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what is the keto diet

What Is the Keto Diet and Is It Right for You?

Learn what it’s like to follow one of the most popular diets around and discover if its benefits make it worth trying for your weight loss and health goals.

The Keto, or Ketogenic, diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss.

It’s a low-carb diet that naturally cuts out the highly processed foods that contribute to weight gain.

The origin of the Keto diet is actually unrelated to weight loss. It was originally recommended to mimic the effects of fasting and to help treat epilepsy in the 1920’s. It fell out of practice for epilepsy treatments after effective drug therapy was developed. 

But in more recent years, it’s been the center of interest for maintaining a healthy diet, improving metabolism, and achieving weight loss goals.

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. “Extreme” in the sense that it requires you to cut out a lot of foods to successfully adhere to it and see desired results. And being one of the more extreme diets, it can be hard to maintain

But those who do stick to the Keto diet experience meaningful health benefits and weight loss.

So let’s explore—what’s the Keto diet and is it right for you?

What kinds of foods do you eat on the Keto diet?

A low-carb diet cuts out a lot of staple foods in the American diet.

To follow the Keto diet, you have to avoid:

  • Anything with added sugar like soft drinks, juices, and candy
  • Grains like wheat, rice, cereal, bread, and pasta
  • Starchy fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes
  • Dairy that’s high in sugar, like ice cream and some yogurts (a low sugar greek yogurt or skyr is allowed)

Instead, the Keto diet is made up of foods like:

  • Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, eggplant
  • Meats like eggs, fish, chicken, pork, and steak — and there’s a big emphasis on choosing grass-fed when possible
  • Dairy products like cheese, butter, and low-sugar, plain greek yogurt
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil
  • Fruits like raspberries, grapes, and strawberries 

The high-protein and high-fat foods are great to stay full longer. But without the usual carbs as fuel, your body has to adjust. That adjustment is called Ketosis.

The Keto diet is all about getting your body to a state called “ketosis”

The name of the Keto diet actually comes from the state your body enters once you’ve adjusted to the low-carb lifestyle.

That state is called Ketosis and it occurs when the “ketones” in your body are elevated. 

Ketones are produced in your liver and help fuel your body in the absence of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the usual source of immediate energy for your cells. But without them, your body uses fat to provide energy. This process involves breaking down fat and releasing ketones into your bloodstream.

Getting to this state is critical for making the keto diet a sustainable option.

Weight Loss Benefits of Keto Diet

One of the best benefits of the Keto diet is that it helps you achieve weight loss goals.

The reason it works so well is that it helps you stay in a caloric deficit by focusing on high-satiety foods in your diet. It also prevents binging on those low-satiety, but extremely high-calorie foods like chips, sweets, and soda that make it easy to exceed your ideal calorie intake each day.

By eating high-protein foods you stay full longer and curb your appetite. So most people on the diet are naturally in a caloric deficit each day.

It’s also especially useful for faster weight loss. Some studies have found that when compared to other diets, the Keto diet can prompt more weight loss in the first 6 months on the diet. But by reaching the year mark, the overall results even out. So while you won’t ultimately lose more on that diet than any other, you may lose much of the weight faster for a period of time.

Challenges and support on the Keto diet

The Keto diet isn’t an easy one to adjust to. So there are a few things to keep in mind when you start the diet so you can create a plan that helps you stick with it and reap the benefits.

Keto Flu

On the Keto diet, you’re restricted to 50 grams of carbs each day. Consuming so few carbs every day shocks your body and you go through an adjustment period.

And that adjustment time is called the “Keto flu”.

Because unfortunately, a mild flu is exactly what it feels like with symptoms like fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

The Keto flu is the biggest hurdle to overcome when starting the diet. But most people get over the Keto flu symptoms in one or two weeks.

Additional supplements

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. It requires you to cut out a lot of foods you’re likely used to eating and enjoy. So to make it work, there are supplements and other options for support to make sticking to the diet easier in the beginning. Especially when you haven’t yet reached the state of Ketosis.

Some supplements can help initially with reducing carb cravings–because that’s one of the hardest things to overcome. One supplement that reduces carb cravings is CarbCrave Complex. It helps to reduce cravings for sweets and carbs that you have to give up on the Keto diet.

There’s also the 7-Keto Lean supplement that makes it easier to lose weight with the Keto diet.  The supplement helps improve metabolism, promotes weight loss, and helps you get the best results from your Keto diet.

But both should only be taken exactly as recommended by a doctor.

Get the right guidance to make Keto work for you

When the Keto diet is an option for your weight loss goals, it helps to have the right guidance so you get the right plan that’s responsive to your body.

The diet may be right for you if you want to quickly drop weight and are able to overcome the first two weeks of carb cravings. It may also be great for you if you want to improve your heart health and manage your insulin levels.

But when deciding on any diet, it’s best to talk with a professional to get the best results.

That’s why our specialists help you create the right plan that includes meals, exercise, and supplements. Because we know that when you have support on your diet, you’re more likely to stick with it and see results.

Reach out to your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location to connect with a specialist and start your weight loss journey today.

Sources

  1. JW;, Wheless. “History of the Ketogenic Diet.” Epilepsia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19049574/.
  2. McClernon FJ;Yancy WS;Eberstein JA;Atkins RC;Westman EC; “The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self-Reported Symptoms.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228046/.
  3. Foster GD;Wyatt HR;Hill JO;McGuckin BG;Brill C;Mohammed BS;Szapary PO;Rader DJ;Edman JS;Klein S; “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12761365/
apple jicama coleslaw

Healthy Recipe: Apple Jicama Coleslaw

September is here and you know what that means: apples are everywhere. And if you’re one of those people who likes to go apple picking, you’ll probably end up with a 20-pound bag of apples in your refrigerator that you have no idea what to do with. You can only make so many baked apples and apple crisps before you think, now what?! Well, we’re here to save the day. This Apple Jicama Coleslaw combines fresh apples with low-carb jicama (a root vegetable that you may not be familiar with, but you’re going to love) and a little hot sauce for just the right amount of kick. Serve it alongside your favorite protein (it goes great with grilled chicken) and you have a meal that’s sure to please everyone.

Apple Jicama Coleslaw

What You Need:

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jicama, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 large apple, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

What To Do:

  1. Put cut cabbage, jicama, and apple in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Whisk mayonnaise, pineapple juice, Sriracha, salt, and pepper in a bowl until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour mayonnaise mixture over cabbage, jicama, and apple and toss to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in cilantro and toss again.
  5. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top and serve immediately.
lemon chicken

Healthy Recipe: Buttery Lemon Chicken

Low Carb? Keto? Neither of the above but just like delicious food? This recipe fits the bill. This gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo (say that 10 times fast) recipe is rich in both protein and flavor. As if that wasn’t enough, you can make it in your pressure cooker and have it ready in under 10 minutes. Talk about the perfect weeknight meal.

Buttery Lemon Chicken

What You Need:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 3 teaspoons water

What To Do:

  1. Combine salt, pepper, paprika, and granulated onion in a small bowl. Season both sides of each chicken breast.
  2. Turn on sauté function of pressure cooker and add ghee to pot. Once ghee is heated, add garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add chicken breast and sear, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Pour chicken broth and lemon juice into pot and close lid. Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure. Let pressure release naturally.
  4. Remove chicken from pot.
  5. Mix arrowroot powder and water and then stir into contents of pressure cooker to thicken sauce. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve with side of choice.