Monday, December 31, 2018

12 Simple Steps of Intermittent Fasting

You could burn fat all day long with intermittent fasting

Burn baby burn
I think we overcomplicate things a bit. What is fasting? 

It's just not eating or drinking any calories. 

What is Intermittent fasting? It's just fasting at irregular times. 

That's it, it doesn't cost anything and it's liberating not to have to worry about your next meal. 

Just to state the obvious, Fasting is beneficial in numerous ways, it's not a new concept, it's been done since biblical times and as Dr. Jason Fung likes to say, Fasting is the one thing that Jesus, Allah and Buddha all agreed upon.

Fasting can get you into ketosis within 24 hours.

1. The most important thing to understand is that it's really not that hard. I honestly didn't think I could do it until I did it. The more I did it and the longer I did it, the easier it got. Our bodies are remarkable in their ability to adapt and adjust. Here is a Case Report of a 27-year-old male that Fasted for 382 days! During an extended fast, metabolic markers, including butyrates, carnitines, branched-chain amino acids and stored lipids (fat) are upregulated for energy substitution. 

Your liver can actually make glucose (gluconeogenesis) on its own without any carbohydrates, it produces just enough glucose to maintain optimum health while you are fasting. That's why your blood sugar doesn't crash when you fast.

2. Hunger is your friend, not your enemy. Understanding hunger is also key. Hunger is controlled by the hormone Ghrelin and it doesn't really signal your body needs anything. It certainly doesn't mean you need to eat. Ghrelin works with our circadian rhythms, in other words, it kicks in based on when you've eaten in the past. So if you've always eaten breakfast at 7:00 AM, then right around 7:00 AM each day you will get hungry. 

So, if you just fight through the time that you get hungry, then the hunger will go away. Hunger doesn't go up in a straight line and get worse and worse the longer you Fast, it goes up and down based off when you've eaten in the past. So after a time, it goes away altogether.

3. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. That was a myth that got started in the late 1960s by the food industry to sell breakfast cereal to kids. Remember the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes "Tony the Tiger" commercials during Saturday morning cartoons? A breakfast with 3/4 cup of Frosted Fakes has 26 grams of simple carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein and zero fats. Now throw in 1 cup of skim milk and you add another 12 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar and still zero fat. That's 38 grams of carbohydrates and 23 grams of sugar in one sitting! Now put this in perspective, carbohydrates are not a necessary macronutrient and fat is. 

In other words, you can live without carbohydrates, but cannot live without ingesting fats. To think this is a healthy breakfast for anyone, especially growing children is utterly absurd. If you simply skip breakfast altogether, you are extending your Fast and allowing your body to begin burning fat as energy.

But I digress, back to Fasting: 

4. What is the advantage of fasting and why do it? It has numerous benefits and more than I can cover in one single blog post, so stay tuned for more to come on this subject. But the main benefit of fasting is the power it has to lower insulin in your body. Insulin is the master "storage hormone." When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts the carbohydrates to glucose. We can only handle about a teaspoon of glucose in the blood at one time, so the pancreas comes to the rescue and produces Insulin. I've read that insulin is like a key that opens up your cells to allow glucose to go inside. 

So insulin allows glucose to enter your cells to be used as energy. But, here's the problem, our body has limitations and our cells can only handle so much glucose, so after our cells get full of glucose, they start rejecting it. Then insulin comes in again and puts some of the glucose into our fat cells to store as fat and that's how we get fat.

5. Over time, in a high glucose/insulin environment, our insulin receptors get resistant to the insulin and we become type 2 diabetic. Type 2 diabetes is a form of insulin toxicity. After being bombarded with constant, repeated amounts of insulin over the years, the insulin receptors in the cells start refusing to open up to allow the glucose to enter. Most of the excess glucose is then stored as fat, but over time the fat cells even become insulin resistant. 

At that point, the glucose starts to build up and become toxic to the body. Glucose toxicity can damage nearly every cell in the body including heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and gums, and teeth. Glucose toxicity and insulin resistance have even been linked to dementia, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

6. Fasting breaks that chain. Without food, the blood sugar stays low and the pancreas doesn't need to produce insulin. Like I said earlier, Insulin is the storage hormone. With insulin present in the body, the cells are in a storing mode and will not release fatty acids into the blood to be used as energy. In the absence of insulin though, the cells readily release fatty acids into the blood which your liver converts to ketones. 

Ketones can be used by the body for energy. That's when you are to be considered to be in ketosis. When you enter into ketosis, your hunger lowers substantially and you actually feel energized. You start burning your stored fat and let's face it, that's what most people want.

Fasting for autophagy
7. The secret to successful fasting is becoming Fat Adapted or Keto-Adapted. It makes it easy to Fast because your body can efficiently use your own stored fat as energy.

8. Another false myth out there is that fasting slows down your metabolism. It doesn't, in fact, after approximately 12 hours of fasting we see about a 20 ng/ml increase in growth hormone and after 24 hours we are seeing a 70ng/ml increase in growth hormone. 

Growth hormone preserves muscle mass and increases fat mobilization. As we get older our growth hormone output slows down significantly. Fasting has also shown to strengthen our immune system and detoxify the liver.

OK, I'm convinced, how do I get started?

9. The easiest way to begin fasting is to do a modified "Fat-Fast" before you start. This will speed up the fat adaptation process and will make your body efficient at burning fat. What is a fat-fast? If you've already read this far, you've probably heard of bulletproof coffee. Basically, it's coffee mixed with butter, coconut oil and/or MCT oil, a little heavy whipping cream and maybe cocoa powder or a little vanilla extract. Really you can put whatever you like in it to suit your taste. I add a scoop of collagen peptides also to give me a little protein. Mix it up in a blender or froth it with an inversion mixer. I know it sounds weird, but it's really quite delicious. That's your entire breakfast and it will give you plenty of energy to hold you over until lunch. 

Here is a good video on how to make Bulletproof coffee.

Drink a bulletproof coffee in place of breakfast and don't eat or drink anything else. If you don't like coffee then becomes more difficult, but you could mix it in hot tea or just take a spoonful of MCT oil, coconut oil or avocado oil. The idea is pure healthy fat and no carbohydrates. You can do that for a week or two or as long as you are still meeting your goals. When you want to start burning more fat then you can take the next step. Try to eat clean and focus on eating healthy fats. Cooking with and ingesting bad fats like refined seed oils from corn, peanut, soy, safflower, and cottonseed oils is what is called Dirty Keto. Lazy Keto raises inflammation in the body.

fasting lowers insulin

Now let's get into true fasting.

10. The easiest way to get started is simply by skipping breakfast. When you sleep you don't eat, so let's say for example, that you eat dinner at 6:00 PM the night before and skip breakfast and you don't eat lunch until noon, then that's an 18 hour fast. That's a pretty good start and the low insulin will really jump start the fat burning process. It's really much easier than you think. You can still have black coffee or green tea in the morning but nothing with calories. If it has calories it will break your fast. You do that for a few weeks and you'll totally forget about breakfast. It's nice to have one less thing to worry about before work.

11. Now you can build off of that foundation. You can skip breakfast and then start skipping lunch too. Do that once or twice a week at first and then when that gets easy you can just eat one meal a day (OMAD). If you eat dinner that evening between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM in that scenario, you will have completed a 22 hour fast. So that would be considered OMAD with a 22:2 ratio. Fast for 22 hours and then you have a 2-hour eating window. Of course, you can adjust your eating window to meet your individual schedule. During the eating window, you can eat very well as long as you continue eating Ketogenic with a goal of no more than 20-30 grams of total carbohydrates. Intermittent means you just vary your routine. I will eat OMAD (22:2) on most days during the week and then on weekends usually eat 2 or 3 delicious low carb meals from my keto diet food plan.

Fasting Made Easy (Video)

12. If you really want to get the full benefits of autophagy, you could even extend your fast to 48 or 72 hours. The amount of time you need to fast to induce autophagy isn't clear at this point, but it is usually referenced in the 48-72 hour time frame. Autophagy stands for "self-eating” and is a detox process your body uses to clean out damaged cells and regenerate new ones. Studies with mice show that autophagy extends lifespan. Autophagy has many anti-aging benefits. It recycles the waste inside the cells and creates new “building materials” that aid in repair and regeneration. For those suffering from loose skin after weight loss, autophagy will help "eat" the loose skin and regenerate new skin cells. It has also shown to greatly strengthen the immune system.

Fasting can also help you break through a keto plateau.

*This information is not meant as medical advice. Please consult a physician before changing your diet.

Robert N. Bryant

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Ketogenic Avocado

Can one fruit improve your health?

If I had to recommend one superfood for the Ketogenic diet, I would recommend the Avocado. It would have to be considered one of the healthiest superfoods on planet earth. Fruits are generally not advised on the Ketogenic diet, but avocados are the exception.

Yes, the avocado is a fruit. It doesn’t have much protein, so it’s not a complete food source, but when supplemented with a protein source like cheese, nuts, eggs or meat, it adds a powerful dose of healthy fats and nutrition to your diet.

The avocado should be on everyone's keto diet grocery list and meal plan.

Avocados also contain more potassium than a banana. According to the USDA, 9 out of 10 Americans, (290 million people) aren’t getting enough potassium each day. Less than one percent of adult females were reaching their recommended daily goal of 4,700 milligrams of daily potassium. There are only 422 milligrams of potassium in the average banana and 708 milligrams in 1 cup of sliced avocados.


Bananas are not as healthy as what most people think. They are loaded with fructose sugar which can lead to the conversion of sugar into fat (lipogenesis) and contribute to fatty liver disease. One of the ways to reduce the risk of developing fatty liver disease is to replace high sugar/fructose foods with foods that contain healthy fats like avocados.

The average banana contains 27 grams of carbohydrates with 14 grams of fructose sugar with only 3 grams of fiber. Compared to the avocado that contains 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. The avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, but 7 of those are fiber, so it only has 2 "net" carbs.

The nutritional content of an avocado is:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A 
  • Folate 
  • Vitamin C 
  • Potassium 
  • Vitamin B5 
  • Vitamin B6 
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium 
  • Manganese
  • Copper 
  • Iron
  • Zinc 
  • Phosphorus 
  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin) 
  • B3 (niacin)

What really makes the avocado special is the fat it contains. Not just any fat, it contains heart-healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids. In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence. Avocados are the perfect food for ketone production as it can stimulate the body to use fat as energy. Also, most of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits. Oleic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation and raise good cholesterol (HDL).

Avocado oil is also the best oil to cook with because it has a very high smoke point (520 degrees), so it doesn’t oxidize as easily as most oils. Use avocado oil to sear your keto friendly ribeye steak and it won't smoke up our house as much as other oils. Dirty keto is eating too many of the wrong types of fats. It's always a challenge to eat more omega 3 fatty acids and less omega 6 fatty acids, but increasing your intake of avocados can help balance the ratio.

So eat your avocados, they are delicious and versatile. Cut up some slices, sprinkle some salt on them and use them as a side with meat or eggs. You can also mix them in with your deviled eggs and make delicious avocado deviled eggs. Be on the lookout for avocado mayonnaise also. The Primal Kitchen brand in one such product. If you know of any other ways to use avocados drop me a line and I'll share it.

Here is some simple way to enjoy avocados.

Do you miss chips with your dip? Here is a video on Keto avocado chips.

Here is a great video by Dr. David Jockers: 8 ways to use the avocado

Here is another recipe for Keto avocado deviled eggs.

Here's another suggestion for Fudge avocado cookies

This one looks delicious: Keto avocado brownies

Robert N. Bryant

Saturday, December 29, 2018

How To Stop Yo-Yo Dieting With Keto

How Can We Stop Yo-Yo Dieting?

Yo-Yo dieting can be avoided by changing your diet to stop the sharp spike and subsequent fall of blood sugar. A low carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet adapts your body to use fat and ketones as fuel instead of glucose and maintains consistently low blood sugar levels. 

Drastic b
lood sugar (glucose) rise and fall stimulates a massive hunger (ghrelin) response and influences people to binge eat. By eating a low carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet, you have consistently low blood sugar in the body, have less hunger and can stick to a diet easier.

Most people that start a diet to lose weight do so initially, but can't stick with it. They even end up gaining more weight back than before they started their diet. In fact, the percentage of people who regain the pounds they struggled to lose is around 80%.

What happens after they gain the weight back? Many try again and have success for a while, only to end up eventually falling off the wagon again. For some folks, the desire to achieve a certain weight becomes an endless, exasperating cycle of weight loss and weight regain. 28% of Americans have tried a diet between 3 and 10 times, and 11% have tried to lose weight more than 10 times.

Up and down and up and down again.  This type of weight cycling is sometimes referred to as Yo-Yo dieting. For some people, the cycle is a repeated exercise in frustration. Contrary to common belief, you can’t exercise your way out of a poor diet. The gym helps, but a proper diet is where it all begins.

Yo-Yo Dieting and Your Metabolism

There is also harm in weight cycling or yo-yo dieting? A recent yo-yo diet study, the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study followed 3,678 women and men for 16 years. The researchers found that yo-yo dieting was linked with a higher risk of death overall.

In this Mayo Clinic study, yo-yo dieting increased weight and body fat, especially fat around the belly. Excess blood sugar, belly fat and dietary fructose intake can contribute to the accumulation of fat in the liver.  However, low carbohydrate diets have been successfully used as a fatty liver treatment diet.

Yo-Yo Dieting and Diabetes

This study on Pubmed is interesting. Some rats were put on a high carbohydrate/low carbohydrate cycle (yo-yo) diet in 3-month intervals. The other group of rats was kept at a consistently low carbohydrate diet. The group that cycled between the high carb and low carb diet had a 202% increase in body weight over the consistent diet group.

Yo-Yo Dieting is Expensive

The industry that focuses on specific diet plans, meals, and support networks earned $6.3 billion in 2015. Weight Watchers, for example, had 4.6 million people signed up in 2018, but people stick with it on average only 10 months. The typical Jenny Craig dieter pays between $400 and $500 per month. Nutrisystem will cost you about $10.54 each day and you eat at frequent intervals (five to six times a day). Remember each time you eat carbohydrates your insulin rises. None of these diets focus on lowering insulin, they rely on calorie restriction.

The problem with calorie restriction diets is you are going to get hungry. It's always much harder to stick with a diet long term when you are constantly hungry. Intermittent fasting is not part of the mainstream diets, and that's a shame because fasting can give a therapeutic boost to any diet. How does intermittent fasting work?

Bariatric Surgeries are Rising at an Alarming Rate

In the year 2011, 158,00 Americans received bariatric surgery, and in 2017 that number ballooned to 228,000. If you elect to go that route, hopefully, your insurance will cover it because weight loss surgery will cost an average of $20,000. Also, not everyone qualifies, normally men need to be more than 100 pounds overweight and women need to be more than 80 pounds overweight to qualify.

Bariatric surgery does work:

In this study published on WebMD.  Researchers tracked 400 people with type 2 diabetes and 6 years after the surgery, 62% showed no sign of diabetes and they also showed improved blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.

Bariatric Surgery

GLP (Glucagon-like peptide) is the hormone that makes you feel satiated, or full after you eat. Researchers in this study found that bariatric surgery alters nutrient digestion and absorption by changing the location of the digestion to a different place in the gut, and that causes higher levels of glucagon. When glucagon is elevated, then insulin is lowered and that also improves insulin resistance.

The Ketogenic Diet Can Stop the Madness of Yo-Yo diets and bariatric surgeries

Virta health has achieved a 60% success rate in reversing type 2 diabetes in the clinically controlled administration of a Ketogenic Diet. But...You don't need to do it in a clinically controlled setting. There are plenty of resources to help you do it yourself. For example, I get this question a lot: How do you get started on a Ketogenic Diet?

What causes yo-yo dieting and how do you prevent it?

First off let’s call this what it really is. No one really wants to lose weight, what they want is to lose fat. How do you stimulate the body to burn fat? By adjusting your ratio of macronutrients to include more healthy fats and less sugar and starches, you force your body to begin using fat as energy.

The inability to stick with a diet is based on control of blood sugar and the ability of the body to efficiently burn fat as energy instead of glucose/sugar. The commonly prescribed low fat, high carbohydrate diet is one of the main causes of the inability to stick with a diet. The body is converting carbohydrates to glucose and burning glucose as energy and when the glucose runs out, blood sugar drops and that's when you have massive cravings.

How to Get Started on Keto (video)

The reason the Ketogenic Diet is sustainable is that over time your body adjusts to this ratio of macronutrients (high fat, low carb) and becomes very efficient at using fat as energy. Your liver converts fat into ketones and you use that as energy. Using fat as energy is not dependent on the constant rise and fall of glucose and insulin. Fat breaks down slowly in the body and provides a slow release, almost constant source of energy. Your blood sugar stabilizes; you can go longer between meals without feeling hungry. Over time, your body becomes very efficient at using fat as energy and you become fat adapted or Keto-Adapted.

How do you know when you're Fat-Adapted? You don't feel the urgent need to snack any more between meals, your cravings for sweets goes away and your "diet" just becomes a way of life and doesn't even feel like a diet anymore.

*This information is not meant as medical advice. Please consult a physician before changing your diet.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Ketogenic Diet and Obesity

What if we've been looking at Obesity from the wrong angle?

Is Keto is the Cure for Obesity?

The fat stigma is so entrenched in our society that many obese people actually start believing they are inferior to others, that they somehow are not worthy of having a healthy looking body. Many blame themselves for being overweight and even give up trying to lose it. Many are stuck in a cycle of Yo-Yo dieting and lose weight, only to gain it right back. There are also those that are in denial and blame it on things like injuries or genetics. Most are stuck in an endless cycle of procrastination, they'll start dieting next week, or next month as soon as this or that next life event is over. Do we ever consider why it's so hard for an obese person to reverse his obesity?

We need to rethink how we think of obesity and quit blaming the individual. 

Most people aren't fat because they don't have the discipline or are mentally weak. Most just don’t have the knowledge and were never taught as kids how to eat. Many have or had obese parents and are constantly exposed to poor eating habits and most don't understand how to properly control their blood sugar. Most obese individuals have lived most of their life eating unhealthy processed foods.

Let’s put the blame where it belongs. It's all about the blood sugar (glucose) insulin connection. Sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose just to name a few, are similar to many other high glycemic carbohydrates, they are all just forms of sugar and all raise your blood sugar. When your blood sugar becomes elevated, your pancreas releases insulin to utilize that sugar. Without insulin, the sugar would quickly poison the body. Type 1 diabetics must inject insulin into their bodies because their pancreas doesn't produce it. If they don't they will die from sugar toxicity. 

"When we have a "cheat day" we can quickly get back into ketosis again when we learn to use fat as energy and become keto-adapted." 

A person that has a functioning pancreas, that eats a high sugar/carbohydrate diet, has a pancreas that must produce excess insulin. That excess insulin over time begins to do damage to the body. The body develops resistance to that insulin and it doesn't work as efficiently as it should. So to compensate the pancreas has to excrete even more insulin and then the cells get even more resistant. It's a vicious cycle and the only way to reverse it is to reduce the amount of sugar and carbohydrates that you are putting into your body.

It's the rise and fall of blood sugar that makes us "mentally" unable to stick to a diet. Sometimes we just can't control our cravings, and these cravings are real, just like a drug addict that can’t control his addiction. Our blood sugar drops lower than what we are accustomed to, and we actually feel like we really “need” to eat. Some, even young, seemingly healthy people actually feel weak and get the shakes in between meals or when they miss a meal.  This is a sign of "metabolic inflexibility" and a marker that could develop into "metabolic syndrome," then "prediabetes", and then full-blown "type 2 diabetes."

So bear with me a minute while I get into the science behind it. The role of mitochondria is to produce the energy (ATP) currency of the cell and to regulate cellular metabolism. The mitochondria primarily use either glucose or ketones for energy. Glucose is made from the digestion of ingested carbohydrates, and ketones are made from the breakdown of fatty acids. Your cells need a constant source of carbohydrate/glucose to sustain energy levels, but Ketones can be made from either the fat you ingest or the fat you already have stored, and ketones can be a source of energy also. 

Your body will always use glucose if present before it will break down fat into ketones. Our body has evolved to have that fat preservation function built into it from ancient times. In times of fast and famine, our body wants to have a source of energy in reserve so we wouldn’t starve to death. That fat preservation function that kept the human species from going extinct, is unfortunately now making us fat and sick. 

Here lies the problem, most of us have lost the ability to use fat as energy because we have never lowered our glucose levels enough to force the body to start breaking down fat into ketones to use as energy. This phenomenon is called metabolic inflexibility. Just like anything, if you don’t use it, you lose it. 

So after a workout or when you miss a meal your blood sugar gets low and the metabolically inflexible become hungry, shaky, weak, jittery and even irritable. It’s no coincidence that this year the word “hangry” was added to the Webster's dictionary. Being metabolically inflexible means our mitochondria have never developed the ability to use fat as fuel, so we just can't cope without a constant source of dietary glucose. 

There's light at the end of the tunnel, however. The beauty of the human body is that it is very adaptable and in most cases can heal itself. Our mitochondria can be taught to use fat as energy again. The human race evolved using fat as fuel. When your mitochondria adapt to using fat as fuel then it’s very easy to sustain healthy eating because your body can either utilize dietary fat as fuel or when that gets low can easily tap into your stored fat and use that as fuel. 

This is called being metabolically flexible, your mitochondria can seamlessly switch between fat and glucose and you have almost unlimited energy and far fewer cravings with the feeling that you “need” to eat. When we can quickly and easily use our own fat as fuel we have developed fat adaptation, or we have become Keto-Adapted.

Depending on our level of mitochondrial dysfunction (metabolic inflexibility), we can adapt our mitochondria in a fairly short time from between 3-6 weeks by simply intermittent fasting and drastically lowering our intake of carbohydrates while raising our ingestion of healthy fats. As your body gets accustomed to using fat as energy, it gets easier and easier.

Consider these findings from a Yale study that discovered mitochondria adapt their function in response to sugar: "We found that when sugar increases in the body, mitochondria in some brain neurons rapidly change their shape and their function is altered. 

These findings imply that alterations in this mechanism may contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, in which the body is not able to clear high levels of sugar from the blood."  For mitochondrial health, the answer appears to become fat-adapted and minimize our sugar intake. The reality is we should utilize for energy as little sugar as possible over a lifetime as possible.

I've done extensive research into this topic and I was very skeptical myself until I actually tried it and I can attest it actually works very well. The metabolic changes that happen to your body when your mitochondria can efficiently use fat as energy is miraculous, our body is much more adaptable than what people think. The science is there, here is a link to a scientific study if you don't believe me.

We can't change the past, but we are in charge of our own future. 

So don’t get down on yourself, if you're overweight forget about the past and make a commitment to change your life. Here are 12 steps to get started on a Ketogenic Diet. If you carry a healthy weight and are not obese, don’t blame the obese, it's really not their fault. There is a lot more going on here than just lack of self-control. We are all fighting human evolution and the fact that the standard American diet is much too high in sugar and starches. 

We have to be more supportive and not be scared to have the conversation. We need to be less worried about offending someone and more worried about saving someone's life. We have to work together to end the obesity epidemic. If you want moral support or looking for more knowledge or even Keto recipes head over to the Ketogenicinfo Facebook page with any questions, comments or concerns you might have.

Robert N. Bryant

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Beginners Guide for the Ketogenic Diet (13 tips)

Keto Diet Plan for Beginners

Starting the Keto Diet can be challenging. How and when do you "Fast?" What is OMAD (one meal a day), macros (macronutrients), keto flu, keto plateau, keto constipation? What to eat on the Keto Diet? So many questions. Well, you are in the right place. Read on for a proven keto weight loss plan.

The Ketogenic diet is so different from the conventional (low fat) diet mentality. It gets confusing, conflicting data swiftly attacks the keto beginner and it's hard to get straight answers.

Here are some straight answers to help you with your keto journey.

1. Don't believe the Keto Diet Myths:

Forget everything you thought you knew about diet and nutrition. The Ketogenic Diet is difficult for beginners because of all the conflicting information out there. Start Keto with an open mind and a clean slate. Fat is your friend, not your enemy and the extra fat intake will help give you energy while you're restricting your carbohydrates.

Cholesterol is not a number to worry about, yes your LDL (bad cholesterol) will likely rise, but so will your HDL (good cholesterol). In the absence of Glucose, the cholesterol doesn't oxidize and become harmful. Track your blood glucose, blood pressure, A1C, triglycerides, C-reactive protein (inflammation) and liver enzyme levels. It's a good idea to get a physical before you start. 

If your blood glucose and/or A1C numbers are high asked for a C-peptide (insulin) test. This test isn't normally given, but it's important to know if your pancreas is producing insulin. If nothing else it's comforting to know for sure if you are a type 1 diabetic or not. Type 1 diabetics don't produce insulin. 

2. Learn where sugar is hiding:

Carbohydrates, sugar, glucose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, honey, corn starch, cane sugar, molasses are all the same thing and another name for sugar. Excess sugar is poison to the human body. The pancreas must produce insulin to get rid of the glucose and over time, can cause our cells to become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is the root cause of most dietary diseases like obesity, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, Alzheimer's and yes even cancer. This study shows promise that a Ketogenic Diet does have an anti-tumor effect.


3. Go through your cabinets and throw out all your high carbohydrate, starchy foods:

Bread, crackers, cookies, cakes, chips, rice, potatoes, pasta, noodles, and sweets of any kind. Stop eating most fruit especially any fruit juice. The fruit is high in (fructose) sugar. If you are going to have fruit eat it in small quantities and limit it to berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Berries have a lower glycemic index than the other fruits. Berries contain anthocyanins and flavonols and are thought to have cardioprotective properties by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. However, to gain the health benefit, the entire berry has to be eaten and not just the juice.

The exception to the "limited fruit" rule is the avocado. Yes, the avocado is a fruit. It is a fleshy, plant product that contains a seed and can be eaten. I call it the Ketogenic Avocado because it's almost the perfect Keto Food. I even wrote an entire article on its health benefits.

Limit most dairy and no milk, it’s high in milk sugar (lactose). You can have heavy whipping cream, butter, and kefir. Keto milk Kefir (video) is a fermented, tart tasting, creamy, liquid yogurt type drink that is considered one of the most nutritious foods in the world. Unflavored, unsweetened, whole milk Greek yogurt is also acceptable in small quantities. Stop drinking diet drinks and learn to drink just plain water, carbonated water or lemon water. 

Learn to read labels and count your carbohydrates. You want to start gradually, but strictly limiting your carbohydrate consumption. The first week try to consume about 50-60 grams a day, and then the second week 40-50, and then by the 3rd week you want to have your carbohydrate intake down to about 20-30 grams per day. You can then maintain a 20-30 gram per day carbohydrate intake for as long as you want to continue to burn fat. 

Out of the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates, the latter is not an essential macronutrient. The only carbohydrates that you need are the undigestible fiber and prebiotics to feed a healthy gut microbiota. Yes, the brain does require some glucose, but studies show up to 70% of the brains energy needs can come from ketones. Our liver can make all the glucose it needs through a process called gluconeogenesis. The liver uses fatty acids and amino acids to make glucose, not carbohydrates.

4. Heal your gut with probiotic-rich kefir to repair your gut microbiome (video)

5. Use Good Oils and Not Bad Oils.

Ideally, your food shouldn't come in a box or a carton, you want mostly fresh vegetables and meat, cheese and nuts. Almost all your carbohydrates should come from vegetables. Limit your consumption of processed foods. There is so much hidden sugar and "bad oils" in processed foods it's better to avoid them when possible. Bad oils are high in omega 6 fatty acids and are processed with high heat which oxidizes them and makes them rancid. Oxidized oils high in omega 6 fatty acids have shown to be highly inflammatory and are thought to contribute to cardiovascular disease. Sunflower, peanut, corn, soybean and cottonseed are the worst "bad oils".

So what are "good oils?"

The best oils to use are cold pressed oils. The oils are extracted without high heat and that keeps their chemical structure intact. Organic, extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil, pasture-raised ghee, butter, coconut oil, beef tallow, bacon grease are all good choices. Just beware of the smoke point of your cooking oil and don't get it hot enough to start smoking. Avocado oil and Ghee are best to use in high-temperature cooking because they have higher smoke points. 

Flaxseed oil is very healthy, but not suitable as a cooking oil because of the low 225-degree smoke point. Ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and fish or krill oil capsules are good additions to your diet. They will increase your heart healthy intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Eat the healthy fats and try not to eat what is called "Lazy Keto" which is just eating any and all fats without regard to keeping the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio in balance. Strive for a 1:1 balance.

Smoke points in degrees Fahrenheit:

  • Avocado oil 520
  • Ghee 485
  • Olive oil 468
  • Beef tallow 400
  • Pork lard 370
  • Coconut oil 350
  • Butter 350

Good Fats and Bad Fats on Keto (video)

How to Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet (Video)

7. Eat a Lot of Keto Salads:

Salads are your friend, but learn what you can and can not put on your salad, watch the dressing, use olive oil and vinegar or Primal Kitchen brand or another sugar-free salad dressing. Learn about the Glycemic index, which defines how foods impact blood sugar and insulin. Dr. Berg explains the glycemic index here

Gaining knowledge of the Keto Diet is the key to success. Get on Youtube and watch videos on the Ketogenic diet. Dr. Ken Berry is a good source. Find Doctor Jason Fung’s books and webinars. He is amazing. Another source is Dr. Benjamin Bikman, he is an expert on insulin. Look up Dr. Sarah Hallberg and study some of her research. Also, I encourage you to watch all the Ketogenicinfo Videos on YouTube.

"The secret to fat burning is to become Keto or fat adapted."

Your first few weeks you will likely lose weight rapidly, but that will mostly be water weight.  After a few weeks, your weight/fat loss will slow down. Going to the gym and lifting weights will help. Resistance training empties the glycogen (stored sugar) out of your muscles and speeds up the process of ketosis (fat burning). 

Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool and will help you get over a stall. just remember to be patient. Slower, consistent fat loss is healthier and more sustainable anyway.

Make a good Keto Diet Food List and go to the store and buy some high-fat goodies: 

  • meat
  • bacon 
  • avocados 
  • eggs
  • butter 
  • olive oil
  • olives 
  • macadamia nuts 
  • pecans 
  • walnuts
  • cheese (hard like gouda or aged cheddar or brie
  • no dairy except heavy cream and butter 

Chicken is great but eats the higher fat sections like wings, legs, and thighs. The skin of the chicken contains collagen protein and chicken fat. Get some vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, greens, lettuce, spinach, garlic, zucchini, celery, onions, mushrooms, kale. 

To help prevent constipation eat foods high in fiber and prebiotics. Vegetables are naturally high in fiber, and prebiotics is so important that I featured them in this article:  

How to Prevent Constipation on the Ketogenic Diet. 

Magnesium Citrate is a great supplement to take. Healing your entire digestive system is paramount to maintaining a strong immune system and improving insulin resistance.

Cook your vegetables in bacon, bacon grease, beef tallow, ghee, butter and/or olive oil and some heavy cream. All meat is fine but stick with the high-fat portions like fish, beef, pork and chicken wings, legs and thighs. Get yourself some MCT oil and use it. You can blend it in your coffee or sprinkle some on a salad or just take a teaspoon of it. Using MCT oil as a meal replacement or an energy booster helps you get Keto-Adapted and using it as a pre and post workout supplement helps your workout/exercise program. Drink your bulletproof coffee to help you get keto-adapted.

Bullet Proof Coffee (video)

10. Learn about the hormone called ghrelin:

Another name for ghrelin is "hunger." Don't fear hunger, it's your friend, not your enemy. It doesn't mean you need to eat, ghrelin is secreted on a timer based on when you've eaten in the past. Your body either burns fat for energy or glucose, but the body always burns glucose first, so if you have that in your system you are not burning fat. Carbohydrates and sugars are broken down to glucose in the blood. With glucose present in your blood, you will not burn fat.

11. Don't snack to speed up your keto Diet:

Spread out the length of time between meals. Start by eating a high-fat breakfast, eggs, bacon, avocados, cheese, etc. Then start skipping breakfast and eating a high-fat lunch, when you can do that, skip breakfast and lunch and only eat dinner. That's called intermittent fasting and it accelerates fat loss and overall health. The longer you go between meals the more it lowers your insulin and starts to signal your fat cells to release fatty acids to be burned as energy.

12. Don't give up on Keto because Keto Can Reverse Obesity, play the long game:

If you have a bad day and fall off your keto diet, don't give up. If you follow these steps you can get back into ketosis usually within 24 hours.

When your body becomes adapted to burning fat, your life gets much easier, but that takes between 3 and 6 weeks. Until then, If you get jittery, irritable and feel like you have low blood sugar then eat pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, blue, gouda or Jarlsberg cheese and/or olives or a piece of meat. You really don't have low blood sugar, you just have "lower" blood sugar than what you are used to. That feeling will end after a few weeks and you get fat adapted.

If you do slip up, then don't give up on the Keto Diet, just wake up the next day and recommit to trying harder. Every day is a new day, strive to do a little better each day. Your health didn't deteriorate overnight, so you have patience. Your body heals from the inside out. Your liver has to heal before the rest of your body can heal.

If you stick with it, you will have success. If you get stuck and hit a stall, come back here and read: 12 Ways to Get Past a Plateau on the Ketogenic Diet.

13. Focus on waist size more than body weight. Focus on body fat, not body weight.

Weigh yourself first thing in the morning every morning in the same condition. Get up and relieve yourself (urinate) and don't get dressed. Write down your weight. Once a week take a cloth tape measure and measure the circumference of your waist. Men at the level of your belly button and women at the widest portion of your hips. Write down your measurement, that will be a great barometer of your weight loss journey.

 At first, it is hard and you feel like you can't do it long term, BUT it gets MUCH easier after your body adapts to using fat as fuel. After a few weeks, your energy will start going up and the cravings will start to go away and you'll start feeling much better. 

If you have any questions or need help feel free to reach out to me.

*This information is not meant as medical advice. Please consult a physician before changing your diet.

Robert N. Bryant

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