The era of unsustainable fad diets seems to be put to an end as they came and went in the speed of a fashion trend, yet Ketogenic Diet hasn’t been beaten down and keeps getting the spotlight.
The results of this diet have been wildly raved by celebrities, fitness professionals, and even functional doctors are fans as well.
What it is
The standard Ketogenic Diet consists of a ratio of 75% healthy fat, 20% protein, and 5% of carbs on daily consumption. It requires a drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat consumption, turns fat into small fuel molecules called “ketones” in the liver and be your primary source of energy instead of sugar, in order to supply energy to your brain, beneficial to mitochondrial function, neurological improvements, as well as metabolic health (sounds versatile).
How does it work
Once you have limit your carbohydrate intake while increasing healthy fat consumption, your body will turn into a ketosis state. Ketosis is a metabolic state which fat provides most of the long sustainable fuel for the body. When there is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which is the preferred fuel source for many cells in the body. By the time your blood sugar and insulin levels are low (and healthy), ketones supply most of the energy required by your brain and body.
Dr. Will Cole: Think of ketosis as converting your metabolism from a gasoline-burning to a hybrid engine, using fuel more efficiently. Relying on a sugar burn is akin to burning dirty fossil fuel. You need to fill up quickly or you’ll run on empty, it leaves behind all kinds of inflammatory pollution.
Types of Ketos
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the most common and popular choice, also recommended to Keto Starters. It’s a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs (1).
- High-protein Ketogenic Diet: This is similar to SKD diet, but allows a higher amount of protein. The ratio is around 60% - 65% fat, 30% - 35% protein and 5% carbs.
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This diet is designed for extreme athletes and bodybuilders. It involves periods of higher-carb refeeds to replenish the glycogen that can be lost during working out. It’d be 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This diet is another approach used by athletes. It allows you to add fast-digesting carbs 30 minutes before workouts.
- Restricted Ketogenic Diet: This approach is used for those with chronic or severe illnesses such as cancer or seizure disorders. The restriction comes with intermittent fasting and very low carb intake.
Bounty of Benefits from Keto Diet
- Weight Loss
- Increase Energy
- Mental Clarity
- Calm Gut-Brain Inflammation
- Improve Gut Microbiome
- Improve Neurological Conditions such as Parkinson’s, ADHD, ASD
- Better Blood Pressure
- Better and Clearer Skin
- Lower Inflammation Throughout The Body
- Curb Food and Sugar Craving
- Reduce Seizures
- Reduce Asthma
- Lower Risk Of Cancers
- Reverse Symptoms of PCOS
- Reduce Autoimmune Disease
- Improve Type 2 Diabetes
- Increase Autophagy
How to start
It’s better to start with baby steps as it’s about finding alternatives and emerging into a lifestyle instead of feeling like a chore.
- Reduce, then continue to remove certain food such as grains, candy, sugary fruits, food, and drinks are a great way to start with. Legumes and starchy roots should be removed as well.
- Try a new ratio of macronutrients each day or every few days gradually.
- Reset amount of protein, it’s about consuming more healthy fat, not protein
- Remove processed oil and processed food, focus on whole food.
- Consume healthy fats such as fish, extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, avocado, nuts, egg etc.
- Stay hydrated with filtered water
- It’s about finding alternatives, with that said you could still eat with joy. For example: eat Chia seed pudding with coconut milk instead of oatmeal or cereal. Cauliflower rice instead of rice. Nut cheese instead of dairy cheese.
- Eat the same portion as usual, it’s unnecessary to add an extra portion of fat. We focus on the ratio of macronutrients, not the portion of the plate. For example, the ratio of fat is about 30 pieces of almonds or 1 avocado per meal. Once you are fat or keto-adapted, you’ll eat less naturally.
- Increase micronutrients intakes such as sea salt / Himalayan salt, vitamins, and minerals.
Myth: Dirty Keto vs Clean Keto
Fact: Not all fats equal healthy, trans fat like partially hydrogenated fats and refined polyunsaturated industrial seed oil (highly processed fats) such as canola, safflower, sunflower, peanut, vegetable, grapeseed, soybean oil etc could lead to inflammation, much worse than sugar. And it actually would end up sticking to your gut lining and cause other issues in the body as well.
If you’re really keen on reducing inflammation with a keto diet, you can forget the cheat days due to the presence of inflammation could stay in your body for 14 - 21 days.
Most people also have this misconception of keto means consuming dairy and bacon everyday, however, it isn’t the case when it comes to clean keto diet. Dairy contains Casein, A1 beta-casein is a trigger for digestive problems and inflammation.
So when it comes to food source, it’s always good to educate yourself with reading food labels and knowing if they are any regulation party verified.
Myth: Cholesterol is bad for you
Fact: Let’s bust this myth. Cholesterol and saturated fats do not cause heart disease. A known case happened back in the 1940s that a big corporation funded the American Heart Association showed recommendations on limiting saturated fats and cholesterol emerged from a series of scientific studies in order to promote a range of artificial trans fat such as margarine from the corporate brand.
There are medical and scientific studies have shown that higher levels of bad cholesterol LDL and triglycerides are associated with sugar and refined carb intake.
Myth: It’s not Vegan-Friendly
Fact: Actually Keto can be vegan and vegetarian-friendly and it helps vegans who reduce their chronic inflammation in the body. You could have a look at our interview with Dr. Will Cole, his book, or get keto-vegan meal ideas online.
Myth: It suits everyone
Fact: Let’s get real, nothing suits everyone. Although this diet can be widely adopted, you should consult with your physician or health professionals if you’re pregnant, APOE4 allele (which links to cardiovascular and neurological diseases), or have underlying gut problems.
Myth: I’ll go through Keto flu or bad breath
Fact: Every cell, tissue, and fiber of your being has relied on carbohydrates for so long that when you switch to something, it can take time to adjust and go through a metabolic detoxing period. These are just the symptoms that show you that your body is in ketosis at the beginning and they will slowly fade away.
Source of Ketogenic diet:
2. The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate oxidation.
3. A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets.
4. Pathways and control of ketone body metabolism: on the fringe of lipid biochemistry.
5. The therapeutic implications of ketone bodies: the effects of ketone bodies in pathological conditions: ketosis, ketogenic diet, redox states, insulin resistance, and mitochondrial metabolism.
6. Insulin stimulation of hepatic triacylglycerol secretion in the insulin-replete state: implications for the etiology of peripheral insulin resistance.