8 Healthy Ways to eat more fats on a Ketogenic diet

Starting a ketogenic diet means not only reducing carb intake but increasing your fats. Getting enough fats in your diet or knowing good from bad fats to add may be a little challenging or confusing at first. Here are some helpful, healthy ways to get your fat in on a ketogenic diet.

1) Include fat in your coffee and tea

Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, heavy cream, and/or grass-fed ghee are delicious and healthy additions to either coffee or tea. As an added plus, they will help you feel satiated in the mornings without breakfast, keep you full between meals, or even serve as a late-night dessert.
Cook with fat.

Lather vegetables and meats in healthy oils and grass-fed butter. Not only will this keep you satiated longer and keep these items from drying out in the cooking process, but it will taste better.

Healthy oils include coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, walnut oil, and sesame oil. Stay away from margarine or processed vegetable oils like cottonseed, sunflower, canola, soybean, or safflower oils (most of these items are also found in processed or packaged foods). They may be high in fats, but they are high in the wrong, trans fats.

2) Eliminitate low-fat or fat-free items

Drizzle olive oil or butter on top of any dish, including cold foods like salads or cooked foods like lightly steamed vegetables. Sprinkle nuts, seeds (i.e. chia, flax, or sesame seeds), or shredded coconut on all dishes. ?Switch from low-fat or fat-free to full-fat ingredients.

Eliminate items titled reduced fat, low-fat, fat-free, light, or lite. This includes common reduced-fat peanut butter or nut-butters, creamers, or other dairy products (i.e. yogurt).

3) Choose fattier meats and fishes

Include fattier cuts of grass-fed or pasteurized meats like ribeye steaks. Avoid lean proteins like chicken breasts (instead, choose chicken legs or wings). And yes, eay grass-fed bacon! You can also add fattier fishes, like salmon or tuna.

4) Eat full-fat cheese and dairy

You can enjoy slices of full-fat cheeses raw, charcuterie board-style or you can sprinkle them to add flavor to all your dishes. Full-fat yogurts are also great options to include in your diet, just be careful that the yogurts you buy are not high in sugars and try to stick to plain options. For dairy supplements, full-fat coconut milk is also a great healthy fat option.

5) Eat tons of egg, avocado, and nuts

Eggs are your ultimate keto friend, they include well-balanced fats and proteins and are low in carbs. Include avocado with every meal and over-indulge on the guacamole. Add nuts or nut butter to dishes, or eat them by the hand or spoonful. Macadamia nuts or pumpkin seeds, specifically, are great fat and nutrient (i.e. zinc and magnesium) sources.

6) Have healthy-fat snacks on hand

If you maintain a busy schedule its’ sometimes hard to maintain regular meal patterns. It’s important to have healthy, high-fat snacks at hand to get you from one meal to the next. Healthy fat, on-the-go snacks include nuts or nut butter, cheese, cured meat, hard boiled eggs, pork rinds, olives, or fat-bombs (http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/fat-bomb/).

7) If you have to do dessert, include healthy fats.

Hey, even avid keto followers need their late-night fix. Satisfy these cravings without falling out of ketosis by eating things high in fat and low in artificial sugars or sweeteners. Good options include fat bombs or full-fat heavy whipping cream and berries.

You can also include some dark chocolates, specifically those with high cacao content (70-90%) and naturally sweetened (i.e. coconut sugar). This is not only a great source of fats but also antioxidants.

8) Take fish oil supplements

Cod liver oil can not only add fat to your diet but provides your body with things like Vitamin A, omega 3s, and vitamin D3.

These 8 ideas will help you to get the right amount of fats into your ketogenic diet. It may feel a little strange at first, but soon you will be seeing the results from the increased fat intake.

Dr Jerry Hizon

A guide to Exercise and the Keto Diet

Before we talk about exercise and the ketogenic diet, it is important that we address two common misconceptions regarding diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Misconception # 1: Less calories in than calories out causes weight loss. Therefore, more exercise and less calories eaten equals even more weight loss.

Reality: Less calories and more exercise equals hunger, fatigue, stress, and ineffective weight loss.

No matter which way you look at it, your diet is the weight loss ‘game-changer’. What you eat is more important to weight loss than exercise.

Therefore, focusing on what you eat versus how much you eat is a much more successful and safe approach to weight loss.

This is where the ketogenic diet is such a useful tool to those wanting to lose weight.

Misconception # 2: You need carbohydrates to exercise at optimal levels. Thus, low-carb diets decrease exercise performance.

Reality: Carbs are stored in the form of glycogen and are only used as a fuel source in quick bursts of high intensity exercise and can only sustain an individual for a few minutes of these types of exercises.

Fats are the main source of fuel for all aerobic exercise (i.e. long jogs or cycles) and are used as fuel once glycogen stores are depleted in anaerobic exercise (i.e. sprints or heavy lifting).

Once you understand the importance of diet over exercise, andexplained why you dont necessarily need carbs for optimal exercise performance, you may be asking: should I even exercise on the ketogenic diet?

Although diet is arguably the most important variable to weight loss, exercise is also a key component to optimal health benefits.

Here are a few of the many benefits of incorporating regular exercise into your ketogenic lifestyle:

  • Improve bone mineral density (bone-loading)
  • Improve immunity
  • Increase cognition
  • Regulate mood
  • Reduce the effects of aging
  • Increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics
  • Prevent injury
  • Improve overall locomotion and flexibility
  • Burn 2-3x more fat doing endurance or ultra-endurance exercise (20-30+ minutes)
  • Prevent fatigue during long periods of aerobic exercise
  • Maintain blood glucose during exercise in obese individuals
  • Increased exercise performance overall

    What Should I Expect with Exercising on Keto Diet?

As your body is becoming keto-adapted (switching from using carbohydrates as a main fuel source to fats) in the first 2-3 weeks of starting the ketogenic diet, your exercise performance may be negatively affected. You may feel tired, fatigue, or even dizzy during exercise, especially anaerobic exercise (like heavy lifting or sprints) and you most likely wont be able to perform at the same level as you did before.

It is important to note that these effects are short-term and performance will only suffer until you are keto-adapted. This is natural and due to your bodys natural transition from carbs to fats for fuel resulting in keto flu symptoms.

You will be able to presume regular aerobic exercise safely and efficiently after your body makes its transition to using fats as its main source of fuel, so have patience and trust your bodies normal process. How should you go about your exercise routine?

Exercising in the first few weeks on a keto diet

Before adaptation: Before being keto-adapted, in the first 2-3 weeks of adopting the ketogenic diet, you should stick to low-intensity, aerobic exercise for a majority of the time so as to prevent sugar cravings and muscle catabolism during exercise (i.e. yoga, Pilates, or long walks/ jogs).

You should also increase electrolyte and fluid intake (i.e. drink a large glass of water with a pinch of salt before working out). You should avoid doing high-intensity, anaerobic exercises until youre are keto-adapted because it can be counterproductive to adaptation and you will have decreased performance during this time period. We keep saying anaerobic exercise versus aerobic exercise and you may be unfamiliar with these terms. As a general rule of thumb: if you can breathe easily through your nose without panting during the exercise, it is an aerobic exercise. These include things like 20-30 minute + jogs and cycles. If you cannot breathe easily through your nose during an exercise, these exercises are considered anaerobic. Examples of anaerobic exercises include: heavy weight lifting, sprints, and explosive sports like soccer, lacrosse, hockey, etc. However, exercise in general will help you get into ketosis faster, so that is not a deterrent from embarking on exercise during this time frame. Instead, you should focus more on endurance and mobility.

Bottom line: Before keto-adaptation you will experience an initial drop in performance. During this time period you should increase electrolytes (sodium) and fluids and stick to low intensity, aerobic exercise.

After keto-adaptation: After you are adapted to using ketones and fat for fuel, your energy levels will improve along with your training. Your aerobic exercise performance will increase, you will burn more fat and feel less fatigued during these exercises. Studies have suggested that a keto diet will increase endurance or ultra-endurance athlete performance, lead to greater fat loss in these individuals, and maintain their muscle mass.

The benefits of keto diet for athletes

Becoming keto-adapted using a ketogenic diet can also specifically help aging athletes who struggle with impaired recovery, increased body weight, and have difficulty maintaining desired body composition. In addition to these aerobic performance effects, anaerobic exercise performance should proceed almost back to normal levels, if not normal.

It is expected that you will be able to perform at 90% of maximum equally as good anaerobically. Your muscle glycogen stores that fuel these types of exercises will be replenished despite lack of carbs and with the increased ability to use fats for fuel, you wont tap into glycogen stores as often.

An everyday, moderately active individual will experience less fatigue during exercise and greater performance on a normal ketogenic diet. Those that do more intense, anaerobic exercise often may want to consider adapting the ketogenic diet to optimize anaerobic performance.

Here are two ways to do so:

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): Eat 25-50 grams or less of fast-acting carbs (i.e. whole fruit) within 30 minutes of workout and/or 30 minutes after workout. This will ensure that your body has the proper amount of glycogen to perform during training and recover after. This will not take you out of ketosis, as your body will use up this glycogen during training and after for recovery.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): Eat strict keto for 5-6 days to get the benefits of ketosis, then eat a higher carb diet 1-2 day a week to replenish glycogen levels and help improve high intensity performance. This can be especially helpful for athletes who train throughout the week and can up their bard intake to perform well in games/ matches on weekends.

The standard ketogenic diet can lead to increased fat loss for the normal individuals and increase exercise performance of ultra-endurance, endurance, and aging athletes.

It is possible to receive all the health benefits of the keto diet and be able to participate in regular exercise or preform at a high level as an athlete.

After being keto-adapted, aerobic exercise performance may increase, as your body can use fats for fuel more efficiently and you experience less fatigue.

– Dr Jerry Hizon, MD

 

Your guide to beating the Keto Flu

When some people begin their journey towards a ketogenic diet, they experience something called the ‘keto flu’. This typically is experienced within the first 7-14 days on the keto diet.

Switching your body from metabolizing glucose to metabolizing fats can be a shock to your system. This is especially true within the few first days of adopting the keto diet. This transitional period and resulting side effects, termed the keto flu, because some of the symptoms feel the same as catching a cold or flu. typically begin within 24-48 hours of starting the keto diet plan and last about 3-7 days.

What causes the Keto Flu?

These flu-like symptoms occur due to your body’s natural process of protecting itself during what it recognizes as carbohydrate starvation. As carbohydrate and blood sugar levels decrease, insulin decreases and insulin sensitivity increases.

As blood sugar levels go down, our body signals to our kidneys to release electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and potassium), carrying with them water. This often causes dehydration.

As our bodies go into carbohydrate starvation mode, they also upregulate cortisol (stress hormone) levels in an attempt to increase energy levels.

What are the symptoms of the Keto Flu?

If you think you are experiencing the keto flu here are a few common symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Mental fogginess
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lower strength and stamina
  • Digestive issues
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Sugar cravings

How to Beat the Keto Flu

It’s important to know that the keto flu symptoms are a sign that your body is in the process of making the proper metabolic adaptations.

All of these are normal when switching to the keto diet and as your body becomes adapted to using fats and ketones as a main source of fuel, they will subside.

But in the meantime, while you are suffering from the keto flu, here are a few strategies to combat the symptoms.

Drink lots of water

You should increase your fluid intake to replace the water lost in the first few weeks of keto. This means consuming about 10-12 glasses per day. As a rule, drink a glass of water for every hour you are awak during the day.

Replenish electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, potassium

Make sure to increase your sodium levels for the first 14 days. How much? Divide your body weight in pounds by two and that is roughly how many ounces of sodium you will need per day (around 5,000- 7,000 mg/day). Add sodium to your diet by adding more unrefined salts (Himalayan pink salt or sea salt are the best) to water or foods, drinking salted lemon water, or drinking bone broth. You should also get roughly 1,000-3,500 mg of potassium per day.

Potassium is found in foods such as fish, meat, leafy greens, and winter squash. Magnesium is another electrolyte you should increase intake of, taking about 300-500 mg per day. You can find magnesium in foods like spinach, chicken, beef, fish. All of the above electrolytes can be taken in supplemental form if you cannot get proper amounts from your daily diet.

Moderately exercise, practice yoga or meditate

Exercise can help balance out the increase in cortisol levels during the keto flu. Moderate exercise is suggested so as not to put more stress on your body than the metabolic shift it is already dealing with. If moderate exercise is too much, especially with the possibility of other symptoms, consider practicing yoga or other forms of meditation to reduce cortisol levels during the first transitional weeks of adopting the keto diet.

Eat more fats and calories

Yes, that’s right: more fats! Increasing fats can help surpass the keto flu growing pains and increase energy levels. A great way to add fats during these transition periods is with MCT oil because it goes straight to the liver after digestion. Other ways include things like adding coconut oil to your morning coffee, eating grass-fed jerky, or even eggs. You can also increase ketones with exogenous ketone supplementation at smaller doses, spread throughout the day, for the first 3-5 days of keto.

Reduce your carb intake slowly

Instead of dropping straight to the goal mark for daily carbohydrate intake (i.e. below 20g per day), it may be helpful to slowly decrease carbohydrate intake and in a sense prevent the shock of the keto flu.

For example, if you generally eat 140 g of carbohydrate per day, it may be useful to cut back by increments of 20 g a day (or every other day) for the first week (or two) of starting keto (day 1= 140 g, day 2= 120 g day 6= 40 g, day 7= 20 g). You can read our full guide to your first seven days on keto here.

Remember that it’s short-lived

Maybe most important is to remember that all these symptoms will pass, and you will feel much better soon. Dont let these temporary keto flu symptoms scare you away from continuing your keto journey and acheiving a healthier lifestyle!

– Dr. Jerry Hizon, MD

Your first seven days on the keto diet

So you’re considering a keto diet?

The low carb, high fat ketogenic diet is known to help with weight loss, certain metabolic disorders (i.e. Diabetes), increase energy levels, reduce hunger, and is simple to follow. Because of all these reasons, it seems that starting such a diet with all these benefits seems like a no-brainer.

However, for most people, the transition from carbohydrates to fats as a main source of fuel is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true for the first week of adopting the ketogenic diet.

In this article, we explore some tips for your first seven days on the ketogenic diet.

Set a goal. Create a plan.

The first thing to decide is why are you starting the ketogenic diet?

Define a goal for yourself (i.e. weight loss, better health,). Having a clear picture in your mind of why youre starting the ketogenic journey and a way to track your progress towards your ultimate goal will help keep you invested, especially within the first week of physical and mental transitional challenges.

Next, determine how you will measure progress towards your goal. In the beginning, rather than a weight loss goal, it can be better to set a goal to stay on the keto diet for 7 days. This might seem simple, but it will help you get through the first few days, which can be challenging.

Research and join a community.

Like anything else in life, know what you are getting yourself into before starting. Look around, read blogs, testimonials, recipes, and research. Hear what doctors have to say about the diet and people, like yourself, have experienced within this first 7 days of their keto journey.

Find a community such as ours on Facebook or a physician to provide you with support, feedback, and information throughout your transition to keto. You can also consider the use of support apps such as The Nudge App, in which your physician can help monitor and guide you through the adoption of a ketogenic lifestyle safely and effectively.

For the first week, it may be useful to also research a 7-day keto meal plan, since counting your calories and keeping macromolecules within range may be harder at the beginning of switching to keto.

Meal plan and prep your pantry.

A day or two before you start full keto, create a food diary of foods that you currently eat and make note of which items are keto-friendly and which are not.

Stock up on the foods you eat daily that are keto-friendly, and find replacements for those that you currently indulge in that are not keto-friendly.

Rid your pantry (if possible) of bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, and sugary foods or drinks to avoid temptation throughout the first week struggles.

Fill your fridges and pantries with lots of healthy fat options, lots of water, and foods rich in sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

Mentally prepare.

Switching your body from metabolizing glucose to metabolizing fats as our primary source of fuel can be a shock to our systems, especially within the first days of the switchover.

It is important to realize that there will be side-effects, often called the ‘keto-flu’ when making this original transition. If you experience headaches, fatigue, mental fogginess, muscle cramps, reduce stamina, know that these are very normal to experience within the first 7-14 days on the ketogenic diet.

All that’s left is to get started!

The truth about keto is that it will be hard to begin with, but it will be worth it after several weeks!

Each day, keep focused on your goal. Make sure to track your progress toward your goal. Reach out to your established keto-community or physician throughout the process.

Have patience, and know that very often, the first week is the hardest!

Dr. Jerry Hizon