The Ketogenic diet went well and truly viral in 2017 and only continues to gain more traction via both social media and many new books and studies. Although it may seem at first glance that Keto is yet another diet ‘trend’, yet in reality, it has been the most natural eating inclination for humans for thousands of years. So it is safe to say that going Keto is an effective route to ensuring our health thrives.
The Ketogenic Diet and the truth about fat
The Ketogenic diet requires a large reduction in carbohydrates and an increase in healthy fat. This combination creates a shift in the metabolism from burning carbohydrates to burning fat or ‘ketones’ that are created in the liver. This process is called going into ‘ketosis’.
This dietary shift sounds extreme to some due to the conflicting information that has been served to us over the past few decades. Sugar and carbohydrates have completely overridden the average diet, with a lack of healthy fat, ensuring that people are either burning sugar or breaking down carbohydrates for energy. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, shifts our body to use fat as a source of fuel. It is important to remember here that increasing the level of healthy fats as well as the reduction of sugar and carbohydrates is the combined process. The two go hand in hand and will not work if not applied together.
Incorporating good fats like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds and high-quality animal fat, as well as eliminating sugar and other carbohydrates will begin this process of ketosis.
The benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
Many health care professionals advocate this diet due to its rapid transformative benefits. The diet increases insulin sensitivity as much as 75% whilst lowering blood sugar. Staying in ketosis also treats and prevents neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkison’s disease and epilepsy by shifting brain cell metabolism away from sugar. Weight loss is one of the most well-known effects of the Ketogenic Diet and for good reason - controlling hunger, regulating appetite and encouraging rapid fat loss. Losing this extra weight creates a positive momentum, limiting health-related issues like coronary artery disease and cancer. Most importantly is the reduction of inflammation this way of eating promotes which significantly affects our vulnerability for disease. Introducing the keto diet also reduces all chronic degenerative conditions.
Keto vs. other diets
The Whole30 is an elimination diet which helps to identify the foods that trigger bloating and weight gain. It requires an elimination of beans, legumes, dairy, sugar, grains, alcohol, and wheat leaving meats, vegetables, fats, fruits and some nuts. After an initial 30-day period, these forbidden food groups are slowly reintroduced to gauge how the body receives them.
One big difference between keto and Whole30 is that the former allows for re-creating “treats” to satisfy cravings. Whole30 does not allow any cheats or special occasions for the entirety of the 30 days to see the full effects the diet has on your body. In this sense, it can be seen as a short-term reset rather than a long-term lifestyle choice.
Veganism has become another very popular way of eating, which involves the elimination of all animal products from one’s diet. The key to a balanced vegan meal plan is diversity. A healthy vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. One difference in the philosophy of ketosis and veganism is the limit to the number of carbohydrates and sugars each allow which is not a point of consideration for vegans (Vegans can technically live off Oreos). With that being said it’s also entirely possible to maintain ketosis without consuming animal products which means that the two ways of eating can be simultaneously followed. Even a raw vegan diet can be coupled with a ketogenic diet.
The Paleo diet is another popular way of eating based on eliminating grains and legumes and eating quality foods that support digestive health. Similarities between Keto and Paleo diets include the elimination of grains and legumes, the emphasis on good fats and high-quality animal protein, the elimination of refined sugar and the incorporation of non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens. However there are also some differences in the two diets including the fact that paleo diet isn’t low-carb, high-fat, it restricts dairy, it doesn’t measure fat, protein and carb percentage and doesn’t focus on a specific outcome (like entering ketosis to burn fat instead of carbs). Generally speaking, the paleo diet is less restrictive and focuses more on gut and digestive health.
Again, it is possible to simultaneously follow a paleo and keto diet. This would just mean eliminating dairy, tracking your macronutrients to ensure you are entering ketosis, choosing grass-fed animal products when possible and choosing natural, no-calorie sweeteners like stevia.
When it comes to a food combining diet, there are no limitations on the types of foods that can be eaten. Instead, the diet follows the philosophy that the body can easily process certain types of food if they are not combined with other types. For example, protein and carbohydrates can be eaten in any amount, yet not eaten together. Whilst this is a major difference, they similarly use the science of the metabolism to help achieve weight loss and improve overall health. If you are changing your diet to eradicate a health issue, like diabetes, then the ketogenic diet is a better choice as even if you are mindful of food combining, your blood sugar levels are not being monitored and reduced as carbs are not limited.
The BulletProof diet is certainly another big name in the world of nutrition. Similarly to Keto, the diet recommends deriving most of your calories from healthy fats, however, there are some subtle differences. Rather than focusing solely on staying in a state of ketosis, the Bulletproof diet emphasizes the quality of food and eliminating chemicals, mold, and toxins to reduce inflammation. In this model, 50-70% of calories come from healthy fats, 20% from protein, 20% from vegetables and 5% from fruit or starch. Of course, there is the addition of the infamous Bulletproof coffee, a combination of coffee and two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and one tablespoon of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil. This provides mental focus, extra fat burning, and long-lasting energy. Adding a Bulletproof coffee or even just MCT’s to a ketogenic diet can enhance the positive benefits.
Depending on the goals of our clients, we are proud to offer a diversified high-fat, low-carb diet as we recognize the true wonders it can do for overall health. This is especially true when their intention is to reverse disease or inflammation. Our meal plans are completely customizable and we cater specifically to these specific health goals and taste preferences. Due to the undeniable health benefits of the Ketogenic Diet, we have introduced a wide variety of specialized Keto-friendly meals to accommodate this lifestyle and way of eating.