BY R.D.N ANTONIO GOMEZ
The ketogenic diet or “keto” diet is gaining popularity in recent years, is a type of diet in which your main source of energy is fats, talking about bacon, butter, and avocado as the main sources of food.
Keto diet is as popular as ever, nevertheless is not as simple as switching types of foods, a proper ketogenic diet requires proper management and even supplementation, the aim of this post is to talk about how can you properly follow a keto diet and enhance it further with the nutritional benefits of Yacon, a natural sweetener, a powerful prebiotic and an excellent keto-friendly compliment, by the end of this two-part post you’ll learn all the tips and tricks about the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet has been used in clinical nutrition since the 1960s, it was mainly practiced to treat pediatric epilepsy with greats results, subsequently with the rise of pharmaceutical companies the diet was forgotten, nevertheless, its validity and effectiveness as a natural intervention to treat neurological implications like epilepsy stayed on record with the medical literature.
It was near until 2010 that the keto diet began to be an interesting topic in nutrition.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Before we dive in, is important to remind you that before any nutritional intervention you need to approach to a registered nutritionist, because only him/her will explain everything in detail and develop a unique diet tailored just for you, keep in mind that blood work sometimes is often necessary in order to continue evaluation.
So let's begin, a keto diet is basically the REMOVAL of almost all complex carbohydrates food sources and the INCREASE of fat food sources leaving protein intake to normal ranges of calorie intake.
Misinformation regarding this diet comes from the belief of increasing protein intake, removing carbohydrates but NOT increasing fats leaving a very low total caloric intake, doing so will only lead to extreme hunger and eventually malnutrition.
Only after you have made the switch of increasing fats and decreasing carbohydrates your body after some time will enter a metabolic state called “ketosis” which is the term that describes a rise in the concentration of “ketone bodies” in blood.
So now you’re wondering what ketone bodies are, worry not, ketone bodies are molecules that our body naturally produces all the time, but once in a keto diet they greatly augment because of the increase of fats from the diet.
Ketone bodies are unique because unlike fats they can travel through the blood more easily and can get to the cell faster, once in ketosis the body will shift from carbohydrates as the main source of fuel to ketone bodies.
One thing to note is that ketosis should not be ever be confused with “diabetic ketoacidosis” which is a medical condition where ketone bodies do rise but to very high abnormal levels, this happens only and mostly on diabetes type 1 patients or in rare cases in type 2 diabetes.
HOW TO MAKE THE NUTRITIONAL TRANSITION
The diet should be focused on being an adaptation process, nowadays more and more food and supplements labeled as “keto” help greatly to keep adherence to the diet.
The nutritional goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase fat intake, the guidance of a registered nutritionist is heavily advised due to all the management of nutrient percentages.
As a general reference, you must target up 75 - 80 % of your total caloric intake from fats sources while in a balanced relationship with saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, a from 5-10% of carbohydrates.
Depending on your lifestyle your nutritionist must decide the best carbohydrate ranges, for example, an implementation of 10% of carbohydrates would be recommended to more active patients with the practice of some sport or involving greater energy requirements.
It is also important to emphasize that there is no need to remove ALL carbohydrates because they are still a main source of energy to a different type of cells in our body but most importantly because carbohydrates are dietary fiber and you need fiber in the diet to promote gut health, therefore the keto diet is very prone to lack in dietary fiber.
An amazing nutritional aid to tackle this lack of dietary fiber in the keto diet is to introduce Yacon Syrup because not only it is an excellent natural sweetener that provides a very rich content of prebiotics that enhances gut health but is almost calorie-free making it the perfect complement for this type of diet.
Regarding physical activity is important to consider that you need to monitor the frequency, intensity, and duration of your exercises until you feel comfortable without early fatigue or headaches.
In the next part of this post, we’ll talk about what types of foods that are allowed and the ones that are not permitted, types of supplements that aid in the ketogenic diet and final considerations, stay tuned to learn more.