It seems so easy, so simple. Add fats, reduce carbs. Bingo, and the fast track to weight loss, right? Not so fast. For best results, and even more importantly, for your own safety, make sure you implement the Ketogenic diet with a good grasp of what it is, and with guidance from those who are trained to make it work best for you.
When you change to a ketogenic diet, you are changing the energy source for your body from primarily glucose from carbs to ketones from fats. That is no small thing. Thats like changing your car from petroleum gas to natural gas or vice versa. Well, kinda, you don’t actually change the motor, since our bodies are much more advanced, but you are changing the fuel, so your performance will change in a couple ways.
Let your Calories be Your Guide
So to start with a calorie guide can help. To start a basic rule is 10 times the weight you want to reach is the calories you want to consume. so for example, you want to weigh 150lbs? Then Consume 1500 calories, 185 lbs, 1850 calories, and so on. This is of course a basic rule, and will have to be adjusted for height and other factors… Also this is with absolutely NO activity, so it is a very rough minimum baseline which is not enough for the average person. You need to add calories for any activity and movement. For instance if I want to maintain a weight of 180 lbs I will probably need to consume 2000 calories, perhaps slightly more, its all relative to how active I am, which is why guidance and information are really needed for optimum performance under any diet program, it is not one size fits all.
But then what fats? What carbs? How much of each, and when? Is it a lifestyle, or a temporary menu plan? This is where it can become a bit more tricky, and where some fail to maximize the plan.
Take it Away
First What to remove: Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Corn, Peas, Beans, Beets, and even most fruits, especially Bananas. You must let your carbs come from Vegetables.
Now Use Your Fists…
Fats and Proteins. How much and from where? First how much? With ratios at about 60-70% fats, 20-30% proteins, and 10% carbs you have a starting point. But how do you calculate those amounts?
Here is a general rule. A fist sized portion of protein, and a fist sized portion of healthy fats from non legged sources like Fish and veggies at each meal, and five meals a day. Since Proteins have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram, you end up with an almost perfect ratio for your energy balance in those portion sizes. If you decrease the meal frequency, you must increase the meal size for your proper energy balance. But we recommend the five meal plan because it is always better to eat for energy as needed. As a possible solution you can add a ketogenic shake.You could also use a ketogenic soup.
You can also add medium chain triglycerides (MCT) to speed the process, and add fat energy more quickly since these are processed faster than long chain triglycerides (LCT).
While these fats and proteins form one key component of the diet and most of the calories there is also another vital component you cannot forget.
Don’t Lose Your Color
Protein and fat is great, but you really NEED your vegetables too. Leaves and all sorts of textures and colors. This is not just for specific nutrients which are extremely important when you limit your diet, but for fiber, and to keep a healthy GI tract by feeding and sustaining your microflora balance, which as we have said in other posts is about 70% of your immune system. Remember too this expansive colored diet needs to be for all five meals. So all your red, yellow, purple, black, orange, and green. The more per meal the better.
Shifting your body from a standard diet to one that transitions you into ketosis will result in your body, and particularly your brain, taking issue with your new plan. Carbs hold water, and when your brain senses the dehydration you will experience, particularly if you don’t make sure to drink lots of water, you will suffer headaches and other symptoms of dehydration, almost like a hangover or the flu. (Not that any of you EVER experienced that!). That is what salt or in this case better yet, ketone-salts come in. They can rapidly induce ketosis and help your body retain more of the water and minimize the effects of this transitional dehydration.
Another effect of the transition is that for 7-10 days, your body and muscles will be adjusting to switching energy sources, and this can be tough particularly for athletes. Athletes on rigorous resistance training programs, cross-fit, interval, and endurance programs need to be ready to be weaker and less vital and to actually lose some strength over this period, which can be as hard on the ego as it is on the body. This would be a good time to switch to aerobic exercise, lighter weights, and just less intensity during this period. After the 7-10 day window, the body should be ready to go right back to the previous intensity, and be fully able to handle what you bring, with new energy from fat sources fueling the momentum.
Not Really Meant Merely as a Weight Loss Program
The ketogenic diet is a great way to burn fats, and get energy. It is a clean and efficient way for the body to burn its own fat stores, and manage glucose levels. And you can lose weight.
However, it is also a potential recipe for fast weight gain, as with most extreme diets taken exclusively for weight loss. Because a person tends to be extreme, and try to limit all carbs and sugars, which can be good and is really the purpose of the diet, they can quickly revert to extreme indulgence in those loved carb and sugar laden components missed while on the plan. As with all things, we are for balanced lifestyle changes that maintain health, not just regulate the number on a scale which is often deceptive, and NOT an exclusive indicator of health. You could weigh less and actually be less healthy than if you weighed more, if your composition is off balance.
So there is a lot to consider, and we certainly encourage you to get as much information as possible before embarking on an extreme menu change. We will be having more posts about this and other programs to maintain health and wellness, and we encourage you to keep checking back and follow our instagram @therapeuticlifestylechange for updates and relevant posts to help you along the way!
More to come…..
James Marfleet, CNC, LE
I am a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Lifestyle Educator, not a doctor. Even more Importantly I am not your Doctor. Your Doctor knows you and your physiology best. Always be in communication with your doctor when you start a new diet regimen, particularly one as drastic as a ketogenic plan. If not done right, some have been dangerously dehydrated, and suffered other ill effects, due to improper implementation. With proper guidance and the right tools, and possibly even some enhanced supplements, you can really see fast progress in utilizing the ketogenic plan.
*This post and all statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. No products referred to on this site are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. Apparently, the FDA is only concerned with deciding if profitable drugs from billion dollar pharmaceutical companies can be used for improving health, and not if food and supplements can be used to mitigate chronic or acute conditions. Since this is the case, we always advise close communication with your physician before changing anything in your diet or exercise program. Most Doctors will likely agree with us anyway!