Ketogenic Nutrition: The Basics
Perhaps you've heard or seen the recent buzz about Ketogenic Nutrition and all of it's health benefits on the internet, social media or overheard conversations, or maybe it's a completely new concept to you? Maybe you're like so many and are simply frustrated of yo-yo dieting, working so hard to lose weight only to find it all coming back on plus some, and are desperate to find something that works and doesn't make you want to gnaw your arm off in hunger, or deprive yourself of so many delicious foods. Maybe you have type 2 diabetes, or other medical conditions, and want to gain your health back. Perhaps this article can help shed some light on this amazing way of eating that has helped so many overcome a variety of obstacles to health and lose weight as a bonus. Take my hand and together we'll explore the basics...
What are Macros?
Macro is a term used to describe Macronutrients. Macronutrients are defined as substances that are required in relatively large amounts for the normal growth and development of an organism. For humans, it generally refers to Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural state the body enters when carbohydrate availability drops to a specific and individual threshold. Simply speaking, when this happens, the body will switch to another available and beneficial fuel source: fat. This fat can be ingested fat or/and internally stored fat in the body.
What is Ketogenic Nutrition?
Ketogenic Nutrition is typically a dietary intake of high healthy fats, moderate protein and low carbohydrates.
What are the benefits of Ketogenic Nutrition?
Ketogenic Nurtition, when followed correctly, has amazing health benefits including:
1. An automatic reduction in appetite-hunger is one of the main reasons people feel miserable and give up on "diets".
2. Faster weight loss-studies show that consuming a ketogenic diet results in losing more weight, faster than eating a low fat diet, even when calories are actively restricted; often 2-3 times more.
3. A greater proportion of fat loss comes from the abdomen-visceral fat can
drive inflammation, insulin resistance and is believed to be the driver of Metabolic Dysfunction that is so common in western countries today. Reducing abdominal fat should, over time, lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
4. Reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels, with a major improvement of Type 2 diabetes-unfortunately, much of our dietary intake today consists of carbohydrates. This leads to an ever increasing need to produce insulin to manage these carbohydrates and often the body fails to keep up. This has lead to a dramatic increase in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes which affects approximately 300 million people world wide! Ketogenic nutrition is a very effective way to treat and possibly reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
5. Lowering blood pressure-high blood pressure is an important risk factor for many diseases including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and many others. Ketogenic nutrition is an effective way to reduce blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of these diseases.
6. Low carb is one of the most effective treatments known against Metabolic Syndrome-this syndrome is a medical condition that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It is a collection of symptoms: Abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar levels, high triglycerides and low HDL levels.
7. Improves the pattern of LDL cholesterol-low density lipoprotein is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol (it's actually a protein). It is known that people who have high LDL are much more likely to have heart attacks. However, what scientists have now learned is that the type of LDL matters. Not all are created equal. Those with small particles have a high risk of heart disease, whereas those with mostly large particles have low risk. With ketogenic nutrition, your LDL particles change from small to large LDL. It may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in your bloodstream.
8. Therapeutic for several brain disorders-Ketogenic nutrition has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who did not respond to drug therapy. In many cases, they were cured. Low carb/Ketogenic nutrition is now being studied for other brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, migraine and more. There is also some positive data for Ketogenic nutrition as a treatment for certain cancers.
Now that you've learned about some of the benefits of Ketogenic Nurtition, let's look at some of the myths that are out there...
Myth: "Ketogenic Nutrition is just another new diet and probably just a fad".
Fact: Ketogenic Nutrition has been used in the medical arena since the early 1900's as a successful treatment for severe seizure disorders and epilepsy in children. Although there have been numerous variations of ketogenic eating over the years, it has also been used as a successful weight loss and weight maintenance protocol since the 1940's. Ketogenic nutrition is a way of eating, a lifestyle, and NOT a diet.
Myth: "Ketosis is not natural".
Fact: Human beings are born in ketosis and will remain in this state the entire time they are exclusively breast fed until foods like pablums and cereals are introduced. You have likely entered a state of ketosis many times throughout your life. Ever wonder why you don't feel like eating when you are ill? This is an attempt for your body to enter a state of ketosis which can boost the immune system.
Myth: "Ketosis is the same as Ketoacidosis and is dangerous!"
Fact: Ketosis and Ketoacidosis have two completely different definitions and mechanisms. Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition where toxic levels of ketone bodies build up in the blood because the body is not producing insulin (example type 1 diabetes) and is coupled with extremely high blood sugar. Ketosis on the other hand, results when the body converts fat for energy.
Myth: "When you follow a ketogenic diet you eat nothing but slabs of fatty meat all day. It's an impossible lifestyle for vegetarians or vegans".
Fact: There are wrong ways to do everything! Although your body may enter a state of ketosis by consuming nothing but meat (due to the fact that this practice by nature would be low in carbohydrates), this does not make it healthy. At Lotus Within, we are strongly committed to ensuring our patients follow a complete and healthy dietary intake. We have successfully helped vegetarians, pescatarians and even some vegans adopt this incredible way of eating. Meat, although an excellent and abundant source of healthy long chained omegas, is not mandatory in ketogenic nutrition.
Myth: "When you start on a ketogenic diet, you get keto flu which is horrible!"
Fact: Although what is termed "keto flu" is an actual phenomenon and very unpleasant, it is caused by an imbalance of electrolytes. This imbalance is completely avoidable however. Through proper guidance and monitoring, you should feel absolutely well at all times with a noticeable improvement in energy, mental clarity and sleep.
Other things to consider:
As we all know, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Making any changes to your lifestyle that will affect your health on many levels requires guidance from knowledgeable parties. Here at Lotus Within your health and well-being is our number one priority. We will work closely with you each step of the way to achieve your health and weight loss goals while measuring many health parameters, but as always, it is highly recommended that you speak with your health care practitioner before starting any health related or exercise program.
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Stay healthy friends!