The Ketogenic Diet – Your Questions Answered

You’ve heard it about it all over the news, celebrities tout it, your friends have suggested it. But do you really understand the mechanics of the diet? We’re here with some answers to common questions. So what is the keto diet? The ketogenic diet is an eating regimen based on eating very low carbs, moderate amounts of protein and very high fat. By eating very low amounts of carbohydrates you deprive your body of its main source of energy, glucose. Your body then turns to stored glucose in your muscles and liver until eventually it is depleted and must look to other sources for energy. Your body then enters a state called ketosis, in which it releases an alternate fuel source called ketones, produced by your liver from stored fat during periods of intense exercise. The idea of the diet is to eat enough food during the day to avoid going into starvation mode and all of the negative associated effects while staying in ketosis.  According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Proponents of the ketogenic diet state that if the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not reach a harmful level (known as “ketoacidosis”) as the brain will use ketones for fuel, and healthy individuals will typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming. How soon ketosis happens… is variable from person to person and depends on factors such as body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate.” (1) While some studies have shown that the ketogenic diet is beneficial for weight loss in the short term, research results are inconsistent. Furthermore, maintaining a very low carbohydrate/high fat diet is difficult for most in the long term and can have negative effects on mood and energy level.  “Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited…A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss…However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different.” (1) So what kind of diet is right for you? There are many factors that go into weight loss and we work with you to find what kind of diet works best for your lifestyle. At NutriFit, we believe in a highly individualized approach to weight loss that allows our client’s to maintain their weight in the long term. While everybody finds success differently, we’d like to offer the following research based tips for improving your diet:
  • Cut out highly processed foods, refined starches and added sugar
  • Focus on a wholesome, plant based diet high in whole grains; fruits & vegetables and healthy proteins (such as beans, nuts, seeds & lentils)
  • Limit red meat and watch your sodium intake – the FDA recommends eating less than 2,400 mg of sodium per day
  • Try to reduce your stress level and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Adopt a daily exercise routine that works for your schedule and lifestyle
For more information on the keto diet, we recommend the following articles: (1) (2)

Strawberry Spring Salad Recipe

Celebrate spring with our fast and simple Strawberry Spring Salad recipe! Ingredients: 2 tsp – extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp – honey 6 cup – Italian blend salad greens 2 tsp – pine nuts, roasted 3 cup – strawberries, quartered 1/8 tsp – salt 3 tbsp – water 3 tbsp – white wine vinegar   Directions: 1. Combine vinegar, water, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir well with a whisk. 2. Combine strawberries and greens. Add vinegar mixture; toss to coat. 3. Sprinkle with pine nuts

Eat Your Veggies!

You’ve probably been told your entire life to eat more vegetables but do you know why? We can’t talk enough about the health benefits of vegetables but here are some of our top reasons to #eatyourveggies:
  1. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, arugula and collard greens  are important sources of folate and other B vitamins. Studies have also shown that people who had daily intake of leafy vegetables had a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower  can help reduce inflammation and buildup of plaque which increases the risk of stroke.
  3. Vegetables are high in fiber which aids digestion, reduces cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
  4. High potassium vegetables such as sweet potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, lima beans, kidney beans and spinach can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
So the next time you’re thinking about what to eat – think green!

Low Fat v. Low Carb Diet

New research from the Stanford University School of Medicine has declared the low fat v. low carb diet debate a draw – with neither diet prevailing in the fight for the best weight loss results. The study, published in JAMA and led by Dr. Christopher Gardner, found that not only did either diet yield greater weight loss success than the other but also that participant’s genetics and insulin levels did not predispose them to better results.
A group of 609 participants were split into two groups – low fat and low carb – and had part of their genome sequenced and insulin levels measured to see if there was a genetic component to how much weight they lost on a particular diet. Neither group was instructed with exactly which foods to eat, but instead were given guidelines on making healthy choices and what their general daily carbohydrate and fat intake should be. At the end of the year long analysis, researchers found that participant’s weight loss success did not correlate to either a low fat/low carb approach nor was there a genetic or insulin level component that predicted a better outcome.
Instead, the study found that the best diet consisted of cutting out unhealthy, highly processed foods, added sugar and refined starches while eating a wholesome diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy sources of proteins (beans, lentils, nuts, seeds) and drinking plenty of water. In other words, the key to maintaining weight loss lies in quality of diet, not just quantity of food or eliminating just sources of high carbs or high fat. Furthermore, learning how to eat mindfully was the most important factor in maintaining long term weight loss rather than an emphasis on a low carb or low fat diet.

Beet and Carrot Soup

Need a way to get more veggies in your diet? Try our Beet and Carrot Soup recipe which is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and help promote healthy liver function and heart health. Ingredients: 2 cups – beets 2 cups – carrots 3 cups – reduced fat vegetable broth 1/8 tsp – allspice 1/4 tsp – nutmeg 1 tbsp – lemon juice 1 cup – onion 3 tbsp – fat free, plain yogurt 1/2 cup – unsweetened orange juice     Directions: 1. Combine the beets, carrot, onion and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil; cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool for 10 minutes. 2. Transfer the vegetables to the container of an electric blender, using a slotted spoon; reserve the broth. Cover and process the vegetable mixture until smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides. Add the pureed mixture, orange juice, lemon juice, nutmeg and allspice to the broth, stirring well with a wire whisk. Cover and chill thoroughly. 3. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Top each serving with 2 tsp. yogurt.