You too, can have the slim, healthy body that you have been dreaming of. People from all over the world have been adapting to, and getting RESULTS WITH KETO, losing body fat, and taking on an entirely new stress FREE, depression FREE outlook on life with peace of mind.
For decades people have been looking for the miracle cure to obesity. There are an infinite number of diet related books and diet plans available. Most of the effective ones, usually have common point of convergence.
By reducing sugar to near zero and significantly increasing healthy fats, the longevity and quality of your life is going to absolutely be improved. This article is quite long. If you can’t read it all in one go, please bookmark the page and continue later.
I look forward to your comments, suggestions, questions, and requests.
Origin / History / Discovery of Ketogenics
The term “ketogenic diet” has been around since at least the early part of the 1900s. The root part of the word ‘ketogenics’ is ‘keto.” Some of the other words in this family are ketosis and ketones. These are perhaps the more important part of the ketogenics legacy.
In the early part of the 20th century, doctors didn’t have modern technology to treat epilepsy patients but discovered that thru fasting combined with higher fat intake and low levels of carbohydrates that a significant percentage of epilepsy patients responded very well to this way of eating. 20% or more were indefinitely relieved of the seizures associated with epilepsy and more than 50% went on to have a more controlled life without the extreme varieties of epilepsy attacks as were experienced in previous times.
Ketogenics has even shown to be helpful for other nervous system related debilitation such as dementia and Alzheimer. It would probably be more accurate to say that sugar and carbohydrates are most responsible for these problems. On the bright side, ketosis, these nervous system related issues can be overcome or at least minimized and stabilized.
So, What is Ketosis, Then?
There are two primary sources of energy that the body depends on to survive: glucose and ketones. Ketosis is a condition where the body metabolizes ketones as a form of energy. Ketones are primarily derived from fat in the body. It is commonly argued in modern times that the body’s preferred form of fuel is – ketones.
Sugar, when metabolized is converted into glucose. The average human body has around 2 tablespoons of glucose in the bloodstream at any given time. If you think about it, that isn’t a lot. But, it’s enough, if not more than enough. The problem rises when the fluctuation of the blood sugar level (glucose) becomes too high, insulin spikes to release sugar from the blood stream to convert and store it as fat. Then the blood glucose level drops somewhat, and all the organs work synchronously to re-balance the blood glucose level and the cycle repeats.
Obesity is a common indicator of people who probably have insulin related problems. Obesity is not always caused simply by overeating.
What are the benefits of the ketogenic diet?
By lowering sugar consumption, you will also potentially be lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, risk of heart attack, Alzheimer and dementia onset, depression, food addiction, aging skin, diabetes, fatty liver disease, risk of cancer, bad breath, breathing problems, fatigue, teeth problems, and equally important – trips to the doctor.
At the same time, you will be increasing the number of ketones in your blood stream that your body will want to use as energy.
Glucose can be compared to gasoline in an engine. Gasoline provides quick burning fuel, high combustion, high power …
…while diesel is like ketones. It doesn’t have quite the same power combustion, but it’s a much cleaner energy source that the brain prefers.
Glucose is easily converted to fat. Ketones are not. While it is possible to store fat from eating fat, a person can easily go over their fat calorie consumption target and not gain weight. It is also likely to lose weight even while on a moderate glucose (sugary carbs) diet and high fat consumption. On a high carbohydrate consumption diet, though, you could easily gain weight and potentially suffer problems as described earlier.
In modern times, most people who subscribe to the ketogenic way of life are doing it for weight loss. However, there are also many doing it for over all health benefits, clarity of mind, and peace of mind.
What are the side effects of the ketogenic diet?
When transitioning into a ketone fueled body, there is a process that takes place. For many this can be somewhat uncomfortable. The body is trying to rid itself of stored sugars while moving ketones in. You could think of it like two families where one family is trying to move out of a home while at the same time the other family is trying to move in.
Lower energy, brain fog, and general fatigue might be noticeable. But, as the change gets settled down, these symptoms should increasingly disappear.
Some people also experience constipation. It is argued by professionals and veterans of the ketogenic movement that this is probably due to increased fiber consumption and / or less carbohydrates. Fiber is definitely healthy and necessary in a well balanced diet, but this may need to be managed if it causes constipation. In other places in this site, we’ll provide remedies for dealing with certain issues as well as provide generally good health lifestyle habits regarding food consumption.
Who Uses It?
Historically, it wasn’t uncommon for mankind to live like this, simply because the environment didn’t lend itself easily to a high-carb-only diet. There were no refrigerators at one time (believe it or not). So people ate what they could get their hands on. Killed it – ate it – eliminated it. So, nature tended to provide a balanced diet. They also had more exercise because they didn’t have TV, the Internet, and play stations to sit in front of all day. So, in time, society around the world has adopted and adapted to a very dormant, sedentary lifestyle.
Nowadays, ketogenics appeals to people wanting to lose weight. Also, one of the largest circles in society that has use a ketogenic approach to losing weight is bodybuilders. Bodybuilders go through different stages of resistance training. It usually consists of
- Phase 1: (Muscle Building)high carb diet for loads of glucose and glycogen to be stored in the muscles for explosive resistance exercises using heavy weights. This is the muscle building stage, if you will. As a consequence, it is fairly well accepted that large muscle mass can’t be achieved without fat storage as well. It just goes with the territory. Which is why …
- Phase 2: (Cutting) low to zero carb eating, high protein diets are used to strip the fat off. The calorie consumption in this case doesn’t necessarily change. But, body builders have known for more than 40 or 50 years what the average person now is just starting to become aware of regarding carboydrates. Carbs make you fat! Bodybuilders will have a designated period of time that they go into this cutting stage. So, they may have a 4 month (bulking stage 1), then go into a 2 month (cutting stage 2) routine.
- Phase 3: Recuperating and maintaining. Here they give their body a modicum of rest, before they start the cycle over again.
Phase 2 is not exactly a model representation of ketogenics, but principally works the same.
In the last section, I mentioned that stage 2 (cutting stage) for bodybuilders is not exactly the same as a ketogenics diet. While fairly similar, here is the difference. Body builders tend to use more of an Atkins diet approach. Let’s take a look at the difference.
Atkins Diet: Low carbohydrates (0 – 20 grams / day), low to moderate fat (30-40% of daily calories), high protein (60-70% of daily calories)
Ketogenics: Low carbohydrates (0 – 20 grams / day), high fat (60-70% of daily calories), moderate protein (30-40% of daily calories)
In a nutshell, the difference is in the flip-flop balance of proteins to fats. This is because body builders are very dependent on proteins to maintain their muscle gains.
When the body has sugar readily available, the body will break this down first into glucose and use it as energy. As well, any stored up glycogen in the liver will be used.
Then, fats pass through the liver and get broken down into 3 different water soluble molecules becoming a different energy source called ‘ketones’.
So, when thinking about energy resources at the molecular level, you can group glucose and ketones together as your two main types.
For comparison sake, however, I’d like to provide you with an analogy. Glucose and ketones are not the final payload. Glucose and ketones are like the Post Office and UPS who deliver the payload (a package).
What the Post Office and UPS both have in common is that they both deliver a package. The package is what you are mostly concerned about. The Post Office and UPS are simply a means.
In that case, if glucose and ketones are like the Post Office and UPS, then what is the payload or the package? It is called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is what actually get metabolized as energy. ATP is often referred to as the body’s actual currency of energy.
So, why the fuss over glucose and ketones if they are just the delivery guy?
Well, let’s see…
Glucose: .. is like the post office. Readily available. Overworked. Mail get’s lost. Makes people lazy. Eventually an overworked and over-stressed post office worker comes to work and “goes postal”. Oh, and your mail probably got lost in the junk pile just like glucose often gets thrown in the fat storage.
Ketones: .. are similar to UPS. These guys are not as readily available as the post office, but you can always trust that they will deliver on time and give you peace of mind. And just like Ketones is to the brain, UPS is probably the most preferred delivery service when ordering and shipping time and price sensitive items for peace of mind.
So, you might summarize this as saying, these two work and operate differently. They both take different pathways through the body. Their purposes are both to deliver the goods. But, they both have their own benefits. One might be considered better than the other. Which one do you think it is, so far?
Testing For Ketones
There are two main ways that you can test for the presence of ketones in the body. One is through urine and the other is through your blood.
The blood is the most reliable method, simply because if there are no ketones in the blood, it won’t be used for energy. Continuing the Post Office / UPS analogy from earlier, the blood is the energy highway that these deliver guys travel.
But the urine is an elimination highway. It’s the dumpster highway. If you are detecting ketones in your urine, that doesn’t mean they are in your blood. At least, this method doesn’t indicate any relative amount of ketones in the blood.
If you are not detecting any ketones in your urine, at all, you might actually be completely in ketosis. Where ketones are working properly and the system is becoming well tuned, those ketones will be found more in your blood than in your urine.
This is a fright sometimes for people when they stop seeing ketones in the urine thinking they have fallen out of ketosis. The opposite is more likely true.
Urine Testing: Most commonly you can purchase special strips of paper that you wet with your urine and wait a few seconds to observe a change in color on the paper. A range in color indicates the relative volume of ketones being eliminated in the urine.
Blood Testing: A relatively inexpensive blood testing device can be purchased and conveniently used in the home. With the simple prick in the finger to draw a drop of blood is enough. Added to a special piece of paper, it is then analyzed quickly in a small handheld device that produces a digital readout on an LED screen indicating the number of ketones found in the blood. The fancier models can test for both ketones AND glucose levels.
Monitoring both ketones and glucose levels is the most sensible method. It’s important to identify lowering trends of glucose and strengthening trends of ketones in the blood.
Macro and Micro – Nutrients
Macro-nutrients often referred to simply as macros are the major building blocks of the human body. Most frequently discussed among the macros are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Micro-nutrients are those other important nutrients such as your vitamins and minerals. These are the nutrients that play roles in carrying out esoteric functions in the body, but not necessarily in being a building block.
For example, the micro-nutrient vitamin B family from B1 – B12 plays important roles in the function of the nervous system. More on that will be discussed in this site.
Proteins are in simplified terms chains of amino acids that serve in growing and rebuilding tissue. They are an energy source in their own right, but not suitable for a main energy source for the body to carry out it’s day to day functions. Proteins are responsible for literally everything you can see on the human body. They rebuild and grow the hair, eyes, fingernails, skin, the organs in the body, etc.,
Carbohydrates are your body’s general energy source. Carbohydrates come in different forms, from simple sugars to complex carbohydrates found in starchy foods such as potatoes. The simpler the sugar, the more refined it is and the quicker it finds it’s way into the blood stream. It burns quick and is responsible for giving you that quick get-up-and-go burst of energy. It’s also responsible for giving you those drop-off-a-cliff feelings all of the sudden. Sugar in the body is not very efficient at keeping the body’s moving parts and organs in smooth operation.
On a positive note, carbohydrates play a role in digestion. This is one of the reasons why constipation may be an issue with some people on a low carb diet because tough insoluble fiber foods may not break down as efficiently. However, this doesn’t mean you should go on a carb loading binge for the sake of constipation. There are other solutions to be discussed at a later time.
Fats serve several purposes in the body. They assist with temperature regulation, escorting micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals) around the body, and serving as a backup source of energy.
These are all important roles of fat, but the latter is the most relevant to the ketogenic dieter. Consuming enough fat is important in relation to all of those reasons listed above. When there is a deficiency in fat consumption, the body is going to make sure to convert as many carbs and proteins into fat as it can.
Macro-Nutrient Dosage Rule of Thumb
As far as the ketogenic diet is concerned, in the absence of a proper ketogenic daily macro consumption calculator, here is a rudimentary rule of thumb.
Part of the recommended macro dosages depends on the number of your daily calorie target. For the sake of example, the following will assume a daily consumption of 2000 calories.
Carbs – keep anywhere between 0 and 50 grams. Now before you go crazy with this, please understand that 50 grams is the extreme high end of the spectrum. I included that number because you will find some recommendations suggesting it as a maximum.
** However, the mainstream recommendation is between 0 and 20 grams of carbohydrates / day. NOTE: I said per day. Not per meal. Not a percentage of your daily food intake. Measured simply in total grams / day.
The general rule of thumb for the number of calories in 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories. This is a rough number. It actually varies between just below 4 calories to just over 4 calories.
If you consume 20 grams of carbs times 4 calories, that is 80 calories.
2000 total daily calories – 80 carb calories = a balance of 1920 calories to be divided between proteins and fats.
The ketogenic diet plan recommends keeping proteins low, but no lower. Hmmm.. what-the-heck does that mean. It means you need to have a necessary minimum to keep your body rebuilding and growing, but any more than that, and it will potentially be converted to fat. Any less and you will create deficiencies. It’s a balancing act.
So, protein is going to be based on a value within the range between your target body weight and your current body weight and your activity level. However as a rule of thumb here is a suggestion.
Eat the same number of grams of fat as the number of grams of protein. Notice I didn’t say eat the same number of calories. But, the same number of grams.
1 gram of protein has about the 4 calories. The same for carbs.
1 gram of fat has about 9 calories. Big difference.
If you eat 100 grams of protein, that is 100g x 4 calories = 400 calories.
If you eat 100 grams of fat, that is 100g x 9 calories = 900 calories.
80 carb cals + 400 protein cals + 900 fat calories = 1380 calories.
This still leaves 620 calories as a deficit. So, what do you do?
Rule #1 : If you aren’t hungry – DON’T eat. Simple.
Rule #2 : If you are hungry – Go to a healthy fat source. The remaining 620 calorie deficit / 9 calories = 70 grams of fat rounded off.
A heaping bowl of spinach and shredded cabbage or the likes doused with 20 grams of some high quality oil such as extra virgin olive oil will get you closer to that number, and you’ll still be in a deficit.
Most people experience being full and incapable of meeting their daily required macro nutrients. This is a good thing. But, again, if you are still hungry, follow rule #2.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)
Triglyceride is just a fancy, cool word that means fatty acid. Some call it a “MCF” for “medium-chain- fatty-acid.” It’s all the same meaning. Earlier, I stated that there are different varieties within the different macro groups. MCT is one of those varieties in the fat group. It is a popular choice of fat for a couple of reasons. One, it breaks down quicker than LCTs. Any guess what LCT stands for? If you said Long Chain Triglyceride, you are correct.
The length of a fatty acid or triglyceride is in reference to the number of bonded carbon atoms that make up a fatty acid. The more carbon atoms the longer the chain, the fewer carbons the shorter the chain. Stay tuned for a different lesson that goes into more detail on that.
Long chain fatty acids take longer and require a more rigorous process in the liver to break down fat into ketones. Whereas, Medium chain fatty acids have a much more rapid metabolism process and can be sent to the battle front much quicker. Sort of like the Marines vs … uh..oh.. I better be quiet now. I don’t want to offend anyone. Never mind. Pretend I didn’t say that.
MCTs are ideal fats for a ketogenic diet and can be readily found in abundance in coconut oil. If you’ve wondered what the craze over coconut oil was all about, that is it. More on coconut oil and MCTs later.
MUFA, PUFA, and Saturated Fats
MUFA(moo-fah), PUFA(poo-fah) and saturated fats are a different level of granularity in categorizing fats. It will or should eventually become an import topic for you. Balancing these is important. This, also, will be covered in more specific articles.
But, let me quickly explain that MUFA means “monounsaturated fatty acid“. PUFA means “polyunsaturated fatty acid.” Saturated simply means saturated.
A saturated fat is one that is saturated with the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible. There are NO double bonds between the carbon atoms. Enough of the geek talk. These sorts of fats are easily recognized by their firmness. An example would be butter, or even coconut oil in cooler temperatures.
Mono means (1) one. A monounsaturated fat is broken up into two parts of the meaning. First unsaturated. This means that it is NOT saturated with the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible. So, Mono meaning 1 indicates that there is exactly one 1 area in the carbon chain where a possible hydrogen atom doesn’t exist.
Poly means (2 or more), or many. A polyunsaturated fat means there are two or more locations in the carbon chain that don’t have a potential hydrogen atom forming a covalent bond with a carbon atom.
This information is very important in the next section. But, as a note, mono and poly unsaturated fats exhibit the quality of being liquid. More on this when we talk about trans fats.
Have you ever thought or even said out loud that saturated fats such as butter just taste better than their more liquid counterpart fats such as olive oil. If you think KFC tastes yummy, it’s probably because you love the taste of saturated oil.
As well, if you like ordinary store bought peanut butter you probably like saturated fat. That is if you have never eaten real natural peanut butter. You see, because when you buy a jar of REAL peanut butter, you’ll notice about 1/2″ – 1″ of liquid oil on the top of the peanut butter. And when you stick your knife or spoon in to dig out the peanute butter, you’d think you were trying to break a diamond. It’s hard!
Well, peanut butter manufactures take unsaturated fat from peanut butter and make it saturated.
“mmmm yummy…”, you say.
Well, hold on just a second. Not so fast there Jiminy Cricket. Let’s talk about that process of turning unsaturated fat into saturated fat.
Remember we said that unsaturated fat had places in the chain that didn’t have hydrogen atoms. Therefore giving it the name ‘unsaturated?’ Well, what the manufacturing process does is artificially add the hydrogen atoms to the chain in those locations. This is what’s called hydrogenation.
The hydrogenation process, for lack of a more politically correct analogy, takes a very healthy fat and deforms it into a crippled disabled fatty acid that the body has a tremendously difficult time breaking down. They will eventually clog up your arteries and you will DIE!
So, if you see a food product that says it has hydrogenated fat or the more likely term, “TRANS fat”, then run …. RUN Forest RUN !!!
I added this section on exercise, more-or-less, just for brevity. It’s common knowledge that you should exercise. But, I would like to provide a bit more settling feeling to this topic.
Many folks conjure up the wrong image of exercise. They think of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the gym eating dumbbells between sets of bench presses. This is NOT necessary and for the average fat loss prospect, unnecessary.
I’ll make this note real quick and leave this topic alone until a another article.
For your exercise, a long bicycle ride or moderately paced walk for about 30 minutes to 1 hour is GREAT. You simply just need to get out from in front of the TV and go outside to move your body.
We covered macros, carbs, proteins, and fats. Now, let’s looks at some healthy choices for these areas. One problem with any diet is synchronizing foods together because most of them don’t represent just a single macro group. They are mixed. However, they do tend to fall into a majority macro group.
- coconut oil
- fish oil
- Pork Bacon
- egg yolk
- pork bacon
- fruit (keep it to a minimum.)
- lot of greens
- did I mention greens?
Deficiencies and Supplements
Anytime you engage in a rigorous diet of any sort, you’re body is going to make changes and you are likely to lose some important nutrients and become slightly or even greatly deficient in some areas.
Here are some things that you might want to look into.
- Pink himalayan Salt: Packed with nearly all the minerals your body needs. Use it plentifully.
- Kombucha : If you live in the states, it’s commonly sold in stores. However, I recommend you learn how to make it yourself at home. The reason being is that store bought versions can still be too sweet for someone trying to eliminate carbs. Kombucha is a probiotic source drink that is superb for digestive function and overall health.
- Apple cider vinegar: I usually drink a glass of water with a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. You want to make sure you get natural apple cider vinegar and not the plain store bought kind. Apple cider vinegar is another great supplement to the intestines that support digestive function and provide acidity to the stomach for properly breaking down food.
- DHA / EPA supplement from fish
- Multi-Vitamin Supplement
- Complete Mineral Supplement : However, if you are getting plenty of the Himalayan salt, you are probably getting enough.
In the end, if you significantly reduce your consumption of carbohydrates, adjust your protein to a moderate level and increase your fats, you can lose weight healthily, quickly, and substantially prevent and reverse many other forms of degenerative disease that has plagued the world at an alarming rate mostly due to one thing …..
Sugar and all of it’s constituents: carbohydrates.
As a final note. Choose healthy whole foods. Stay away from canned and boxed food. Always shop the fresh vegetable, fruit, and meat isles.
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Your keto evangelist,