The ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet that you cycle in and out of.
It can seem complicated, and you hear positive and negative feedback from different doctors and healthcare professionals. It is not complex and here are a few tips to help you.
When looking at the macronutrients, it’s important to look at all 3. The body’s macronutrients are fat, protein, and carbs.
Eat Moderate Amounts of Protein
Protein burns like sugar clinically, not physiologically. What this means is too much protein prevents ketone formation and elevates sugar in your blood just like carbs.
All 3 macronutrients are related to each other.
You may hear doctors on social media saying they can clinically prove high-fat eating or low carb diets are bad for you. What they are missing is the other macronutrients. If you are to talk about carbs, you must also relate the protein and fats, too in the same conversation. This is key.
For example, If you eat high carbs with fat it is very unhealthy. Eating high protein with high fat is also dangerous. Eating an equal balance of fat, protein, and carbs is also not healthy! What is healthy is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs.
Cycle In and Out of Ketosis
Getting into ketosis for the first time may take a few weeks. Once you are in it, you then have to come out by raising the carbs and/or protein. Then you go back into ketosis. Cycling in and out is where you get the greatest benefit.
When you go into ketosis your lower your insulin, sugar and mtor (insulin for protein) and other things which helps decrease inflammation and reverse disease. Then you come out of ketosis to raise sugar, insulin, etc. You raise and lower these hormones and other factors on a regular basis.
This is BALANCE. It’s like setting your thermostat to 70 in your house. The heat goes up and down from 71 to 69. Up and down is balance. If you stay in ketosis for too long, or out for too long, you drive these hormones and other factors in one direction for too long. This is unbalanced.
Another value to cycling in and out of ketosis is your cells adapt to using one fuel, sugar, then the other, ketones. It’s like a hybrid car that seamlessly goes from gas to electric then back to gas. Healthy cells get stronger when you cycle from sugar to ketones whereas unhealthy, sick cells cannot so they die.
Depending on your health goals you may want to get into ketosis a few times a year or 28 days each month.
Look at Your Macronutrients – Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein
This is a simple approach to help remove confusion and overwhelm which often lead to frustration and abandonment of a great lifestyle. For example, if you want to be in ketosis eat a 2:1 ratio of grams of good fat versus carbohydrate grams and protein grams combined. A 1:1 ratio for most people will keep you just outside of ketosis.
When coming out of ketosis you could shift to a 1:2 ratio and then shift back to the 2:1 ratio when you are ready to cycle back into ketosis.
Use an app on your smartphone called Cronometer to track your macronutrients.
Be Cautious with Exogenous Ketones
Exogenous ketones are a powder ketone supplement. Going into ketosis naturally with your diet is optimal. Your ketones naturally go up and your glucose and insulin naturally decrease. If you consume powdered ketones, your glucose and insulin remain high and that is a potentially dangerous state for your body to be in. This is especially harmful to people trying to heal from chronic illnesses.
Measuring your glucose and ketones takes all the mystery out of whether you are in ketosis or not. I’ve had many people they were in ketosis or they ate ketogenically but when we test their blood, it’s as though they had done nothing at all even though they had lost weight!
The diet recommendations measure ketosis in your food. You also want to measure it in your body. The best, most accurate way is through blood testing. There is a device called Keto-mojo that we recommend. You can also test your urine or breath for ketones. These are cheaper and less accurate but still valuable.
Yours in health,
Dr. Darren Schmidt