This may be more of a maybe, but recent studies on mice fed a ketogenic diet lived longer, according to Cell Metabolism. “Not only did these mice live longer, they had expanded health in terms of physical and cognitive functioning,” says Volek. “Meaning, they lived happy, healthy lives.” Obviously, human studies need to be performed.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Zupec-Kania BA, Spellman E. An overview of the ketogenic diet for pediatric epilepsy. Nutr Clin Pract. 2008 Dec–2009 Jan;23(6):589–96. doi:10.1177/0884533608326138. PMID 19033218
We’re also going to keep it simple here. Most of the time, it’ll be salad and meat, slathered in high fat dressings and calling it a day. We don’t want to get too rowdy here. You can use leftover meat from previous nights or use easy accessible canned chicken/fish. If you do use canned meats, try to read the labels and get the one that uses the least (or no) additives!
Ketone salts: Another form of exogenous ketone supplements come in the form of ketone “salts.” This is where the ketone body (again, typically beta-hydroxybutyrate) is bound to a salt — sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium generally.
For years and years, fat was seen as harmful for heart health and we were told to reduce them as much as possible. However, recent studies have debunked this, showing no significant link between saturated fats, which humans have been eating for thousands of years, and the risk of heart disease.
The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) involves alternating days of strict keto and high-carb consumption. For example, a week on CKD would involve eating 20-50 grams of carbs for five consecutive days, then eating a high-carb diet (over 100 grams per day) for two days.
No lunch, oh no! Don’t worry – the fats from the morning should keep you feeling energized and full all the way through lunch. Normally people start hitting a wall at first at around 2pm, so make sure you have plenty of water to drink, drink, and drink.
Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, some squash, parsnips and carrots. Like fruit, we understand there are health benefits to these foods. However, you can find those vitamins and minerals from more low carb sources — ones that won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Everyone has to find their nutritional sweet spot for producing enough ketones and staying in ketosis, but “the core principle of the diet is to keep carbohydrate intake low enough, so your body continues producing ketones at elevated levels,” says Volek. “Your body adapts to this alternative fuel and becomes very efficient at breaking down and burning fat.”
^ Jump up to: a b c d Kossoff EH, Freeman JM. The ketogenic diet—the physician’s perspective. In: Stafstrom CE, Rho JM, editors. Epilepsy and the ketogenic diet. Totowa: Humana Press; 2004. p. 53–61. ISBN 1-58829-295-9.
As a precaution, you should always check with your physician if you have any concerns about starting a keto diet. You should especially be wary if you’re currently taking medications for a pre-existing condition as extra monitoring may be needed. Be careful when breastfeeding as you may need to increase carb intake.
In Asia, the normal diet includes rice and noodles as the main energy source, making their elimination difficult. Therefore, the MCT-oil form of the diet, which allows more carbohydrate, has proved useful. In India, religious beliefs commonly affect the diet: some patients are vegetarians, will not eat root vegetables or avoid beef. The Indian ketogenic diet is started without a fast due to cultural opposition towards fasting in children. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate nature of the normal Indian and Asian diet means that their ketogenic diets typically have a lower ketogenic ratio (1:1) than in America and Europe. However, they appear to be just as effective.
Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
Regardless if you are a beginner or have been eating a strict ketogenic diet for years, take a step back and ask yourself where you stand on The Ketogenic Diet Hierarchy of Needs and then take the next action! Let’s get it!
The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child’s age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more calories than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.
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.
While Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by excess refined sugar and carbs in your diet, it’s a condition that can also be reversed by changing the foods you eat (14). Since the ketogenic diet removes most carbs, it gives your body a chance to reestablish and reset the “communication” with insulin, which can improve insulin sensitivity and reverse blood sugar imbalances.
Secondly, saturated fat is not shown to be harmful within the context of a low carb diet. It helps improve cholesterol levels, including increasing the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol while decreasing total triglyceride levels. These two factors help lower your risk of heart disease.
Option 3: Grilled chicken served with eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini along with a few tomatoes, sautéed with garlic in olive oil. Adding additional fats in the form of a sauce incorporating heavy cream or coconut cream is a smart choice for balancing macros.
Option 3: Spicy guacamole with raw zucchini slices. The foods you choose between meals should still be keto-friendly and may even mimic an upcoming dinner, just in a smaller portion size, says Stefanski. “Since carbs are minimal, it’s important to spend your carbs on high-nutrient foods like vegetables.”
Finally, the goals between the two diets vary. The goal of keto is to enter ketosis, weaning your body off of burning glucose for fuel long-term. With a low carb diet, you may never enter ketosis. In fact, some diets cut out carbs for just a short while, then add them back in.
The ketone bodies are possibly anticonvulsant; in animal models, acetoacetate and acetone protect against seizures. The ketogenic diet results in adaptive changes to brain energy metabolism that increase the energy reserves; ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose, and the number of mitochondria is increased. This may help the neurons to remain stable in the face of increased energy demand during a seizure, and may confer a neuroprotective effect.
As for branched-chain amino acids, you’ll find smart people who swear that they’re keto-friendly, and others who won’t. One of the BCAAs, valine, can be glucogenic, meaning that it can lead to glucose production and potentially contribute to leaving ketosis behind.1 But does that mean it will happen? Not necessarily, particularly if you’re just an occasional supplement user.
The ketogenic diet is usually initiated in combination with the patient’s existing anticonvulsant regimen, though patients may be weaned off anticonvulsants if the diet is successful. There is some evidence of synergistic benefits when the diet is combined with the vagus nerve stimulator or with the drug zonisamide, and that the diet may be less successful in children receiving phenobarbital.
The ketone blood monitor is the most accurate ketosis testing method. A blood monitor measures your state of ketosis by detecting the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in your blood, which is one of the primary ketones.(28)
In order to transition and remain in ketosis, aiming for about 30–50 net grams is typically the recommended amount of carbs to start with. This is considered a more moderate or flexible approach but can be less overwhelming to begin with.
You might be asking, “What’s a net carb?” It’s simple really! The net carbs are your total dietary carbohydrates, minus the total fiber. I recommend keeping total carbs below 35g and net carbs below 25g (ideally, below 20g).
Our main goal here is to stay pretty simple at first. In my eyes, simplicity is key for someone that is just starting out on a low carb diet. You don’t want it to be a difficult transition (kitchen-wise), because it will be hard to just get rid of your cravings.