Our bodies can use different fuels to heal and keep going strong. Specifically, these fuels are carbohydrates and fat (also known as ketones). The standard operating system for our bodies is to run on carbohydrates. They are a quick source of energy. Carbohydrates, burn like a fireplace – producing smoke and soot. On the other hand, ketones burn like propane gas – cleaner, with no smoke or soot. Enter the keto diet.
Carbohydrates are found in copious amounts in the Standard American Diet, which has quite accurately been referred to as SAD. The SAD has been linked to our diabetes epidemic, along with many other diseases. This is one reason why people elect to follow a keto diet.
Our bodies go “into ketosis” when the fuel we use is primarily derived from fat. When ketosis occurs, our bodies turn into fat-burning machines. Which is a second major reason people follow the keto diet.
The keto diet was part of my strategy to drop 90 pounds a few years ago.
When you go on the keto diet your body goes into ketosis.
Please note, this is NOT the same as being in ketoacidosis, which is life-threatening and only happens to people with type 1 diabetes.
The ability to get into ketosis varies from person to person. Some require a higher percentage of fat, while others just require more time. The best way to tell is to get a ketosis test meter. There are those that test your blood ketones and those that measure the ketones in your breath. The consensus is that blood is the most accurate, although the breath meters are getting better.
The one I use is called Keto Healthcare and it is available through Amazon.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is mostly fat, keeping carbs as low as possible and a modest amount of protein.
Why do you want to keep the amount of protein you eat low? In the absence of carbs, our liver will convert protein to carbs, thus negating our goal of keeping carbs low.
If you are a carb-a-holic and find it unthinkable to stop eating bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes, you may want to start slowly.
In the beginning of my keto plan, I approached every single meal with the thought, how can I increase my fat and decrease or eliminate carbs.
At the onset, most everyone should be successful at losing weight almost immediately, oftentimes quite rapidly. However, after a short while, you may hit a plateau where your weight loss slows. This would specifically occur if you’re not eating right. Either that or you are just plain old cheating.
It should be noted that cheating on the keto diet can be much worse than cheating on a calorie-restricted diet. For the later, cheating just means that you consumed a little more calories and you simply lost a little ground. When you sneak that little candy bar into your keto diet, you run the risk of getting kicked out of ketosis, which may take you another day or two to get back into.
How do you track your diet?
If you are faced with a plateau, you may want to begin to track your macros a bit more diligently. The absolute best way to track your macros, your fats, proteins, and carbs, is to get the My Fitness Pal app. In the beginning, the free version is fine, although the upgrade is much easier, and it is not very expensive. In the app, find where you enter your meals and set it up to track your protein, fat, and carbs, as opposed to counting calories.
A good start for your percentages is 5% Carbohydrates, 20% Protein, and 75% Fat.
To track your meals, go to Diary and begin entering the food you eat. The program will calculate the percentages of your meals. You will then have a running history of your meals, and it will keep track of the food you’ve already entered for future use. This may seem a little daunting at first, but trust me, it gets much easier.
Since you will want to maintain a moderate level of protein, the bulk of your fat should come from oils. My go to oils are coconut oil, MCT oil, and olive oil. Other great sources of fat are eggs, avocados, and nut butter, especially almond butter.
As always, should you have any questions, do not hesitate to call our office, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a text at 845-820-1265.
For Better Health, Naturally!
Peter A Holst, DC