Memorial Day is kind of the kickoff for Summer. 2017 is no different. All throughout the year people are searching, trying, and buying solutions for weight loss and health. Summer usually it picks up because it is bathing suit season. So they say ‘I have to get in bathing suit shape by so & so date………’
I think that is everybodyâs intention, however for Â the majority of people life usually gets in the way despite the best intentions.
Health and looking better naked is always on the mind of the majority of the United States population. For good reason: everybody knows they should eat better and exercise. However there is so much information out thereÂ and a lot of it is just flat out wrong or conflictingÂ information.
Now fixing your nutrition is one way that you canÂ majorlyÂ impact your life and the rest of this year to make it the best ever. On the other hand it can also make it one of the worst. Letâs focus on the positive!
If you pay attention to diet trends one of the most searched âdietsâ last year was the Ketogenic diet.Â If you are notÂ familiar with it basically it is a low carb, high fat nutrition plan. Even though the word âdietâ is in the title of it, it isnât a diet. This is an introduction for the Ketogenic Diet Beginner.
Why Fail?! No More!
Before we get into the why and how to of keto I want to address one thing first that usually make people fail miserably at their nutrition plan. Nutrition should be a lifestyle plan and never a diet. Itâs a system of eating that works for you. You never go off of it, although you can make modifications as your goals change from either weight & fat loss, more energy, better performance, or healthy aging.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 1: calories.Â
Most people believe to lose weight they need to cut calories. However to the body: calories are energy. They fuel your body, daily activity, workouts, organs, metabolism and brain; your brain uses about 20% of all the calories you feed it. If you cut them too much and for too long then you are cutting your brain power, damaging your organs and vital processes, and slowing your metabolism.
Your body needs nutrients. Actually your cells need nutrients.Â We are made up of 100âs and 100âs of TRILLIONS of cells. Those cells need nutrients to work correctly and make us feel good with lots and lots of energy. Most people donât really have a weight issue, they have an energy issue. Feed the cells the nutrients they need and we will have the energy we need to stoke our metabolism.
Consuming too many carbs and processed vegetable oils is having it’s affect on our kids and their childhood too
If we focus on getting healthy then weight and fat loss and inches will naturally return to normal. It wonât happen overnight. A person didnât become overweight overnight so donât expect health to. The body needs time to repair. Now if you focus on cutting calories you also cut the nutrients. You can lose weight eating anythingâ big macs, fries, pizza, ho-hoâs, bagels, etcâ¦â¦ if the calories are low enough. What usually happens is weight loss starts off good then eventually stops, dieter gets frustrated and stops and goes back to eating normally and the weight comes back, a lotÂ of the times even more then when originally started.
A good nutrition program is a lifestyle program. Keto is a lifestyle nutrition system. It is not a calorie counting plan.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 2:Â FAT
Fat has been demonized for far too long. On the ketogenic this is the primary source of your calories. Not by a little bit- by a lot. Weâre talking usually between 70-90% of your total calories are coming from fat.
For someone who is coming from a Â low fat dogma or that carbohydrates are needed for life or performance or energy this is the hardest thing to get around that mental block. Iâm going to attempt to clear it up for you.
We have been told since the mid-1970âs that fat is the culprit of obesity, heart disease, and a host of other bad things. We are supposed to limit our consumption of it and especially saturated fat.
The premise of the ketogenic diet is to run off of ketonesÂ which is created from the fat we eat and also our own body fat stores. Even the leanest of lean will always have body fat stores to run off of. Fat is part of our survival mechanism. We want to stop running off of glucose (or carbohydrates) as our fuel.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 3:Â Blood Sugar
Fat doesnât raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates and sugar do, which ultimately raises our insulin levels. Gary Taubes,Â who is the best selling author of the ground breaking book âWhy We Get Fat & What To Do About Itâ, elegantly puts it like this: Insulin drives fat> Blood Sugar drives insulin> carbohydrates drive blood sugar. Ultimately then carbs drive body fat; as well as a host of other things to go up.
For those who are saying âah yes, but I only eat the complex, healthy carbohydrates,â understand that the body wants to convert everything we eat into the easiest possible form for digestion. For fat it becomes fatty acids, for protein it becomes amino acids, and for carbohydrates (CHO) it becomes glucose. Now fructose is another form of carbohydrate we can digest, however I wonât have time to cover that. See video below for a quick overview on fructose.
In that vain then yes the brown rice, sweet potato, whole wheat bread, quinoa, snickerâs bar, muffins, pizza, donuts, pasta, etc.. is all turned into glucose. Even broccoli and other vegetables are. Although veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and usually the carb count is a lot lower. All of that will elevate blood sugar levels which will cause our body to release insulin to lower the blood sugar back down. When insulin is present we cannot be burning fat, and usually we are storing more of it.
This is one of the major reasons why a lot of trainers and nutritionists recommend eating multiple meals throughout the day (4-6+). I was one of them who preached it and followed itÂ for years. You pretty much have to if you are a carbohydrateÂ burner because once that blood sugar comes back down you start getting hungry, or crungy- cranky and hungry. I used to say this is how you keep your metabolism high throughout the day. I didnât know the actual science of blood sugar and insulin. I thought I knew, howeverÂ I was wrong.
Just look at how bad I didn’t know…….. I thought I was the healthiest person alive:Â
Jason Yun- circa 2005- 220 pounds and pre-diabetic
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 4:Â Back To FAT
Fat is the most important macronutrient. Our brainÂ isÂ about 3/5 fat, of that fat 1/3 of it is DHA which you may know as one portion of fish oil or fatty fish. Remember how I said we are made up of cells, well the brain is no different.Â If we are not eating fat what do you think is going on with your brain?
Alzheimerâs disease is now being referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. Itâs not a genetic disease, itâs not an old person disease, it is a nutritional disease.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 5:Â
The basics of the Ketogenic Diet
Keto is very individualized. All the macronutrients will vary person to person depending on where you are starting and your history with nutrition and health.
With that said there are some general guidelines.
1. Carbohydrates will fewer then 50. This will be total carbs. Some peopleÂ like hard-charging athletes can get up to 100 or more and still be in nutritional ketosis. Some people might need to be as low as under 10 grams. MyselfÂ I typically need to be under 35 to be in ketosisÂ because I am very CHO sensitive due to my bodybuilding days when I consumed between 600-1000 grams ofÂ CHO per day.
2. This is not a high protein diet. I came into keto after following a decade long standard bodybuilding diet (low fat, high carb & protein)Â then into Paleo diet, then into nutritional cleansing which I still do, and finally into Keto in July 2014. Protein intakeÂ for each averaged around 350 grams to 200 grams to 50-100 grams. I would say my average on Keto is around 70-80. Again this will be dependent on each person. Fat is protein sparring. I said âno wayâ can I keep my muscle and strength eating that low proteinâ well, Iâm the strongest pound for pound Iâve ever been and have been since starting in July 2014.
3. Fat. This is a high fat diet. When I say high fat I MEAN HIGH FAT! It will vary person to person however it should be a minimum of 150 grams. I typically shoot for 250-300 grams at a body weight of around 175-182. Fat doesnât make you fat. Total calories usually is at least 70% of total and sometimes can reach as high as 90%.
I do recommend jumping into more fat a little slower then switching from high carb to a high fat diet, or even from something more healthy like a Paleo or Primal Diet. The reason being is when we are switching over we typically have our enzymes for converting carbohydrates down a lot higher and the ones for fat are a lot lower.
Now if you do start with a keto diet plan you can usually expect some transitions to occur. Just like anything where you make a dramatic switch such as quitting smoking or coffee, or even starting a workout programâ¦..with all change comes blockages. If we understand that when we are attempting to better our lives that those blockages are simply something we need to get through to unleash Â our greatness.
Some of things you may experience are nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, focus issues, performance drops in energy and workouts. Those are the main things most people experience. Another big one is sugar cravings; the more of a sweet tooth you have the worse youâll have it. The big reason for these is because we are switching fuel sources. We are switching from glucose to ketones. Carbs to fat as our main fuel source. The body can run off one or the other but not both at the same time. Ketones or fat is the more efficient and cleaner running fuel, however when glucose is present it will use that first and foremost because it is such a quick fuel to use and burn through.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner- Phase 6:Â
Once you get through it though it is well worth it, because you when you are running on fat you never run out of it. The time it takes to get into nutritional ketosis will vary from person to person. Sometimes it can take as little as 2-weeks up to 2 or 3 months.
Some of the amazing benefits from being in nutritional ketosis is blood sugar control which means hunger control, more energy- ketones are a energy powerhouse, blood panel improvement- triglycerides go down, HDL goes up, the bad LDL goes down, visceral fat from the belly down, and weight/fat loss.
Ketogenic Diet Beginner – Phase 7:Â What Â do I eat?
Again to recap- a whole lot of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and very low carbs. In that vain then a grilled chicken breast salad with low fat dressing is out. As a matter of fact chicken breast is out. You want to stick to higher fat cuts ofÂ protein, so instead of chicken breast do the thighs or wings. Your primary source of carbs will be coming from green veggies or fibrous ones like cauliflower, nuts/seeds, or good baking flours like coconut and flax.
The best sources of fats will be coming from coconut products, olive oil, grass-fed butter, fatty fishÂ & seafood, whole eggs, ghee, nuts and seeds, cheese, meat, poultry, avocados, and full-fat dairy products.
Going Keto does take some planning and research. You definitely donât just want to jump in head first with the plan to eat lower carb and higher fat because there is so many things that I didnât cover that can help you get in nutritional ketosis faster or keep you completely out of it. I created a webinar where I guide people through the basics of a ketogenic diet (Click below to watch it). I highly recommend going through something like that or a highly reviewed ketogenic book or ebook because remember itâs a lifestyle. There are plenty of recipes out there on the inter-webs. I routinely eat things like ice cream, pizza,Â pancakes, Â etcâ¦.. of course they are Keto-style.