Feel Better with Keto: The Health Benefits of a Low Carb or Ketogenic Diet
Many patients at AcuCare Total Health have complaints of fatigue, non-specific body or joint pains, general malaise or “not feeling well”. They have previously been to various doctors only to find after standard blood tests and physical exams that there is nothing abnormal in their report. Dr. Renee McMurry proposes that these complaints can often be attributed to poor digestion and a resultant nutrient deficiency. She often suggests a switch to a Low Carbohydrate or Ketogenic Diet to overcome these common symptoms, reduce inflammation in the body and improve energy levels.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
At its basic level, a Ketogenic diet is a complete restriction of sugar and starch. This shifts your metabolism to burn fat as your body’s fuel rather than glucose or sugar. Once glucose is no longer available from your food intake, you will begin to burn your body’s store of fat instead – this typically results in weight loss and an improved sense of well-being. An alernative approach, the Traditional Low Carbohydrate Diet, is discussed later in this article.
The core elements of a Ketogenic Diet consist of the ratio of 70% Natural or Healthy Fats, 25% Protein, 5% Healthy Carbohydrates.
70% Fat, Isn’t that Too Much?
When you understand that natural fats pack a great deal of punch for their volume, you’ll realize that you won’t need to eat a full plate of bacon or a 20oz Porterhouse for dinner to be satisfied. There is a high satiety factor with fats, which means that you don’t need to eat a lot of them to feel full. Just a handful of walnuts or black olives added to your salad and veggies will leave you feeling satisfied. Clinical research has demonstrated that high fat, high caloric energy foods lead to a greater sense of satisfaction after a meal. Research has also proven that if you start your meal with a small high fat appetizer, your tummy will feel fuller and you’ll feel a higher level of contentment after your meal.
Amazing Health Benefits of a Low Carbohydrate Keto Diet
Changing your diet to a Low Carb or KetoDiet can be completely transforming. Clinical research has shown astounding benefits to your health. From decreasing Cancer risk, to lowering your blood pressure, to reducing Insulin Resistance, these results should not be understated. When your metabolism converts to burning fats for its fuel, your body is able to shift to a different energy pathway and in doing so, gives many of your organs a much-needed rest. Systemic Inflammation is surprisingly reduced, giving your body time to recover, heal, and improve your vitality. Read the Clinical Research
Benefits of Keto:
- Reduced Risk of Heart Disease through Optimized Cholesterol Levels
- Type 2 Diabetes through a Decrease of Insulin Resistance (view a quick YouTube explanation)
- Decrease in Systemic Inflammation
- Reduced Cancer Risk
- Improved Digestion
- Reduced Obesity or Metabolic Syndrome / Improved Fat Loss
- Improved Energy
- Reduced Blood Pressure
- Improved Brain Function
- Improved Quality of Sleep
- No calorie counting
- Reduced food cravings
Ketogenic Diet Recommendations: The Takeaway
The takeaway for the Keto Diet is fairly simple once you know what you can eat. Fill your plate with ¾ of vegies, add a palm full of healthy protein and a little nudge of fat.
Ketogenic Diet Recommendations: Food List
|Protein||Grass Fed Beef, Lamb||Cold Cuts w/ added sugar|
|Fish, Shellfish||Shrimp||Fried Fish|
|Dark Meat Chicken, Poultry||Chicken Breast||Fried Chicken|
|Pork Chops, Ham, Sausage||Bacon||Cold Cuts w/ added sugar|
|Homemade Bone Broth||Soy Products||Whey Protein|
|Natural Fats||Walnuts, Flax Seeds, Almonds||Nut Butters, Cashews, Pistachios||Trail Mix, Chocolate Nuts, Nut Butters w/ added sugar|
|Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Ghee||Mayonnaise||Salad Dressing w/ added sugar, Vegetable Oils|
|Dairy||Butter, Cheddar, Swiss, Cream Cheese, Brie, Mozzarella, Goat||Heavy Cream, limit to 2Tbsp per day||Half & Half, Sour Cream, Commercial Yogurts, Canned Milks, Margarine|
|Beverages||Coffee, Decaf, Tea, Water, Broth, Unsweetened Almond Milk||Unsweetened Coconut Milk||Artificially Sweetened Drinks, Milk, Fruit Juice|
|Condiments||Tabasco, Homemade Oil & Vinegar, Mustard||Soy Sauce, Dill Pickles||Balsamic Vinegar, Ketchup, Salsa|
|Vegetables||Leafy Greens, Fibrous Vegetables, Cabbage||Tomatoes, Carrots, Snap Peas||Root Vegetables|
|Fruits||Fresh Berries, Honeydew Melon||Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Pears, Applesauce|
|Sauerkraut||Almond Flour, Unsweetened Cocoa, 85% Dark Chocolate||Tomato Sauce|
Who should not go on a ketogenic diet:
Talk with your Doctor to be sure that you’re a good candidate for this diet regimen. Patients taking certain medications, or that have specific illnesses shouldn’t undertake this change.
- Those patients with Kidney or Liver disease
- Type 1 Diabetics
- Pregnant / Nursing
A Transition to a Traditional Low Carb combined with a Gluten Free Diet may relieve an array of symptoms
If you’re thinking that a KetoDiet might be too drastic or difficult for you to accomplish, consider changing to a Low Carb Gluten Free diet instead. You’ll derive many of the same health benefits, similar weight loss results, and your health and well-being will improve. It is important to note that Gluten Free is not necessarily carbohydrate free. A dietary restriction of gluten is simply an avoidance of wheat and wheat byproducts. Most gluten-free products in the grocery are often processed foods that are loaded with rice and potato flours, and very high in carbohydrates. So, adopting a Low Carb and Gluten Free dietary combination will provide similar benefits to a Ketogenic regimen.
Carrie, one of Dr. Renee’s patients remarked recently: “Simply by going off wheat and adopting a low carb attitude gave me better digestion and no more acid reflux! I feel better and in 6 months, I lost 50lbs…”
In choosing to go all Keto or shift to a lowcarb lifestyle, it’s crucial to remember that Health Is Individual – one size does not fit all – read Coach Holly’s blog article on this topic.
Go Natural – Not Processed
The primary goal of Dr. Renee and Coach Holly’s advice is to improve the overall health of each patient. The biggest step you can take toward this goal is to reduce or eliminate the amount of processed foods that you consume. Consider choosing grass fed or organic beef, organic or free-range eggs, natural fats, and non-starchy vegetables. It will help to remember to shop on the edges of your grocery store. Concentrate on the Produce, Meat and Dairy sections. The internal aisles are largely filled with processed foods.
Have you decided to make the change in your nutrition plan? You may want to prepare a week ahead of time to avoid what is known as “Keto Flu” “Carb Flu” or detox symptoms – try to eliminate sugar and wheat for your first week. This will help you avoid common symptoms of your body’s adjustment to utilize fat energy over carbohydrate energy. Keto flu lasts for just a few days and includes symptoms of fatigue, headache, poor concentration, sugar cravings.
Dehydration is a common problem during this timeframe – staying hydrated will assist with many of these symptoms.
Low Carb Or Keto: Get Your Snacks Ready
Having a prepared list of snack foods at the ready will also assist during your transition. This is a proven strategy to keep you from reaching for the chips or crackers when you’re feeling low.
- Swiss cheese & ham slice roll
- Dill pickle & turkey cold cut roll
- Olives stuffed with feta cheese
- Celery stuffed with almond butter or cream cheese
- String cheese & sausage sticks
- Medley of pumpkin and sunflower seeds mixed with chunks of cheddar
- Deviled or hard-boiled eggs
- Tuna salad roll ups in romaine lettuce
- Mini ham and cucumber sandwiches with mustard
Common Low Carb and Keto-based Substitutions
Many patients that have bemoaned the absence of pasta or potatoes in their meals have discovered innovative solutions to their problem – and they don’t notice the missing pasta any longer. French cut string beans are a good substitution for spagetti or rice in Chicken Cacciatore or Chicken Piccata. Cheese and mashed Cauliflower are a tasty replacement for mac & cheese. Cabbage leaves are an excellent replacement for lasagna noodles. You’ll find with a little research and creativity, you’ll still be eating all the meals that you love.
Interested in one on one coaching for your Ketogenic or Low Carb Nutrition Goals? Meet with Coach Holly, our Certified Health Coach at AcuCare Total Health. Call 847-888-3131 for your nutrition consultation today.