Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is a ketogenic diet safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss.
A systematic review in 2018 looked at 16 studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence was inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein, high total cholesterol, and weight loss.
I grew up with a grandmother who made her own Kombucha, always had a big cast iron pot of millet porridge on the stove and took me to the health food store for carob and licorice root for my “treats”. Until the day she was overcome with terminal cancer, she woke up every morning at 6am to practice her yoga. I have pictures of her in her 70’s with her feet behind her head!
Another common mistake is to eat the same or similar every day regardless of the riding you are doing. For example, a big bowl of porridge is brilliant on the morning of a big ride but, if you’re not cycling that day or not doing a session until later in the day, it is not necessary. A less carbohydrate and calorie heavy breakfast, such as an omelette or yoghurt with fruit, would be more appropriate. Conversely, if you are riding hard and the quality of the session is your priority, it is important that you take on sufficient carbohydrates. At the same time as you plan your training, plan your diet so that it is appropriate to the riding you are doing.
I bought this DVD several years ago, and for some reason it just sat on the bottom of my stack of exercise DVD's. I work out everyday -- yoga, pilates, strength -- always to DVD's that have become favorites. I was becoming bored with some of the old favorites and decided to try this DVD. WOW! I LOVE it! Different from all my other pilates routines. She really shakes it up with added cardio, and we do some moves that I've not done before. I'm in pretty good shape, but she had my legs and abs shaking on a few moves.
Cut out or at least cut way down on wheat and dairy. This is due to the way they are manufactured these days more so than anything. There are entire books written on this. Because of genetic engineering of wheat, there are tens of brand new gluten proteins created that our bodies don’t know how to process. This is causing symptoms like brain fog, irritability, fatigue, bloating, digestion issues and weight gain. No thanks! Dairy is also a very common irritant to many that don’t realize it. There are so many healthy alternatives these days that it’s not hard to go dairy and wheat free. It has made a huge difference for many of my clients as well as for myself.
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions. Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.
Certain studies suggest that keto diets may “starve” cancer cells. A highly processed, pro-inflammatory, low-nutrient foods can feed cancer cells causing them to proliferate. What’s the connection between high-sugar consumption and cancer? The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it’s believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. (11)
Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition. Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.
Of the many benefits of a keto diet, weight loss is often considered No. 1., as it can often be substantial and happen quickly (especially for those who start out very overweight or obese). The 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those following a keto diet “achieved better long-term body weight and cardiovascular risk factor management when compared with individuals assigned to a conventional low-fat diet (i.e. a restricted-energy diet with less than 30 percent of energy from fat).” (2)
Since healthy eating habits are key to successful weight loss, we’ve included nutritional tips and delicious recipes from Cooking Light, the magazine dedicated to helping you eat smart, be fit, and live well. We’ve also added a bonus section with simple moves you can do throughout the day to boost your calorie burn. This comprehensive program is easy to follow and designed to fit into the most hectic schedule. You CAN finally lose weight--starting today!
If you can't stand the thought of running, or just want to work out without a ton of pounding on your joints, do a few laps in the pool. It's a low-impact exercise that will work all of your major muscle groups. As with most workouts, it helps to go in with a plan. Try this one, from Rosante: Tread water for as long as possible by standing upright in the deep end and using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Then rest for two minutes. Now swim 10 sets of 100 meters (that's back-and-forth lap in an Olympic-sized pool), resting for one minute in between sets. By the time you climb out of the pool, your muscles will be pleasantly worn out.
Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats.
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.
We've all heard how important H2O is when it comes to shedding pounds. It helps to suppress appetite, so you're less likely to overeat. But that's not all: When you're dehydrated, your kidneys can't function properly, so the body turns to the liver for additional support. Because the liver is working so hard, more of the fat you consume is stored, rather than burned off.
You can get it on your iPhone or Android, and it’s optional to pair it with a smartwatch. Once you’re in a plan, the app will tell you what your swim workout is, and you can take it with you to the pool to complete. I suggest syncing it with a smartwatch (details here) because it records everything and coaches you through the sets, but you can also bring your phone or a printed version of the workout to the pool.
Riding a bike uses all of the largest muscles in your body: your quads, your hamstrings, your hip muscles, and your glutes. Using large muscles burns a lot of calories. An average calorie burn per hour on a bike is around 400 to 600 calories, depending on your size and how hard you pedal. So if you can ride a bike for an hour a day, you can burn up around 4,000 calories per week. This is enough to burn off a pound of fat, even without changing your diet (although it’s essential to adopt a healthier eating plan too). And because cycling is fun, you can keep doing it for long periods of time.
People suffering from diabetes and taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents suffer severe hypoglycemia if the medications are not appropriately adjusted before initiating this diet. The ketogenic diet is contraindicated in patients with pancreatitis, liver failure, disorders of fat metabolism, primary carnitine deficiency, carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency, carnitine translocase deficiency, porphyrias, or pyruvate kinase deficiency. People on a ketogenic diet rarely can have a false positive breath alcohol test. Due to ketonemia, acetone in the body can sometimes be reduced to isopropanol by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase which can give a false positive alcohol breath test result.
At the other end of the scale is ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ or HITT. This involves pedalling really hard for short intervals with easy breaks in between. These rides burn through carbohydrate stores and you’ll need to up your carbohydrate intake on the day you complete one. Though they don’t specifically burn fat, some experts still believe these sessions are best for weight loss because the high intensity means you burn more calories during the day and you’ll also build more muscle through a session like this.
Studies have shown that post-exercise oxygen consumption can trigger the burning of fat stores. The key to kick your body into overdrive after a long or easy ride is to do a few hard efforts right before you finish. This will keep your body consuming oxygen even after you're finished with your workout on the bike, and the fat will continue to burn.