The Ketogenic Diet
Ketones = The bodies own secondary fuel source next to glucose.
Ketosis = A state or presence of ketones in our blood stream.
Ketogenisis = The bodies own natural ability to burn fat and convert into ketone energy.
A quick little video to summarize the process :
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Some recent before and after pics along with a body composition comparison chart after only 2 weeks of drinking ketones:
Met Con Blue is always on the search for new breakthroughs in health and nutrition. These are our top 3 picks for nutritional support :
- The Ketogenic Diet
- The Paleo Diet
- Counting Macros
The Preferred Option
If you follow the ebb and flow of the dietary industry, then you have probably heard of the term “ketosis,” “ketones,” or “the ketogenic diet.” You generally hear reference to them when we talk about low-carb, higher fat diets. In a society where low-fat/no-fat is pretty much the accepted standard, this whole low-carb/high-fat concept can seem a little… out there. Especially when there is so much confusion about what ketones are and what they do. THEN, I start talking about the possibility of supplementing with ketones – and people get even more confused. So let’s unpack all of this, learn a little more about ketones, and why taking a supplement might actually be a good thing.
Let’s start with the basics.
What ARE ketones and what is ketosis?
When we think of the body’s natural fuel source, we think of glucose, or sugar. We know that our body needs to use sugar as a fuel, but what many people don’t realize is that fats can be an equally, and even superior, fuel source to the body. The process of ketosis refers to the body’s ability to use fats as its primary source of energy, over glucose.
When the body burns fat, it produces three bi-products of fat breakdown, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (ACA) and acetone. These bi-products are called Ketones. This is a naturally occurring process and it’s what allows our bodies to survive during times of food restriction.
When an individual begins to follow a low carbohydrate diet, the body has to look for another fuel source, and it turns to fatty acids and fat stores to provide that much needed energy. The liver breaks down the fat, and releases ketones into the blood to be used by the brain and other organs to produce energy.
The interesting thing about ketones is that BHB may be a more efficient source of fuel for the brain than glucose, and because ketones are water-soluble substances, any excesses are eliminated through the urine (BHB and ACA), or the breathe
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS
The ketogenic diet first became popular as a treatment for seizures in children suffering from epilepsy, and the neuro-protective benefits of ketones came to light. As research into the process of ketosis expands, the list of benefits just continues to grow.
Weight loss & Blood Sugar Balance
This is one of the more popular, and desired, benefits from ketones. Ketones have been found to improve insulin sensitivity, lower and normalize blood sugar levels, contribute to an increased state of satiety and decrease food cravings. Individuals with high levels of ketones have been able to step away from the main-stream dieting idea that 6-meals per day must be the norm. Due to the increased level of satiety, you just eat when you’re hungry. No more calorie counting or food measuring!! All with significant weight loss benefits.
The improvement in blood sugar levels may also explain why ketones have been shown to benefit type II diabetics and women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Energy levels and athletic performance have also shown significant improvement with higher levels of ketones. Ketones play a role in improved blood flow. They appear to enhance the function of the mitochondria (our energy power house), cause blood vessels to dilate, and lead to improved oxygen capacity, which can enhance athletic performance and improve motor performance. This is why ketones are often referred to as a “super fuel.” Ketones are also a powerful antioxidant, they have an anti-catabolic effect and help to preserve and promote muscle mass. Ketones have also been associated with an increase in branch chain amino acids (BCAA), which play a role in muscle growth.
The list of benefits from ketones is exhaustive. In addition to the weight loss effects and enhanced energy and muscle performance, ketones have been positively associated with:
Neuro-protective benefits in seizure disorders; ADHD; Alzheimer ’s disease, memory and cognitive function; Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
Autism and improved behaviour and social impacts
Mood stabilization in bipolar disorder (type II)
Stroke prevention; cardiovascular disease; metabolic syndrome management; improved cholesterol levels
The benefits of ketones are obvious, so the question remains – what is the best way to increase your ketone levels?
Exogenous ketone supplementation
vs the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is not new, and has been in practice for many years. It involves following a low carbohydrate (5-10%), moderate protein (15%-30%) and high fat (60%-75%) diet. The problem with the ketogenic diet is that many people find it quite restrictive and difficult to follow. This creates a problem for those who want to benefit from elevated ketone levels, especially children. In the past, dietary changes were the only way to bring your body into a state of nutritional ketosis.
However, today, we have access to the first exogenous ketone supplement, KETO//OS. The supplement blends BHB ketones with medium chain fatty acids, providing the body with ketones, without the need to follow a strict ketogenic diet. Studies are finding that supplementation with ketones is superior to the ketogenic diet. Even while following a Standard North American Diet (SAD), individuals are still experiencing the benefits of ketones via supplementation. However, it is thought that following a lower carbohydrate diet, not necessarily a strict ketogenic diet, will enhance the benefits of the ketone supplements, as your body becomes even more adept to using the ketones are a source of fuel.
The moral of the story? Ketones are something from with we can all benefit. The best part is that now we have an option to get them, without having to stick to the tough dietary guidelines. So throw out your low-fat yogurt, get off the yo-yo diet bandwagon, and give it a try.
Stay tuned for Keto Basics – Part II: Ketone Safety
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From Shape.com, The Beginners Guide to the Paleo Diet by Jessica Girdwain
The Paleo diet has been reported to eliminate bloating, clear up acne, eradicate seasonal allergies, free you from migraines, and even help you shed a few pounds. While none of this is guaranteed, cleaning up your diet and focusing on whole, fresh foods is definitely a good idea. “Real foods in the right portions help you feel more satisfied because they help keep blood sugar levels even and your hunger hormones balanced,” says Diane Sanfilippo, a holistic nutritionist and author of Practical Paleo.
The basic guidelines—skip grains (both refined and whole), legumes, packaged snacks, dairy, and sugar in favor of vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, fats, and oils—seem easy, but to successfully go cavewoman takes some savvy. Follow these 11 rules to get started.
CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN
Gather all the “no” foods—grains, cereal, vegetable oils, beans, yogurt, cheese, milk, packaged foods, you get it—and toss them in the trash. Doing it all at once has an advantage. “It’s easier to avoid temptation if it’s not there,” says Nell Stephenson, author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat.
But if you prefer to baby-step your way, that works too. Perhaps you cut out dairy the first week, eliminate refined grains during week two, skip all grains the next week, and so on until you’re following a Paleo diet. Either way, be sure to restock your kitchen with whole foods so you have plenty to eat.
PINPOINT YOUR MOTIVATION
Many people turn to Paleo in an attempt to help with medical issues, such as GI problems, autoimmune conditions, and allergies. Some simply want to feel better day-to-day or believe that it’s the healthiest way to eat. Your reason will help determine the guidelines you follow and what you want to be meticulous about, Sanfilippo says. And be strict about your personal rules for the first 30 days, Stephenson recommends. “This is enough time to start noticing all the health benefits.”
FOLLOW THE 85/15 RULE
After the first month, many experts recommend the 85/15 approach, meaning 85 percent of the time you’re strictly Paleo, leaving 15 percent for non-Paleo stuff, whether that’s a granola bar, a hamburger (bun and all) at a cookout, or cocktails with the girls. Pay attention to how you feel after reintroducing things into your diet, Sanfilippo says. For example, if you have a scoop of ice cream and wake up bloated the next day, you may decide that future discomfort isn’t worth it.
Because Paleo is based off of whole, fresh foods, it’s easier to whip up meals at home rather than a restaurant where it’s harder to control what ingredients are used. Take this opportunity to experiment with new foods—maybe even challenge yourself to buy the weirdest-looking vegetable at the farmer’s market and ask the seller for advice on how best to prepare it. You can also search online or invest in some Paleo cookbooks for inspiration so your meals stay flavorful and aren’t just plain seared chicken breast with plain kale and carrots.
EXPECT A SETBACK (OR 2)
“It’s totally normal to go Paleo and slip back into your normal eating habits,” Sanfilippo says. “But don’t feel like a failure. It’s a learning process.” Find likeminded people following the diet through local groups, blogs, forums, and Facebook, and connect with them to help steer you back on track—and keep you there.
BECOME A LABEL DECODER
You know to skip doughnuts, cookies, and crackers, but some foods are surprisingly not Paleo: peanut butter (it’s a legume); nut butters or dried fruit with added sugars; and soy sauce, malt vinegar, lunchmeats, and many marinades and sauces (some contain soy, gluten, preservatives, and sugar). So be sure to read the ingredients list closely when buying anything in a package.
RETHINK YOUR PLATE
You’ve been taught to reserve half your plate for veggies, a quarter for lean protein, and the remaining quarter for whole grains. When you change to Paleo, stop holding a place for grains: A balanced plate consists of a palm-sized portion of protein, a dollop of fat, and veggies, veggies, veggies (fill the rest of your plate with them).
MAKE AN OIL CHANGE
Instead of reaching for canola, corn, or soybean oil for sautéing, use coconut oil or lard. Really. These high-quality saturated fats are healthy to cook with because they are more stable and won’t oxidize when heated (oxidation releases damaging free radicals). And when it comes to lard, “animal fats—if from grass-fed cows—pack more omega 3s, as well as a type of fat called conjugated linoleic acid, which some studies suggest may help burn fat,” Sanfilippo says. Some experts also recommend butter from grass-fed cows, but many restrict dairy of any kind. (The choice is yours.) For cold applications, use olive oil, avocado oil, and walnut oil.
“Many people have restricted meat from their diet because they believe it is harmful to their health. You can eat meat—just make sure it’s high quality,” says Paleo expert Loren Cordain, Ph.D., a professor at Colorado State University and author of The Paleo Diet. So say goodbye to processed meats such as bologna, salami, and hot dogs. Wild meats like bison, elk, and boar are the ideal choice, followed by pasture-fed meats and poultry, and lean grain-fed meat should be your last pick. For seafood, opt for wild-caught as often as possible, and sustainable, low-mercury choices are best.
FOOL YOUR SWEET TOOTH
Giving up sugar is a major hurdle for many people at first. If you love to have a treat after dinner, swap the cookies or fro-yo for a piece of fresh fruit. (For major sugar cravings, Sanfilippo says a Paleo secret is a little bit of dried mango.) With time, your taste buds will adjust—and that Oreo you loved so much before might become too sweet now, Sanfilippo adds. Seriously!
EAT OUT WITH EASE
A business dinner or brunch with your best friend is still doable on the Paleo diet. All it takes is a little ingredient sleuthing, Stephenson says. First look at the menu ahead of time and pick one or two options that you can Paleo-ize. That might be wild salmon with broccoli. (Request double the veggies in place of the rice pilaf.) At the restaurant, don’t be shy to ask questions about how things are prepared and request changes, if necessary.
Are you finding yourself counting calories, sticking to your numbers, and even still not seeing results? The problem might be not about the number of calories, but the kind of calories.
We chatted with certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Carrie McMahon, author of the e-book Why You Should Count Macronutrients, Not Calories. With a life revolving around calorie counting and uncontrollable cheat days (sound familiar?), McMahon was stuck in a restrict-and-binge cycle that she couldn’t seem to escape. She soon realized that in order to make a change in her health, she needed to change her approach to food — so she ditched the calorie counting in favor of a less mainstream concept: macronutrient counting.
“Macronutrients are what make up the caloric content of a food,” says McMahon. Sometimes referred to as “macros,” the three categories of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious total number of calories comes from. Here’s the breakdown:
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of BHB (ketones) = 5 calories
So it’s not about how many calories are in your food, but what kind of calories are in your food. Even if you set a strict calorie limit and stick to it, you could be eating total garbage and not getting the nutrients you need. McMahon herself said that back in her days of calorie counting, she would eat “low-fat bars and cereals, fat-free ready meals, et cetera . . . all day long.” The result? “I felt like sh*t.”
What are the benefits of ditching your calorie-counting ways? For starters, you can indulge with a little less guilt. “Let yourself eat those treats!” says McMahon. “Fit them into your macro allowances, and don’t just stick to ‘boring foods’ or you’ll burn out” — and in turn, binge. When you’re eating a balanced diet, “cravings go away, because you’re not deficient in anything.” This balance will “give you more energy, better workouts, and better results.” Feeling better, working out better, killing cravings, and treating yo’self? Sign us up!
Ready to get started? Decide whether you want to increase your metabolism, lose fat, or build muscle. McMahon recommends the following daily proportions to her clients beginning this nutritional program:
- Boost Metabolism and/or Build Muscle: 40 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat
- Lose Fat: 45 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent fat
Since tracking can be tough (and a tad math intensive), download a macro-counting app (she recommends My Macros+ app ($3)), where you can enter your foods for each meal while the app does the math for you. That way, you can see if you’re reaching your daily numbers, and start reaching your healthy goals.
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