Keto diet weight loss starts in your mind.
In order to sustain health benefits for the long term, you must fully embrace the keto lifestyle with a Paleo mindset in my opinion. The Paleo Diet focus is important because it revolves around real food. That’s why I love it. And if you’re looking to access all the ketogenic diet weight loss benefits, upping fiber and dropping the dairy might be the best way to go.
I fully enjoy cheese, butter, and other dairy products, so that’s where I stray from Paleo (as well as with my keto macro targets). But overall, combining these two diets is one of the best ways to achieve any and all weight loss goals through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Because of this, I think the very first step towards better health and weight loss with a ketogenic diet, is to reframe how you think of food.
This post is to make you see that the USDA Food Guide Pyramid or their more recent guideline, MyPlate, are bogus.
Millions of us rely on these guidelines as the way. But what has that resulted in?
- 1 in 3 come down with cancer
- Type 2 diabetes is rampant
- Alzheimer’s on the rise
Everyone we know is connected to someone who is suffering. This was not always the case..
We shouldn’t have to throw our hands up and blame it on genetics.
We should be questioning our current nutrition advice…
Where are they getting their information? Who is supporting their research?
While genetic predispositions might play a role in certain conditions, the difference is that we now have years of dedicated research on cellular energy. We can see how using carbohydrates for fuel on a full-time basis may be a culprit along with various other lifestyle factors.
We see that using ketones to fuel for our bodies via a ketogenic diet or through intermittent fasting is healthy for us in many many ways. Because of the food pyramid and MyPlate – because of these USDA nutritional guidelines combined with modern-day cheap carb convenience – our bodies never go without food for periods of time.
We were not designed to eat convenient boxed foods stripped of nutritional value and loaded with preservatives and toxins.
We also weren’t designed to drive to the store that’s barely a mile down the street.
We were designed to go for periods of no food. This is why fasting provides so many health benefits.
A startling fact that’s not so surprising…
For the very first time ever, today’s younger generation may have a lesser life expectancy than ours.
In order to turn that prediction around, we need to start paying more attention to it now more than ever. Lifestyle, nutrition and cellular energy play a big role in our overall health.
Whether you use a ketogenic diet to lose weight or for long-term health benefits, the very first step towards sustaining a healthy keto lifestyle is a mindset one.
1. Forget All About The Food Pyramid
In 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture’s USDA Food Guide Pyramid was renamed MyPyramid and given a new look. In 2011 it was finally replaced, but not by anything better, by MyPlate, the current nutrition guide in use.
These guidelines tell us to eat 50-60% carbs.
The USDA recommends the average person on the average American diet to eat around 300 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Traditional food guidelines have more than a few problems going for them:
1. They promote a high carbohydrate, grain-based diet
Grains are the biggest section of the standard food pyramid and current eating guidelines.
Ever wonder why autoimmune diseases are such an issue today?
Grains have been shown to cause holes in our intestinal lining (tight junctions) immediately after consuming them.
In this NIH review, they discuss evidence from human intervention studies that show how consuming wheat and grains leads to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease.
Although government-supported dietary guidelines in Europe and the U.S.A advise individuals to eat adequate amounts of (whole) grain products per day, cereal grains contain “anti-nutrients,” such as wheat gluten and wheat lectin, that in humans can elicit dysfunction and disease.
Our bodies don’t react positively to grains and wheat cereals. Most of the time we don’t feel these damaging effects on the outside (unless you pull out your glucometer and see what “healthy” grains do to your blood sugar).
The good-feels of satiety mask anything bad going on inside, until one day, many years down the road, you find out you have one of these now common diseases, such as one of the various autoimmune diseases, or diabetes, or insulin resistance.
Autoimmune diseases have a much greater chance of settling in because of the USDA’s nutritional guidelines.
They recommend making grains the main part of our diet.
But it’s that exact repeated and constant grain exposure that gets us. You should at least reduce grains to a single meal per day and let your body repair itself.
It’s not just intestinal permeability… with a steady influx of carbohydrates, from grains, fruits or sugars, comes a steady production of the insulin hormone.
This leads towards insulin resistance.
And then Type 2 Diabetes.
Moderation is the key to most things in life.
But unless we give our ketones a chance, we’re not really being moderate when it comes to our metabolism.
Whether it’s fasting, exercise or a ketogenic diet, we should try switching up how our body burns energy.
2. They tell us to limit saturated fats
From the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Nutritional Guidelines website, ChooseMyPlate:
Replace foods high in saturated and trans fat such as butter, whole milk, and baked goods with foods higher in unsaturated fat found in plants and fish, such as vegetable oils, avocado, and tuna fish.
This nutritional advice counters what research is showing. It counters what countless health experts in the field are saying today; that saturated fat is healthy.
It’s probably best to listen to those without ties to the agriculture industry. The latest news about coconut oil being unhealthy further reinforces that something is wrong with the nutrition advice being preached down from these organizations.
Baked goods ok, but grass-fed meats and butter rich in saturated fat is showing to be very healthy. While it’s all well and good to recommend oils, especially olive or avocado, it’s not well and good to say that saturated fats are bad and to limit them. That’s what keeps us in a glucose burning metabolic state.
These latest food pyramids and plate guides are made by the USDA – our mainstream health advice is coming from the department of agriculture.
The scariest part?
Agricultural interests heavily influence the information on these pyramids and guides.
You can read more about all of this somewhat depressing, yet enlightening rabbit hole of a topic in this book.
In this quote from the blog of Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek, they talk about how nutrition policymakers are the main reason why we’re getting sick:
Here’s a fascinating paradox. Over the last 4 decades, nutrition policy makers have increasingly exhorted us to eat less saturated fat. As a result of this unremitting message, the general population believes this single nutrient, if not overtly toxic, will at least cause widespread bodily damage. Additionally, foods that naturally contain saturated fat (e.g., beef, pork, dairy, eggs, and tropical oils) have been branded ‘unhealthy’. The paradox here is that as the drum-beat against saturated fats has increased, the actual science supporting this message has fallen into shambles. So here’s our question: should we all just be good citizens and swallow this advice, even if the science behind it no longer pasts muster?
These two are active scientists in the field that practice what they preach.
They have decades of clinical and research experience with ketogenic diets, and have done a large part of the research behind what is in the medical literature today in regards to high-fat low-carb diets.
2. Find better food pyramids
Better food pyramids include the Paleo, Mediterranean, any Blue Zone diet or a ketogenic diet food pyramids. All of these types of food pyramids can be formulated around a healthy keto or Paleo style diet.
For example, you can do Keto-Mediterranean or Paleo-Mediterranean.
Let’s look at a couple ketogenic diet food pyramids.
A ketogenic diet food pyramid helps you wrap your mind around what’s most important on a keto diet.
MyKetoKitchen’s food pyramid is a good one.
They group everything into three rows.
Each row is a macronutrient:
I like Dr. Jockers’ ketogenic diet food pyramid as well.
Good fats are the most important section, not grains.
He uses a section for fermented foods due to increased focus on gut health required on a keto diet.
It might take a minute to register how much fat you have to eat, but that’s just because we’ve been so conditioned into thinking fat is bad. These ketogenic diet food pyramids should help. After you get used to eating quality fats and whole nutrient dense foods (a lot of amazing food, it’s not that tough), you’ll find it hard to go back to processed food and the old food pyramid.
While this diet might be best off used as a tool rather than a diehard anti-carb life strategy, it’s good to reframe your mind and know that you can thrive without the suggested bowl of oatmeal and glass of OJ each morning.
3. Find Your Keto Macros
This is key to achieving your keto diet weight loss goals.
A ketogenic diet is upwards of:
- 70-75% of your calories coming from fat
- 20-25% protein
- 5-10% carbs
However, ketogenic diet macronutrient ratios are different for everyone.
They’re unique to you: See what works best for you. For example, try to throw the ketogenic diet out the window for a second. For overall better health, if we could mimic our American diets even just a few decades back, 50 or 60 years ago, back to the beginning of American history when America was thinner and healthier, we’d be in a much better place and already have access to these ketones. A ketogenic diet wouldn’t even be necessary like it is today.
Your personal macronutrient target ratios will be based off a few factors including your body fat, your lean body mass, and your lifestyle.
I go into different methods of finding your ketogenic diet’s macronutrient targets in this keto diet macros article.
It’s important to mention that protein intake is just as important as fat intake. Testing blood glucose and ketones helps to find your ideal target. The Precision Xtra can do it all. It can gauge your blood sugar AND your ketone levels. You just have to get the glucose test strips and the ketone test strips separately because the Precision Xtra will come with only 25 each. I prefer to test for ketones with the Ketonix Breathalyzer.
Once you find your keto diet macro targets, these tests will help you fine tune it according to how your body reacts to certain foods and when.
If you have any questions about how to find your ideal ketogenic macronutrient targets, you can send me a message.
Paleo vs Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss
Just as keto diets don’t really define the types of food used within them, paleo diets don’t have set macronutrient guidelines.
Paleo diets are great because they promote ancestral eating and whole nutrient-dense foods. Their popularity is the reason why most grocery stores today have grass-fed meats available for us.
However, Paleo diets are not set diets. A Paleo diet can be too high in protein and/or starches (yams, etc.) if you’re striving for ketosis and to use ketones as fuel. Too much protein or too many starches is enough to keep you in a glucose-burning state.
However, I love both diets and depending on you, either can work great.
Our bodies choose to burn glucose, first.
If you’re looking to access the state of ketosis, you should look to consume mostly healthy fats, some protien and starches, and a lot of plant fibers. If you test, you’ll know your limits. Once in “ketosis” your body is using ketones (fat) for energy instead of glucose. If this is your goal for your keto diet weight loss, keep that in mind when looking into both the ketogenic and Paleo diets.
When we burn glucose, it takes more energy to burn and it creates more free radicals in our bodies versus fat burning.
These free radicals are what age us inside and out. So a ketogenic diet is not just a weight loss tool. It actually may be the most powerful anti-aging tool we have as well.
Our human bodies are designed to work more efficiently off primarily fat and a small amount of glucose through gluconeogenesis or the diet.
For some of us, a glucose burning state is less advantageous than for others.
If you’re shooting for ketosis, then you’ll need to stick to a low carb Paleo diet (aka a healthy keto diet).
A ketogenic diet is high in healthy fat and low in carbohydrates. It’s moderate in protein and when done right, it should use primarily Paleo-worthy ingredients.
3 Simple Steps To Keto Diet Success
Step 1: Forget about the food pyramid or “MyPlate” USDA guidelines
Step 2: Find Better Food Pyramids
Step 3: Find Your Ketogenic Diet Macronutrient Target Numbers (and stick to them)
If you’re just starting out with this, or if you are have hit a weight loss with keto plateau, just go back to these three steps.
And that’s it!
Losing weight the healthy way with a ketogenic diet is really simple once you break it down into easy steps.
The key is changing how you think of food, and knowing your keto macros.
Once you learn those, adopting a new frame of mind by enlightening yourself as to what we’ve been taught growing up (and why), will be essential for long-term ketogenic diet weight loss success.
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