Ketogenic Basics

Macros

Macronutrients – Fat, Carbohydrates, Protein – these are best measured in absolute amounts in grams NOT percent.

Protein- Most important macro(1.5g-2.5g/kg lbm ~or~ .8-1.2g/lb lbm). Aim for mid to high end of range for weight loss up to 3g/kg ~or~ 1.4g/lb LBM is still ketogenic. Not only is this total amount of protein a day very important but also the pattern of intake can have dramatic results as well!  For increased fat burn pattern your meals with at least 45g of protein each with meals 4-5 hrs apart and no snacking. This pattern of intake maximizes MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis). MPS is very energy demanding and is equivalent to about 1/2 hr of exercise.

Carbohydrates – Keep carbs low generally under 20-50g a day

Fat – Fat can come from either the plate or the body.  And the amount from each is going to depend on if you are in weight loss or maintenance. In weight loss, you want to keep fat equal or lower than protein, but not lower in grams then kg lbm a day. Once in maintenance, you raise the amount of fats you are eating until you stop losing weight, keeping carbs low and protein the same.

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GRAMS vs %

Always create your diet using grams of the macros, not percent.  Percent can be very misleading and confusing.  Protein needs stay constant throughout the phases of weight loss to maintenance, carbs stay low, and it is only fat that fluctuates with weight loss.  When you track or base your diet off of percent, it does not take this into account as all macros will change with any change in calories or the adjustment of one of the macros. Also in weight loss, Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), has to be taken into account – NOT just total food intake as your body is also getting calories from the stored body fat you are losing.

Weight loss VS Maintenance VS Medical Intervention

Why Are you doing Keto?

The Ketogenic Diet is not a weight loss program unless you tweak it to be one. High dietary fat is for medical/maintenance/athletic performance where you want weight to be stable. This is what the diet was designed for, (back in the early 1900’s to treat epileptic children) and is intended for; hence the high fat macros you see published. For weight loss … it’s lower dietary fat … until you reach maintenance … then you increase fats to the higher amount to stop losing weight.

Minerals – Electrolytes

During the induction phase of a Ketogenic Diet, most people experience a horrid “flu” that often makes people believe from the start that it isn’t right for our bodies.  The flu is a manifestation of your mental and physical dependence on carbohydrates and the body is essentially going through a phase where it has to learn to use fat as fuel. Keto flu can be treated by replenishing your electrolytes.

The flu-like symptoms should dissipate in a few days or weeks. But be warned: For as long as you eat low carb, if you don’t take care to get enough sodium, potassium and magnesium (a.k.a. electrolytes) in your diet, you may experience fatigue, muscle twitching, headaches, muscle cramping, and in severe cases, arrhythmia. Leg cramps may be the most common sign that your electrolytes are out of balance.

Even if you go out of your way to eat lots of table salt, and foods containing potassium and magnesium, you may find you need to take supplements.

The minimum mineral requirements are:

Salt (sodium) – 2-6g
Magnesium – 450mg, preferably in the form of magnesium malate
Potassium – Eat potassium-rich foods, and as long as you are getting enough salt and magnesium you should not have to supplement potassium. If you feel you need to supplement potassium, please only do so under the care of a doctor.
Most of us will not reach these suggested totals with food alone, but there are several ways to ingest extra electrolytes:

Drink 1 or 2 cups of bouillon or broth daily
Add salt to your food
Add a teaspoon of salt to a large glass of water and drink it
Take a magnesium suplement

Adequate Protein Intake – And Why It Matters

Gluconeogenesis is the formation of glucose by the liver, from non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids. Gluconeogenesis is demand driven NOT supply driven! IN everyone! In those that have “sugar”sensitivities, the liver among other organs are dysfunctional. When you base protein intake on dysfunction, then all you will ever do is support that dysfunction. Instead, you need to feed your body the protein it needs so that the liver and other organs can heal and optimize! Gluconeogenesis will happen if your body needs glucose NO matter what amount of protein you are eating. It’s just that if you are not eating enough protein to support gluconeogenesis, then your body will break down lean body mass (LBM) in order to get the amino acids it needs.  Catabolizing muscle and other LBM like organs and bone is what is happening. Gluconeogenesis is good and needed when a person eats low carb. It is very energy demanding and the body does not perform it  unless absolutely necessary. There is a threshold around 3g/kg (1.4g/lb) LBM where protein will start to be burned for energy before fat. Not burning fat, not making ketones. So in this way protein consumption in excess can interfere with ketosis, but NOT because it turns to sugar!

For more information:
Dr. Stephen Phinney – ‘Achieving and Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis’

Dr. Stephen Phinney – ‘The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living’

Nutrition Forum – Dr. Donald Layman, PhD

Dr. Layne Norton presents on Refractory Phenomenon

The need for Protein throughout the day

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