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The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

If you are thinking about trying a ketogenic diet for weight loss or health, it is worth considering the pros and cons.

Ketosis is a natural body process that converts stored fats into energy. A ketogenic diet helps your natural fat burning function work its magic longer than normal. In this way, it is a very natural form of dieting.

What are the cons or disadvantages of the keto diet plan?

  • You will need to go through an adaptation period of around 1 to 2 weeks. For some people, this phase can be uncomfortable as the body becomes ‘fat adapted.’
  • Many people take great pleasure in eating carbs, and feel like they lose the ‘fun’ aspect of eating.
  • It takes more time to consider your meal choices. This can be especially true when dining at restaurants, where a lot of meals are carb-heavy.
  • For those who exercise a lot, there can be a drop in performance ability and stamina in the early stages. This can be unmotivating if you are a person who does a lot of physical activity.
  • Sometimes your friends may criticize you, or say you are crazy for eating more fat. This is common on the keto diet, as for almost 50 years it has been believed that eating fat is bad for your health.

What are the pros or advantages of the keto diet?

  • Reduce insulin levels meaning you have fewer crashes (sometimes known as a ‘carb crash’) during the day. This leads to more consistent sustained energy.
  • A lot of people feel like they have reduced appetite, and will need fewer snacks. This is because the body is used to burning fat for fuel and isn’t seeking ‘quick burn’ carbs and glucose.
  • Studies have shown and Increase in thermogenesis (meaning the production of body heat) which increases the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
  • Reduced risk of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes. The current research is showing how much our carb and heavy sugar diets are causing issues with our health. Ketogenic diets can potentially reduce this risk dramatically.
  • When you’re in ketosis your brain switches to ketones as a fuel source. Because it has a consistent fuel source, this means that you can focus for longer periods of time.
  • Recent medical studies have shown that the Keto diet can be a great way to help to lower blood pressure.

When weighing up the pros and cons of keto, you must decide what is more important: short or long-term results. Most of the cons of keto diets are short-term, whereas the pros of the ketogenic diet are long term.

 

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. If you are interested in getting started with a keto diet, we can help you stay on track, with our Nudge Coaching program, and guidance from Dr. Jerry Hizon. Reach out to us today to see how much better you can feel!

Ketogenic Diet Tips: What to eat and when to eat

Whenever someone starts a new diet, it seems like the focus is always on how many calories you eat, or whether you should eat a specific type of food. This makes logical sense, as it is estimated that as much as 75% of weight loss is attributed to the diet.

However in the past few years, there has been more interest in not just what you eat, but when and how often you eat.

The concept of intermittent fasting, and eating smaller meals more often are two trends that have become common. I believe that both have some value in improving your results.

Fasting and the keto diet work together

When considering a ketogenic diet, it seems that intermittent fasting works well, as typically you are less hungry for longer periods.

When your body goes into a ketosis mode, it begins to consume fat reserves. If you have just eaten fats (which is common on the keto diet), your body will burn those fats first. But if you keep yourself in ketosis, it will begin to consume your stored fat.

One of the challenges people have when on a conventional diet is that they are constantly hungry. I believe this is less to do with the actual physical hunger, and more to do with the psychological habit of eating too often.

How often do you really need to eat?

Our society teaches us to eat three meals a day, with snacks in between. But often we aren’t eating out of hunger as much as habit.

One of the keys that I have been talking to my keto diet patients about is whether they actually need to eat as often as they do. As a medical doctor, I am typically a very health conscious person, so I have always been very disciplined in my approach.

However, even when eating healthy, I have never experienced the same energy and weight loss results that I have on a ketogenic diet. This is especially true when combined with some intermittent fasting.

I have been adding some fasting days (24-hour fasts) and even tried a 72 hour fast recently. Both were actually less challenging than I had assumed they would be. I believe that is because of my adherence to the keto diet.

Try a fasting window with a keto diet

When you get started on a keto diet, you can also begin trying a ‘fasting window.’ This is another way of choosing a length of time when you don’t eat. For some people, this can start with 8 hours when they sleep or moving to 12 hours or 16 hours.

The longer you can resist eating, the better you will enable ketosis to begin in your system. Intermittent fasting has been proven to give some of these benefits:

  • Balancing your blood sugar levels
  • Improving nutrient absorption for the body
  • Removing toxins naturally
  • Clearing the mind and increasing focus
  • Increased fat burning throughout the day

Aside from these nutritional and health benefits here are some lifestyle benefits I’ve found from fasting on a keto diet:

  • Save money: you tend to eat out less, and that costs less
  • Eat higher quality food: when you do eat, you crave high-quality, healthy foods
  • Enjoy eating more: when you eat, it is enjoyable and satisfying

Changing your mindset around when to eat along with what to eat can be a game changer. It gives you back a sense of self-control and makes you accelerate your health results.

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. His keto coaching programs helps people to track their progress and stay on track. Visit his website today to learn more, or sign up online for a keto coaching session via nudge coaching.

Carbs, Exercise and the Keto Diet: what you need to know

A lot of people who are on a ketogenic diet wonder what the best types of food are when exercising. They are told not to eat carbs, but also that carbs can help with exercise. Keto and exercise is a confusing topic and one that I will try to demystify.

First of all, you body has different types of fuel. The most common type of fuel most people burn when exercising is carbs. This is because carbs provide a faster ‘burn’ and are great for explosive exercise.

What does it mean to carb-load before exercise?

You might have heard of the term ‘carb loading’ which is what a lot of athletes will do the day or evening before an event. It can provide the energy boost needed in that short period for better performance.

But here is the challenge of carbs: most people are not elite athletes. We exercise moderately, usually one to three days a week. So the majority of the time, our carbs are not being used for explosive energy.

Why is exercise harder on a keto diet?

When a person first takes on a ketogenic approach to eating, they can find it is hard to exercise. This is especially true in the first few weeks of a keto diet (link) because they feel a lack of energy.

Rest assured when you first start exercising on a keto diet, this is normal. Your body is becoming fat-adapted, meaning it is switching from burning carbs to burning fats.

Are you exercising with the wrong fuel?

To further fuel analogy: you can think of carbs and fat like gas and diesel. Both can power vehicle, but are used in different ways. Gas is more like carbs, in that it burns quickly. Diesel is a slower burn, more like fats in your body.

For years, experts have derided fats in our diets, but we are now seeing that humans are more like diesel vehicles, which perform well with a slow burn.

When you first start a keto diet, the exercise you do will trigger your body to burn carbs. But after a few weeks on a ketogenic diet when there is little ‘carb fuel’ left, it will start to burn fat and ketones as fuel.

Here are some symptoms you feel when first exercising on a keto diet:

  • Lack of stamina compared to past performance
  • Lack of explosive power
  • Lack of muscle strength
  • Muscle cramps (usually due to low sodium or dehydration)
  • Need for more water
  • Need for more sleep


How often should you exercise per week on a keto diet?

As a rule, if you exercise less than 2 hours a week, then ketones (fat) are good fuel source. They will help you to lose weight, and your stamina and strength will increase if you persist.

If you exercise an hour or more per day, or you participate in activities like crossfit or cycling, then you may benefit from some additional carbs to give you additional fuel.

With around 80% of people above their ideal weight, the keto diet combined with moderate exercise can be an excellent combination to help you. If will give you slow burn and assist with long term weight loss. If you go a little easier on yourself during your first few of exercise weeks on the keto diet, you will soon see an improvement.

Jerry Hizon, MD is a ketogenic doctor based in Murietta, California. He assists people wanting to lose weight and improve their health through ketogenic diets. His keto coaching programs can help you to track your progress and improve your success. Visit his website today to learn more, or signup online for a keto coaching session via nudge coaching.

The Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

The keto diet and intermittent fasting are two popular diets for losing fat, gaining lean muscle mass, and boosting your energy levels.

Many people wonder whether combining intermittent fasting with keto can help you experience even greater results.

The short answer is yes. Intermittent fasting on the keto diet is a simple ‘hack’ that can definitely accelerate the results and benefits.

What is Intermittent fasting?

If you’ve slept overnight and not eaten for 12 hours, then you’ve already experienced intermittent fasting! It simply means that you go for a specific period of time without eating. Some people choose 12 hours, 16 hours or even 24-48 hours. Whatever period of time you select is called your ‘fasting window.’ When you are outside the fasting window, you eat normally.

The key is to know when and for how long to fast. That way you aren’t tempted to snack during that time.

The difference with intermittent fasting is that usually when you eat throughout the day, you’re in a fed state. This makes your body keep digesting and absorbing nutrients from your meals.

Most people who have breakfast, lunch, and dinner will remain in this state during the day, and into the night. The only time their digestive system gets a break is when they’re sleeping.

When your body to enter the fasted state (usually after about 8-12 hours), it means that accelerated fat burning can now take place. Essentially fasting kicks your body into the same ketosis state as being on the keto diet does.

Keto is accelerated with Intermittent Fasting

Since the keto diet is designed to force the body into running on ketones from a very low-carb intake, you’re essentially fasting yourself of carbs. In a way, this mimics regular actual fasting that takes place with intermittent fasting.

When you restrict your body’s primary fuel source on the keto diet, adding fasting can kickstart your body into ketosis. Once you’re there, you just need to stay on the keto diet to stay in ketosis.

Also, when on the keto diet, you may find it easier to fast for extended periods of time, since your body becomes adapted to the fat burning and you are less hungry.

Here are other benefits that intermittent fasting with keto can give:

– Balancing blood sugar
– Improving nutrient absorption
– Detoxification
– Clearer mind, less brain fog
– Increased fat burn during exercise

On top of all this, intermittent fasting can help with unnecessary snacking and extra caloric intake throughout the day. And it’s as simple as setting a goal to not eat for as little as 8-12 hours. As you build your fasting window, you may find you can last 12-16 hours and then perhaps even 24 hours without too much worry.

If you are serious about kick-starting your keto journey, then intermittent fasting can give you that extra push you need. Once your there in the ketosis state, it’s much easier to stay on the keto path and achieve your goals.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

A Typical Day on the Keto Diet

Just like trying anything new, switching to the keto diet and getting used to what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat can be hard at first.

Rest assured, all of these things will become easier and habitual with time.

In this article, we have included what a typical day on the keto diet may look like.

These are just some examples of typical meals and snacks, as you delve into your ketogenic journey, you should adapt your diet to match your lifestyle.

A Typical Keto Breakfast

A lot of people who embark on the ketogenic diet incorporate intermittent fasting into their routines. This means that they typically don’t consume meals past 8:00 p.m. on a given day, and before 12:00 p.m. the next day. Often, this means skipping breakfast and just supplementing with a keto-coffee to get them through the morning until lunchtime.

Keto coffee is coffee with added (and sometimes blended for added creaminess) ghee, butter, MCT oil, or coconut oil. If one isn’t intermittent fasting, a typical keto breakfast consists of eggs and bacon cooked in butter or avocado oil.

Adding mushrooms or spinach to these egg scrambles for some fiber and added nutrients or avocado for some added fats is not uncommon.

A Typical Keto Lunch

A ketogenic lunch usually consists of a fatty cut of meat (80/20 steaks or chicken of fatty fish like salmon) coupled with a spinach salad or some form of low-carb vegetable and an additional fat source. To add an extra fat component salads and veggies are topped with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, coconut flakes, flax seed, sunflower seeds, or even avocado. Meats are often cooked in ghee, butter, or oil to add an additional source of good fats.

A Typical Keto Dinner

Dinner is typically similar to a ketogenic lunch, however often in more substantial portions since it is often the last meal until 12:00 p.m. the next day. It consists of a fatty protein, low carb vegetable, and an additional fat source.

Fatty steaks or chicken wings served with cauliflower rice and/or buttered zucchini noodles serves as an example. Adding dressings and sauces to these dishes can not only be used to add flavor, but also increase fat intake.

Typical Keto Snacks

Most of the time, snacks are not needed on the ketogenic diet, as the higher fat intake makes one feel satiated until the next meal. Common snack choices for the rare times one needs them include: a handful or two of nuts (especially macadamia nuts with their high omega-6 fats), an avocado with some olive oil and a sprinkle of Himalayan salt, hard boiled eggs, cured meats, cubed cheese, a spoonful of nut butter or some fat bombs.

Another common and recommended thing to have on hand, especially when first transitioning or when one has a busy schedule is MCT oil or supplements. These can help one kick carb cravings and remain in ketosis until the next meal.

Keto and Hydration

It is important to note that a typical ketogenic diet consists of lots of electrolytes and fluids to combat dehydration. That means drinking a large glass of water upon waking in the morning and before coffee or breakfast, adding salts to most food choices throughout the day, and consuming roughly 10-12 glasses of water minimum throughout the day.

So there you go, an example of a typical day on the ketogenic diet. Of course, these are just a guide to work with, and you will create your own version of the keto diet and lifestyle as you continue on your journey.

Dr Jerry Hizon