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.
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
And here’s an important side note: The amount of sugar we need in our bodies to keep the blood sugar number normal is only 1 teaspoon for all the blood in your body (about 1 gallons of blood). And that tiny amount of sugar could come from eating vegetables or even protein. In reality we do not need any sugar in our food at all. Yet the average person consumes 31 teaspoons of sugar and hidden sugar each day!
Ketone esters: These are the raw ketones (in this case, beta-hydroxybutryate) that are not bound to any other compound. These exogenous ketones can be utilized quicker and potentially have a better effect at raising blood ketone levels as your body doesn’t have to cleave the BHB from any other compound. The downside? They typically have a foul taste and can cause an upset stomach.
Why higher fat and moderate protein? Fats have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Protein does affect both blood sugar and insulin. If you eat too much protein for your ideal body weight or lean muscle mass (usually more than 1.5-2.0 grams/kg lean body mass), it can spark gluconeogenesis and raise blood sugar. Protein will also spike blood insulin levels temporarily, which can interfere with ketone body production. However, it is important to note that this is an individually driven parameter, as detailed in this excellent post from the Optimizing Nutrition blog.
The best part of low carb eating is that you can still have rich, savory foods – dieting isn’t really a part of the lifestyle. Your body regulates your hunger naturally, so keeping your carbs low is the main concern. Being able to do that while still enjoying roast, fish, and big, healthy salads is what makes low carb so easy to stick with, and keep the weight off for good.
Ready to head out the door and start buying groceries? Slow down there, chief. Go through the pantry, fridge, freezer, and secret stashes under the bed, and get rid of foods with any significant carb content. In the first few days, you could end up craving them—badly. This means fruit, too. Even carrots and onions are too high-glycemic to work with keto, Wittrock says.
Ketosis is a state of physical being and energy utilization when the body is running on ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are a clean fuel the body and brain absolutely loves. Ketones are an alternative fuel for the body that is not sugar or glucose. Running on ketones is like running a car on electricity rather than diesel fuel. Ketones are a cleaner fuel source - an alternative fuel source that gives a person way more energy than glucose. Even professional athletes can outrun and outperform any other athlete on ketosis than carb loading. By lowering your insulin, your sugars and refined carbohydrates, way down there close to zero to 5% of your daily calories or lower, you will burn fat as opposed to glucose for diet purposes or because you want to run on this clean fuel that many people find can help them perform better in all areas of life, mentally and physically. When you’re running on glucose and insulin is spiked, you’re not dipping down into your fat stores for energy. You’re burning up your muscles, not fat. When you’re in ketosis, you’re no longer spiking your blood sugar and you begin running on your own fat for fuel, which is idea for losing weight—the right kind of weight—fat.
There are many ways of implementing a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet plans but most involve following a higher fat, moderate protein, low carb food plan. (The Atkins diet is one of the most famous ketogenic diets, but certainly not the only one). Many people think of ketogenic diets as high protein diets but this is incorrect. They are moderate protein diets.
In this guide the only form of pure fat we use is butter. If possible, coconut oil would really be a nice upgrade. We couldn’t fit coconut oil into our $5 a day keto on a budget meal plan, but it’s cheap if you buy in bulk. Another good substitution would be olive oil or coconut oil and vinegar instead of the premade salad dressing. Most cheap premade dressings will use oils that are frowned upon on keto like canola or vegetable oil.
Beef Pemmican — Pemmican is a delicious paste of dried and pounded meat mixed with melted fat and other ingredients, originally made by North American Indians and later adapted by Arctic explorers. It is an undeniably delicious keto snack if you want something that is filling with beefy flavor. I recommend getting your pemmican from U.S. Wellness Meats. Opt for the Honey & Cherry-Free Beef Pemmican.
That's because my intro to this seemingly new plan was when I worked in a hospital, where ketogenic diets were specifically used as a medical nutrition therapy for pediatric patients with seizure disorders, for whom medication was no longer effective. In other words: It was used as an absolute last resort for families who felt otherwise hopeless in the face of a neurological disease, and under strict medical supervision.
Lunch: pat dry chicken and cut into cubes. Lightly (!) salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium heat, once hot add coconut oil and fry chicken cubes until brown from all sides. Remove chicken, and add crushed garlic, curry paste and fish sauce to pan. Stir until fragrant and remaining oil in pan and curry paste are well combined. Then add coconut milk and whisk until well combined. Simmer and reduce sauce until desired consistency (1-3 minutes). Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with baby spinach.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.