I believe that nature teaches us in wonderful ways about what works. Take the four seasons for example. I’ve adapted a ketogenic way of eating that is a cyclic method. I workout a lot, and a focus of mine is increasing muscle mass and strength. While I wouldn’t be able to maintain and/or increase those two factors with the amount of intense workouts I have, I don’t follow a strict ketogenic “diet”. I go about 3 weeks of being in keto, and then for a couple of days, I eat whatever I want. That means, I can eat cake, cookies, pies, whatever I want, for those two days. I even get to enjoy birthday cake ;). Then after that, I go back to keto. It’s work WONDERS. It’s EXTREMELY maintainable, I’m still loosing weight and achieving my goals. I’ve also been getting better at listening to my body and understanding how certain foods affect my body—which is something we’re not taught. It’s really amazing how we have such intelligent systems that are ALWAYS communicating with us. We just have to understand how to listen to them. Truly. The problem with a lot of our society, is that we are stuck in the high-end of the cyclic, or the feasting mode, and we think it’s normal! Hence the many ailments and medical conditions that keep increasing. The point is, there are many variations of following a ketogenic way of eating, and it DOES require a life-style change. Just like any other recommendation from a dietician or educator.
Pros: Technically a subtype of low-carb diet, the keto diet is unique: By depriving your body of carbohydrates, you not only force your body to become fat-adapted, but also, if you keep protein low as well, elevate your levels of ketone bodies, which is basically a sign your body is running on fat. The keto diet puts you in a unique metabolic state called ketosis wherein your brain burns ketones instead of glucose—and, in doing so, supposedly leads to clearer thinking. Physically, eating such a high amount of fat significantly increases your body’s ability to burn body fat, according to the study analysis. Research also shows keto athletes have a higher VO2 max, and are able to lose fat without losing strength or power.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if there is little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Almost half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. There is some evidence that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. The most common adverse effect is constipation, affecting about 30% of patients—this was due to fluid restriction, which was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of kidney stones and is no longer considered beneficial.
And it’s not just this study, either. Several other studies have found that keto leaves rodents unable to process carbs, leads to insulin resistance, and, more long-term, causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is when your liver accumulates lots of fat and begins to shut down. Triglycerides and inflammation go way up, too.
But beyond that, experts aren't convinced that the keto diet has any other scientifically-proven health benefits. In fact, it may have some distinct downsides. If you follow the keto diet incorrectly, for example (like by eating lots of saturated fats, versus healthy unsaturated fats), you're at risk of raising your cholesterol levels. “The best strategy to keep your heart healthy is to get as much fat as possible from unsaturated sources such as olive, avocado and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives," says Ansel.
Beans can help boost feelings of fullness and manage blood sugar levels, making them an excellent ally in your weight loss battle. In fact, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could contribute to modest weight loss. And if you need another reason to bulk up on beans, remember that the fiber and protein-rich legumes are other excellent sources of genistein—the same compound found in peanuts and lentils that aids weight loss.
Now I have to say, I am not a supporter of rigid plans, however it is important to eat at somewhat regular times so you don’t end up feeling very-very hungry at any particularly moment of the day. Having said that, I also think it is important to be able to actually feel hunger, and look forward to eating a meal. While adding a snack here and there is good to keep blood sugar and hunger levels in balance, snacking can also backfire. Many times we eat a snack without being hungry or we depend on ready-made snacks such as granola bars, juices, smoothies etc. which not only add quite a few calories but also are a processed food with all that entails.
While the DASH diet was originally developed as an eating style to help lower blood pressure, it has been found to be a fabulous plan for weight loss. The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution turbocharges weight loss with a powerful plan based on previously overlooked DASH research. And the new book The DASH Diet Younger You is more pumped up on plants to help you become healthier, lighter, and actually physically younger, from the inside out. It feaatures 14 days of meal plans for vegetarians, and 14 days of plans for meat-eaters, supporting your diet preferences and showing many options on how to put DASH together. It relies on all natural foods, with no artificial additives or sweeteners!
Walnuts are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin. (In fact, Spanish researchers found that walnut eaters have higher levels of this natural mood-regulator.) Another perk: "They're digested slowly," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. "This contributes to mood stability and can help you tolerate stress."
The 2-week turbocharge is a great way to kick off the plan: all the claims about resetting your body's expectations proved true for me. In the 3 months I've been on this plan I started a new job; celebrated my anniversary, Halloween, my birthday, & Thanksgiving, and now find myself surrounded by all the Christmas treats...and still find it easier than it's ever been to make conscious choices about what I eat.
For the ketogenic eating plan, participants were instructed to reduce non-fiber-containing carbohydrates to between 20 and 50 grams a day, with no calorie restriction. The group following the plate method were told to eat their meals on a nine-inch plate, filling half of it with non-starchy vegetables (eg, greens, peppers, broccoli, carrots), ¼ of the plate with whole grains (eg, brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread) and adding lean protein (eg, skinless chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood) to the last quarter of the plate.1
Calcium and vitamin C team up well to boost metabolism, and broccoli is just one of several healthy foods that contain both nutrients. What sets broccoli apart from the others, however, is that the green veggie also contains kind of fiber that’s been shown to increase the digestion, absorption and storage of food, also known as the thermic effect of food or TEF. A revved up metabolism combined with an increased TEF is a match made in weight loss heaven!
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.