When it comes to Nutrition, the ketogenic diet is currently trending as the best diet for loosing weight to date. It’s a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that produces ketones — the result of the breakdown of fats in the liver — to be used as pure energy.
With the keto diet showing up all over the news, in forums, magazines, and in conversations at the gym, there’s a lot of things being said that are true, but a lot of things that aren’t to be believed.
Why are so many people searching for Nutrition when it comes to loosing excess fat?
Since more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity in the United States Nutrition is eminent in reeducating people to take control of their lives. Being overweight or obese does not have to be the new normal for Americans.
Typically, during the first week of the keto diet, people see a very quick drop in weight — anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds. This is unrivaled by any other diet.
5 Tips for Success on the Ketogenic Diet
We must all now be familiar with the Atkins Diet. Of all of the 'trend' diets that move through our popular culture, none has caused as much interest or controversy. Put forward by the late Dr. Robert Atkins in the 70's, the diet that has caused a storm is continuing to acquire both dedicated followers and severe opponents both within and without the medical community.
The Atkins diet itself is only the most popular of an approach usually called low-carb diets because of the primary interest in restricting consumption of Carbohydrates. Since the entire spectrum of our food is drawn from proteins, fats, carbohydrates or water, severe restriction of one group is seen by many as an arbitrary and possibly even dangerous step.
Most of the controversy surrounding low-carb approaches is not that they lie about weight-loss (studies continue to show marked weight-loss in many who use the diets) but the disturbing possibility that cutting the carbs out of your diet just isn't healthy. After all, what good is a diet that slims you down only to clog up your arteries and kill you? We've heard many arguments both for and against the use of low-carbohydrate diets, this article asks a radical question: Can going Low-Carb actually be healthy?
WHY SHOULD I LIMIT SUGAR & GRAINS?
The first and most obvious carbohydrate group and one we rarely have much argument about reducing is sugar. Sugar is a catch all term for a number of simple carbohydrates including fructose (fruit sugar), Galactose (milk sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and glucose (simple sugars such as blood sugar). Sugar consumption has been on the increase for decades and, despite the numerous campaigns against saturated fats, is certainly the biggest contributing factor to the increasing obesity epidemic.
Eating sugar causes a number of physiological effects in the body. The most striking of these is the sudden and marked increase in blood insulin. Insulin is the hormone in our body responsible for 'taxiing' the food broken down in out stomach to the various parts of our body that require these substances, although it has numerous uses. First, and most importantly, sugar, as glucose levels in out blood is extremely toxic. Left in our bloodstream without control elevated sugar levels would kill us quickly, so the powerful release of insulin helps keep our blood cleared of excess glucose. Unfortunately insulin is a double-edged sword. Excess sugar in our body cannot be disposed of in an unlimited number of ways. With our increasing sedentary lifestyles refusing to burn off much of this sudden and quick release of carbohydrate as we consume, sugar is rapidly converted to the same saturated fats we are constantly warned about. (As you can see, limiting saturated fat in the diet does not prevent us from accumulating fat in our bodies).
Sugar has other unpleasant side effects. The constantly elevated insulin levels can eventually lead to decreased insulin sensitivity (Syndrome X) and another case of Type II diabetes. Sugar also has an effect on cortisol and our adrenal glands. It causes an excess of these hormones leading to symptoms of stress and fatigue. Sugar also competes with the glucose carriers in our blood, which work with vitamins like Vitamin C, causing disruption to our preciously balanced immune system and causing premature ageing of the skin.
Sugar can be thought of as nitro-fuel for the body. It releases a very quick but harsh burst of artificial energy. In active individuals requiring peak performance from athletic pursuits, simple carbohydrates can be a useful tool, especially in the area of pre and post workout drinks. Much like a drag-racer using nitro fuel, this substance can be used to replace muscle glycogen and spare muscle wastage due to overtraining effects. Unfortunately few of us use sugar in this careful and controlled manner and are attempting to drive the finely balanced engines of our bodies on a fuel which causes too much stress and strain on a system that was never designed to handle the excess we provide.
So since low-carb diets almost completely eliminate sugar from our diets, we have already found one significant health benefit.
Most of our Western Governments offer health guidelines which ask us to base our food intake almost universally around grain-type carbohydrates, what were once grouped as starches. We know these most commonly as rice, pasta, potatoes and breads. These types of food appear to have been staples of our western diets since time immemorial (they're not, but that's another story). We are often told that eating these foods will leave us full, satisfied and full of a slow releasing stream of energy that is healthy and safe. Unfortunately, at least for human beings, this doesn't always appear to be the case.
Restricting the intake of grains and sugars makes a fairly quick and positive change towards a healthier life. However, it may be that in our urge to shed the pounds with as little pain as possible, the lower carb diets we choose are tilted towards the proteins and fats we don't really need and attention to vegetables is ignored. With a few minor modifications we can find a lower-carbohydrate approach that not only helps us maintain a normalised body-weight and fat mass but also helps us be an all round healthier individual. There are a hundred other points towards improving health but all these changes make an admirable start.
BULLET-POINTS AND OTHER HINTS FOR A HEALTHY STARTER APPROACH TO LOW-CARB LIFESTYLES
EAT YOUR VEGGIES! (They're the good carbs and won't interfere with your low carb benefits)
CHOOSE LEAN MEATS & EGGS (Eggs are a great source of protein as is grass-fed organic meat)
CHOOSE BETTER FATS (Make sure you eat a regular supply of Omega 3 fats amongst your other daily intakes. Saturated fat in moderation is not the danger. Sugar is)
STAY AWAY FROM SUGARS AND GRAINS! (Low carbohydrate is less about maligning one particular food group and more about staying away from those sources which your body can't handle in large amounts. Athletes and healthy individuals may be able to use limited sugar and/or grains to improve performance but the same basic rules apply elsewhere)
DRINK LOTS OF WATER (We often argue over what groups of food are essential or not but one we can all agree on is water. You need it and lots of it. Forgot food, without water you die fast!)
BE WARY OF SPECIAL LOW-CARB FOODS (There are a great number of healthy choices here, Athletes especially will enjoy easy-to-mix carb free protein drinks etc but as low-carb diets have hit certain food industries hard, expect lots of products that may be lower carb choices but are not healthy. Always remember the low-fat craze where manufacturers swapped saturated fat for lots of sugar...)
MIX YOUR FOOD CHOICES (Restricting grains and sugars is a great start but don't fall into the trap of just surviving on the same meat diet day in and day out. Mix your proteins and fats and vegetables offer a wide variety of healthy options)
ENJOY THE DIET! (Just because you stopped eating chips and bread with your meals doesn't mean you have to get bored! There is a limitless supply of sauces, seasonings, meats, eggs and vegetables that don't require high carb sugar and corn syrup additives to make great tasting meals. Get fitter and healthier and enjoy your food while you do! Enjoying bacon once in a while poses little threat. Compare this to downing a fizzy drink with eight spoons of addictive, toxic sugar and you see the advantages already)
The bulk of research suggests that the ketogenic diet is more effective than conventional diets in helping you lose weight and shed body fat. One of the reasons why the ketogenic diet provides such reliable weight loss results is because it consists primarily of highly-satiating whole foods like meat, high-fat dairy, and low-carb vegetables while removing all carb-rich, sugar-laden processed foods from the diet. By eating in this way, you will feel full while eating fewer calories and losing weight.
What Is the Keto Diet?
For those who eat low-carb or keto diets, there is almost always something you can eat in every fast food place or restaurant. Plan ahead. Before entering a restaurant, check out their menu and nutrition information online at home or using your smart phone. It's always good to know the safe options before being tempted by menu items you shouldn't have on a low-carb diet.
In order to make it easier to find a quick keto-friendly option, I've compiled a list of several restaurants and fast food places and those items that I've found to be the lowest carb (and most emotionally satisfying) choices. These are not all perfect options, but when you're stuck with no other choices due to time or location constraints, they'll do in a pinch.
It's a huge help that fast-food places are required to post nutritional content. It gets easier to follow the keto plan every day. The carb count I'm listing is approximate and is NET grams.
In general, there is usually some salad option anywhere you are. At Burger joints, just remove the bun, and many places offer lettuce wraps instead. Chicken shouldn't have breading.
As a side note, it helps to have a knife and fork handy in your car or purse. Big, juicy burgers in tiny pieces of lettuce end up on the table - or in your lap. Small, flimsy fastfood plasticware also makes for difficult eating. Pull out your own sturdy utensils and enjoy!
Now for the food choices... here are some pretty obvious general rules to follow:
- Skip the bun or wrap
- Skip the pasta, potato, or rice
- Salads - no croutons. Stick with low sugar dressing options - Caesar, Blue Cheese, Ranch, Chipotle. Look at the name which may give you a clue, things like "honey" in the honey dijon or "sweet" in the dressing name - these are usually not a good choice. Check the ingredient for items that are higher in carb content.
- Chicken - Choose grilled or sauteed. Stay away from any chicken that is breaded.
Mexican and Chinese restaurants are the most difficult, because any low carb option is not the reason to go to the restaurant in the first place. At a Mexican restaurant, I tend to get a large burrito with no beans and spread the soft tortilla out like a plate. Eat the inner ingredients and toss the tortilla.
If you MUST go to a Chinese buffet (I attended a funeral dinner at one), you can find options, but they probably aren't going to be your favorite General Tso's. How about the salad bar choices? eggs? the insides of eggrolls, and I even ate the insides only of crab rangoons. Unfortunately, these ideas leave quite a pile of discarded shells and deep fried exterior pieces on your plate and makes it look like you really waste food.
Wings anywhere - Standard buffalo sauce is usually OK as well as garlic Parmesan
Convenience stores can be a good option, too! 7-11 has packs of hard boiled eggs, cheese slabs, slim jims, almonds, and pork rinds. Pork rinds come in a barbecue flavor and they're ZERO carbs.
Remember, whatever you choose, hold the bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, fries, and tortillas. And watch out for the possibility of corn starch, bread crumbs, and other fillers. With proper planning and a good attitude, you can find healthy keto and low-carb options when dining out, and stick to your successful keto diet plan.
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