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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!

The benefits of bone broth in the keto diet

The primary focus of the ketogenic diet is to train your body to burn fat for energy rather than glucose, which is obtained through carbohydrates.

A standard ketogenic diet ratio is: 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs. Of course, since every person has a unique body and lifestyle, it may help to use a ketogenic diet calculator to determine your exact macronutrient needs. It will help to diet plan to how to keep your body in a state of ketosis, based on your current weight, height and exercise levels.

Limiting your carbs allows you to enter the fat-burning state called ketosis. Most experts will suggest lowering your carb levels to approximately 5% of your diet, and increasing fat consumption to at least 70% of your diet.

After a short period of time, your body will begin to rely on fatty acids for energy, which are essentially the secondary ‘backup’ energy source when glucose isn’t available.

The early stages of the keto diet can be difficult

However, in the first few weeks, you may find it difficult to continue to break through to ketosis. This initial period can be plagued by the condition known as the keto flu, which is when the lack of carbohydrates can cause fatigue and flu-like symptoms.

During this period, one of the best methods for overcoming the initial struggle and the keto flu is to consume bone broth.

What exactly is bone broth?

Bone broth is a savory liquid made up of the water in which the bones and cartilage of meat or fish have been simmered. The nutritional content of each bone broth varies based on the bones used, the amount of cooking time, and the cooking method. However, you can almost guarantee that you will find the same nutrients to some degree in every bone broth.

Overcoming the keto flu with bone broth

The keto flu happens as a result of suddenly removing carbs from your diet. Most people experience typical flu-like symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness. This usually isn’t a cause for concern — it’s a natural reaction your body has when you make drastic changes to your diet.

To help ease keto flu symptoms, it can be helpful to reintroduce a few extra carbs to make the transition period less intense. Bone broth is a great ‘transition’ food that offers a few grams of carbs but still fits within the macros of the keto diet plan.

Drinking bone broth can may also be a preventative measure against the keto flu in the early stages of the keto diet, thanks to the vitamins, minerals it contains.

Using bone broth to increase electrolytes

When you start a low-carb diet, you’re also cutting out the majority of fruit and starchy vegetables. These two types of food are typically the richest sources of electrolytes. For this reason, if you don’t plan carefully, it’s possible to end up with an electrolyte imbalance.

The good news is that bone broth contains all four electrolytes, including calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. By adding 1 or 2 cups of bone broth to your diet, you can keep your electrolytes in check when you’re eating fewer fruits and veggies.

Minerals, collagen and other healing properties of bone broth

As you can tell, bone broth is a powerhouse when it comes to therapeutic and beneficial foods on and off the ketogenic diet. Here are some of the main benefits people experience:

  • Rich in essential minerals, such as phosphorus and calcium
  • Rich in collagen and gelatin which help keep your bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints healthy
  • Helps with leaky gut
  • Helps fight infections
  • Strengthens hair and nails
  • Helps with muscle repair
  • Reduces inflammation (the primary cause of heart disease)
  • Great for adrenal fatigue tissues and thyroid health

If it’s entirely new for you, you can start to incorporate a cup or two of bone broth into your keto diet on a regular basis to start seeing is wondrous effects like increased digestive health, stronger bones, glowing skin, and so much more.

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.

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.

What to know about a Ketogenic Diet during Pregnancy

There is a lot of agreeance among the health and nutrition fields that point to a ketogenic diet as an aid to fertility. While ketosis can be helpful in helping one get pregnant, the question is: is it safe to maintain a keto diet while pregnant?

Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis

There is a bit of controversy whether the answer to this question is yes or no, and most doctors are still trying to “get with the curve” and understand/ grasp what a ketogenic diet is. Such doctors in the latter half of the controversy, are hesitant to recommend or even steer patients away from “low-carb” dieting while pregnant based on their concerns not on ketosis, but something called ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a state in which the body has an extremely high number of ketones and blood sugar levels. The result is a dangerous acid-base (pH) imbalance. Such a state is unhealthy for any individual, pregnant or not.
Ketosis, on the other hand, is a metabolic state in which the body uses fats (ketones) as fuel versus carbohydrates. In ketosis blood sugar is normal, there is a healthy pH (acid-base) balance, and ketone levels are relatively low. This is considered a “healthy” state of the body.

Maintaining a healthy keto diet leads to a state of ketosis, not ketoacidosis. Ketosis can be healthy for both mom and child when it comes to pregnancy.

Natural Pregnancy and Ketosis Connection

Keto and pregnancy are naturally connected. Nausea and curved appetite during pregnancy cause many women to go in and out of ketosis naturally. In addition, pregnant women naturally become insulin resistant to provide the developing child with proper nutrients, making them more sensitive to carbohydrate intake. Thus, maintaining a ketogenic diet during pregnancy may help aid these natural processes.

In addition, ketosis can be a healthy and natural adaptation for the baby. Keto-adapted babies have an easier time converting ketones to acetyl-coA and myelin. Such conversions aid in brain and neural development of the child.

Eat Whole Foods and Listen to Your Body

While a keto diet, and ketosis, can be good for both the mother and child throughout pregnancy, there are a few fundamental concepts to consider.

Do not focus on weight loss. Many who start the keto diet do so for the weight loss benefits. This should not be the goal of pregnant women on keto. It is important that both the mother and child get the proper nutrients and calories and weight gain is a natural and healthy component of pregnancy.

Do not be strict keto. It is not uncommon to go in and out of ketosis just based on fluctuations in appetite and nausea throughout pregnancy. Listen to your body and the baby and do not fret or put your body through additional stress to try and maintain a constant state of ketosis. If your craving a piece of whole grain sourdough toast, feed the baby what it wants.

Whole food, nutrient-dense, and calorie sufficient should be the focus. This may be redundant, but when pregnant, making sure the baby and mother get proper nutrients and caloric intake is the primary concern when it comes to diet. The best way to achieve these things is to eat whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and grass-fed meats. One should avoid processed and packaged foods.

Breast Feeding and Ketosis

It is recommended that one breastfeeds, on or off keto. Breast milk is better than formula. Breast milk is high in natural fats, whereas most formulas are high in carbohydrates and sugar. If one has the ability, breast milk is a better option to make sure the baby is getting proper nutrients and not getting addicted to a high carbohydrates and sugar diet at a young age.

Additionally, coconut oil, a common component of the keto diet, can assist in lactation and allows breast milk to contain lauric acid that helps support a babies’ healthy metabolism.

Clinical Guidance

It is highly suggested that you start the diet before getting pregnant. Switching from burning primarily carbohydrates as fuel to fats as fuel can be a stressful transition on your body. Avoid extra stress on the baby and mom by navigating this transition before conception.

Also, it is best to have some clinical guidance while maintaining a ketogenic diet during pregnancy. A doctor can make sure that both the mother and the baby are getting enough nutrients and calories and monitor healthy levels for both mom and child. Because some health professionals are still trying to “catch-up” to the ketogenic diet, it may be helpful to explain your dietary choice as one in which you are avoiding sugar and focusing on healthy vegetables, fruits, and proteins versus telling them you are on a keto diet. Or better yet, seek a health professional that does understand the keto diet.

Take-Away Message

It is safe and arguably healthier for both mom and child to maintain a ketogenic diet during pregnancy. It is vital that the mother listens to her body, gets enough calories, and focuses on whole food consumption during this process. It is recommended that a mother seek clinical guidance to help navigate and monitor.

Dr Jerry Hizon

Is the Ketogenic diet effective for men?

A lot of people are interested in the ketogenic diet as a way to increase weight loss and improve their health. At a recent talk I gave about the benefits of the keto diet, I noticed something interesting: the majority of the audience were women.

It is amazing how few men are aware of, and reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. Why men are less interested in dieting as a whole has always been an area of curiosity for me.

From my observation, there are some significant gender-specific differences when it comes to nutrition. Women tend to have a higher awareness and better knowledge of nutrition than men. They also seek nutrition counseling more frequently than men do.

Studies have shown that women eat more fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk, dairy products and whole grain products, whereas the consumption of red meat, particularly pork, sausages, eggs, alcohol, and high sucrose foods is higher in men.

Men’s approach towards nutrition is uncomplicated and pleasure-orientated whereas women have an ambivalent attitude to food. Women are typically less satisfied with their weight.

For this reason, restricted eating, dieting, and eating disorders are much more common in women. Men tend to control their weight with exercising and implement diets often for health reasons more than appearance.

The prevalence of obesity is similar between men and women. However, men are more frequently overweight.

For this reason, adopting a ketogenic diet can be an excellent way for men to get their weight under control. And because of the simplicity and pleasurable foods that can be eaten on the keto diet (bacon, anyone?), it is easier for men to stick to than other diets.

Just google the term ‘keto diet results,’ and you will see how beneficial it can be for both men and women.

In my experience, men enjoy a more simple, streamlined approach to eating. So, for men looking to start a keto diet, here are a simple few tips to follow:

Think Fat

Because men enjoy protein-rich foods, it is often easy to consume too many proteins. It is better to seek fatty cuts of meat or foods with lots of butter and fat. There are many healthy ways to get your fats increased in your diet. The key is always to ask ‘how can I get more fat in this meal?’


Stay above ground

Generally speaking, the best vegetables to help you on the keto diet are those that grow above ground. Leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard) are the best, in fact, anything in the salad variety works well to keep your carbs low. Vegetables that grow below ground (potatoes, carrots, beets) are higher in carbs and reduce the ability for your body to stay in ketosis.

Say no to beer

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to lose weight (and improve your health) is to reduce the amount of alcohol in your diet. When it comes to the keto diet, the best way to lower your carbs is to stop drinking beer. Beer contains both carbs and sugar, which both are going to mess with your ketone levels. If you really need to consume alcohol, then the best are liquors such as gin, vodka, tequila, etc. A glass or two of red wine can also be a great alternative to beer.

These are just some basic tips to help me on the path to better health on the keto diet. As I said before, it is rare to see men interested in their diet, but the keto approach I believe is about as simple (and enjoyable as you can get).

Hopefully, as more research shows the success of the keto diet for men, there will be a larger uptake of adoption.

Dr. Jerry Hizon

Snacking and keto: is it allowed?


The simple answer is, yes.

Snacking on the ketogenic diet is most definitely allowed. However, since the ketogenic diet is so high in fats, most find that they don’t need snacks to remain satiated until next meal. For those who are accustomed to snacking or hold busy schedules and may need snacks to get them through to their next meals, though, there are options one can indulge in and still remain in ketosis.

Here are a few important things to take into consideration in order to snack the right way on keto:

  1. Stick to macros: Make sure snacks are high in fat, low in carbs, and moderate in protein.
  2. Never go without keto-options: The last things you need is to be unprepared when hunger strikes in between meals. satisfying their hunger with the only easy and available options like bagels or bananas, kicking one out of ketosis.
  3. Don’t overdue the prepackaged snacks: Yes, there are some healthier and keto-friendly packaged food options, but most packaged food contains preservatives and other added ingredients not as healthy for our bodies. Keep consumption of these products to a minimum.
  4. Take time to prep: Buying and prepping the right keto-friendly options can help one remain in ketosis by eating healthy snacks and avoid overconsumption of prepackaged snacks mentioned above.
  5. When in doubt, test: If you are not sure whether or not a snack option is keto-friendly, test your ketone levels (they won’t lie).
  6. Not all low-carb snacks are created equal: Many low-carb snack options, like Atkins products, contain large amounts of protein and added ingredients to make up for lack of carbohydrates. Avoid
  7. Stick with a few basic rules-of-thumb: Stick to items with 5 or less ingredients. Stick to the outside circle of the grocery stores. Eat whole-food based snacks as much as possible. Avoid foods with large health food claims, most are false or have unnecessary added ingredients.

With these general guidelines in mind, we have included some great keto snacks below with some tips on how to keep each keto-friendly. It is important to have a few of these snacks on hand at all times to kick cravings and keep your body properly fueled but in ketosis throughout each day.

Store-bought Keto-Friendly Snacks:

  • Pork rinds
  • Seeds
  • Nuts or nut butters
  • Dark chocolate
  • Sardines
  • Pepperoni or salami
  • Cheese
  • Cacao nibs
  • Olives
  • Jerky
  • Seaweed
  • Hummus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Veggie sticks
  • Avocados
  • Coconut chips

Homemade Keto-Friendly Snacks:

  • Fat bombs
  • Bulletproof coffee
  • Bacon
  • Kale chips
  • Celery and cream cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Guacamole
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Berries and cream

Common snack foods to avoid on keto:

These options should be avoided as most contain large amounts of refined carbs and sugars)

  • Bananas or grapes
  • Cashews and peanuts
  • Juices and vitamin water
  • Café Lattes
  • Potato chips
  • Donuts
  • Chocolate bars

In summary, if you feel the need to eat a snack on keto, just be prepared to have the right types of foods available. As always, preparation is key to you success. The more you think ahead, the more success you will have with you snacking on a keto diet.

Dr Jerry Hizon

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

The Ketogenic Diet guide to Fats and Oils

Since adopting a ketogenic diet means switching one’s diet to be mainly composed of fats, it is important to know the ‘good’ fats and oils (healthy) from the ‘bad’ fats and oils (ie. unhealthy) in order to make this switch in a healthy manner.

With this in mind, lets take a quick look at the types of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats (and oils), their benefits, recommended uses based on their smoke points and the products that contain each to help you navigate this transition.

‘Good’ Fats and Oils

Fats considered “good” keto options for health purposes can be broken down into 4 categories: saturated fats, monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and naturally occurring trans fats.

The health benefits of ‘good fats’ include improved LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, increased immune function, maintenance of bone density, lowered blood pressure, reduced belly fat, reduced insulin resistance, etc.
Saturated fats (and oils)

Recommended use:
High temperature cooking
Sautéing
Naking
Deep frying

Recommended sources:
Red meat (preferably grass-fed or organic)
Ghee
Butter
Lard
Cream
Eggs
Coconut oil or butter
Palm oil
Eggs
Cacao butter
MCT oil or powder
Raw, whole milk

Coconut oil is especially beneficial because it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are readily broken down by the liver and used as a form of energy. MCT supplements can also be taken and are a great source of healthy saturated fats.

Monosaturated fats (MUFAs) and oils

Recommended use:
Cold use and light cooking
Simmer sauces and vegetables
Cold salad dressings
Baking
Finishing dishes
Nut and seed oils should be reserved only for cold use

Recommended sources:
Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Avocado and avocado oil
Macadamia nuts and macadamia nut oil
Goose fat
Lard and bacon fat
Duck fat
Cashews
Almonds
Brazil nuts
Pecans
Chicken fat

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and oils

Recommended use:
Cold use and light cooking
Simmer sauces and vegetables
Cold salad dressings
Baking
Finishing dishes
Nut and seed oils should be reserved only for cold use

Recommended sources:
Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
Walnuts
Wild, fatty fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel)
Sesame oil
Chia seeds
Nut oils (not as many peanuts because high in Omega 6s)
Avocado oil
Krill oil
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Naturally occurring trans fats (and oils)

Recommended use:
High-heat or cold cooking

Recommended sources:
Grass-fed animal products (grain-fed animal products are high in Omega 6s)
Dairy (i.e. butter and full-fat yogurt)

‘Bad’ Fats and oils

‘Bad’ fats (ie. unhealthy) include processed trans and polyunsaturated fats. These should be avoided when increasing your fat intake on keto as they have negative health effects: increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of diabetes, reduced HDL and increased LDL cholesterol, decreased gut health, increased inflammation, decreased immunity, etc.

Sources of processed trans and polyunsaturated fats to avoid:

Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Margarine
Packaged crackers
Packaged cookies
Cottonseed oil
Sunflower oil
Safflower oil
Soybean oil
Canola oil
Fast food

As a general rule-of-thumb, avoid all packaged and processed snack foods. They usually contain processed trans and polyunsaturated fats.

In summary, as you increase your overall fat intake on the ketogenic diet, is important to increase saturated fats (i.e. butter, red meats, and coconut oil), monounsaturated fats (i.e. avocado and extra-virgin olive oil), polyunsaturated fats (i.e. salmon or flax seed), and naturally occurring trans fats (i.e. grass-fed animal products or dairy).

You should avoid processed trans and polyunsaturated fats (i.e. margarine or packaged snack foods). You must be careful in how you cook and use “good’ fats, in order to receive their health benefits and avoid excess free radical consumption.

Dr Jerry Hizon

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 don’t 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 won’t 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 body’s 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 you’re 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 won’t 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