Tag Archives: ketogenic

Guest post: How does the Ketogenic diet work?

Guest post by Ricard Ponsi of Workout-Temple

Nutritional ketosis is a dietary protocol whose objective is to improve our metabolic flexibility when using fatty acids as the main energy substrate. For this, the intake of carbohydrates is limited, depending on the individual, approximately 50 g net per day.

With this we generate low levels of insulin in plasma and, subsequently, a reduction of glycogen levels in muscular and hepatic reserves. In the absence of the main fuel of our body (glucose) the ketogenesis process is activated, where the liver will produce ketone bodies to feed the different tissues and cells.

KETOSIS is a NATURAL state that human beings have experienced since the beginning of time. Therefore, we are evolutionarily adapted to use both energy substrates (ketone bodies and glucose), which means that past civilization may have consciously sought a state of fasting or induced ketosis. This is why, evolutionarily speaking our physiology seeks an alternative mechanism to glucose as it is the only source of energy.

ketogenic diet

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/

Nutritional ketosis and metabolic flexibility

We can define the metabolic flexibility as the efficiency of our body when using energy substrates depending on demand such as walking, running or sprinting. Remember that, although our glycogen reserves (both muscular and hepatic) are limited, the same is not true of our fat stores, the latter being able to represent a much greater amount than the former. So… Why doesn’t our body use fats? What happens is that in a traditional diet based on hydrates (and not always from the best sources) our body always finds plasma glucose and glycogen stores full. Therefore, it does not need to look for any other energy source. Our body has simply ‘forgotten’ how to use fats as energy. It is here when the ‘low carb’ or ‘ketogenic’ guidelines are an interesting tool.

Adaptation to a new fuel

It is the process called Ketoadaptation, which we could define as the process through which human metabolism adapts to the use of fats optimally as the main source of energy. In the beginning a drastic change it can condition sports performance and your daily life, but in most of the cases the symptoms are diluted after the first week.

Symptoms of Keto-adaptation:

– Fatigue
– Worse sports performance
– Dizziness
– Cramps
– Constipation
– Palpitations

Once past the moment of adaptation we will see how the symptoms disappear, signal that our metabolism works optimally and achieving efficiency in both our sports and personal performance.

Very important considerations

Ketosis is NOT a pathological state. And I must emphasize this because, in a still very widespread way, nutritional ketosis is often confused with diabetic ketoacidosis.

Many symptoms may be due to a lack of electrolytes during the beginning of the ketosis process. There is a reduction in glycogen levels and, as a consequence, also a loss of water associated with this glycogen. With this loss of water there will be a ‘drag’ of electrolytes that we should know and replace, with special emphasis on 3 of them.

Sodium DRI = 5000 – 7000 mg
Potassium DRI = 1000 – 3500 mg
Magnesium DRI = 300 – 500mg

I must emphasize that nutritional ketosis is NOT a hyperproteic diet, but moderate or protein-adjusted. The amount of protein is maintained at constant values depending on the objectives of the subject, and can range between 1.4 to 2.0 g / kg body weight.

Ketosis and sports performance

Resistance discipline: In this type of activities there are promising investigations and cases of ketoadapted athletes where the fat / glycogen use ratio is optimized, which positions as a great tool to maximize performance. Nutritional ketosis improves fat oxidation and metabolic flexibility, which is vital in long-term efforts where the main energy system is aerobic.

Discipline of strength: In disciplines where the main component is strength and power, the dominant energy substrate is the path of phosphogens, which is not impacted by a nutritional ketosis.

Hypertrophy training: This modality seeks to increase the total volume (series and repetitions) so the glycolytic pathway is a very important metabolic pathway. Since nutritional ketosis reduces muscle glycogen levels and also circulating insulin, it makes sense to think that it is not the optimal state to build muscle mass.

Conclusion on keto diet

In my opinion, the ketogenic diet can be an interesting strategy to introduce in periods of 6 to 10 weeks (a couple times a year) and benefit greatly from its effects.

During the intervention time there are very notable improvements in fat loss (extensive benefits proven), while maintaining the muscle mass and keeping performance levels measured through RM in different exercises.

Guest post by Ricard Ponsi and Pere Coll
Originally posted on the Workout-Temple website here.

Meatballs with Mozzarella

Regular readers may remember that I hosted a ketogenic guest post from Sarah Peterson last year. I didn’t really know much myself about this style of eating previously, so did some reading up around the topic. Basically in a nutshell, it seems to be following a low carbohydrate, high fat, adequate protein diet. This inspired me to come up with the following recipe for Meatballs with Mozzarella, although I may have overdone the protein element, so not strictly keto. The recipe was mainly targeted at my other half who has been trying to avoid eating pasta. And since I regularly cook either Spaghetti and Meatballs or Spaghetti Bolognaise because the boys both love these, the no pasta request can prove quite tricky.


Meatballs with Mozzarella

Meatballs with Mozzarella

Ingredients (serves 4)

800g pork mince
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 egg
50g breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic
500g passata
1 400g tin of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150g mozzarella

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Beat the egg in a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add mince, breadcrumbs and half of the oregano.
Stir together.
Form into 12 large meatballs.
Squeeze garlic through garlic press.
Cut the mozzarella into 12 slices.
Gently heat oil in wok.
Brown the meatballs in batches in the wok, removing them to a plate.
Add garlic to wok.
After 1 minute, add passata and plum tomatoes to the wok.
Roughly chop the plum tomatoes in the wok.
Add balsamic vinegar and rest of the oregano.
Season with salt and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the wok.
Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens.
Spoon into a baking dish.
Top each meatball with a slice of mozzarella.
Bake on middle shelf of preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Meatballs with Mozzarella

So verdict on these. They hit the spot for my other half, but the tomato was too dominant really for the boys. Looks like we will need to cook some spaghetti too in order to soak up some of the sauce for the children, in which case I would probably reduce the meat content.

Meatballs with Mozzarella

I’d love to hear your ideas for meals where pasta can be added at the end to some portions only. And how you then bulk out those portions without pasta?

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Guest post: Common Keto Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

I understand, it’s hard for you to gauge your progress when you’ve only followed the ketogenic diet for a week or two, or even a whole month. The magic happens internally, and the only way for you to record your progress is using the weighing scale or measuring parts of your body (and how you feel too, to an extent).

A lot of beginner’s screw things up at the beginning once they realize things aren’t as straightforward as it was thought to be.

Here are some common keto mistakes beginners make and how YOU should avoid them, so your keto journey doesn’t have to go through hiccups and you can maintain your ketosis stage.

Obsessing over the scale!!!

If you’re stepping on the scale when you wake up, before lunch, after lunch, and after dinner, then STOP! This obsession will only lead to disappointment. Your weight changes throughout the day, especially after meals.

When you’re frequently disappointed, you’ll start to self-doubt that may lead you to throwing in the towel.

Sure, you’re on a low-carb diet … But you really think your weight isn’t gonna change after a meal? Be reasonable!

Woman on weighing scale

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/ (Creative Commons license)

The best time to step on the scale is the morning when you wake up. If possible, every morning, around the same time for consistency. Keep it fair to yourself, and don’t fret too much about the digits on the scale! Write down what you see every morning for the next few weeks.

Once you see a pattern emerging, you’ll thank yourself for doing this.

Too much meat, bro

Yeap, too much protein can be counter-productive for you in a keto diet. When you’re in a low-carb diet, your liver can convert amino acids into glucose for energy, in a process called gluconeogenesis. Fancy, huh?

Remember, the point of entering ketosis is to prevent the body from using glucose as a main energy source. The protein you consume should only be enough to maintain muscle mass.

You should be keeping your daily protein intake below or at 1 gram of protein per day, per kg of body weight. So, if you weight 60 kilograms (133lbs.), keep your protein at 60 grams a day.

A good place to estimate your keto macronutrient needs that suit your goals is by using a keto macro calculator (like this one from Perfect Keto.)

The wrong mentality

A lot of people start with a diet to lose weight in a short period of time. It is possible, but you must be realistic.

An internet “guru” can claim that he lost 15 lbs within the first week of a diet he discovered (followed by a link to a course you have to buy), just as I can claim I have found the eternal cure to cancer. Don’t be fooled by these crazy marketing claims.

If done right, you can lose a lot of weight (2-10 lbs) within the first week, because your body loses WATER WEIGHT, not fat. And this too, depends on so many factors such as your metabolism, how active you are, and so on.

In the medium term, due expect weight loss of only 1-2lbs a week, and even a slower rate in the long term. You can’t get discouraged. Following a ketogenic diet is a lifestyle and a commitment in the long run. When you’re not there mentally, you’re gonna give in to sugar cravings and the hunger, which will kick you out off ketosis!

Taking the wrong types of fats/proteins

Keep your fats in check. Fats are a necessary part of a keto diet, but not all fats are good. Processed fats, such as hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils in junk food, fast food, and margarine should be avoided.

Avoid processed vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil soybean oil, and a few others.

The best proteins to take on a Keto diet are plant-based proteins, not to say you can’t have animal meats, though. Too much fatty meat has been linked to heart diseases and high cholesterol levels. You should not follow a ketogenic diet just to lose weight, but to have a healthier life in the long run.

Keto protein supplements are a great way for you to meet your protein needs when it’s not convenient for you’re a strict-protein diet.

Take-Home Message

To every keto beginner out there, you need to have a lot of patience and commitment. Do your research, stick to your plan, be honest to yourself, and the results will come forth. As mentioned, you may lose a lot of weight initially, but don’t expect it to be like that the following weeks!

Guest post by Sarah Peterson
“Sarah is the Content Director at Perfect Keto, with a mission to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health and well-being.”