In definition Ketogenic diet means high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate meal plan. With the kind of diet, the body forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Our body normally converts carbohydrates contained in food into glucose, which is then transported around our entire body and is very critical in charging our brain for it to function properly.
Ketogenic diet has been existent since the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. This diet plan has shown improvement on insulin sensitivity and has helped in improving muscle development and fat development.
From all the types of ketogenic diets, the most beneficial for hormone balance, at the same time keeping the inflammatory levels low, is the Cyclic Ketogenic diet. It is where you go low-carb for 3 days and then have a slightly higher carbohydrate day, followed by 3 low carb days.
What makes this kind of diet challenging is how to keep your body in the state of ketosis and fat adaptation. Here are some advanced tips:
1. Stay Hydrated
No matter what type of diet you plan on adapting, keeping yourself hydrated is the most essential but is usually the easiest to neglect. Super hydrate your body by drinking at least 4 glasses of water within the first hour of waking up and another 4-5 glasses before noon.
2. Practice Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Adding intermittent fasting during your keto diet can effectively jumpstart reaching your body’s ketosis level. Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. IF has been known as a weight reduction dietary program, but some studies show that it could help in improving one's health.
The most popular kind Intermittent Fasting is the 16/8 method where eat during the 8-hour timeframe before fasting for 16. You can effectively maintain your body’s ketosis state through this method.
3. Consume Enough Good Salts
We have always been drawn to food that are low to zero sodium because having a high amount of sodium in our body can reduce our kidney’s ability to remove water, thus resulting to high blood pressure. The higher the carbohydrates, the higher the insulin level.
When we are on a low-carb diet, we have lower insulin levels and could therefore lead to a lower sodium/potassium ratio and a greater need for sodium in our diet. It is important to have high quality salt in our body. We may get it from himalayan pink salt, celery, cucumber and sea vegetables like kelp, nori and dulse.
4. Get Regular Exercise
No diet can be effective without the help of exercise. Regular, quality and high intensity body movement can help activate the molecule called GLUT-4 receptor. It pulls sugar out of the bloodstream and store it as liver and muscle glycogen. Exercising regularly doubles the level of this important protein.
Resistance training exercises and low intensity exercise such as walking can help balance the sugar in our body and the ability to achieve and maintain ketosis.
Remember to not overdo it to the point that you stress your body. Overtraining will lead your body to secrete higher amounts of stress hormone that will drive up blood sugar and pull you out of ketosis.
5. Improve Your Bowel Motility
The beginning of your ketosis journey often start with constipation. Your body will need to adjust because of the sudden change of your eating habits. Other reasons of constipation are lack of fiber and electrolyte consumption, dehydration, chronic stress and pre-existing struggles with constipation due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
The ketogenic tip to improve your bowel motility is to correct bacterial or yeast overgrowth issues by consuming fermented foods such as kimchi, apple cider vinegar, pickles, etc. A fresh green drink everyday will help increase potassium, magnesium and calcium levels.
6. Don’t Eat Too Much Protein
Too much protein consumption may turn the amino acids into glucose through a biochemical process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates. However, not everyone who consumes tons of protein comes out of ketosis. This is the part that you need to know your body more and experiment on how it responds to what you consume.
7. Choose Carbs Wisely
Ketogenic diet does not necessarily mean to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet completely. Instead, prefer nutrient rich carbohydrate sources such as non-starchy veggies and small amounts of low-glycemic fruits like lemon, lime and/or a small handful of berries in a protein shake.
During your 1 higher carb day, add more berries in your shake or consume starchy like pumpkin, yam, sweet potato, carrot or beet with tons of grass-fed butter allowing yourself to go up to 80 grams of net carbs.
8. Use MCT Oil Whenever Possible
The best way to maintain your body in a ketosis state is a regular intake of MCT Oil. It will allow you to consume more protein / carb and still be in ketosis. MCT oil can bring down the percentage of calories coming from fat.
9. Keep Stress Down
If you are going through a tough period in your life, it will be a challenge to keep your body in ketosis. Stress increases stress hormones which results in an elevated blood sugar to fight the chronic stressors. A high blood sugar would lead to lower ketones.
You can may still opt to go for a low-carb, anti-inflammatory diet. So don't carb load your stress away. But it is best to create a strategy on how to lower your stress load and have a more peaceful and relaxed lifestyle.
10. Improve Your Sleep
Sleep deprivation is one of the causes of stress. We already know how stress can affect ketosis. Sleep for 7-9 hours a day or as long as you feel it is enough to keep you highly functional and alert throughout the day. The number of hours of sleep also depends on your stress level; more stress means more hours of sleep.