Keto Diet For Dummies book cover

Keto Diet For Dummies

By: Rami Abrams and Vicky Abrams Published: 07-23-2019

Millions of people have lost weight and become healthier on the keto diet, and you can too!

Keto Diet For Dummies is your all-in-one resource for learning about the keto diet, getting started and reaping the full benefits like so many others have. The keto diet has gained immense popularity due to its effectiveness and the ever-growing science backing it. Keto Diet For Dummies provides you with the information and resources you need to succeed and achieve your goals.

With the Keto Diet For Dummies book you’ll learn how to:

  • Stock a keto kitchen
  • Prepare more than 40 tasty keto recipes
  • Eat right while dining out
  • Overcome any obstacles
  • Enjoy a healthier and more rewarding lifestyle

Recipes in Keto Diet For Dummies include: Blueberry Almond Pancakes, Avocado Cloud Toast, Meatball Marinara Bake, Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry, Salmon with Avocado Lime Puree, Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple, Creamy Cookie Dough Mousse, Lemon Jello Cake, Key Lime Panna Cotta and much more!

The keto diet (also known as ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and more. On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose.

For anyone looking to lose weight, become healthier, improve and stabilize their daily energy levels, and understand and benefits of the complex nutritional sciences of the keto diet, this book has it all.

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Keto Diet For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 01-19-2022

If you’re thinking about starting the keto diet, you need to get ready! A keto diet for beginners checklist can help ensure you’re on track to reach your goals. It’s easy to fall into a rut with any diet, so be sure to branch out with some of the suggestions here for keto diet foods — including snacks and alcoholic drinks.

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How to Calculate Keto Macros

Article / Updated 05-06-2020

What are macros in the keto diet plan? Macros is short for macronutrients, and the three primary macronutrients (the main groups of food that provide fuel for your body) are fats, protein, and carbs. The key to keto is that you’re getting only a small amount of your nutrition from carbs. Even if you eat a high-fat and moderate-protein diet, if you go over your carb limit, you’ll be kicked out of ketosis. You’ll have to monitor your carb intake closely until you get used to being on a very low-carb diet and have a good sense of the amount of carbs in different foods. This will mean understanding the ratio of macros in a serving size when you eat fresh foods and always, always checking the nutrition labels when you eat anything from a package. As you start your keto journey, it’s a good idea to get a sense of not only how many calories you should consume, but also how much of each macro — fat, protein, and carbs — you should eat throughout the day. Many people are awful at estimating the portion size or number of calories in a typical meal. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the past few decades, with bagels getting twice as big and a standard “cup” of soda more than tripling in size! The recent decision to label calorie servings in restaurants may help this trend, but all too often this information is hidden away from consumers — to decrease the chance that they’ll make the better decision to skip the tub of popcorn with the movie. If you grossly underestimate the number of calories — and carbs — you’re eating, you’ll keep wondering why you’re having a hard time losing extra weight. Being informed and learning how to accurately estimate the number of calories in your go-to meals, as well as the “innocent” snacks that you may sometimes forget to count, will really help you gain a handle on your target food intake. After you’ve got a good sense of how many calories you’re actually eating, it’s time to check out some of the calculators available on the web to figure out how many you should be eating. If you’re eager to figure this out now, we’ve provided you with the tools to help you “guestimate” these values on a daily basis and walk you through how to do this step by step. How to determine the total calories you need, your resting metabolic rate Your total daily calories, or resting caloric intake, is the number of calories your body needs each day. This number is also called resting metabolic rate (RMR), and it’s essentially the amount of energy you need every day to carry out the essential functions of life — building up and breaking down the tissues of your body, breathing, and resting quietly. Your RMR depends on a host of factors, including weight, lean body mass, age, activity level, gender, and more. If you’ve wondered why a friend can eat whatever she wants and never gain an ounce, it could be that she’s naturally blessed with a faster metabolism from her parents, or it could be related to an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid produces thyroxin, which is the hormone that most tightly influences metabolic rate. Too much of it can lead to weight loss, while hypothyroidism — a more common issue — can lead to weight gain. On the other hand, if someone gains weight by merely glancing at a cookie, it could be due to one of several reasons. He may be shorter (taller people tend to have higher caloric needs), already overweight (fat is less metabolically active than muscle), or spend his days in a climate-controlled environment (exposure to both cold and heat can jump-start RMR because your body has to do the work to regulate your body temperature, rather than the thermostat). What you eat also affects your metabolism. Eating and digesting your food requires energy and creates heat. The opposite, starvation diets, actually slow your metabolism down as your body tries to conserve what energy you have. You can drop your metabolism by as much as 30 percent if you slash your calories too quickly, making it difficult to lose the extra pounds you’re trying to shed. Interestingly, as we mention in Part 1, by optimizing your body’s hormonal balance, keto may derail this tendency to hold onto excess weight even as you cut back on calories. There are two main ways to determine your RMR: Indirect calorimetry: This is the most accurate way to assess your RMR, but it’s also more cumbersome and expensive. It’s a useful tool if you want the most effective and unique nutritional plan to help you achieve your dream weight. Indirect calorimetry measures the amount of heat you produce by determining how much gas (carbon dioxide and nitrogen) you exhale. Because these gases are the end products of the majority of metabolism, it gives a very accurate measurement of how much energy you use in a given period. There are several methods to measure your exhaled gases, but they all require purchasing expensive equipment or setting up an appointment with a personal trainer, nutritionist, or doctor. A commonly used device, BodyGem, is a handheld machine that requires about ten minutes to determine your RMR accurately. Older indirect calorimeters required face masks or lying quietly in a closed chamber in a laboratory. Obtaining this result will run you about $50 to $75. RMR calculators: These calculators use complicated formulas that take into account several criteria to come up with a unique number of calories you should consume per day. There are several calculators available to estimate your basal calorie intake, but the accuracy of these calculators can vary by as much as 400 calories per day — almost enough to cause a weight change of a pound per week! The various RMR calculators are more likely to cause a higher degree of inaccuracy in people who are overweight. This happens because most of the formulas use your current weight as a significant part of the calculation. Excess body weight is often fat, which is less metabolically active than muscle and will, therefore, overestimate how many calories you actually need if you’re overweight. RMR calculators aren’t as precise as indirect calorimetry, so if you really want an accurate result or you’re overweight and serious about weight loss, it might be useful to get the indirect calorimetry done for the best results. If you’re okay with a tiny amount of guesswork, the tried-and-true RMR calculator that many dietitians and nutritionists have used for years is the Mifflin–St. Jeor formula. It’s the most accurate calculator with a difference from indirect calorimetry of only about 20 calories per day for a person with a healthy body weight. Similar to other calculators, this number rises in an overweight individual and can be as much as a 150-calorie difference. Beware that both indirect calorimeters and RMR calorimeters only provide you with the minimal number of calories you need, and they don’t account for more activity than would happen if you were lying in bed all day binge-watching Netflix. Physical activity is the best thing you can do to increase your daily caloric intake, and you’ll need to remember to modify your total caloric intake based on how much activity you do in a given day. After you’ve calculated your RMR, you’ll need to figure out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This number takes into account the amount of activity you do. Use one of the following numbers, depending on your level of daily activity: 2: You have an office job and spend very little time engaging in any physical activity. 375: You’re slightly more active. This generally means doing some walking or household work up to three days a week. 55: You engage in moderate levels of activity. People in this category exercise at a higher level between three and five days a week. 725: You’re very active. You enjoy significant exercise, like CrossFit, swimming, or some form of martial arts, six or seven days each week. 9: You’re close to an Olympic-level athlete. You can use this number if you have a very physically demanding day job, or you engage in professional-level sports regularly. If you’re trying to lose or gain weight, of course, you need to adjust these numbers to reflect your goal. As a general rule, although there is some variety to these results, you need to slash (or add) about 250 calories per day to lose (or gain) half a pound per week. Bump this up to 500 calories a day if you’d like to move the scale about one pound in a week. The basic math for weight loss takes your RMR, adds in the amount of physical activity you do, and then matches those needs with what you eat. If you have an excess, you’ll gain weight; if you have a deficit, you’re primed to lose weight. Here is the basic Mifflin–St. Jeor formula. It’s different depending on your gender: For men: (10 × weight in kilograms) + (6.25 × height in centimeters) – (5 × age in years) + 5 For women: (10 × weight in kilograms) + (6.25 × height in centimeters) – (5 × age in years) – 161 To convert pounds to kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. To convert inches to centimeters, multiply your height in inches by 2.54. Let’s take the example of a man who is 30 years old, weighs 150 pounds, and is 5 feet 8 inches tall. Assume he wants to maintain his weight and he’s working a desk job with little physical activity. Here’s how to calculate his total caloric intake: Convert his weight (150 pounds) to kilograms. That’s 150 / 2.2 = 68.18 kilograms. Convert his height (5 feet 8 inches) to centimeters. First, you have to convert his height to inches. There are 12 inches in 1 foot, so he’s 60 inches + 8 inches = 68 inches tall. Now 68 × 2.54 = 172.72 centimeters. Multiply his weight in kilograms by 10. That’s 68.18 × 10 = 681.8. Multiply his height in centimeters by 6.25. That’s 172.72 × 6.25 = 1,079.5. Multiply his age in years by 5. That’s 30 × 5 = 150. Add the amounts from Step 3 and Step 4, subtract the amount from Step 5, and add 5. That’s 681.8 + 1,079.5 – 150 + 5 = 1,616.3 calories. That’s his RMR. To get his TDEE, multiply his RMR by 1.2, which reflects his activity level. That’s 1616.3 × 1.2 = 1,939.56, or rounding up, 1,940 calories per day. If the idea of doing all this math sounds like torture to you, check out this free online calculator. Keto macros: how many fat grams do you need After figuring out the number of calories you need, it’s time to take a look at how many grams of each type of macro you should be eating per day. To figure this out, you’ll need to multiply your total calories by the fraction the macro plays in your daily diet. For example, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day and you want to go with 75 percent from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs, you’d perform the following calculations: 2,000 × 0.75 = 1,500 calories from fat per day 2,000 × 0.20 = 400 calories from protein per day 2,000 × 0.05 = 100 calories from carbs per day Unfortunately, most nutrition labels don’t break down your macros into calories from each group; they give you the total number of calories, and then break each individual nutrient into grams. That means the next step is finding out how many grams of each macro you can have. Your percentage of fat and protein will slightly change if you’re on the standard ketogenic diet versus the protein ketogenic diet. Both protein and carbs provide four calories per gram, while fat contains nine calories, so divide by the appropriate number to get accurate results. As the majority of your caloric intake, fat should be about 75 percent of your total intake on keto. Some people may go as high as 80 percent (strict keto for medical conditions like epilepsy) or drop down to 65 percent (if they’re on the high-protein keto diet). Let’s continue using the example above: 1,500 / 9 = 167 grams In this example, you need to eat about 167 grams of fat per day. You’ll need to adjust this depending on the type of keto diet you’re following. You divide by nine because there are nine calories for every fat gram, compared to four each for the other two macros. Keto macros: how many protein grams do you need To calculate calories for moderate protein (for maintenance and weight loss, not building muscle) intake, the formula looks like this: 400 / 4 = 100 grams This example, for the standard ketogenic diet, will require about 100 grams of protein. If you’re trying to build muscle, the general rule is to take in 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, although this would decrease if you’re significantly overweight. If your body fat percentage is 30 percent or higher for women or 25 percent or higher for men, you should focus on losing excess fat before really attempting to build muscle. This isn’t to say that you can’t go to the gym before you hit a certain body fat percentage — not at all! However, bulking and building muscle requires excess protein, which means upping your overall caloric intake while decreasing the amount of fat you’re eating. It can get very complicated to try to balance having enough excess calories to build muscle while cutting them to lose fat. You can successfully combine these two efforts, but it’s somewhat difficult. If you’re just starting out, focus on either fat loss or muscle building. Keto macros: how many carb grams do you need The macro with the least amount of calories will be carbs, and it’s calculated by the following formula (again, using the example from earlier): 100 / 4 = 25 grams Generally, eating around 25 grams of carbs is a good starting point when you decide to transition to the keto diet. However, everyone will have a slightly different carb allotment. Some people will maintain ketosis at a little over 50 grams of carbs per day while others have to really slash their carbs to stay in ketosis. Over time, as you understand when your body is in ketosis (or with the aid of urine strips or other tests), you may be able to modify your carb allotment. Also, if you’re on the targeted keto diet and you add some extra carbs around the time of your intense workout, you’ll be able to increase this number. Remember that the longer you’re on keto, the more efficiently your body uses the process, and you can generally add in more carbs over time. A critical part of success on the keto diet is being aware of how many calories you need each day, as well as where you need to get your calories. Pull out your dusty calculator or head over to a good calorie counter to keep yourself on track.

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Keto One-Pot Meal Recipe: Steak Tenderloin with Crispy Kale

Article / Updated 03-06-2020

Few things have done more for making the keto diet plan convenient than recipes that allow an entire meal to be prepared in a single container, like this recipe for Steak Tenderloin with Crispy Kale. The thought of putting everything aside and dedicating several hours to creating a delicious three-course meal is nice, but who has time for that? Making food in a single pot, pan, or even baking sheet, like this recipe, has numerous advantages — first and foremost, simplicity. Everything you need for your meal has been included in one dish, and these meals are known for being warm, hearty, and filling. You won’t worry about walking away hungry from these meals. In addition to the uncomplicated nature of one-pot meals, the level of convenience you find here is unparalleled. You can prepare a full meal with a variety of ingredients and tastes that fully fit your macros in a single dish. Also try Chicken Pizza Casserole. Steak Tenderloin with Crispy Kale Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Yield: 4 servings Ingredients 1 large bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Four 8-ounce boneless beef tenderloin steaks Directions In a large bowl, toss the kale with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and spread the kale on it. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place them on the baking sheet. Broil on low for 2 to 3 minutes; then turn the steaks, stir the kale, and broil another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and let the steaks rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve the steaks hot with the crispy kale. Per serving: Calories 562 (From Fat 344); Fat 38g (Saturated 13g); Cholesterol 173mg; Sodium 256mg; Carbohydrate 5g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Net Carbohydrate 4g; Protein 48g.

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Keto Appetizer Recipe: Crispy Baked Onion Rings

Article / Updated 02-18-2020

Appetizers like Crispy Baked Onion Rings are some of the most amazing things in the world, especially if you’re a foodie, and they fit exceedingly well into your keto foods. Think about it: They’re literally recipes that are designed to be so delicious that their entire purpose is to make you want to eat more food! Appetizers are served at the beginning of the meal when your hunger is highest, your stomach is emptiest, and you’re just ready to get going on a meal you’ve waited so long for. This requires the highest levels of satisfaction, and keto appetizers deliver — and they deliver well. Using smaller dishes like appetizers as keto diet snacks is a critical aspect of the keto approach. It can be challenging to get all your calories in if you’re relying exclusively on full meals — fat is so filling that you’ll find your portions decrease and you eat less as a result (remember that each gram of fat contains more than twice the energy of a gram of carbs). Eating less while you’re on a diet focused around weight loss doesn’t seem like it would be a problem, but remember that you can eat too little. The goal of weight loss is to eat enough to keep your metabolism high, but not so much that your body isn’t digging into its fat stores and burning off that excess weight. Snacks offer a great way to make minor adjustments to your macros and caloric intake as you’re planning out your meals. When you create your meal list for the week and check it against your macros and find yourself a few hundred calories short, don’t add another meal (which can bump your calories up to the point where you’re no longer losing weight). Instead, just add a snack or an appetizer like Crispy Baked Onion Rings. Crispy Baked Onion Rings Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings Ingredients 1 large yellow onion 1 cup almond flour 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 large egg, whisked well Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice the onion into rings about 1/4-inch thick. In a bowl, combine the almond flour, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. In a shallow dish, whisk the egg and then dip the onion rings into it. Dredge the onion rings in the almond flour mixture; then place on the baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and browned. Flip them halfway through, if needed Per serving: Calories 240 (From Fat 164); Fat 18g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 328mg; Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Net Carbohydrate 8g; Protein 12g.

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Keto Recipe: Cauliflower Mash and Browned Butter

Article / Updated 01-08-2020

Side dishes are one of the most easily neglected aspects of any dietary change, especially when the keto diet plan focuses on proteins. People tend to focus on the main dish, simply because that’s the centerpiece of the meal and where they’re likely getting the majority of their calories. But sides like Cauliflower Mash and Browned Butter really add that zest and full-bodied flavor to meals! Your palate is expanded, and the various tastes that sides bring to the table can make or break a new dish. This recipe takes an old favorite (mashed potatoes) and introduces a keto-friendly way to prepare the dish by using cauliflower instead of potatoes. Don’t dismiss recipes like this outright — substitute ingredients almost always taste different than the original dish, but this isn’t always bad. Photograph courtesy of Tasteaholics, Inc. Use Cauliflower Mash and Browned Butter as a side dish for your entrée. In this case, chicken is shown. Side dishes are an excellent option to bring to parties or events where keto-friendly food may be in short supply. You can even turn it into a game—see how many compliments you can get on a recipe before revealing that it’s keto! Cauliflower Mash and Browned Butter Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Yield: 6 servings Ingredients 1-1/2 pounds cauliflower, chopped 3/4 cups heavy cream Salt and pepper, to taste 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 3 ounces unsalted butter Directions Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse into rice-like grains. Pour the cauliflower rice into a large saucepan; then add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Season with salt and pepper, and then stir in the cheddar cheese. Set aside. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the butter until it reaches a nice amber color; then drizzle over the cauliflower mash. Per serving: Calories 307 (From Fat 262); Fat 29g (Saturated 18g); Cholesterol 91mg; Sodium 243mg; Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Net Carbohydrate 4g; Protein 8g.

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Keto Dessert Recipe: Creamy Cookie Dough Mousse

Article / Updated 11-18-2019

Uncontrolled cravings can wreck your keto diet more easily than nearly anything else. You’ll always need to have an element of self-control, of course, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice delicious foods by going low-carb. This can also be a great “keto evangelism” tool. There are few things more mind-blowing to people who oppose keto than to challenge their assumptions about treats being out of the game by showing up to a party with a sinfully delicious, low-carb dessert in hand. Many opponents of keto paint the diet as something that’s boring, tasteless, and devoid of anything that resembles sweetness. Creamy Cookie Dough Mousse is a great option to introduce you to the world of delectable, healthy desserts that your friends likely won’t be able to tell from the real thing. This recipe requires only 10 minutes of prep time and absolutely no cook time. Creamy Cookie Dough Mousse Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: None Yield: 2 servings Ingredients 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup powdered erythritol 1 teaspoon sugar-free maple syrup 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 cup stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips Directions In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat until golden brown. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, erythritol, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer until smooth and well combined. Beat in the browned butter until smooth and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips; then spoon into two dessert cups and chill until ready to serve. Per serving: Calories 378 (From Fat 334); Fat 37g (Saturated 22g); Cholesterol 93mg; Sodium 184mg; Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Net Carbohydrate 10g; Protein 5g. If you’re looking for dark chocolate chips, Lily’s is a great brand to try.

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Keto Breakfast Recipe: Avocado Cloud Toast

Article / Updated 11-18-2019

To help you avoid getting burned out with eggs for breakfast when you are following the keto diet plan, you should try a variety of carb-replacement recipes. This avocado toast recipe is so good, you may even forget you’re on keto. You can find carb replacements for keto-friendly pancakes, toast, waffles, and shakes — items you may have written off entirely and assumed you’d seen the last of on this Earth. Keto has the power to change your life, but that shouldn’t require you to give up your life. Start off each day right with a low-carb keto breakfast recipe that tastes strikingly similar to the original recipe, is healthier, and will fuel you for much longer than other, high-carb breakfast options. Avocado Cloud Toast Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Yield: 2 servings Ingredients 2 large eggs, separated 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder Pinch cream of tartar 1 ounce cream cheese, cubed 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 large avocado 4 slices fresh tomato Salt, to taste Fresh cracked pepper, to taste Directions Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk and garlic powder until pale in color and well combined. Gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet in 4-inch circles, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. Keep an eye on the buns as they bake. Then remove from the oven and cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice. Open and pit the avocado; then cut it into quarters and slice thin. Toast the buns and spread with the mayonnaise mixture. Top each bun with 1 slice of tomato and 1 quarter of the sliced avocado. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Per serving: Calories 665 (From Fat 592); Fat 66g (Saturated 13g); Cholesterol 225mg; Sodium 767mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Net Carbohydrate 5g; Protein 10g.

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Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet

Article / Updated 10-01-2019

Some people on the keto diet intermittently fast, fueling their ketosis even more. Because someone on the keto diet is always in ketosis, intermittent fasting will allow him or her to go more deeply into the process and reap even more benefits than the high-carb dieter. As you fast on the keto diet, your body has to use its stores of fat, rather than what you just ate, to fuel itself, which will help you lose even more weight and fat faster than when you eat three times a day on the keto diet. A recent study showed that combining a low-carbohydrate diet and intermittent fasting caused increased weight loss and improved insulin levels, compared to calorie restriction alone. The keto diet may enhance autophagy; not only is it promoted by fasting but it’s also induced by restricting carbohydrates, suggesting that keto dieters gain more benefits from intermittent fasting than someone on a high-carb diet. Combining the keto diet and intermittent fasting can take you to the next level of your weight loss journey. It also may help keep you healthier as you live longer by combining the benefits of ketones with autophagy, the body’s smart way of healing itself. When to intermittent fast If you’re going to do intermittent fasting, think through your family’s typical eating schedule and how your feeding window will match up with that. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve got to make breakfast for your family and get your kids off to school, but your feeding window is from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. By the time breakfast rolls around, you may not have eaten for 12 hours, and you’ve got another four to go before you can do anything about it — and now you’re making pancakes. Consider shifting your feeding window to an earlier time. Feel free to play around with it. There are no hard and fast rules to intermittent fasting — they’re more just guidelines, and you can customize every aspect of it to your specific situation. Because you can have coffee and tea, you might consider having a large cup before you start cooking because these drinks can take the edge off your hunger. If you’re someone who doesn’t like breakfast anyway, this might be a non-issue. However, at some point, you’re going to run into situations where intermittent fasting just doesn’t line up well with your life, and going through this exercise is very useful. Most people think of intermittent fasting as a tool to help you lose weight, but if you’re smart about your options, you can intermittently fast and still gain muscle, because there are many ways to fast. If fasting isn’t for you, eating more frequently — whether in a specific eating window or throughout the day — can help you increase your weight gains as well. This is the time to get clear on your goals and think realistically about how — or if — you want to change your weight when you begin keto. Don’t get too caught up on a specific deadline to achieve your weight goals. It’s crucial to remember that keto is a lifestyle, not a trendy diet, and its best to go in with a long-term view for your weight journey. Still, it’s best to calculate the number of calories you’ll need to eat to reach your weight goals and compare that honestly with how many calories you currently eat. Figuring out the difference between the two will help you develop a plan of attack to make the numbers align in a way that works for you. Incorporating exercise and possibly fasting will help you achieve these goals in a more dynamic fashion that fits your lifestyle. When you get into the swing of keto, you’ll likely find that your body naturally moves toward a healthy weight without too much effort. Keto is an excellent tool to help you reach your healthy dream weight. You’ll need to get clear on how much weight you want to gain or lose and come up with a realistic plan that looks at your calories, macros, exercise level, and meal frequency to get you to your goal. Benefits of intermittent fasting You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting as a common practice for celebrities who need a drastic makeover before their next movie. Fasting is not only excellent for fat loss and muscle gains, but it also has a wide range of other health benefits. Scientists are discovering tons of benefits to intermittent fasting. Although the discoveries are new, we as a species have been doing it for millennia. Researchers are just finally catching up to what we’ve naturally been doing and identifying that it’s a good idea to go back to ancient ways of eating. Ketosis and intermittent fasting are the perfect marriage of healthy nutrition, and intermittent fasting may take your keto to the next level. Accelerating fat loss Ketosis helps with fat loss by transforming your body into a fat-burning machine. Adding intermittent fasting to ketosis will accelerate fat loss. No matter where you start off, if you stop eating for long enough, your body will stop burning glucose and instead switch to the more efficient fat and ketone burning associated with ketosis and long periods of abstinence from food. This is so important because of insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. When you fast, you increase your sensitivity to insulin, those hormone levels drop, and you’re less likely to do what high insulin tells your body to do: Burn glucose and store fat. When carbs (and, therefore, insulin to a large degree) is out of the picture, as is the case with fasting, your body can burn fat, rather than store it. Most important, you can keep it off. The keto diet helps to decrease overall insulin levels, but even keto-approved food (the small number of carbs and the protein) will cause a slight increase in insulin levels after you eat. Fasting does away with that because food is what triggers insulin levels to rise. When you fast, your insulin levels drop, and this triggers your body to burn fat for a more extended period. Many of these changes are likely maintained by a “fasting hormone,” adiponectin. Adiponectin is increased with calorie restriction, fasting, and weight loss, even though — surprisingly — it’s made by fat cells. Adiponectin has a host of beneficial effects that may explain some of the advantages of intermittent fasting. Higher adiponectin levels are associated with weight loss, whereas low levels are found in individuals who struggle with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In fact, one of the medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes works to increase the levels of adiponectin in the body. Although both fasting and keto help reduce insulin levels, fasting accentuates keto. When you eat a keto diet, you’re providing fat for your body to burn, and it will burn fat from food before it turns to stored body fat. When you burn through the food you’ve eaten, however, your digestive system begins to work off of stored fat. The longer your fasting period lasts, the more time you’re giving yourself to work through stored fat. The human body can have tens of thousands of calories stored as fat, and if you want your body to use those calories, intermittent periods of fasting are a proven way to achieve your goal. Despite what many people think, fasting can actually help peak your metabolism. Prolonged starvation may do the opposite, but over the short term of a fast (several days), the body’s level of adrenaline (or epinephrine) goes up. Adrenaline is part of the fight-or-flight system. You don’t want adrenaline to be chronically elevated, but in the short term it can be highly beneficial. Short bursts of adrenaline lead to increased energy use, even when you’re fasting. Adrenaline increases the release of any stored glucose you have available and enhances your ability to burn fat. Studies show that during a short, four-day fast, basal metabolism can increase by up to 12 percent, which can fuel weight loss. Boosting muscle gain and human growth hormone Human growth hormone (HGH) causes development and growth in children and teenagers. Of course, it’s normal during this time in anyone’s life to increase muscle mass naturally. Unfortunately, HGH tends to drop after you reach the end of your teenage years, and it never quite picks up again. HGH levels are almost twice as high in children and teenagers as they are in adults. HGH is a pulsatile hormone, meaning that its levels spike and decline. HGH has multiple effects: Increases muscle mass Increases bone strength and growth Breaks down fat Increases protein synthesis Increases gluconeogenesis in the liver Increases growth of all the organs (apart from the brain) Studies show that providing shots of HGH to both men and women increased muscle mass and bone density while decreasing fat. HGH has been popular as a doping agent in elite sports, and some athletes have used it since the 1980s to improve their athletic abilities. Sadly, injecting HGH comes with a list of side effects like high blood sugar and risk for some cancers and heart issues. Luckily, fasting provides a natural burst of HGH without any of its nagging side effects. Eating suppresses HGH and overeating — or snacking — makes it plummet. Boosting muscle by cleaning house Another way fasting improves muscle mass is by accentuating the cell’s ability to regulate its daily cleaning cycle. Similar to your computer’s virus system, your cells are continually monitoring their surroundings for any defects and will repair any abnormal processes. There are two systems that your cells use to do this: Autophagy lysosome: This is literally “self-eating” and is the process of gobbling up long-lived (and often abnormal) proteins, RNA molecules, and cellular parts such as the mitochondria, which is the “powerhouse” of the cell. A specific type of autophagy, called macroautophagy, helps reduce metabolic and oxidative stress and is vital for the ability of proteins and other cell parts to be recycled for energy. Ubiquitin proteasome: This is the principal mechanism for breaking down and recycling short-lived protein in all your cells. This system is vital for making sure your immune system is functioning, as well as repairing your DNA, the set of blueprints that encodes life. If this system is abnormal, it can lead to a host of diseases like neuromuscular degeneration and immune problems. These pathways work together to repair your bodies’ cells. Cells are complex, with multiple moving parts, like proteins and mitochondria that power each cell and serve as messengers to carry out essential functions. Whenever a part malfunctions, it must be repaired so the whole cell doesn’t suffer. If either pathway is blocked, the cell becomes damaged, ultimately leading to cell death or destruction. In muscle cells, this can lead to muscle weakness and wasting. Because muscles are highly active, lengthening and contracting many times a minute, they can easily get worn out if the tools to monitor or repair them are damaged. Besides, maintaining muscle requires a delicate balance of muscle protein synthesis (the scientific term for how muscles grow) and muscle breakdown. These pathways are stimulated by fasting and are a vital part of the body’s ability to maintain muscle function. Exciting new research shows that autophagy is necessary to maintain muscle mass, and without it, you’re likely to lose the muscle you’ve worked hard to achieve slowly. Studies of animals stripped of the autophagy-promoting gene developed muscular dystrophy — a disease in which the muscles shrink over time, becoming progressively weaker, and eventually leading to difficulty walking, standing, and doing all the routine activities of daily life. Your muscles won’t necessarily disappear if you don’t start fasting, but this research suggests that if you don’t boost autophagy — effectively accomplished by fasting — you risk increasing muscle loss, setting you up for negative consequences, such as increased likelihood of disability and a loss of independence. Intermittent fasting has often been popularized by highly trained athletes, who prioritize a sculpted and lean physique. It would be surprising if they continued to fast if they lost muscle mass or saw a decrease in their performance. Their results indicate that fasting works for a lot of people. Accelerating recovery and repair Fasting helps to keep the body in good working order. Fasting can improve your body’s function by Decreasing oxidative damage to the body’s proteins Decreasing oxidative damage to DNA Decreasing the accumulation of dysfunctional proteins and parts of cells Fasting not only affects insulin and glucose levels, but also exerts a significant effect on a closely related hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is stimulated by HGH and causes most of the adverse effects of excess HGH, like high blood sugar and the risk of cancers. IGF-1 is mostly made by the liver and helps promote the growth of almost all the cells in both children and adults, from muscles to bones. Excess IGF-1 is tightly linked to an increased risk of cancers, a condition characterized by the inability of the body to regulate and repair abnormal cells. There are multiple checkpoints throughout a cell’s life that allow for evaluation, repair, and even the death of cells that have lost function — or worse, are becoming abnormal or cancerous. IGF-1 decreases the body’s ability to manage these abnormal cells. Interestingly enough, people with IGF-1 deficiency are extremely unlikely to get cancer. Research shows that the blood from people with IGF-1 deficiency may protect cells from undergoing oxidative DNA damage. And even if some cells became damaged, the IGF-1 blood helped to make sure the cells were destroyed or discarded so they wouldn’t grow to form cancer. More research is needed, but small studies show that people who fast while taking advanced medication for cancer, such as chemotherapy, may do better than people who merely receive the chemotherapy. Not only do the people on fasts notice fewer side effects from chemotherapy — of which there are many — but studies show that in mice, intermittent fasting can decrease the risk of blood cancers and may be just as effective as chemotherapy for certain types of cancers. Interestingly, fasting-induced autophagy is inhibited by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), one of the common complexes that are upregulated during cancer and one of the primary targets for cancer drugs. This is more proof that natural ways to boost autophagy may help reduce our risk of cancer, or even treating it after it has formed. In addition to decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, fasting-induced autophagy helps limit inflammation throughout the body, which is also useful for reducing susceptibility to cancer (because many cancers are thought to be related to increased inflammation). Improving skin tone Clear skin may not be the first benefit you think of when fasting is mentioned, but it can be a particularly enticing bonus. Similar to keto’s effect on acne, intermittent fasting may produce better results than a ten-part skincare regimen or a few extra hours of beauty rest. The key to fasting’s benefit to your skin is the significant amount of anti-inflammation that is happening throughout your body. Your skin is the largest organ you have, and when your body is healthy, your skin will naturally follow suit. Inflammation and stress naturally show up early on the skin, and fasting — in a healthy manner, with an adequate amount of water — is a great way to relieve stress throughout the body. While autophagy is working its magic to improve muscle health and to maintain nutrition in the brain, fasting allows the digestive system to rest and increases the billions of healthy bacteria in the gut. A well-functioning gut is vital for beautiful skin, because the digestive system has the highest number of immune cells of any part of the body. Optimal immunity will make sure that your skin is able to stop blackheads and acne in their tracks and help reduce the fine lines and wrinkles associated with aging. This finding is not just anecdotal to people who fast for religious or health reasons. Research reveals the benefit of fasting on a host of skin ailments: Studies show that intermittent fasting helps improve wound healing in mice and also improves the thickness of their fur and improves blood supply to the skin. Fasting may work synergistically with any skincare regimen you have. Fasting may also lower the risk of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Another critical part of a fast is drinking plenty of water. It’s important to remember that we’re encouraging water fasting, instead of a dry fast in which nothing — including water — is consumed. When all you have to take in is water — and the occasional non-caloric fluids — you tend to maintain your fluid levels. Drinking water and staying hydrated is crucial for skin health, and water fasts encourage this. Slowing the aging process Fasting can help you live longer. As fasting improves the body’s ability to heal and recover from negative events like disease and infection, the body is much more likely to thrive over the long term. This increased health is related to the body’s ability to oppose disease. Insulin and glucose, which drop when you fast, are strongly associated with disease and rapid aging. Fasting for about three days decreases blood levels of both by about 30 percent. IGF-1, the downstream effector of HGH, can also accelerate aging. Yet, fasting drops IGF-1 by up to 60 percent. Interestingly, this benefit is partially due to protein restriction, suggesting that fasting works in different ways from keto to improve long-term health. Fasting reduces inflammation and improves the cells’ ability to heal. Fasting works its magic by promoting autophagy and a host of other hormone actors that help to decrease infection, illness, and disease, all of which associated with aging at a cellular level. Many scientists believe that the telomere is essentially the epitome of the body’s fountain of youth. Telomeres are the protective cap at the end of chromosomes that protect chromosomes from unraveling. Because chromosomes are the blueprint of bodies and brains, short telomeres are more likely to lead to disease and aging because damaged chromosomes aren’t able to write out foolproof instructions to maintain a healthy body and mind. The length of telomeres decreases as you age — and it’s one reason scientist believe that people have a higher risk for disease, infections, and even cancer as they age. Because fasting increase the cells’ ability to promote autophagy, and autophagy is a known factor in elongating telomeres, fasting is conclusively linked to a reduction in aging. Also, autophagy and telomeres are related in another way. The enzyme that increases telomere length — telomerase — also boosts cellular autophagy. In this way, autophagy and telomeres have a symbiotic relationship. Studies show that long-term fasting — generally more than 24 hours — is needed to get the benefits of autophagy, and that’s why some authorities suggest a benefit of occasional long-term fasts of three or more days. Most people have to work their way up slowly to this goal, and some people should only do this under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If you have any preexisting medical condition, make sure to speak with your doctor before beginning any fasting routine. Improving brain function A commonly voiced concern is that fasting will lower the ability to think and accomplish necessary day-to-day obligations, but the opposite often happens. There are countless reports of people noticing that they feel sharper and more alert the longer they go into a fast. The first time you fast may be difficult because your body isn’t used to being without calories, but as it adjusts you may notice mental clarity that you’ve missed for a long time. This makes sense: If humans had evolved to get brain fog whenever they were hungry, they never would’ve survived as a species. Can you imagine if our ancestors got more and more lethargic on the second or third day without food that they would have survived to the fourth day when they needed all their wits about them to catch dinner? Instead, their reaction times stayed sharp, their vision was excellent, and their mental clarity was never better. It’s more likely that they were most vulnerable those first few hours after having a satisfying dinner — likely similar to the post-Thanksgiving energy crash that you’re probably familiar with. With a full stomach, energy is diverted toward digestion of a large number of calories, and humans are neither as alert nor focused as when they’re hungry. Interestingly, humans — and other mammals — have evolved so that low-calorie intake or fasting does not affect brain size. Most people, if they fast long enough (we’re talking about weeks without eating), will begin to notice muscle, bone, and other organs deteriorate. However, brain size will stay stable longer than anything else. This is crucial because your brain is your most potent asset. Outsmarting a predator was the best way to survive — because our ancestors were definitely not the largest or strongest animals in the jungle. Therefore, they were much more likely to survive than if their brain cells didn’t start to peter out as soon as they got hungry. This is where the benefit of a keto/intermittent-fasting combination comes in. The brain needs some glucose to survive, even if you’re not consuming any carbohydrates. The liver can use gluconeogenesis to convert protein to glucose, meeting the brain’s needs even in an environment devoid of carbs. Studies show that with absolutely no food, your body and brain could survive for about 30 days. The rest of you will definitely shrink, but your body will prioritize nutrients going to your brain to keep your mind as sharp as possible until you eat again. Reducing inflammation Most of the diseases in the modern age are related to inflammation. Whether cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, pain syndromes, or a host of other conditions, they all can be traced back to underlying inflammation in the body. This has led many nutritionists and doctors to search high and low for an “anti-inflammatory diet” that would help cure society of the ills that are affecting health and life span. Research shows that the best anti-inflammatory diet may well be fasting. Individuals who fast long term (between one and three weeks at a time) have experienced benefits that are atypical for many conventional medical treatments and procedures. Of course, type 2 diabetes is, at its core, an inflammatory condition and associated with the metabolic syndrome, a combination of five diseases that are all based on inflammation: Obesity (mainly when it’s around your waist) High blood pressure Insulin insensitivity (or high blood sugar) High triglycerides (the free fatty acids roaming around your bloodstream) Cholesterol problems (unusually low levels of high-density lipoprotein [HDL], the good kind of cholesterol) Fasting can help address all these issues. Alternate-day fasting seems to be an excellent approach when dealing with any of these conditions. When people either drastically cut their calories every other day (to between nothing and as much as 500 to 600 calories per day), blood pressure drops, waistlines shrink, and they regain sensitivity to insulin. Various studies showed this effect in both overweight and healthy-weight people and took as little as a 15-day to a three-week commitment to alternate-day fasting. Daily intermittent fasting works as well. Detoxing cells To heal and be effective, the body has to go through natural periods of detoxification. This is more efficient and healthier than any detox diet you can do and is entirely self-sufficient. However, the effectiveness of this natural process can decrease as you age. Intermittent fasting to the rescue! Christian de Duve, the 1974 Nobel Prize winner, realized how cells detox through a process called autophagy. Cells have lysosomes, essentially garbage disposal units that periodically search the cell for any damaged or abnormal parts that need to be fixed or removed so that the whole cell doesn’t become cancerous or damaged. This process is autophagy (literally meaning “self-eating”), and it’s the cell’s way of continually renewing itself. Autophagy is an integral part of the body’s work, but it’s inhibited by Insulin Glucose Protein The common factor of these three things is eating. Even if you’re following a keto diet, moderate protein will stop autophagy, and the small number of low-carb foods will affect it. There is no possible way of eating that will induce autophagy; however, some diets, like keto, may encourage its natural process more than others. When insulin levels rise, or amino acids from the digested pieces of your steak arrive in your bloodstream, this signals your body that more nutrients are coming in and old worn-out cells don’t need to be refurbished to produce energy. That means eating anything — even a ketogenic diet — regularly will block autophagy. Only fasting can combat this. Yoshinori Ohusmi, a 2016 Nobel Prize winner, furthered the understanding of how the process works, revealing that autophagy is vital in Preventing cancer Cell survival Quality control of organs of every part of the cell Body-wide metabolism Management of inflammation and immunity These are essential parts of how the body works and thrives, and fasting is able to turn up all these mechanisms so that they work at their optimal level. Another benefit of autophagy is that it keeps the brain in its best shape. Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common neurodegenerative brain disorders in humans, happens when the brain is filled with an abnormal protein, called amyloid beta. This abnormal protein destroys the connections between brain cells, leading to difficulty with memory and learning. Autophagy tends to remove this abnormal protein, decreasing its ability to accumulate and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also show that fasting can help minimize the traumatic effects of Epileptic seizures Stroke Traumatic brain injury Spinal cord injuries There are so many benefits to intermittent fasting that the better question to ask may be, “Are there any benefits to snacking?”

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10 Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

Article / Updated 10-01-2019

Check out these top ten reasons for sticking to the keto diet plan and explore these keto benefits. Ketosis will change your life for the better. Jump-starting weight loss The verdict is in: If you’ve tried every diet under the sun and you haven’t been able to lose weight or, worse, you’ve regained all the weight you lost and more, the keto diet may be the answer you’ve been looking for. Research has consistently shown that people on the keto diet lose more weight and keep it off longer than people on low-fat, high-carb diets. Stabilizing blood sugar Diabetes is rampant in western society. Up to one-third of Americans are prediabetic, and many don’t even know it. Keto is a safe and natural way to make sure your blood sugars are always in a healthy and normal range. With normal blood sugar levels, you won’t have high levels of insulin, the hormone that over time causes you to pack on pounds and leads to diabetes if levels get too high. The keto diet is so effective that some doctors and nutritionists recommend the keto diet to manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes! Increasing energy Ketosis is a fuel-efficient way for the body — and the brain — to run on fats. Many people on the keto diet notice more energy and a general joie de vivre that they’ve been missing on a high-carb diet. You experience no sugar swings or carb cravings. Instead, you’re letting your body do what it does best: Thrive. Lowering cholesterol levels Fat is good for you! Studies show that the range of fats in a well-rounded keto diet helps to improve your cholesterol numbers by Decreasing triglyceride levels Decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol Increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol Improving your cholesterol numbers is critical to keeping your heart healthy and preventing cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke. Lowering blood pressure High blood pressure is another common ailment that plagues a lot of Americans. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because most people who have it have no idea they’re affected. A low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, and the complications that come along with it, so you won’t have anything to worry about and can expect a long and healthy life. Getting better sleep The keto diet is an excellent tool for getting those much needed zzz’s. It increases the amount of time you spend in the most regenerative parts of sleep — deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. You’ll get more restful sleep even when you can’t get as many hours as you’d like. That means no wasted time counting sheep or staring at the clock. Eliminating cravings Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet naturally shuts down pesky sugar cravings. Without the drug-like addiction to carbs, you’ll experience freedom like never before. High-fat foods leave you feeling satisfied, energetic, and with no thoughts of your next meal. Without thoughts of dinner or cake — or regrets about overindulging weighing heavily on your mind — you’ll be energized to focus on the things you love and care about. Looking your best Not only does sugar cause cravings and weight gain, but it’s also a trigger for acne. If you’re looking for a safe and natural treatment for facial acne, the keto diet may be the answer you’ve been looking for. Some dermatologists are now recommending low-carb diets to teenagers and others who can’t get rid of acne despite trying a host of prescription medicines. So, the keto lifestyle not only keeps you healthy, but also keeps you looking good as well! Lifting your mood Most people on the keto journey notice that the little things don’t phase them as much as they used to when they ate bread and pasta regularly. That’s because, unlike carbs, which contribute to brain fog, ketosis increases Ketones, which decrease inflammation and strengthen the connection between brain cells Substances like adenosine and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which calm your brain cells and limit overexciting brain cells Continuing the keto lifestyle may help you shake off the blues and see the sunnier aspects of life. Stopping inflammation in its tracks Many of the chronic illnesses that plague Americans are a result of inflammation that is a direct result of overindulgence in sugars and other high-carb foods. The keto diet works hard to keep your body healthy and inflammation-free, which prevents things like heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, and a host of other conditions.

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What is the Keto Diet?

Article / Updated 10-01-2019

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short) is an exceptionally well-researched and proven method to start working with your body, rather than against it, to improve your health. Following the basic rules of the keto lifestyle can help you Feel more energized. Lose weight faster. Improve the health of your heart. Sharpen your mental focus. In addition to these benefits, there are a host of other long-term benefits that will leave you jumping for joy. Though it’s become popular recently, the keto diet has been used for almost a hundred years to heal and prevent disease — that’s a long track record of benefits. In a nutshell, the keto diet is High fat Moderate protein Very low carbohydrate Having grains and carbohydrates form the basis of every meal may seem like contemporary wisdom, but for most of human history, this wasn’t the case. Processed and easily digested carbohydrates fuel weight gain and unhealthy spikes in blood sugar with each bite; over the course of a lifetime, this destroys your health. The keto diet puts your body into ketosis, a process where you use fats, rather than sugars from carbohydrates, to fuel your body. On the keto diet, you’ll learn to turn to nutritional powerhouses — fats — into the basis of your meals. The truth is that fat really isn’t to blame for the increasingly common problems of obesity and being overweight that we always hear about. Fat is actually very good for you, keeps you feeling fuller longer, helps you lose weight, and improves your health over the long term. There are a lot of misconceptions about nutrition in general, and the keto diet in particular. The keto lifestyle is much more than the “bacon wrapped in cheese” memes will have you believe — although you can eat cheese and bacon. It won’t wreak havoc on your heart or blood vessels, nor will it increase your cholesterol levels if you follow a whole-food-based keto lifestyle. Despite what many of us have been told for decades, we don’t need to eat many carbohydrates as part of a healthy lifestyle. Instead, eating a range of whole keto foods can be the key to healthy living. Keto is a flexible and adventurous lifestyle that isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan; there are several different varieties to fit with your lifestyle and goals. Standard ketogenic diet The standard ketogenic diet is the basic version of the keto diet. It’s been around the longest and has the most evidence and research behind it. If you’re thinking about keto, you need to be very familiar with the standard ketogenic diet. It clearly breaks down the sources of your daily calorie intake, as follows: Fat: 70 percent Protein: 25 percent Carbohydrates: 5 percent Historically, on this diet, you’ll generally eat about 25 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, we live in more flexible times, and some people eat as much as 50 grams per day. That’s okay, because most people stay in ketosis on 50 grams of carbs a day, so they don’t need to limit their carbs anymore. Over time, you’ll figure out what works best for you. The amount of daily carbs is, at most, only a fifth of what many Americans eat. On the standard American diet, you get about 30 percent of calories from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 50 percent (or more) from carbohydrates. That means most Americans are eating about 250 grams of carbs or more per day. As you can imagine, making such a radical change from a carb-based diet to a fat-based one will have a massive impact on your health and energy levels. On the standard ketogenic diet, the ratio is 70:25:5 in terms of calories coming from fat, protein, and carbs. You should aim for 30 grams of carbs or fewer in a day. Targeted ketogenic diet The targeted ketogenic diet is geared toward athletes. It’s a slightly more flexible version of the keto diet because it allows you to eat more carbs around the time of your intense workouts. When you’re burning a lot of calories, the carbs you eat are consumed as fuel immediately, so your body doesn’t get “kicked out” of ketosis in the long term. As soon as you use up all the carbs during your workout, your body goes back to fat burning because there aren’t carbs left around when you’re more sedentary. This choice is good for very active people who are exercising at high levels regularly (for hours, not minutes) or training for an intense athletic challenge that requires a lot of energy, like a marathon. Regardless, this is not a free pass to eat as many carbohydrates as you would on a high-carb diet. You should consume about 20 or 25 grams of easily digestible carbs approximately 30 to 45 minutes before you exercise. After exercising, you’ll go back to the regular keto diet. Keep in mind the total number of calories (including your pre-workout carbs) when coming up with your daily energy intake. It’s critical that you only eat enough carbs to fuel your workout, so your body goes back to burning fats when you’re done exercising. Generally, you should be well adjusted to the standard ketogenic diet for a couple months at least before you switch to this targeted version. Cyclical ketogenic diet The cyclical ketogenic diet is another more flexible keto option for highly trained athletes. We’re upping the playing field here — this is the ultramarathon runner or the professional athlete, not the weekend warrior. These athletes may increase their carb intake for a short time to “fuel” themselves for the high level of performance they’re about to commit to. The increase may be for a couple of days before a major training event — and the amount of carbs they consume is in line with the amount of physical activity they’re facing. Then they go back to the standard ketogenic diet after the major event is over. Although they may be out of ketosis during these “cheat days,” their high level of performance ensures that they’re still in the low-carb range because they’re burning so many more calories than usual. Another group of people who follow the cyclical ketogenic diet are those who have a hard time sticking to the standard ketogenic diet and choose to have cheat days once in a while. This may involve going keto five days a week, with the weekends reserved for “cheat days.” For those who eat carbs on the weekend, or can’t stick to the standard ketogenic diet because of social pressures, it’s important not to go on carb-binging cycles. It’s quite a shift for the body to go from ketosis to high-carb so rapidly. Instead, increase your carbs to a “low-carb diet,” in the range of 150 to 200 grams on your cheat days. You won’t be in ketosis on those days — and it may take a while for your body to go back to ketosis even on your regular standard ketogenic diet days — but at least you’ll still have the benefits of cutting back on carbs. The cyclical ketogenic diet may be helpful for athletes and those who find it difficult to commit to the keto lifestyle. Keto is very flexible and can work with any lifestyle, as long as you make a commitment to health. High-protein ketogenic diet In the high-protein ketogenic diet, you increase the percent of calories from protein. Commonly, this breaks down as follows: Fat: 60 percent Protein: 35 percent Carbohydrate: 5 percent This option is best for people who are concerned about losing muscle or even want to bulk up, like bodybuilders or individuals who have very low lean body muscle mass. Generally, keto is a muscle neutral diet (you don’t gain or lose it), so adding protein is a great choice for those who want to gain muscle. In this diet, you’re still in ketosis, but you don’t necessarily have as high a level of ketones as someone on the standard ketogenic diet. It’s hard, but possible, to get kicked out of ketosis if you go higher than the recommended 35 percent of calories from protein. It’s also important on this type of keto diet to remember to eat a range of protein foods that are healthy and nutritious. Burning fat: Ketosis Ketosis is the process your body uses to breaks down ketone bodies for most of its energy needs. Ketones come from fatty acids regardless of whether you eat them or get them from your fat cells. Your body prefers to use glucose for energy (see the preceding section), so ketosis only occurs when you don’t have enough glucose coming in from your diet. On a keto diet, your body switches from glycolysis to ketosis as the primary energy generator. Fat, like carbohydrates, is also a source of calories, but it provides a whopping nine calories per gram, compared to the measly four calories you get from carbs and protein. This means, head to head, fat is always a more efficient source of energy than carbohydrates. On the keto diet, instead of using glycolysis for energy, fatty acids are broken down into three types of ketones that provide energy to all your body’s cells: Acetoacetate: The main ketone made by your liver. β-hydroxybutyric acid: The main ketone in your bloodstream and the source of ketones’ anti-inflammatory benefits. Acetone: The least common ketone; it doesn’t provide energy, but it is responsible for carrying waste out of the body. It’s responsible for keto breath (the fruity or moldy breath that some people have when in ketosis) because it’s ridding the body of excess acetone through the lungs. Importantly, fatty acids not only make ketones but also are able to produce glucose if you aren’t getting it from your diet. That’s why, even on the keto diet, your blood sugar levels don’t drop precipitously. They also don’t rise astronomically, as they do on a carb-rich diet, every time you take a bite of food. The liver, the workhorse of metabolism, can’t use ketones as its energy source, so it’s crucial that fat can be turned into glucose to support the liver during ketosis. Like glucose, ketones are also a source of energy for the brain and provide its fuel during ketosis. Ketones may be better brain fuel than carbohydrates because they’ve been shown to improve the health of our brain cells and may be helpful in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The words ketosis, ketogenesis, and ketogenic are all derived from a similar root, meaning to produce and utilize ketone bodies as the primary form of energy. That’s where the names ketogenic diet and keto diet come from!

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