What is it? Is it right for me? How do I get started?
There is a lot buzz about the ketogenic diet in the headlines right now. I have emails, Facebook feeds and even ads coming through snail mail in my mailbox at home promoting a ketogenic diet. I am seeing far out recipes like bulletproof coffee, bacon, and butter, and other varieties of high-fat recipes and I think to myself, “It should be called the heart attack diet and not the ketogenic diet!” That really isn’t the case. Multiple studies prove a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Different diets have plagued the United States and even the world with different people branding a style of eating to “quote unquote” make people lose weight and feel better. Sometimes it is that simple and people do feel better and lose weight on a certain style of eating. That is the point to my blog today. Unless you are one of those people who have it all figured out, then maybe you need to try something new and see how you feel. The ketogenic diet seems complex and it seems kind of crazy but the science and philosophy behind the diet shows that it is a good option for people trying to break the mold and feel better naturally through diet.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
Simply put, a ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet. This is completely opposite of the SAD Diet a.k.a., The Standard American Diet. The standard American consists of carbohydrates which in my opinion is a why over 65% of our society is overweight. (2) Most people do not exert enough energy on a given day to keep up with the Carb loading that is rampant in our society. When you eat a high carbohydrate diet your body uses glucose for fuel. When you switch to a ketogenic diet your body uses fat as the fuel which is much healthier and efficient for fuel. In fact, Ketogenic researchers Dr. Steve Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek have noted that a sugar burner has only about 2000 calories’ worth of energy stored in their body while a fat burner has over 40,000 calories worth of fuel – more than twenty times as much! (3) This is the exact reason I would encourage any person without a history contra-indicated them to eat large amounts of fats or having a buildup of ketones in the body, to try the diet and see how you function. It sounds intriguing I’m sure if you have never attempted the style of eating.
So what exactly is a ketone. The word ketone derives its name from Aketon, an old German word for acetone. (1) For the Chemist, a ketone (alkanone) /ˈkiːtoʊn/ is an organic compound with the structure RC(=O)R’, where R and R’ can be a variety of carbon-containing substituents. (1) Ketones are also abundant in nature. We find them naturally in our bodies, but they have often been given a bad rap due to the negative associations with common health issues such as diabetes Type I and Type II. Ketoacidosis relates to people who do not make insulin and this is life-threatening condition. It is true that a ketogenic diet is not the best eating pattern for you if you suffer from such health issues. A more thorough list, but not limited to, can be found at: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/support-files/who-should-not-follow-a-ketogenic-diet.pdf
Getting started on a ketogenic diet can often be a little uncomfortable. You may experience what feels like the flu symptoms (the ketogenic flu). When your body is switching from a sugar burning state to a fat burning state, you can experience a variety of symptoms from hot flashes to headaches. This typically starts to subside within the first week of your body becoming ketogenic and you should not have the same trouble moving forward in the diet. If certain symptoms do remain then check in with a qualified practitioner to assure that you are performing the diet properly and to exclude another issue.
How do I get started on a Ketogenic diet?
Simply put – start eating copious amounts of FAT! Start reducing your carbohydrate intake and grab a pencil and paper to start food tracking. I feel it is important if you have never completed a ketogenic diet that you calculate your macronutrients to make sure you are eating the proper amount of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. This is challenging in the beginning because it takes a lot of dedication and time to calculating your dietary ratios. There are books you can pick up at the local library to help calculate these ratios or if you have access to the internet you can calculate simply by researching the foods you are eating on Google.
I recommend buying ketone urine dipsticks that are found by the blood sugar monitors in your local store to find out if your body is producing ketone bodies. This is not the most correct way to tell if you are in a true ideal state of diet-induced ketosis but it the most cost-effective way. The most accurate way is to buy a glucometer that can also register ketone bodies in the blood serum. They are a little expensive and the strips to test ketones are $3-4 a strip on average. You can start with the urine dipsticks and then have a blood test performed by the primary care physician who is overseeing your case to make sure you are in an ideal state of ketosis.
It is important to also take some nutritional supplements to help along the way. An electrolyte supplement helps keep the body replenished with magnesium and potassium as a ketogenic diet can take away from your body’s overall mineral storage. One may experience leg cramps if not supplemented. Carnitine is also a dietary supplement that can help use the fat digested and turn it into energy. (4)
In summary, do not overlook the ketogenic diet or consider it a reckless fad diet. The potential for a variety of health benefits comes with sticking to this diet and the success stories are abundant. Good Luck!
Dr. Andrew Kender, D.C.
September 18, 2016
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
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Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. Robert Nichols, Dr. Jessica Eckman, Chiropractic Physicians
- Moore, Jimmy, Emmerich Maria: The ketogenic Cookbook: 2015 Page 13