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Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet: Is it Right for You?

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now. If you search #keto on Instagram, you’ll be rewarded with more than 8 million posts, showcasing everything from weight loss transformations to high-fat meals to supplements, like 7-Keto Lean.

But while this diet is gaining lots of popularity and momentum, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right diet for you. Now we’re not here to tell you what’s right or wrong. We’re actually big fans of figuring out the diet that works best for you with a little trial and error. We just want to arm you with all of the information you need to make an educated decision about the ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Diet Basics

Put simply, the ketogenic diet is a very high fat, very low carbohydrate diet that also allows a moderate intake of protein.

Dr. Russell Wilder, a medical doctor at the Mayo Clinic, developed the ketogenic diet in 1924. He developed it as a treatment for seizures in epileptic patients who weren’t responding well to medications. Despite the diet’s success, it took a backseat to anti-seizure medications during the 1940s.

The Science Behind the Ketogenic Diet

Normally, when your body needs energy, it turns to glucose, a simple sugar that you get from the carbohydrates you eat. Although carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source, you can only store limited amounts of the simple sugar. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation says that the stores of glucose in your liver run out in about 24 hours. If you don’t give your body more carbohydrates within this 24-hour time frame, your body turns to fat for energy.

The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to force your body into using this fat-burning process by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat and getting the majority of your calories from fat.

The Details

The ketogenic diet consists primarily of foods that are high in fat, but also allows a moderate amount of protein. Although the best macronutrient ratio depends on you as an individual (and you’ll have to play around with it a little bit to figure out your sweet spot) fat generally supplies 70 to 90 percent of calories. High-fat foods allowed on the diet include butter, mayonnaise, avocado, heavy cream and oils, such as coconut and olive oil. Most of the remaining calories, or around 10 to 30 percent, come from protein.  The major protein sources include eggs, cheese, meat, fish, and poultry. Low-carbohydrate vegetables, like spinach, kale, and zucchini are also encouraged.

Optimizing Nutrition

Because the ketogenic diet restricts so many foods, the best way to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a wide variety of low-carbohydrate foods. Instead of eating the same meal of chicken and spinach every day, try to eat as many different foods as you can. Experiment with new types of vegetables and recipes.

Are you considering the ketogenic diet? Have you already tried it? What has your experience been? We want to know!

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The Carbohydrate Manifesto: Are Carbohydrates Good For You?

In the 1990s, fat was the black sheep of the nutrition family. Once the early 2000s rolled around, fat was given some slack (although not too much) and the blame for all things evil was put on carbohydrates. Everyone jumped on the low-carbohydrate diet bandwagon and began to see some weight loss results, but along with these results also came a lot of lasting misunderstandings. Well we’re here to clear up those misconceptions and get down to the nitty gritty of what carbohydrates are and whether they should have a place in your diet.

What Exactly are Carbohydrates?

When people hear the word carbohydrates, they automatically have visions of bagels, muffins, and buttery toast dancing in their heads, but that’s not the full story. While it’s true that those foods contain a lot of carbohydrates, they’re not the only ones. Carbohydrates are also found in healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The term “carbohydrate” can actually encompass everything from refined sugar to applesauce to carrots.

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that supply you with calories. On a chemical level, a carbohydrate is a unit of sugar. It can be a single sugar – called a monosaccharide; a double sugar – called a disaccharide; or a string of a bunch of sugars linked together – called a polysaccharide.

What Do Carbohydrates Do For You?

The major function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide you with energy. While it’s true that you can get energy from the other macronutrients – protein and fat – your brain and your muscles prefer to run on the glucose they get from carbohydrates.

Should You Eat Carbohydrates?

The short answer to this is yes. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. It’s the foods that seem to be the highest in carbohydrates that tend to contribute to weight gain; and that’s why carbohydrates themselves get a bad rap. What you want to do is avoid foods that pack a huge carbohydrate load without offering much else in terms of nutrition – like the aforementioned bagels, crackers, cookies, muffins, toast, and croissants.

Good Carbs Versus Bad Carbs

We don’t really like to assign foods into a “good carb” or “bad carb” category because a food is not just a carbohydrate. What you need to do is pay attention to the package you’re getting. Is your food full of carbohydrates and sugar, but contains little vitamins and minerals? Skip it. Is your food full of carbohydrates, like fiber, but also packs a wallop in the nutrition department – offering essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes (like an apple, for instance)? Enjoy.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods to Eat:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-Fat Dairy Products
  • Whole grains, like oats and 100% whole wheat bread

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods to Avoid:

  • Desserts
  • Sugar (soda)
  • Refined grains like white bread (bagels and muffins fall into this category), white rice, and white pasta