What I have realized this that everyone's experience with going keto / low carb is different. Some of the main changes I see are a reduction in blood sugar, sustainable weight loss, improved energy and mental clarity. I would also love to hear your story with the keto diet as I likely can learn from your successes!
At my last talk, we got a lot of great feedback and questions! I thought it would be good to go over some highlights and common questions about keto for weight managment.
- The ketogenic diet is a physiological diet achieved by decreasing simple carbohydrates and increasing healthy fats.
- When carbs are reduced to a certain level your metabolism begins to transition to using fat as its primary fuel source.
- Fats are used to make ketones in the liver. Ketones are used to make energy, lots of energy!
- Your body runs a bit differently on ketones and at first actually has to learn how to use them! This can take a few days to months. Everyone is different depending on age, genetics and health. During this time it's important to take it easy. Some people call this the keto flu. We do not fully understand what causes it though. Some say it's because of detoxification while others say its the changes in water distribution and kidney function.
- Get around the keto flu by drinking lots of water with electrolytes (unless you cannot for medical reasons). Also eating lots of fresh vegetables will help because they are full of natural and highly bioavailable vitamins and minerals.
- In regards to weight loss, we see lots of variation. Most often I see a more of a faster loss of about 5 to 10 lbs in the first 2 weeks. Then less dramatic but sustainable losses over the following months. I have also seen many dramatic changes.
- Having a good support system seems to be key.
- For weight loss, I do not like to focus on calories. This is because not all calories are created equal. For example, a calorie of carbs does not equal a calorie of healthy fat. I prefer focusing on educating a patient on what good keto food looks like. That said sometime we may need to review your macronutrient and calories if things are not going as expected. Eating too little can be a problem for some too. This highlights the importance of individualism in health. Interestingly most people report feeling less hungry on the keto diet so they tend to eat fewer calories.
- Low dietary fiber is a very common problem in our society. It can be easy to not get enough fiber on the keto diet. Fiber is found in vegetables. It helps to slow sugar absorption in the body. It helps make you feel full and go longer between meals. It feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut which will support weight management and cravings! So make sure you are eating your veggies along with your fats.
- To increase your fiber intake eat vegetables with all your main meals. Salads are great!
- Many people report to that they do not like eating fats due to the oily texture. To get around this cover all you vegetables liberally in fats. Avacado oil, olive oil and MCTs are good choices. Add fresh herbs for flavor. Whip to make a creamy dressing or dips.
- A well-rounded keto meal is approximately 60 to 70% of your plate vegetables covered mostly in healthy fats like olive oil. A palm-size seving protein like beef, chicken, pork, or salmon.
- One other interesting thing that often occurs is that many feel a reduction in body size but their weight does not seem to reflect this. This may be due to changes in the other body tissues like bone or muscle. This may be because of an increase in human growth hormone. I will talk more about this in the future!
I look forward to hearing about your health journey with the keto diet.
Dr. Jeffery, ND