In this video I talk about my experience after the first week following a plant-based ketogenic diet. I review how I started, the symptoms I experienced, the benefits I have noticed, and my weight loss. I filmed this video on May 15th, 2016 but I decided to wait to upload it until I was sure I did not experience any adverse reactions to the diet and that I was successfully following it for a minimum of 6 weeks.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920’s by doctors to help alleviate epilepsy in children. Since then it has transitioned into a nutrition plan to manage symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes and is now one of the most effective nutrition plans for athletes especially endurance athletes.
In a nutshell the Ketogenic Diet is a nutrition plan which consists of consuming a high ratio of fat, moderate protein and very low (30g or less) net carbohydrates (net carbs = total dietary carbs minus fiber). When a person lowers their carbohydrate intake sufficiently and increases fat intake, the body produces fatty acids and ketones within the liver. The body then switches over from using glucose for the preferred energy source and instead uses ketones. This metabolic state is known as “ketosis”.
How does someone lower their net carbohydrate intake to less than 30 grams?
This is the tricky part! Lowering your net carbohydrate intake to less than 30 grams a day takes planning, motivation and keeping track of your macros. In order to be successful transitioning into ketosis, the following foods must be completely avoided:
- ALL grains & starches (such as pasta, rice, cookies, bread etc)
- sugary foods and fluids (such as juice, soda etc)
- sugar sweeteners (agave, honey, molasses etc)
- root vegetables
- processed foods
- artificial sweeteners
- fruit (except small amounts of low sugar fruits such as strawberries or blueberries)
- “unhealthy” fats (mayonnaise, processed meats, GMO labeled oils etc)
What is the keto adaptation phase?
In order to get into ketosis, the body goes through an adaptation phase which can last anywhere from a week to a few months depending on the person and various factors such as previous diet, age, fitness level, etc. During the adaptation phase a person can experience symptoms such as:
- flu like symptoms (aka the “keto flu”)
- mental fog
- decreased exercise performance
To help alleviate such symptoms, a person following a ketogenic diet strictly monitor their macros and must also make it a priority to stay fully hydrated (a minimum of 10 cups per day) and also ingesting the right amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium.
What are the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is not for everyone. That being said, it does have its place in the arsenal of well-developed nutritional plans. There are many benefits to the ketogenic diet in addition to the two I mentioned earlier (treating Pediatric Epilepsy and Type 2 Diabetes). Here is a list of the most popular reasons people are starting to adopt this lifestyle:
- weight loss (and a lot of it!)
- increase energy
- mental clarity
- increase of HDL (“good” cholesterol)
- lowers blood sugar
- decrease of water retention
- improved sleep
- reduced appetite
- increased athletic endurance
Overall in my experience, adopting the ketogenic lifestyle has been absolutely amazing! My top advise for beginning this diet is to DO YOUR RESEARCH!! I read many books, research papers, watched conferences, listened to doctor’s podcasts etc. before figuring out how to implement into my life and I would highly suggest you do the same. When making any changes to a diet there can be complications or restrictions based on each individual. If you do have any questions, issues or concerns regarding health care, you should always consult a physician.
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