We recommend this if you want to embrace the ketogenic way of eating, and our panel follow these guidelines. This is the starting point for anyone embarking on a ketogenic lifestyle and for most it is used to get the body into a ketogenic state. It is possible to remain on this way of eating for as long as it works for you. As described elsewhere on this site, the basic goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake to a maximum 20 grams per day, maintaining protein and fat to suit your individual requirements. Conquering this is your most important task.
WHAT WE MEAN BY KETOSIS:
You will come across ketosis in a number of other diets, such as Atkins and Dukan LCHF, however the ratios of fat, protein and carbohydrates vary in each.
How the Body Uses Insulin :
- Glucose levels rise = Pancreas secretes insulin = Insulin takes glucose to cell = ENERGY On a high fat ketogenic diet
- Glucose levels fall = Lipase releases stored triglycerides = Fatty acids travel to liver = Liver produces ketones = ENERGY
This is when our bodies develop a ketogenic state which can take normally around 3-6 weeks.
As we have stated, in the absence if glucose, a process of ketosis occurs. The body burns fats instead of carbohydrates as its main fuel source. So, when we do not eat carbohydrates, the liver breaks down fat stores to produce energy. This energy is in the form of molecules called ketones.
The Purpose of Ketosis :
To get your body into ketosis and lower your insulin levels, your sugars and refined carbohydrates need to be lowered to within 5% of your daily calories. Once in ketosis, the amount can be 5-10%. It doesn’t take much carbohydrate food to knock you out of ketosis.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar that is made in the pancreas. Normally, you store just 2 teaspoons of sugar in your blood. Our bodies are NOT designed to cope with the number of sweets and sugar we consume. The average person eats 145 lbs of sugar per year, which we are learning is detrimental to our health.
Anything more than 2 teaspoons of sugar is actually TOXIC to the body. The average person is consuming too much carbohydrate, which increases the insulin in an effort to get it out of the blood fast and put it into the liver. When too much sugar and/or high carbohydrate foods – especially processed foods – are eaten regularly, which for most of society is daily and often with every meal – our body will develop a fatty liver.
It has been found that people with fatty liver diseases, high cholesterol and high blood fats have not developed these conditions from healthy, undamaged fats, it is actually the SUGAR in the diet. Our bodies make a lot of cholesterol naturally as it is necessary for our brain and our cell walls. Also, for hormone, vit D production and bile, as well as other functions. Our bodies will make about 2000mg of cholesterol a day, so it is important for the body to include healthy fat, despite the low-fat diets we are advised to follow.
Our health problems are related to sugar and damaged fats.
Ketosis: Healthy or Deadly? :
Many experts believe that fat is a clean fuel source that gives an individual much more sustainable energy than glucose.
Many professional athletes are adopting a ketogenic diet as they are finding they can outrun and outperform any other athlete who may be carb loading.
Our bodies require fat. Fat does not make people fat. It’s the extra calories and other health factors that make people fat. As fat is a dense food, it contains a higher amount of calories and therefore a lesser volume is required to add to the daily requirement of calories. Fat is vital for our health for development and growth for nerves, brain, skin tissue, joints, cells and as a transporter of fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E and K.
In ketosis, the body is starved of carbohydrates. Though it is essential for the brain to have some carbohydrates, the brain will utilise some of the carbohydrate as well as some of the protein that has turned to carbohydrate – gluconeogenesis. The body becomes more keto-adapted, which means its primary fuel becomes fat, which is slow burning and sustainable. When the body is in ketosis, the brain will also use about 60% of ketones for fuel along with gluconeogenesis, which helps brain health.
A ketogenic diet is most often incorporated with intermittent fasting. With intermittent fasting, the body is burning its own fat fuel and has time for liver and organs to repair themselves, as the body cannot restore and repair whilst going through the process of digestion. See our page on fasting.
There are many sources of healthy fats and saturated fats are not necessarily unhealthy. Animal fats, grass fed beef, chicken with skin are OK if kept to your protein quota. Spice the meat up with ground spices and herbs (some sauces may knock you out of ketosis, as they may contain carbohydrates).
Eggs need to be eaten whole; the yolk fat is needed to be able to get into ketosis. The theory “I don’t want to clog my arteries” in relation to eggs is not necessarily true, as with new scientific evidence it is the processed fats that clog the arteries. It is the combination of processed fats, processed sugar and a lack of exercise that begins the process of ill health and clogged arteries.
Healthy Fat Examples:
Coconut butter and cocoa butter are a great source of ketogenic fats. Coconut oil may increase LDL (bad cholesterol) through the effects of long chain fatty acids, although it also raises your HDL (good cholesterol) as it contains some medium chain fatty acids. It is therefore important to use a variety of different good quality oils rather than just sticking to one.
Olive oil, sunflower oil, flax seed oil and avocado oil are all great oils to use in their raw state for salads, though avocado oil tolerates high temperatures so can also be used for cooking. It is important to make sure they are cold-pressed and in dark bottles from small factories, if possible.
Most oils in supermarkets are high heat processed for longer shelf life, which makes them trans fatty or hydrogenated and compromise our health.
Cheap favourable oils can also be mixed with less superior toxic oils, so it is essential that you choose a high-quality cold-pressed oil or good quality organic butter, ghee or coconut oil for cooking.
Fish oil is also said to be good for brain and joint health, yet not all fish oils are equal. When choosing a fish oil find out if it is free from mercury and dioxin. We breathe in and ingest heavy metals and other contaminants every day, which may add to our toxic load.
The same goes for fish. Farmed and sustainable fish, along with any fish other than wild Pacific or Alaskan fish, will be contaminated with mercury. Most farm-raised and sustainable fish are not fed on food that is natural to them. This is not a healthy option for us and does not produce the quantities of Omega 3 oil that we require for our health. It is always a good idea to ask about the origins of the fish when buying it.
Are Ketogenic Diets Safe?:
The answer is yes, a ketogenic diet is safe for the heart and is not dangerous, it is effective and healthy if followed correctly.
Countless studies have confirmed it is not actually fat that clogs your arteries, it is sugar.
This is because added dietary sugar is metabolised into triglycerides, which leads to the increased production of LDL particles which clog the arteries, leading to the plaque build-up and atherosclerosis.
If you continue to include sugar in your diet along with bad fats, your bad cholesterol will go up and you won’t get all the fat-burning benefits if this program. Choosing the ketogenic diet requires you to cut out sugar.
There are a couple of things to note.
If you’ve been running your body on sugar for a long time, it will take time to adapt your body to a new fuel source. During transition, you might have to take it gradually.
You will lose some weight as water. Loss of water will result in a loss of electrolytes therefore you may have to consume more sodium in the form of healthy salts.
By persevering with some of the discomforts of adapting to this diet, your body will reap the benefits of using ketones as your fuel source. Make sure that it is actually discomfort and not your body feeling unwell, in which case, re-evaluate what you are doing, as the diet may not be suitable for you.