Thinking of trying a Keto Diet?
The ‘Oh, I can eat bacon and cheese every day’ diet may seem appealing, but a Ketogenic Diet is not for everyone.
Have you been thinking that it’s time to try a new diet? Feeling bloated or experiencing indigestion on a regular basis? Has a friend recommended trying a Keto diet? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, read on…
The Ketogenic diet
What is allowed? Simply, fat! Yes, this is a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet. The biggest mistake that people make when starting the Keto diet, is that they forget about their vegetables! A Keto diet includes healthy fats like avocados, olives, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. However, alongside our higher fat foods we can’t forget about our nutritious keto-friendly vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, zucchini, spinach, peppers, and Brussel sprouts.
What is not allowed? A Keto diet does not include bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (including sweet potatoes), French fries, potato chips, sweets like candy and donuts and chocolate! Foods that are higher in carbohydrates including alcohol, are to be avoided.
What is ketosis? The term ketosis (the basis for the name KETOgenic diet) refers to a metabolic process in the body. Ketosis occurs when the body no longer uses glucose as a fuel source. Instead the body begins to use fat as a way to provide energy for the body.
Why do we want ketosis? As a result of the body choosing an alternate fuel source, the body uses fat. When this occurs, fat is broken down to provide energy for the body and fat loss can occur.
Benefit of this diet? The main reason most individuals try this diet is to achieve weight loss. Research shows that this diet is helpful for epileptic patients where a reduction in seizures is seen. More research for weight loss needs to be performed.
The downside? As with any change in diet, some side effects can occur. Oftentimes with a lower carbohydrate diet, individuals may experience headaches, constipation, change in mood (serious grumpiness!), lower energy levels and more. And as carbs are removed, you may develop a loss of essential nutrients like Vitamin C or the B vitamins.
Consider these 3 steps before starting a Keto diet:
- Seek support from your ND: As Naturopathic Doctors, we highly recommend seeking support while making any changes to your diet, including a keto diet. Just as there is no magic pill for everyone, there is no magic diet for everyone. Our focus is on individualized care. While your friend may swear the Ketogenic diet helped her lose 15 pounds, it may not be the most suitable diet for you.
- Do your research: Patients who need to exercise caution before making any dietary changes include those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Also, individuals who have mental illness should exercise caution as low levels in blood sugar may also cause mood changes.
- Consider baseline testing: Why test? If you decide to do the diet, we often suggest vitamin testing before you begin. When fruits and vegetables are restricted, there will be fluctuations in vitamin absorption. Our goal is to prevent deficiencies and correct with supplementation if any are determined.
Working with a Naturopathic Doctor has its benefits. We can make sense of the research, do bloodwork and determine the best eating plan for your needs.