Gut health is extremely important for anyone looking to lose weight and increase overall health[*][*]. It is not uncommon for those who shift to a ketogenic diet to have a change in the production of bacteria in their colon (although not necessarily a bad thing – just a change)[*]. To help support this change and increase the healthy bacteria in your gut, try consuming more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir and/or supplement with a high-quality probiotic[*][*].
Some patients constantly graze on "legal" keto foods that can stall fat loss. Intermittent fasting is the answer here: You naturally reduce your caloric intake and give your gut a break. By not eating, you're allowing inflammation to quiet down in your body, which helps with blood sugar balance and weight loss. As an example, some plans combine daily fasting with a ketogenic diet. Have a big dinner, close up the kitchen, and push breakfast as far back the next morning as you can. I talk more about this type of keto diet, which I call a Cyclitarian plan, here.
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I've spent years tackling subjects from urban health to medical marijuana to behavioral science—both as a city reporter for my hometown public radio station in Tulsa, Okla., and as a freelance writer. Now I cover health and food at Consumer Reports. My hobbies include tinkering with computer code and watching trashy TV. Follow me on Twitter: @catharob.
A 2018 study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found evidence that healthy dietary choices, those in line with eating the Mediterranean diet, can help reduce the risk for depression. (12) Researchers involved in the study investigated the mental-health effects of adherence to a range of diets — including the Mediterranean diet, the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH diet), and the Dietary Inflammatory Index. They found that the risk of depression was reduced the most when people followed a traditional Mediterranean diet and overall ate a variety of anti-inflammatory foods.
The solution? One way of approaching this issue is through dieting. To adapt to such an abundant food environment, you need to give your brain new food rules to follow (e.g, a diet). Your brain needs you to tell it what to eat and what not to eat to meet your health goals. One of the best ways to do this is by finding a diet with simple rules that you can follow for the rest of your life.
A study in the Journal of Lipid Research conducted at the University of Kentucky clearly demonstrated in animals that a high-fat diet promoted the absorption from the gut of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), toxic substances that are part of bacterial cell membranes. That’s troubling because high levels of LPS trigger immune cells to increase inflammation. (7)
Drinking more than a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a day can have a laxative effect. That can lead to diarrhea, which leads to dehydration and possible laxative dependency. Also, olive oil does contain calories. Dipping bread in olive oil instead of buttering it will save you the saturated fats in animal products, but a tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, where a tablespoon of butter only has 100. Twenty calories isn’t enough to tip the scales, but calories can add up fast if you’re not paying attention.
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals that would otherwise damage cells, or even lead to cancer. A study found that drinking olive oil inhibited colon cancer at various stages of the disease. So why not use it to fend off cancer to begin with? This is not to say that you should skip those recommended colonoscopies after age 50, but go ahead and add olive oil to your daily regimen as a preventative measure.
Hallberg and colleagues are currently in the midst of a study in which ten overweight mostly menopausal women, who have been doing low carb keto eating but whose weight loss has stalled prematurely, will spend about five days in a monitored environment. During this time the women’s food and activity will be observed and recorded and their metabolism analyzed. While studies like this have been done before, this is the first time the focus has been on women who have stalled in their weight loss on a low carb and high fat diet, Hallberg says. “Most of the other studies found it was overconsumption leading to the problem. We want to see what is happening for these women.”
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