What is the Keto Diet and Is It Right For Me? Part 2

Check out What is the Keto Diet and is it Right for Me Part 1

Why did you want to pursue being a Registered Dietitian?

Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I would say I really like helping people to make food easy to understand and make sure that it’s really becoming a part of their life that they don’t have to spend too much time fretting about. I love food. I’m sure you’d have to. I love when other people are able to experience that joy. I love the analysis piece and I love crunching the numbers, but other people don’t love that. I love when that’s in my ballpark and I can just kind of give them some guidance, some gentle nudging as to where they might like to try exploring next. I think nowadays too, we have so much access to new and exciting foods that it’s fun to see where they fit in each individual person’s eating pattern.

When someone walks into your clinic and they want to know a little bit more about the Ketogenic Diet, what is your assessment going to be?

So I always like to start by asking people what they already know about the ketogenic diet or what they’ve heard just because there’s a lot of information out there, a lot of it conflicting. And so it’s really important to me before I say anything at all to find out where that person’s coming from. It may be that they’ve just heard that people following the ketogenic diet have lost a ton of weight or have adjusted their blood sugars, had some other really radical results. And so perhaps that person’s just interested in exploring similar results for themselves, or perhaps they’ve observed other people in the lunch room eating different foods that look really good, so they want some more information. So I always start by finding out what that person is really looking to find out for

What type of foods would you explain to clients that they want to limit or avoid when they want to try Keto?

Sure, So a person who is following the Ketogenic Diet and off, obviously we wouldn’t be following the Diet before we’ve spoken to their doctor and screen them for a few different health conditions that might sound, make them not great candidates for this program. But let’s say we’ve got someone who’s following the Ketogenic Diet. So the foods that they’d be looking to emphasize, It would be typically a moderate amount of protein. And so that could be a meats, fish, eggs, hemp hearts. We’d be looking of course at a lot of fat. Sometimes that’s coming from those protein sources. So things like salmon, but we also really look at foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil. Those are all great ways to get that fat in. In terms of food, they’d be limiting, we would of course be cutting out the obvious carbohydrate choices such as pasta and bread, but sometimes people don’t realize that in order to go into ketoisis, we’re also limiting, some starchy vegetables. So things like carrots and beets for example, as well as a lot of processed foods also have hidden sugars on the label. So sometimes people don’t realize that when they’re about to embark on the journey with keto that they are really going to have to avoid a lot of their, standard condiments and sauces. And for the average price and that little bit of sugar in the barbecue sauce is not gonna make or break anything. But for someone who’s trying to get themselves into Ketosis, it could be a source of frustration.

Is there like a time limit it takes the body to actually reach ketosis?

Yeah, that’s a great question. And the important thing to remember is that Ketosis is the term for when our blood concentration of ketone bodies are fat bodies is higher than our blood concentration of glucose. So reaching that effect is going to be different for each person and as well the amount of ketones in the blood to a cause, the body to use that for energy is going to vary person to person as well. So it’s hard for me to say the exact timeline, but for most people, we’d be looking at about three to four days. I would say

Do you find the keto strips accurate for testing ketones?

No, not really. All they really tell us is that we’re excreting ketones. It doesn’t necessarily show us whether our body is using ketones as its primary energy source. And an interesting thing with the keto strips is that people who have been in Ketosis for a longer period of time, their body becomes more efficient. So they might actually notice that they’re excluding fewer ketones and become worried. But if they still following their plan, they could still be in Ketosis, their bodies just excreting fewer ketos.

What can you tell me about alcohol?

So overall of course as a nutrition professional in terms of a balanced diet. I recommend enjoying alcohol in moderation, so there’s really no free ride there. Alcohol is going to always be a source of empty calories. So if somebody is using a ketogenic diet as a part of their weight management protocol, I would probably recommend limiting or avoiding alcohol across the board. But when it comes to specifically alcohol that may fit a ketogenic diet, typically we’re looking at the clear spirits. So things like vodka is usually the first choice. So vodka mixed with club soda with a little bit of lemon is a popular drink for my clients on Kido. But again, I remind them that that’s again, a sometimes indulgence. It’s definitely, sometimes people get confused that because of drink, like vodka has very limited or no carbohydrates. They think that has no calories, which is not the case. Ethanol still has calories.

What are some of the misconceptions regarding the ketogenic diet? The main one that I hear a lot is the protein is hard on my kidneys.

Yeah. So actually that kind of leads me into my number one misconception is that keto, people think that it’s a high protein diet when it’s not at all. In fact, usually, we try and keep the protein to, the minimal amount needed to preserve muscle mass. And that’s because we can use protein to make glucose. That’s a process called gluconeogenesis. So somebody may not go into ketosis if they’re eating too much protein because that protein then is being transformed into glucose and the glucose is being used by the body.

Another misconception is clients can develop heart disease due to the high-fat percentage. The interesting thing about the Ketogenic Diet, when we look at the research right now, we actually see that it can lower triglycerides and it can raise our good or HDL cholesterol. However, some of the research is showing that LDL or what we usually consider our bad cholesterol can be elevated on the ketogenic diet, so that is definitely something we need to monitor for folks who do have conditions that would mean, raising their LDL cholesterol is a negative.

If that is the case, we may look at increasing the soluble fiber. We may look at finding most of their fats from unsaturated sources. So more Omega three fats, like your Avocados, nuts, fish such as salmon. So really looking at ways that you or I would use to promote healthy living just with a different toolbox of foods.

Do your clients have any concerns of themselves besides what we just mentioned about the Keto Diet?

I would say this often happens when people are exploring with me as to whether a ketogenic diet is the right choice for them. Some of the things that come up, is “will I be able to cook the same foods for my family?” “Will I be able to go and eat out? Is this gonna make sense if I have to travel for work?”

And the answer to all of those questions is really, it depends and that’s why it’s so important that all of this be determined on an individual level. I certainly wouldn’t say that the ketogenetic diet is right for everyone. In fact, I would say it’s probably only the soulmate eating pattern for a minority of people. For those folks, we really like to figure out, okay, well what are you cooking at home? How can we maybe make sure that the majority of what works on your plate works on everybody else’s play as well? And maybe we’re just adding a little bit of quinoa or beans to everybody else’s and otherwise we’re, eating kind of the same thing. Definitely you can make simple modifications. If family members are having rice, you can certainly just use cauliflower rice and there are things like a taco salads or omelets that families enjoy anyway that they don’t realize already well fit.

What exactly is the Keto flu and how can you overcome the symptoms?

Yeah, so basically the Keto flu tends to refer to those three or four days. I was mentioning right at the beginning of a ketogenic protocol when your body is in transition between using glucose and between using ketone bodies for fuel. So some pretty big shifts happen in our metabolism during that period. Our bodies default is to use glucose for energy. And so by mimicking the fasting state, of course that can upset our body a little bit. And really it has to do oftentimes with electrolyte balance. So that means making sure that we are getting sufficient sodium, potassium and magnesium in specific. When our body is in a low insulin state as it is during Keto says our kidneys do tend to flush sodium more readily. And so it’s really, really important for people who are following a ketogenic protocol to get sufficient sodium and the amount of sodium that they may need, is a little bit larger than what we would recommend for the average person who is not following the ketogenic diets.

During that Keto flu period, we will recommend things like drinking a cup of bone broth, which is high sodium, maybe having pickles. Making sure to salt your food. People like to use Himalayan salt on their food because it’s nice and pretty. It tastes delicious and it’s got some other trace minerals there. In terms of potassium and magnesium, this would be true throughout the Diet, but right from the very beginning, we want to make sure that there is a leafy Greens, Avocados, mushrooms. All of those foods will be low carbohydrate, but also sources of those, important minerals. Typically folks find that after a week or so there Keto, flu if you want to call it clears up and they actually start to feel much better.

Are Vegans/Vegetarians able to follow a keto lifestyle?

Yeah, and that’s a great question and I think it’s so pertinent because we’ve been hearing more and more about the benefits of a plant-based diet, both for the person and for our planet. I love to promote plant based foods. and for a vegetarian, it would be quite possible to follow a ketogenic Diet, particularly if they are using eggs and dairy products. In that case really the only change is, they’re not having a meat and fish. With an Omega 3 supplement in place, if your salmon, they should be okay. In terms of vegans, that may be a little trickier just because, eggs and dairy products are usually the more convenient foods to reach the macronutrient ratios required for the ketogenic diets. If someone came in who is Vegan, I might try a different approach.

What are some of your client concerns when they are put on the ketogenic diet?

One of the other big ones, when we’re talking about physiological symptoms, would be constipation. And of course, that’s because depending on how you’ve balanced your foods, you may not be getting as much fiber as you were previously. If you’ve removed things like, oatmeal and bread and beans and fruit that may have otherwise been your sources of fiber as well, making it again, talking about that, those kidneys flushing sodium.

That’s why it’s so important when you’re following a Keto diet to be properly hydrated. So hydration is going to help with that. Constipation and making sure you’re getting enough soluble fiber, which we can find in foods like avocado for example. Seeds like Chia, again, good soluble fiber will help with the cholesterol question that we talked about earlier. And then we can also sometimes look at supplements like psyllium, which is just a seed, but it’s all fiber. That can be added to foods or of course it can be used just as a supplement in and of itself.

What are some great ways to change up your recipes if clients are finding they are eating the same things all the time?

That’s a great question and it really comes back to what I was saying right at the top of the show around, trying to continually expose people to new and different foods because you’re exactly right. I mean, the typical Keto plate might be, a piece of salmon, some green veggies and oil and half an avocado. And so that’s really nutritious, but you’re right, it can get kind of old to have those three things on a plate day in, day out. We look more at them, some of our other recipes. One thing that you and I had just discussed was replacing rice with Cauliflower, replacing noodles with Zucchini noodles or other spiralized low-carbohydrate veggies. We have an amazing Keto shepherd’s pie that Simply for Life has with a cauliflower and cheese crust.

What would you recommend to a client that has been on Keto and has hit a plateau after a few months?

Some of the things we just touched on and trying new and different recipes. I think it comes back to that counseling piece that we talked about right at the top of the show where if I have someone who’s been doing it for a while and they’re just not digging it anymore, maybe it’s time to segway them out of keto. Maybe it’s not right for them anymore. And I think I really want to emphasize that the transition process out of keto needs to be supervised and it needs to be done in a slow and gradual manner. .

Do you personally follow a ketogenic diet and what are your favorite recipes?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t follow the ketogenic diet myself. I do like just a little bit more variety for me personally. However, I do really enjoy the higher fat, lower carb approach. And honestly that’s really, I started to try that in the last year or two because of the popularity of keto and really being exposed to all of these fun recipes. One of my favorite recipes is that shepherd’s pie that I mentioned. But I do love the Taco salad with avocado. One of my favorite foods is Avocados.

That’s definitely where I would go with it. I think overall the ketogenic diet, I like to see it as one tool in the toolbox for it’s great for some, but for others, you know, just looking at lowering refined carbs and increasing healthy fats is really the way to go.

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