More People Are Turning to the Ketogenic Diet for Better Health

June 18, 2018 | 105 views

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Ketogenic Diet Plan

By Dr. Mercola

Many people are suffering from chronic health problems that don’t seem to go away no matter what they do. What they don’t realize is that their diet may be undermining their health.

Conventional dietary advice frequently advocates the consumption of a high-carb diet, but research has shown that this approach can actually lead to obesity. Excessive consumption of carbs increases the amount of sugar in your body. This can lead to weight gain and result in various preventable health complications.

With this in mind, what dietary options are available to help you achieve optimal health? One approach you should look into is the ketogenic diet, where healthy fats supplant carbs as your main source of fuel. Many people are adopting this approach, and it has worked wonders for their health.

How a Ketogenic Diet Can Benefit Your Health

The ketogenic diet can be an effective tool in turning your health around. Research has shown that this eating regimen may help with various aspects, such as:

Weight Management

The ketogenic diet may effectively help you lose those excess pounds you’ve been trying hard to shed for a long time.

By shifting to burning fat for fuel, you’re programming your body to use its fat reserves, thus helping you lose weight.

Anti-Inflammatory

By taking sugar out of your system, you lower your risk of developing unwanted inflammation and other complications caused by excessive sugar consumption.

Lowered Risk of Cancer

Cancer cells use glucose for fuel. By depriving these cells of sugar, you take away their fuel source, which will eventually kill them.

Lowered Insulin Levels

Research suggests that adhering to a low-carb diet can help manage your insulin levels, thereby reducing dependency on diabetes medication and may eventually reverse your condition.

Increased Muscle Mass

Ketones have a similar structure to branched-chain amino acids and seem to be preferentially metabolized.

This means that ketones spare those amino acids, leaving higher levels of them in your body to help promote muscle mass.

However, you will need to employ a cyclical approach, because staying in ketosis for too long can decrease muscle size.

Foods Rich in Healthy Fats Are the Core of the Ketogenic Diet

When it comes to the ketogenic diet, the key is to consume healthy fats. For the eating plan to fully take effect, you will also need to remove sugars, processed meats, fruits and canned food from your pantry. In short, you will need to eat real whole food. The table below provides a good overview on the best high-fat foods for your ketogenic diet:

Olives and olive oil (make sure it is third party certified, as most olive oils are adulterated with vegetable oils)

Coconuts and coconut oil

Animal based omega-3 fats from wild-caught fatty fish (Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies) and krill oil

Grass fed butter

Raw nuts, such as macadamia and pecans

Seeds like black sesame, cumin, pumpkin and hemp

Avocado

Grass fed beef

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil

Ghee (clarified butter), lard and tallow

Raw cacao butter

Pasture-raised organic egg yolks

Another thing you should keep in mind is vegetable consumption, especially green leafy varieties such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts and parsley. These contain various antioxidants that complement well with the healthy fats, and more importantly, contain dietary fiber that can help promote regular bowel elimination and overall digestive health.

Fruits are generally discouraged because they contain sugar. However, you can consume berries such as blackberry, blueberry and cranberry in moderation. They contain potent antioxidants that can provide considerable health benefits. For beverages, the most important drink is water. Coconut milk, organic black coffee and herbal teas are allowed as well.

Cyclical Ketosis Is the Ideal Way of Implementing the Ketogenic Diet

While the ketogenic diet may bring better health, doing it for a long-term basis can have negative consequences as well. It is recommended that you implement a cyclical ketogenic diet, which is where you have two days of feasting (increased consumption of net carbs and protein), which is especially important if you’re doing strength training. There are three keys to the cyclical ketogenic diet:

  1. Minimal net carbohydrates: This will help shift your body from burning sugar to fat for fuel.
  2. Adequate amounts of high-quality protein: This will help maintain proper tissue health without activating your mTOR pathway, which plays a role in the formation of cancer and aging.
  3. High amounts of healthy fats: This will be your primary source of fuel as opposed to carb-based foods. Consuming healthy fats can help optimize mitochondrial health in the long run.

When starting with the ketogenic diet, net carb consumption should be limited to 20 to 50 grams from all sources, including vegetables and fruits. When you cycle to your feasting days, carb consumption should be around 100 to 150 grams, before you go back to ketosis again.

To know more how the cyclical ketogenic diet can affect your life for the better, read my article “Health-Conscious Public Increasingly Embraces Ketogenic Diet.”