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Which Foods to Consume When You Are on Keto Diet?

The ketone diet (also referred to as keto) is a popular weight loss diet that is based on low intake of carbohydrates. The consumption of carbohydrates with this diet program is lesser than most other low carb diets. In fact, this diet program restricts carbs even more than the Atkins diet.

Along with low carbohydrate intake, the diet also incorporates high intake of healthy fat. So, what is the keto diet? It is a diet that encourages the body to burn fat rather than glucose. Incorporating the diet encourages your body to burn more fat for energy purposes. It basically tricks the body to use your own body fat as the main source of energy instead of carbohydrates. The diet is particularly popular for helping people lose weight in a quick and efficient manner.

A nutrient ratio for the diet:

The percentage of protein, fat and carbs of the calories consumed is known as the nutrient ratio. Since it is a low carb and high-fat diet, the right ratio for a proper ketosis weight loss is:

  • 60% fat content
  • 35% protein content
  • 5% carbs content

Your number one goal when implementing the diet should be to maintain this ratio. Although high fat and low carb intake is a must, proper protein intake is equally important. Protein is utilized for sparing the muscle tissue.

Keeping the carbs in check:

A strict keto diet involves less than 20 grams of carb intake per day or around 5% of your total calorie intake. If you are just a beginner, it is advisable to be extremely strict about your diet. You need to get a hang of eating the right kind of food first.

For some people, the diet even works with if they consume under 50 grams of carbs each day. However, starting out with strictly low carbs is recommended. Once things start settling in, you can gradually increase the number of carbs in your ketogenic recipes. Once you find out exactly how much carb works for your body, you can maintain the right ratio accordingly.

Plan ahead!

Incorporating keto diet or any other food plan is not as easy as it might sound. With processed meals and fast foods so readily available these days, avoiding carb-rich foods can be a challenge. However, some planning goes a long way in this regard.

You should try to plan your daily meals and snacks at least a week ahead. That way, you can avoid a situation where you are restricted to just the high carb food choices. Simply knowing what is the keto diet isn’t enough. You need to get used to a new lifestyle altogether. You need to find different foods suited to the diet regime. Once you find the right kind of food that works for you, you have to stick with them.

Must have food items:

When you are on a keto diet, some foods are a must as they serve as staples for the diet. Some of them include:

  • Eggs: If you are someone who likes eggs in general, you have more chances of experiencing success with the diet. Eggs can be hard boiled as a snack, consumed as omelettes, quiches and even low carb pizza crust. You have a lot of options. Just be sure you have eggs around whenever the need arises
  • Bacon: Yes, you can even have bacon and still be successful with ketosis weight loss. It is something that goes with numerous recipes. Bacon is great options for breakfast and it can be used as burger topper, salad garnish or even BLT. Of course, you have to avoid bread with BLTs.
  • Shredded cheese: It can be used in low-carb pizzas, salad toppers and enchiladas. You can even make it into tortilla chips in the microwave or simply sprinkle over the taco meat in a bowl.
  • Cream cheese: You can use cream cheese with keto diet in dozens of recipes, including main dishes, pizza crusts and desserts.
  • Spinach and romaine: Try to have plenty of green veggies on hand. Whenever hunger strikes, you can make a salad quickly and have a healthy snack.
  • Artificial sweetener: Ketogenic recipes usually avoid sugar altogether. However, you can still use a couple drops of an artificial sweetener as a sugar alternative. Try to make sure the sweetener you use is as natural as possible
  • Cauliflower: This low carb vegetable can be consumed fresh or in the form of frozen bags. You can even toss it in olive oil or bake and mash it in fake potatoes. It can even be used in main dishes in place of rice after shredding or chopping. It is definitely one of the best food items for a keto diet.
  • Ground beef: You can use it in a big burger with toppings of cheese, sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions. It can even be used in cheese taco shells after crumbling and cooking with a taco. Ground beef goes along quite well with ketosis weight loss.
  • Frozen chicken tenders: Thaw the chicken tenders quickly before grilling, sautéing, and mixing it with vegetables. It can be used in low carbohydrate flatbread after topping with garlic sauce. The chicken tenders can also be used in chicken alfredo, chicken piccata, enchiladas, tacos, Indian butter chicken, etc. The availability of such food choices makes keto diet so popular.
  • Flavoured or plain almonds: These serve as healthy and tasty snacks. However, you must keep the amount you consume in check. You wouldn’t want the carbs to add up to more than the desired level. Coconut, vinegar, salt and habanero are among the flavours.

All in all, the diet is a unique and versatile way of losing weight. There are lots of tasty food choices that you can use in your ketogenic recipes. Just make sure you have the necessary food items in stock. Then, you can experiment with different foods and recipes.

A keto diet is a healthy option for anyone looking to shed some extra weight. Knowing more and more about the diets and recipes makes it easier to incorporate into your lifestyle.

A new health startup boldly claims to reverse diabetes without drugs, and Silicon Valley’s favorite diet is a big part of it

  • Sami Inkinen, who founded the Silicon Valley real-estate company Trulia, recently moved into healthcare with a startup called Virta Health.
  • Virta makes a bold claim that its medication-free approach can reverse Type 2 diabetes.
  • Patients enrolled in the Virta Health system get access to specialists via smartphone and are prompted to follow a ketogenic diet.
  • Inkinen hopes to eventually expand Virta to tackle other conditions beyond diabetes. 

Sami Inkinen, the founder of the real-estate startup Trulia, recently took an approach to his health that’s increasingly common in the Silicon Valley startup world: He got sick, got better, then made it his mission to help other people follow in his footsteps.

Inkinen, a 5-foot-11, 183-pound athlete, had just finished his seventh Ironman when a physician diagnosed him with prediabetes, a common precursor to the full-blown disease.

While regular exercise may help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes, which together affect more than 100 million Americans, it can’t prevent the conditions — things like what you eat and your genetics play roles as well. Inkinen set out to find out what else he could change to reduce his risk. Diet emerged as vital.

“You can’t outrun or out-exercise poor nutrition choices,” Inkinen told Business Insider. “It is not going to work.”

Inkinen founded a company, Virta Health, that aims to give people with Type 2 diabetes access to the tools he used when he learned he was prediabetic — an approach Inkinen says can reverse the disease.

“We take chronic disease from care to cure, and we’ve proven that,” he said.

Chief among those tools, which can all be accessed through a smartphone or a laptop, is a team of trained medical professionals who manage patient care remotely via text and video chat.

The other key component of the Virta Health toolkit is a new way of eating, a plan known as the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet. The low-carb, high-fat regimen centers on rich foods like eggs, salmon, meat, and avocados while severely restricting fast-fuel items like rice, potatoes, bread, fruit, and sweets.

While some call the diet extreme, Inkinen uses a different word: freedom.

“It’s been liberating to not have cravings, to not think about food all the time,” he said. “When I look back, I think, ‘How did I suffer for so long?'”

‘The Virta Treatment’

texting eating friends

In a nutshell, the Virta Health system is a specialty medical clinic that patients can access any time of day by logging into the platform on their laptop or smartphone.

Virta isn’t cheap — without insurance, it costs $370 per month. But the company says most of its users get free access via their employer’s health plan.

To help patients enrolled in Virta transition to and stick with a ketogenic eating plan, they get partnered with a physician and a health coach who coordinate and monitor their diet, exercise, and medications. Patients talk with providers over video chat and text message about what they’re eating, how well they’re sleeping, and what medications they’re taking.

Specialists, in turn, give patients pointers on lifestyle changes designed to help them regain control of their blood-sugar levels. In the diabetes universe, stable blood sugar— often measured using a tool called A1C — is the holy grail of wellness. Increased energy, weight loss, and improved sleep tend to emerge as side effects of that objective.

Inkinen points to several peer-reviewed studies that appear to back up Virta’s approach to treating diabetes.

For a clinical trial published last month in the journal Diabetes Therapy, researchers from Virta and three US universities followed 349 adults with Type 2 diabetes for a year. Roughly 260 were enrolled in the Virta system, while close to 90 chose to follow their typical treatment protocol, such as a low-fat or low-carb diet and regular insulin injections.

After a year, the overall improvements in the Virta group were significant: On average, participants lost 12% of their body weight, reduced their use of medications like insulin, and saw their A1C levels decline by roughly 1.3%. The other group saw no change on average in any of those measures.

Still, because the study was funded by Virta and written by people with a financial stake in the company, its findings must be taken with a grain of salt. (Similarly, most Weight Watchers research is funded internally, though it gets published in peer-reviewed journals.)

But the idea of using the ketogenic diet as part of what Inkinen calls the Virta Treatment didn’t come from nowhere. Several short-term, non-Virta-sponsored studies of the eating plan — some of them in people with diabetes — suggest it’s linked with significant improvements in health. Those benefits include weight loss in non-diabetics, better blood-sugar control, improved A1C measures, and reductions in medications for people with diabetes.

How the keto diet turns your body into a fat-burning machine

weight loss body scale

The ketogenic diet is designed to flip your body’s source of energy so that rather than drawing from carb-heavy foods like rice and potatoes, it pulls its fuel from fat.

Followers are encouraged to eat large amounts of fat and protein from things like meat, salmon, and eggs. Keto bloggers who share tips online frequently boast about their favorite “fat bombs” — rich concoctions of low-carb veggies like cauliflower loaded with butter, cheese, and bacon — that help them power through the day.

The meal plan essentially turns the traditional Western diet, with its emphasis on grains, on its head.

To understand how the keto diet works, you should know that most of our food contains carbs. They’re an easy fuel source, and one our bodies are accustomed to using. The carbs in fruit come from naturally occurring sugars; those in potatoes, veggies, and pasta come from starches. They’re all ultimately broken down into sugar, or glucose, for energy.

When robbed of carbs, the body is tricked into believing it is starving and turns to fat as an alternate source of fuel. In the process of digging into its fat stores, the body releases molecules called ketones, hence the name “ketogenic” or “ketone-producing” diet. This state is known as nutritional ketosis.

That’s why, as long as you’re not eating carbs, you can ramp up your intake of fatty foods like butter, steak, and cheese and still lose weight. The body becomes a fat-melting machine, churning out ketones to keep running.

Getting into nutritional ketosis requires fully adopting the keto diet, which is not easy for everyone. It can take the body several days just to start transitioning. Some early adopters of the plan have described a range of unpleasant side effects, like cravings and fluctuations in energy, in that period. That’s where Virta’s 24/7 approach to remote care comes in.

“This is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Inkinen said. “This is highly individualized and managed by full-time physicians. That part of the treatment is not optional.”

Recent studies on keto and diabetes are promising

healthy fats ketogenic keto diet

Some researchers who support the keto approach point to a growing body of research that suggests a ketogenic diet works better than other leading diets for people with Type 2 diabetes.

In a small six-month study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, 84 people were randomly split up and placed on a ketogenic diet or a low-carb diet. Those on the keto plan saw better improvements in blood-sugar control and eased their use of medications like insulin more than people on the low-carb diet.

A pilot study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research stacked the keto diet against a low-fat diet and concluded that people on the keto diet lost more weight, had better A1C measures after eight months, and were also significantly more likely to stick to the keto plan.

Laura Saslow, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Michigan, has studied the use of low-carb and ketogenic diets for several years. She told Business Insider she fully supported Virta’s approach to treating Type 2 diabetes, saying it could be “quite effective.”

For these reasons, Stephen Phinney, Virta’s chief medical officer and cofounder who practices internal medicine in Sacramento, California, has called the ketogenic diet”life-saving.” But Phinney also serves on the advisory board for Atkins, a diet program whose claims of fast, easy weight loss are not heavily backed by scientific studies.

The jury is still out on the keto diet — but Virta is plowing ahead

But despite promising results from short studies, there are still no long-term human studies of the keto eating plan — which is enough to give some researchers pause.

Edward Weiss, a kinesiologist at St. Louis University who led a recent study on the diet, previously told Business Insider that the keto diet was a scary “experiment that the population is doing on itself.”

Inkinen likes to counter that kind of sentiment by saying that the American diet is also kind of an experiment and that it “hasn’t turned out well.”

Inkinen hopes Virta can help address the lack of long-term studies on keto with its research. A clinical trial that it had scheduled to run for two years has been extended to run for five, he said.

Inkinen also sees the potential to expand Virta’s unconventional remote approach — providing access to specialists who can be reached on their smartphone or computer — to treat more than just Type 2 diabetes. The company is studying whether the Virta Treatment can work for a range of other conditions in the metabolic family, including chronic inflammation, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, prediabetes, and those related to cardiovascular health.

This month, the company published another internally funded peer-reviewed paper suggesting that people with Type 2 diabetes using the Virta intervention saw improvements in several factors related to cardiovascular health, including blood pressure.

“There are all these places where we have multibillion-dollar drugs to treat the symptoms, but nothing to address the underlying cause — if we can do this with Type 2 diabetes, what if we could have impact in all of these areas?” Inkinen said. “That would be amazing.”

How the Keto Diet Helps Prevent Seizures: Gut Bacteria May Be Key

Long before the keto diet became trendy, it was used to treat seizures in people with epilepsy. But the exact reason why this very-low-carb diet helps with seizures has puzzled researchers for decades.

Now, a new study in mice suggests that gut bacteria may play an important role in the keto diet’s anti-seizure effects.

The study found that, in mice, the keto diet alters gut bacteria and that, if the animal’s gut bacteria are removed, the diet no longer protects against seizures.

What’s more, when the researchers took specific gut bacteria that were found in higher levels in mice on the keto diet and then transplanted these bacteria into the guts of other mice, the new bacteria protected them from seizures, even without the keto diet. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]

“Findings from our study reveal that treating mice chronically with specific bacteria that were enriched by the ketogenic diet protected them from seizures,” study senior author Elaine Hsiao, an assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), told Live Science. (“Keto diet” is short for “ketogenic diet.”) However, Hsiao stressed that more studies are needed before researchers know if the findings also apply to people.

But future studies may look into whether microbe-based treatments, known colloquially as probiotics, could be effective for treating seizures in people, the researchers wrote in the May 24 issue of the journal Cell.

Keto diet for seizures

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that’s recently become popular for weight loss. But the diet has been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s, according to the Epilepsy Society, a charity in the United Kingdom. Although most people with epilepsy today control their seizures with anti-epileptic drugs, the diet is sometimes prescribed to children with epilepsy who have not responded to several medications.

While on the diet, the body is forced to use fats instead of carbohydrates(sugars) as its fuel source. When this happens, the body produces compounds called ketones, which cells can use for energy.

Researchers have come up with many theories for why the keto diet helps to reduce seizures, but the exact mechanism remains unclear.

In the new study, the researchers used a mouse model of epilepsy to investigate whether gut bacteria could play a role in the diet’s anti-seizure effects.

They found that mice that were fed a keto diet had substantial changes in their gut bacteria after about four days and that the mice experienced fewer seizures compared with mice fed a non-keto diet.

When the researchers examined the effect of the diet on mice that didn’t have any gut bacteria — either because the mice were raised in a sterile environment, or because they were treated with antibiotics — they found that the keto diet no longer protected against seizures. “This suggests that the gut microbiota [bacteria] is required for the diet to effectively reduce seizures,” study lead author Christine Olson, a UCLA graduate student in Hsiao’s laboratory, said in a statement.

The study also found that two types of bacteria, called Akkermansia muciniphila and Parabacteroides, were elevated by the diet. When these two types of bacteria were given in combination to mice that didn’t have their own gut bacteria, the anti-seizure effect of the keto diet was restored. What’s more, this combination of bacteria protected against seizures even if the mice were fed a nno-keto diet.

Interestingly, “if we gave either species [of bacteria] alone, the bacteria did not protect against seizures,” Olson said. “This suggests that these different bacteria perform a unique function when they are together.”

In addition, the study found that the bacteria that were elevated by the keto diet altered levels of biochemicals in the gut and in the blood in ways that affected neurotransmitters in the brain.

Dr. Luis Caicedo, a pediatric gastroenterologist and director of the Fecal Microbiota Transplant Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, who was not involved in the study, called the research “very exciting.” It “opens the door for more investigations… and certainly gives you more data on why this ketogenic diet works so [well]” for epilepsy, Caicedo said.

Future research will first need to reproduce the results in more animal studies, Caicedo told Live Science. Then, for human studies, researchers can examine changes in the gut microbiota after people start the keto diet, and see if humans show similar changes in their gut bacteria, he said.

Hsiao has helped to launch a startup, called Bloom Science, that will examine the potential clinical applications of her laboratory’s findings.

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