Keto Lifestyle 101
by Taranum Sultana
Keto diet has gained immense popularity during the past few years for losing stubborn fat relatively quickly in a safe manner, accompanied by countless other health benefits. For instance, people on a keto lifestyle experience increased mental focus and clarity, greater cognition, reduced inflammation, appetite control, clear skin, sound sleep, higher energy levels, and endurance.
In a nutshell, the ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fats, and moderate in protein. The specific ratio of macros, or macronutrients, in the keto diet forces the body to find an alternative source of energy, which is fat. Therefore, by restricting carbohydrate intake in our diets, we signal our bodies to make use of dietary and body fat as its main source of energy. The process of burning fat by the body instead of carbohydrates is known as ketosis, or nutritional ketosis.
In addition to weight loss, research has shown the therapeutic potential of the ketogenic diet in treating various metabolic and neurological disorders including migraines, Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Alzheimer’s, and type-2 diabetes, etc.
The anti-inflammatory nature of the keto diet reduces inflammation markers in the body, which results in the improvement of many inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, IBS, chronic pain, eczema, etc.
A study on “Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients,” published in Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, shows that the obese patients successfully lost a substantial amount of body weight and body mass index over a period of 24 weeks using a ketogenic diet. Additionally, the diet significantly improved the bio-markers of the participants by decreasing the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of good cholesterol, also called HDL cholesterol.
The researchers didn’t find any noticeable side effects in the patients during the study; therefore, the study concludes that the ketogenic diet is a very safe and efficient dietary intervention to lose weight and improve overall health of obese patients without experiencing any negative effects.
Most people are highly convinced with the benefits of a keto diet, but they find it very challenging to cut carbohydrates out of their diets and implement it in the best possible manner. Consequently, it discourages many people from even trying this diet, let alone following a keto lifestyle.
It is important to understand that the initial phases of a ketogenic journey can be very daunting and challenging. Many keto dieters say that the first week usually poses some minor issues that may include the keto flu (headaches, muscle aches, sugar cravings, etc.), but these symptoms quickly subside after a few days on the plan.
The keto journey involves embracing a new lifestyle which is widely different from your current lifestyle, and it offers a few other challenges including giving up the foods you always enjoyed, being mindful when eating out, and making the new lifestyle sustainable. However, there are several effective and proven tips that can help you overcome these challenges and start the diet successfully.
Begin Your Keto Journey Under the Supervision of a Certified Keto Coach
It is highly likely to fail on a keto diet due to a number of misconceptions, lack of right information about keto, and difficulty to implement it in the most efficient manner. To avoid failure, begin your keto journey under the supervision of a certified keto coach. A keto coach will provide you with a personalized meal plan, essential tools, and one-on-one coaching based on your individual health assessment. A keto coach also reviews your progress at different stages of your journey and makes necessary adjustments to meet your changing needs. Furthermore, he or she provides the motivation, coaching, and accountability to help you stay focused and achieve your objectives.
Take Baby Steps
In the beginning, the keto adaptation phase requires patience, acceptance, and support. It is important to recognize that it is a major lifestyle change, and it will take time to adjust to this new way of eating. Therefore, it is perfectly OK to take baby steps during the transition phase. For instance, remove grains from your diet at your pace and limit added sugars and hidden carbs. At the same time, slowly increase healthy fats in your diet.
Keep an Eye on Your Electrolyte Intake
A low carb diet creates a low insulin environment in your body, which causes excess loss of sodium. To avoid sodium deficiency, add an extra three to five grams (3,000 to 5,000 mg) of sodium in your diet.
You also need an adequate amount of potassium and magnesium per day. Make sure to get it from leafy green vegetables. The healthiest ways to get more salt in your diet include adding Himalayan sea salt to your water throughout the day and drinking organic bone broth every day.
Use MCT Oil
MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil will aid you to get into ketosis even if you still have leftover glycogen stores.
In summary, opting for a ketogenic diet is an enormous lifestyle choice. It takes perseverance, discipline, and effort. The early symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal, such as missing and craving the foods that you loved and enjoyed, and major changes to your routine, can clearly make the choice overwhelming. Although the challenges seem to be tough, there are benefits. Some of these benefits include weight loss, reversal of metabolic syndromes (such as diabetes), a sharper brain, improved hormone balance and overall health.
Dr. Taranum Sultana, PhD, has a doctorate degree in Medical Sciences with specialization in Endocrinology from Karolinska Institute and is a certified keto coach. She is CEO of Salutem Keto and Wellness and loves to support her clients on how to lose weight and to reduce the risk of diabetes. She has been a researcher for the last five years at the University of Regina, where she is developing effective antimicrobials from plant extracts to fight against growing anti-fungal resistance in the population. To contact, her call (306) 737-8704, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or visit ketoandwellness.ca of the 24.6 March/April issue of the WHOLifE Journal.