This IS the latest and greatest episode of “As The Diet Turns.” Keto is everywhere right now and is creating a lot of debate and finger pointing amongst medical professionals and some nutrition experts (some real, some self-proclaimed). In this post we will cover the basics of what the Keto Diet is and why doctors are up in arms about it.
Why Am I Talking About The Keto Diet?
I never really gave it much thought until my brother, who basically ate every meal like it was his last day on earth AND never thought about protein/carb/fat portions in his LIFE, started a keto diet because his blood work showed pre-diabetes and all kinds of bad cholesterol. I’ll just add my brother is an internal medicine doctor so he was up on the standard medical recommendations for dealing with pre-diabetes: Wait until you get worse before intervening with medications coupled with the old (useless) recommendation of “eat less, exercise more and lose weight” OR add a statin and an oral hypoglycemic drug (a pill that either releases more insulin to deal with the high sugar levels or makes your body more insulin sensitive).
I’m guessing he didn’t like those options so he started doing a keto diet and in 6 months he reversed ALL of his horrible blood work numbers, lost weight (not that he was overweight by the way) and felt really good. So I became curious. Curious yet annoyed that my brother somehow had the jump on me about a nutrition intervention.
What IS this Keto Diet Anyway?
- “Keto” is short for “Ketosis.” When you eat a very low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet your body switches from using sugar as it’s primary fuel to ketones, a substance produced when your body begins burning fat for fuel. This metabolic state of fat burning is called ketosis. Being in ketosis means you are burning fat. Did I say burning fat? Yes I did.
- This is not some novel approach. This type of diet has been used since the 1920s and 1930s to control seizures in cases of childhood epilepsy not responsive to medications.
- Why are doctors not fans of the keto approach? Even though this diet was used for many years for treating epilepsy, most doctors nowadays would call this an “extreme” diet because they associate ketosis with a scarier medical condition called ketoacidosis. More on this later.
What is Ketosis?
- Ketone bodies are an alternative fuel source for the brain, heart, and most other organs when sugar and insulin levels are low. These ketone bodies are easily accessed when you are in a fat burning state. The problem is when you are eating a lot of carbs.
- When you eat excess carbs, your body becomes used to sugar burning. The excess sugar that turns into fat CANNOT be easily accessed for fuel. Which means, you need to eat more sugar for energy even when there is plenty of fat available to use. It’s like having money in your wallet versus money in the bank. When you need to pay for something, you don’t go to the bank (your fat stores) every time. You open your wallet (sugar from carbs) to pay for things.
- Unless your body can become adapted to fat-burning, you will not be able to easily access your fat stores for fuel and this will impede your ability to lose weight.
Why would we have this ability to burn fat so safely and efficiently?
Well, back in the beginning of humankind, we had things called winter, a time of scarcity. There was no Amazon Fresh or pizza parlors on every corner. We needed to survive on blubber for a few months and we did it pretty easily. Nowadays, we’ve been hoodwinked into thinking we need to eat every 2 to 3 hours to “keep our metabolism going”. It’s going alright….into the crapper. Back to the ketoacidosis concern…..
What’s the difference between ketoacidosis and ketosis and why are most doctors against a keto approach?
- The Keto Diet is certainly something that needs to be done in a careful and controlled way. We will get to that in Part 2, but it has received a bit of an undeserved negative reputation in the medical community. Here’s why. Ketoacidosis is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that can occur in Type 1 Diabetics when they get very ill or don’t take enough insulin. When doctors think about a patient willfully and voluntarily going into ketosis, they are associating it with all of the negative and dangerous effects of ketoacidosis.
- Ketoacidosis occurs when type 1 diabetics (who make NO insulin whatsoever) do not get enough insulin to process the sugar they eat. Their body has to turn to fat burning because it thinks that there’s no glucose to use. The problem is that these type 1 diabetics are NOT out of sugar. In fact without adequate insulin, they develop dangerously high levels of sugar circulating around in the blood with nowhere to go. Since they can’t use sugar without insulin the body keeps making ketones. Once the ketone levels become very high, acid levels will rise in the bloodstream leading to coma and if not treated, death. No wonder most doctors are not keto fans!!!
- Why is nutritional, voluntary ketosis different? The catch is, that this really can’t happen in someone who can make insulin. All you need is a little insulin to keep ketones in a safe zone.
Currently many researchers are finding that using ketones for fuel has many beneficial effects on aging, inflammation, metabolism, cognition and athletic performance.
Stay tuned for The Keto Diet Soap Opera Part 2 where I discuss how doctors in the know are using ketogenic diets and why low carb diets are not the same as keto diets.
3 Keto Fat Bombs
If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em. 3 delicious Keto-compliant snacks to take the edge off of hunger and sweet cravings…
What Are Fat Bombs?
Fat bombs are are low carb, keto friendly no-bake treats, typically made with ingredients such as nut butters or coconut oil, cocoa powder, cream cheese or avocado, and little to no sugar.
They totally help curb cravings and appetite because of the fat content but also gives you the sweetness you want and deserve!
Chocolate fat bombs
- 1/2 cup nut butter of choice, or coconut butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- stevia to taste, or 1 tbsp liquid stevia
- optional, I like to add 1/8 tsp salt
- Stir all ingredients together until smooth. If too dry (depending on nut butter used), add additional coconut oil if needed.
- Pour into a small container, ice cube trays, or candy molds.
- Freeze to set. Because coconut oil softens when warm, it’s best to store these in the freezer.
Blackberry Coconut Fat Bomb
- 1 cup coconut butter* see below for how to make homemade
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries can use raspberries or strawberries if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon SweetLeaf stevia drops add a bit more for sweeter taste
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
*To make coconut butter, place about 2 cups unsweetened dried coconut flakes into food processor and process until butter forms (about 7-8 minutes).0.8g net carbs
- Place coconut butter, coconut oil and blackberries (if frozen) in a pot and heat over medium heat just until well combined. No need to heat if using fresh berries.
- In a food processor or small blender, add coconut oil mix and remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Separation may occur if coconut oil mixture is too hot.
- Spread out into a small pan lined with parchment paper (I used 6×6-inch container)
- Refrigerate one hour or until mix has hardened.
- Remove from container and cut into squares.
- Store covered in the refrigerator
Easy Lemon Fat Bomb
- 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, softened (55 g / 2 oz)
- 7.1 oz coconut butter, softened (200 g) – you can make your own
- 1-2 tbsp organic lemon zest or lemon extract (1-2 tsp) – it depends on your palate
- 15-20 drops Stevia extract (Clear or Lemon)
- optional: pinch sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
2-4 tbsp powdered Erythritol may work better than stevia. Coconut butter is also known as “creamed coconut” – this is not the same as coconut milk “creamed” in the fridge. You can also use shredded coconut to make coconut butter in a food processor.
- Zest Lemons and make sure coconut butter is softened
- MIx all the ingredients evenly in a bowl with the Stevia or 2-4 Tbsp of powdered erythritol
- Fill each mini muffin paper cup, or silicone candy mold with ~ 1 tbsp of the coconut mixture and place on a tray that will fit in the fridge.
- Place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes or until solid.
- When done, keep refrigerated.
- Eat from the fridge directly or will melt.
Lemon Macadamia Fat Bombs
- 6 ounces Coconut Oil
- 1 ounce cacao butter
- 2 ounces Organic Coconut Cream Concentrate
- 3 tablespoons Blanched Almond Flour
- 3 tablespoons organic coconut flour
- 1 splash Vanilla
- 1 pinch Sea Salt
- 1 medium lemon, juiced & zested
- Liquid Stevia to taste
- 1/2 cup organic shredded coconut unsweetened
- 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
- In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat, coconut cream concentrate and cocoa butter.
- In your blender, combine melted mixture with the flours, vanilla, stevia, lemon juice/zest and stevia or other KETO friendly sweeteners (adjust to taste). Blend for 1+ minutes until well combined.
- Add shredded coconut and macadamia nuts, pulse a few times to combine and lightly chop.
- Portion into bitesized balls or press into a silicone mold and freeze until firm. Enjoy frozen or refrigerated.
So sue me. I gave you 4 recipes.
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com. Look! You are already here.
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!