How to implement the ketogenic diet
In simple terms the ketogenic diet consists of consuming three meals a day to begin with, without any snacking in between. Once the body is adapted to fat burning, the number of meals can be reduced to two even one meal a day. The main food groups in this diet are: vegetables, fat and protein. Vegetables should be consumed first in the meal because this will keep us from eating too much protein. The amounts of each nutrients are as follows:
- For three meals a day: 7-10 of green leafy vegetables divided into the three meals, 3-6 ounces of protein per meal. The amount of fat varies, it should be enough to allow the person to go from one meal to another without excessive hunger. At the beginning, when the body is not fat adapted yet, the person will need more fat because the body has not built the cellular machinery to obtain energy from fats.
- For two meals a day: 8 cups of greens divided into the two meals, and 5 ounces of protein per meal. Fat will vary according to hunger.
- For one meal a day: 7 cups of greens and 8 ounces of protein. Fat amounts will vary as well.
There are two occasions in which the amounts of fat should be higher: at the beginning of the diet and when the person has achieved their weight loss goals. In this latter case, eating more fat will allow the body to burn this dietary fat rather than the body fat.
Something important to observe about protein is that it should be high quality protein, wild caught fish rather than farm raised, grass fed meats, and free range eggs. When it comes to the vegetables, the greener they are the more nutrients they have, they should be organic too. When it comes to the fat, high fat foods are: avocados, olives, coconut oil, brie cheese, pecans, nuts, seeds, almond butter, heavy cream, etc.
Something else that is important to remember is that because the ketogenic diet makes the body release a lot of fat from fat cells, the liver has to be healthy enough to be able to process all the fat. This is why vegetables are very important, they clean the liver. Not consuming enough vegetables can cause the liver to become fatty and will impair the function of the gallbladder. For this reason some digestive support is recommended: lecithin, pancreatic enzymes and the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ for its digestive health properties.
Another reason why vegetables are needed in high amounts is because ketones are acidic and they can potentially cause gout or kidney stones. Since vegetables are alkaline, they provide the high amounts of alkaline minerals to balance ketones. Dr. Eric Berg recommends to consume 2-3 ounces of lemon juice a day to avoid the formation of kidney stones (7) . He also recommends ginger to speed up the process of fat adaptation. Ginger is one of the ingredients in the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ and one that has a proven long record of health benefits, including blood sugar regulation (8).
Key nutrients in the ketogenic diet
- Vitamin C: It is needed to repair the damage done by high insulin in the eyes, nerves, kidneys, also to heal insulin resistance itself. This nutrient can be obtained from the vegetables; green bell peppers are specially high in vitamin C. Some fermented foods like sauerkraut are also high in vitamin C.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: from wild caught salmon and other fatty fish.
- Vitamin B1: The need for this vitamin is high when we are in ketosis. Sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast are high in this vitamin. The B vitamins are needed also to repair the damage done to nerves.
- Potassium and magnesium: very important in the ketogenic diet (9).
How much protein exactly?
We need a moderate amount of protein (10), this means not too little and not too much. Between 3 and 6 ounces per meal seems to be the right ratio. This is between 0.36 grams to 0.7 grams per pound of body weight per day, so this total amount should be divided between the number of meals one consumes.
Not having enough protein will cause the body to use up the muscle protein, even the proteins in joints and connective tissue. The body will then convert this protein into sugar that is stored in the midsection. A person that is physically active should consume the amount on the higher end, also people who are under high stress. Anything higher than these amounts can affect the kidneys creating kidney stones and the liver, increasing liver fat.
The benefit of reducing the number of meals is that the body will recycle its protein, helping preserve the muscle tissue in the body. This also means that ligaments, tendons, joints and all the protein structures in the body will get stronger.
Temporary side effects of the ketogenic diet
While the body is adapting to fat burning, there can be some side effects due to temporary lower blood sugar levels. Once the body is fully adapted, the nutrient dense meals will be assisting the body in getting all it needs to function and repair itself very efficiently.
Some issues that people following the ketogenic diet have reported are:
Muscle cramps, palpitations and arrhythmia, weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. All these symptoms can be prevented by making sure the person consumes enough greens together with enough sea salt. The B complex can be taken in the form of nutritional yeast. Some people report being cold, in which case iodine is recommended. The ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can be an excellent addition for these cases because it contains kelp. Other people report hunger, which is a sign of not consuming enough fats. Bloating, and right shoulder pain are signs of liver and gallbladder dysfunction, for these cases digestive support is recommended like lecithin, pancreatic enzymes and the ‘Heart and Body Extract’.
Finally, there has been some concern expressed regarding the amount of fat the ketogenic diet requires and how this might affect heart health. However, we need to remember that it is the quality of the fats consumed that is a reason for concern. (For detailed information about types of fats, please refer to our previous blogs on the topic). Also, it is in fact excess insulin that damages the arteries, not healthy fat. The health of the liver and gallbladder is also important to be able to process the amount of fat required. The ‘Heart and Body Extract’ is a great addition to the ketogenic diet because of its many health benefits. It can help the digestive system and improve circulation, assisting the liver as well.
We have seen how high insulin is a great threat to our health. It can damage the protein and fatty structures in our body by making them stiff. This can raise blood pressure and cause heart attacks, among other things. In today’s blog we have learned how to reverse this condition with the proper diet. A diet that reduces the need for numerous meals a day is one that can lower insulin naturally. This should be done only with a nutrient dense eating plan that gives the body the building blocks it needs to rebuild itself. Then, the right digestive support in the form of nutritional supplements like the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can help. Take your health to the next level and get your bottle today!
Thank you for reading.
(1) BERG, ERIC. Dr. Berg’s New Body Type Guide: Get Healthy Lose Weight & Feel Great. Kb Pub, 2017.