One of the hottest diet trends right now is the Ketogenic diet. Similar to the Atkins diet, although much stricter, the Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein and low-carbohydrate diet. The diet was first designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder as a treatment for those with epilepsy. However, many researchers are starting to look at the use of the ketogenic diet for disorders other than epilepsy. This includes other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, migraines and autism. Even professional athletes and endurance athletes are catching on to this popular diet. The diet works by forcing the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is the result of ketones building up in the bloodstream when people eat a low or no carbohydrate diet. This is due to the body using fat as the primary fuel source, which then breaks down into ketones. The diet isn’t as simple as just cutting back on carbohydrates; there are specific calculations that go into figuring out the right percentage of fat to protein to carbohydrate ratio. Lastly, it’s important to remember that some fats are healthier than others. Read below to learn more about the ketogenic diet and click here to shop our ketogenic diet friendly page.
Benefits to consider:
- May help with weight loss
- May increase HDL “the good” cholesterol
- May lower LDL “the bad” cholesterol
- May lower total cholesterol
- May decrease triglyceride levels
- May lower blood sugar levels
- May improve insulin resistance
- May reduce seizure frequency
The Ketogenic Diet and Its Variants:
- The Classic Ketogenic Diet – A calorie level is determined by a trained healthcare provider based on age and activity level of the individual. The classic diet consists of a ratio in grams of fat to non-fat (protein & carbohydrates) of 4:1 and 3:1. This means that there is 4 times as much fat as there is protein and carbohydrates combined. At each meal, a specific amount of each food variant is consumed. The total amount of carbohydrates allowed each day depends on the ratio that you are following.
- Modified Ketogenic Diet – The modified ketogenic diet consists of ratios of 2:1 and 1:1, instead of 4:1 and 3:1.
- MCT Oil Diet – Although not widely used in the United States, the MCT Oil supplement diet is more flexible and allows for a larger variety of food due to the higher carbohydrate and protein allowance. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides and is a type of oil which produces ketones. Since the MCT oil produces ketones, less total fat is needed in the diet, which allows for more carbohydrates and proteins to be included.
- Modified Atkins – This diet is a variant from the original low carbohydrate diet proposed by Robert Atkins. It is modified to allow for lower carbohydrate levels compared to Atkins’s recommendations and puts more emphasis on high-fat foods as required on the ketogenic diet. It is a less restrictive form of the diet and is primarily used for teenagers and adults.
- Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT) – The glycemic index (GI) measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. In general, carbohydrates that are digested slowly have a low GI, while carbohydrates that are digested rapidly have a high GI. This diet is a special high-fat diet similar to the ketogenic diet, however, it focuses on both the type and amount of carbohydrates in the diet as well as the glycemic index.
Healthier Fat Options While on a Ketogenic Diet:
- Fatty fishes like salmon
- Olives and Olive Oil
- Nuts and Nut Butters
- Coconut Oil
Recipe Ideas (These are just ideas and may not within the recommended proportions for you)
- Breakfast – Egg omelet mixed with heavy cream and shredded cheese of your liking. For extra healthy fats, you can add an avocado as well.
- Lunch – Greek salad with chopped gyro meat, black olives, avocado, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and olive oil dressing.
- Dinner – Teriyaki turkey lettuce wraps with ground turkey, chopped peanuts, gluten free soy sauce and shredded unsweetened coconut.
Tips to Consider Before Starting a Ketogenic Diet:
- Heavy creams, butter and vegetable oils provide the necessary fat while on the diet.
- The diet completely eliminates sweets such as candy, cookies and desserts.
- All foods should be carefully prepared and weighed on a gram scale.
- It’s best to start the diet gradually and increase to the full amount over a 3 to 4 day period or longer.
- Certain vitamin and mineral supplements may be required to help meet nutritional needs.
- Make sure you are staying hydrated and avoid unnecessary snacking.
*Disclaimer – While I can inform you on the elements of the Ketogenic Diet, this diet is not a perfect fit for all individuals. It’s best if you are evaluated by your health care provider before starting this diet and work under the supervision of a trained professional while on it.