I Didn't Stick To The Keto Diet, But Here's Why I Will Try It Again
You may have heard of the ketogenic diet for weight loss? There is no doubt that it worked for me. However, it was the weekends that killed me. I would invariably lose about 2-3 pounds during the weekdays, between Monday and Friday, and then gain it back by the time Monday morning rolled around. The diet was fine. It was me that was the problem.
What is the Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss?
The Ketogenic, or Keto diet, is a low carb, high fat diet, similar to the Atkins except you are required to eat less protein and more fat than you would on Atkins. There are various types of ketogenic diets, but the standard ketogenic diet requires is 75 percent fat from calories, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs.
With the reduction of carbs, your body gets into a state of ketosis, where your body burns body fat for energy.
75 Percent Of Calories From Fat
Since the 1980's, it's been ingrained in the minds of many that fat is bad. Given that, it's difficult to understand how we can lose fat by eating a high fat diet.
However, the theory with the ketogenic diet is this: Because you are restricting the intake of carbs and sugar, your body goes into a state of ketosis, where it is now burning your own body fat, instead of the carbs and sugar you used to feed it.
Bad Fats Versus Good Fats
While this is a high fat diet, there is a huge difference between fats that are recommended and those to steer far from.
Definitely say 'no' to vegetable oil, which isn't really from vegetables at all, and no to margarine. In short, stay clear man-made oil products.
Say 'yes' to fats from natural sources like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, low carb nuts like walnuts, butter, clarified butter (or ghee) cheese, animal fats, fatty fish like salmon, eggs, peanut butter and cream.
You might be getting the idea that you can eat some very rich foods on this diet. As a matter of fact, that is correct. How about a cheesy mushroom and pepper omelette, salmon with hollandaise, bacon wrapped asparagus or homemade cream of broccoli soup?
And you don't even have to count calories.
In this article from NY Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Don Colbert, read about how a ketogenic diet affects the brain.
What's Wrong With The Typical American Diet
The standard American diet, that most folk eat today is about half carbs. Obviously, it is not working. According to Healthdata.org, the vast majority of adults in America are either overweight or obese. Even among children, the problem of being overweight or obese is a growing problem. Nearly 75 percent of men, more than 60 percent of women and 30 percent of those under age 20 are either overweight or obese.
What Caused the Shift To Obesity?
Blame it on the 1980's. Besides all of the bad fashion advice, we were also given bad food advice. We were told fats of all kind were bad.
Here's how a former pharmaceutical rep explained things to me. When the low fat craze came along in the 1980's, sugar was added to the foods because they didn't taste very good. It didn't take too long before we realized low fat was not good and beneficial and didn't work.
So today, we not only do we have a diet that is high in carbs, it's also high in sugar, bad fat and various types of processed foods. No wonder we have an epidemic.
How to Significantly Reduce Carbs On the Keto Diet
On any keto diet, you reduce carbs significantly. You will avoid bread, wheat, pasta, rice and high carb vegetables like potatoes and corn.
Initially, your carb limit will be 20 grams per day. Although you don't have to count calories, it would be wise to, initially, count carbs to get an idea of what your intake should be.
You will also cut way down on sugar, even those derived from natural sources like fruit. While you should avoid it, it won't hurt now again to give into your craving for something sweet, so long as you do it the right way. Avoid any sugar products and use sweeteners. I prefer a mix of stevia and erythritol as they are both naturally occurring and said to cancel out the bitter taste that each have.
What Do The Studies Say About The Ketogenic Diet
One study found that in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, 7 of 21 were able to go off of their medications after being on the Keto Diet.
Weight Loss in Obese People
In this study where low carb and low fat diets were compared in 132 obese people, the clear winner was low carb, averaging a loss of 12 pounds, where the low fat group who was also calorie restricted, lost about a third of that at 4.2 pounds.
Insulin, Triglycerides, Fasting Blood Glucose
Also in the above study, Insulin levels went down by 27 percent in the low carb group, but actually increased slightly in the low fat group. Trigliceride were lowered by 38 mg in the low carb group but just 7 mg in the low fat group. Fasting blood glucose levels were reduced by 26 mg in the low carb group, compared to just 5 in the low fat group.
Weight Loss in Overweight Adolescents
Again, it was low fat versus low carb, in this group where 30 overweight adolescents lost an average of 21.8 pounds and the low-fat group lost less than half of that at 9 pounds.
Weight Loss in Obese Women
Low carb wins again in a study of 53 healthy but otherwise obese, women, when compared with a low fat, calorie reduced diet. The low carbers lost an average of 18.7 pounds while the low fat group again, lost less than half at 8.6 pounds.
How to Know If You Are In A Fat Burning State of Ketosis
Initially, some report that during the adjustment into this new diet and into ketosis, your body might produce not so pleasant effects like bad breath, low energy or brain fog, however after these initial reactions, hopefully you will report weight loss, as well as increased energy and better mental alertness.
One way to measure whether or not you are in ketosis, is with keto sticks. You can purchase them at any pharmacy and you usually have to ask for them from behind the counter. They range in price from about $10 to $20 for about 50 sticks. Sounds strange, but you urinate on a certain part of the strip to see if there is a color change. Match the strip up to a color legend on the side of the container to see if you are experiencing ketosis. I am familiar with the Ketostix brand, and was told that anything in the pink or purple color range, means you are in ketosis. I seem to be able to get into ketosis after 2 days, however some take much longer.
Strategies For A Successful Future Attempt at the Keto Diet
If I can stick with this diet for just 4 weeks, I can lose 10 pounds, which is pretty much all I really need to lose. At that time, of course, I'll have to be careful not to gain any back as well. But as far as losing, here's how my attempt will be more successful next time.
I can definitely say that my last attempt was not a full fledged one. During the week, I was very successful, sticking closely to the meal plans and not cheating. And the pounds would come off - usually 2-3 pounds. However, when the weekends would come, our social lives, or my bad decisions, would get in the way.
For instance, we'd get invitations to dinners with friends. What was I to do? Tell the host that I could eat only certain foods?
The Invitation To Friends' For Dinner
In the past, we just went and I politely ate what was served. Next time, I can handle this in one of two different ways. One - I can politely decline and tell the host why I can't accept. I am sure any of my friends or relatives would be understanding. Or, two, I could tell them we can accept the invitation and that because of my diet, I can bring one or two dishes that I know I can safely eat, while my husband and everyone else can enjoy the whole menu plan as it is.
Eating At Restaurants
As well, weekends were traditionally our time to eat at restaurants, again, often, a social experience. Instead of just deciding to cave like a cheap tent, next time, I'll check the restaurant menu ahead of time, and decide on what to eat before I get there.
Popular restaurant items that can be enjoyed at many restaurants include french onion soup without croutons, unbreaded chicken or other unprocessed meat like steak, grilled veggies, most salads, again without croutons. Taco salads can be a good choice if you avoid the chips. Ask how the soups are made - some don't contain flour, noodles or potatoes and are likely okay.
A typical day on the Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss
1 piece of bacon
1 fried egg (cooked in the bacon fat)
Romaine Lettuce Salad with sliced chicken, red onion, cucumbers, fresh basil, walnuts and ranch dressing
Mushrooms and Onions sauteed in butter
Oven Roasted Asparagus with Homemade Hollandaise Sauce
Manageable? With proper planning and decision making, absolutely yes.
Have you done the ketogenic diet for weight loss or for other health reasons? Did it work for you?