probably not a huge surprise — is that no matter where you live or what your daily diet is like, banning entire food groups and thinking you can cheat your way into good health might work for a while, but it could also send you into an early grave.
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. "For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between," says Dr. Axe. "This ensures that you're getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied." That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they're truly hungry. "If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you."
When you’re burning more ketones, you can start releasing a bit of acetone, which smells like nail-polish remover. Or you might release ammonia. Sometimes you get that sulfur smell. For all of these, increase vegetable consumption. Over time, you’ll be more efficient at burning ketones, and a lot less of this will happen. If you’re getting an ammonia smell, it means you’re eating too much protein and need to cut back. A sulfur odor means there’s a gut issue, and you need to regulate your gut bacteria; you should take a type of probiotic called Pro EM-1, which you can find online.
Bread probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the ketogenic diet because it’s generally full of carbs. But, if you replace your store-bought bread with a homemade keto bread recipe, it can fit seamlessly into your keto low-carb, high-fat diet. How does bread even become keto-friendly? With almond flour, a lot of eggs, cream of tartar, butter, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Who says dessert can’t be keto-friendly? This sugar- and sugar alcohol-free treat is made from 100-percent stone-ground South American cocoa beans and sweetened with monk fruit and non-GMO soluble vegetable fiber, making it both low in carbs (just three net grams per ounce) and melt-in-your-mouth creamy. Throw in a handful of earthy, buttery almonds for good measure and you’ve got something that’ll appease your sweet tooth without ruining your diet.
You’ll need to focus on titrating your insulin. Given the low amount of carbs in the Keto diet, I suggest you take detailed notes on how your blood sugar reacts to protein and fats. That way you can determine how much insulin to take with food. As for your basal, if you consistently go high/low without any bolus on board it might be a good idea to revisit your basal rates
Low carb recipes are essential for a keto diet! A few years ago, we started making keto recipes and after realizing just how delicious they are and how they make us feel, we never looked back! These low carb recipes will make you feel better, live better and eat better. Each recipe is absolutely delicious – we know because we only share the ones we absolutely love. You can also try our low carb breakfasts, low carb lunches, low carb dinners, low carb desserts and more!
Ariel Warren is a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Educator, graduate from Brigham Young, and was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 4 years old. Ariel understands diabetes and enjoys working with clients to improve their blood sugar management, healthy eating, weight loss, fitness, and pregnancy. For coaching from a T1D Dietitian, you can contact Ariel directly, through her website: arielwarren.com.
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.