Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fat Adaptation on the Ketogenic Diet

What does it mean to get Fat or Keto-Adapted?

To be keto or fat adapted means you have developed the metabolic flexibility to seamlessly and efficiently utilize fat as the primary energy source. Additionally, the liver has become efficient at converting fatty acids into ketones (Ketogenesis). Your mitochondria are also able to easily use the ketones as energy.

So how is the Ketogenic Diet so successful?

The secret to the success of the Ketogenic Diet is its ability to change the way the human body fuels itself at the cellular level. It's actually quite amazing how the process works. I will use a car engine as an example. You have two main types of internal combustion engines, gasoline-powered and diesel powered and they will only function with the proper type of fuel. Now, imagine being able to put either gasoline or diesel in the same engine and having it run just fine on both.

That's the miracle of keto-adaptation, you can seamlessly run on fat or glucose, so when you would normally get hungry and want a snack, your body just taps into your fat stores and you never feel the need to snack. You can skip meals and Fast without any problem. The cravings for sweets and starches diminished greatly because you don't suffer from drastic blood sugar spikes. Another benefit (see chart below), when following a Ketogenic Diet, when you exercise you burn significantly more fat.

When you are fat adapted and break your diet by eating too many carbohydrates, it is much faster to get back into ketosis. When the average sugar burner starts a ketogenic diet he can struggle 72-96 hours before he actually gets into ketosis. A fat adapted individual can usually get back into ketosis in 24 hours.

LCD = Low carbohydrate diet HCD = High carbohydrate diet 

The human Mitochondria are tiny little organelles that are the engines of the cells. They convert calories from food to the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondria can use either carbohydrates/glucose or fatty acids/ketones as energy. Glucose yields 36 ATP molecules, and fat yields 48 ATP molecules inside the mitochondria. So our body and brains get more efficient energy from fat/ketones.

How do you get keto-adapted?

Fat adaptation is the process by which your body has become adapted to burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates/glucose. Since we have lived our entire life using glucose as energy, our mitochondria have lost the ability to efficiently use fat as fuel. That's why we get "hangry" between meals and feel like we need to snack. Your body runs out of glucose and expects to get more. When it doesn't get the expected glucose it sends danger signals to your brain. The addiction to sugar is directly related to the euphoria involved in blood sugar spikes.

That's the key to the Ketogenic diet. You restrict your carbohydrate intake drastically and you trick your body into thinking it's starving. Since you are eating a high-fat diet, your body senses the extra fat and is forced to use it as fuel. Your body always wants to burn glucose before fat, so you keep the glucose low and force it to burn fat. Just like anything, the more you do it, the better your body gets at it. You actually "train" your mitochondria how to burn fat and they become efficient at it. You recalibrate your metabolic machinery. This "fat adaptation" includes robust metabolic and enzymatic adaptations.

Being fat adapted means eating and living in a state where you enjoy the benefits of using fats and ketones as your preferred source of energy. Ketones have been the primary source of fuel for the human species (hunter/gatherer) for the last approximately 2 million years.  Only about 7000  years ago did we start eating grains, and it's only been since about the 1950s that we have adopted such a high refined sugar/carbohydrate processed foods diet.

*When you are increasing your fat intake make sure to eat more good fats and less bad fats. Beware of Lazy Keto.

Why You Need to Get Fat Adapted (Video)

There are very limited studies on the fat adaptation process on human subjects, but in a low carbohydrate environment, after prolonged exercise, a small amount of muscle glycogen synthesis occurs, presumably due to hepatic gluconeogenesis providing a source of glucose for glycogen. Horses supplemented with fat after exercise showed impaired glycogen synthesis, but 3 weeks of a high-fat diet resulted in similar glycogen repletion as horses fed a high-carbohydrate diet. In Mark Sisson's book "The Keto Reset Diet" he talks about resetting your metabolism in 21 days. The specific time course of metabolic "fat adaptations" is variable depending on your initial metabolic health, but at least several weeks (3-6) are necessary to completely transition to optimal fat utilization.

How does being fat adapted benefit you?

When you become fat adapted from consistently eating a ketogenic diet (including intermittent fasting), the body cannot anticipate its next meal. So, instead of breaking down protein to maintain blood glucose, metabolism shifts to conserve blood glucose and to spare protein by increasing fatty acid oxidation and the increased production of ketone bodies.

Here is a very interesting study that shows that restricting carbohydrates can mimic the benefit of actual fasting. So when we Fast and follow a Ketogenic Diet between our fasting period, we can continue reaping some of the benefits even after our fast is complete.

Ketogenic eating in conjunction with intermittent fasting increases the utilization of fatty acids and ketone bodies for fuel and enables the body to maintain blood glucose at 60 to 65 mg/dL (normal 70 to 100 mg/dL) and to save muscle protein.

Low glucose equals low insulin, and in the absence of insulin, mobilization of free fatty acids from adipose tissue (fat) continues to increase. Ketogenesis produces ketone bodies (acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate) and they are metabolized to acetyl-CoA and used for energy production by many tissues (muscle, brain, kidney) Acetone, a ketone formed spontaneously by decomposition of acetoacetate, is what gives you bad breath when you are in ketosis.

Keto-Adapted Diet Plan

The fat adaptation phase of the Ketogenic Diet requires plenty of healthy fats to be eaten to stimulate the body to use that fat as fuel.  Our bodies are very efficient, if all you are giving it is fat, the body will figure out how to convert it into energy (Ketogenesis).

Keto fans on our Ketogenicinfo Facebook Group consistently ask the question: 

How to Speed up Keto Adaptation?

  • Workout in a fasted state
  • Take 1 tablespoon of extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
  • Take 1 tablespoon of MCT oil
  • Eat 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts to break a fast
  • Eat avocados and pasture raised eggs with salt
  • Drink 1 Keto Flu drink (tonic) daily
  • Go on an egg fast
  • Go on a 48 hour fast
  • Drink unsweetened flaxseed milk with chia seeds 


Keto Fat Adapted Signs:

  • Reduction in hunger
  • Improved moods
  • Fewer sugar cravings
  • Stable blood sugar
  • Lower A1C levels
  • Blood pressure returns to normal
  • Blood triglyceride levels are reduced
  • Fasting becomes easier
  • Increased concentration/less brain fog
  • Ability to work-out without pre and post-workout drinks
  • Aerobic exercise (endurance) improves
  • increased fat loss
  • Less muscle loss
  • Swelling  (edema) is reduced

How did this whole Keto thing get started?

A little history:

Most people think of Dr. Robert Atkins as the father of the Ketogenic diet.  In 2002, the commercial success of the Atkins' diet plan led Time Magazine to name the doctor one of the ten most influential people. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't die of a heart attack. Dr. Atkins died on April 17, 2003, at the age of 72. Nine days prior to his death, Atkins fell and hit his head on an icy New York sidewalk. But... there was someone long before Dr. Atkins:

Vilhjalmur Stefansson 
In 1928, arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson professed the virtues of the Ketogenic diet. Of course, they didn't call it the Ketogenic Diet back then. Stefansson had been exposed to the diet after an extended stay in the Mackenzie Delta of the western Arctic in 1906. When a ship carrying his supplies failed to materialize, he instead depended on the hospitality of a local family for food. At first, he struggled with the high fat, low carb diet. “When I got home I would nibble at it and write in my diary what a terrible time I was having,” Stefansson wrote later.

Stefansson gradually became fat-adapted to the boiled, frozen, and fermented fish that he was forced to eat. He primarily ate fish and meat from seals, whale, caribou, and waterfowl, and the short summers offered very few carbohydrates from the limited vegetation available. He found that he and his fellow explorers were very healthy and had plenty of energy on such a diet. He lived in the arctic eating like that for four years! He discovered his body could function perfectly well, remain healthy, vigorous and slender. He ate only as much food as his body needed and never felt hungry.

When Stefansson returned to the USA there was widespread skepticism when he reported his findings of the virtues of high fat, mostly meat diet. At the request of researchers, Stefansson was asked to eat meat only as an experiment. There were no deficiency problems during the experiment and he remained perfectly healthy. He ate an average of almost eighty percent of his energy from animal fat and almost twenty percent from protein. His daily intake varied from 100-140 grams of protein, 200-300 grams of fat, and 7-12 grams of carbohydrates. Over the years, this research was largely ignored.

Looking for more information on keto-adaptation?

Here are some keto diet for beginners instructions and a fat adapted diet plan

Robert N. Bryant

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ketogenic Eating Starter Kit

So you want to start the Ketogenic Diet but you don't know where to start? 

You've come to the right place:

After you clean out your cupboards and throw out all your sweets, bread, crackers, cookies, cakes, rice, noodles, pasta, potatoes, chips, corn, and flour you'll have to go buy some real food.

Most of this stuff you can get at your local mom and pop grocery store, but some of it needs to be located at specialty food stores like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Trader Joe's or another organic/health food store.

If you can afford it, and if you can find it, try to find food that is naturally raised. Organic is always better than inorganic and animals that are raised in their natural state are going to be healthier than an animal raised in over-populated confinements. In those confinements, the chickens, hogs, cows, and beef are raised without sun exposure and are fed unhealthy grains like corn. In some cases, for example, chickens are fed a sugar/syrup solution. Those animals are also given growth hormones in order for them to grow faster and then given antibiotics when they get sick.

So look for organic, pasture-raised or grass-fed beef, butter, and free range chicken and eggs. I get it, this stuff is expensive and most people can't afford all these pasture raised, organic foods. Don't let that stop you from eating a healthy Ketogenic diet though. Get what you can afford. A hot dog is still more healthy than a honey bun.

Ketogenic foods

Here are a few things to look for you while shopping:

1. Beef, eggs, pork, cheese, olives, cream cheese, avocados, pickles, bacon.

 2. Frozen vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower rice or florets (for pizza crust), olive oil, avocado oil, heavy whipping cream, lettuce (for salads).

3.  Frozen or fresh chicken wings and thighs, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, low sugar pizza sauce, pizza toppings of choice.

4. Almond flour, coconut flour, pecans, macadamia nuts, cabbage, spinach (green leafy vegetables), kimchi, sauerkraut, tuna. Especially spinach and dandelion greens. Spinach is high in potassium and magnesium and dandelion greens are loaded with prebiotic fiber that can prevent keto-constipation that sometimes occurs on the Ketogenic diet.

5. Sardines, sausage, lunch meat, fish (salmon), *sugar substitute, cucumbers, avocado mayonnaise, sugar-free salad dressing (Primal Kitchen).

6. Apple cider vinegar helps control cravings, improves insulin sensitivity and can even prevent Keto heartburn. A squeeze of lemon, a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt in a cup of filtered water is a great way to stop cravings for sweets and help prevent the Keto Flu.

How to Get Started on Keto (video)

Sugar substitute: You'll have to taste a few and find the one that you like the best. Some common sugar substitutes are stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, Xylitol. My favorite for taste is Xylitol. Personally, I don't like stevia and monk fruit because it has an aftertaste, erythritol and xylitol are sugar alcohols and they give some people an upset stomach. Beware though all sugar substitutes will break a fast. Xylitol is not calorie-free, it has 2.4 calories per gram.  However, Xylitol’s glycemic index is only 7, compared to table sugar (sucrose) which is between 60–70.

The ones to stay away from are aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose (Splenda).  They are artificial, man-made chemicals and have been reported to damage intestinal probiotic bacteria (flora). Just remember artificial sweeteners, while they don't raise blood sugar, still cause an insulin response. Insulin is what the Ketogenic Diet is trying to keep low, so eating artificial sweeteners can at times be counterproductive. Eat artificial sweeteners in moderation.

Keto Groceries

Now I am going to give you a few of my favorite delicious Keto meals.

Tuscan butter salmon. You can switch the salmon for almost any meat, like pork chops or chicken.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza. This is a must. It's a little bit of work to make the crust, but it's amazing.

Egg Roll in a Bowl. If you like egg rolls you will like this and it's fast, cheap and easy.

Avocado deviled eggs. You can switch the regular mayonnaise out with olive oil or avocado based mayonnaise if you would like.

Non-breaded chicken wings or thighs with:
Bacon wrapped asparagus or Keto bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers.

Keto Cheesecake: I would use xylitol or erythritol as the sweetener, but that's just a matter of taste. Caution, this cheesecake is addictive.

Snacks: cheese, green olives, and pecans or walnuts. Pickle wraps are one of my favorites. Use small dill pickles, spread cream cheese on your lunch meat of choice, lay the pickles on the lunchmeat and roll it up. You can cut them up into pieces if you would like.

Make sure you keep your gut microbiome healthy by eating probiotics. Fermented foods like milk kefir and beet kvass are excellent choices.

Robert N. Bryant

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Top 5 Keto Superfoods

Keto Dieters Often Ask: What can I eat on Keto?

My Top 5 Keto Superfoods

When sitting down and writing your first keto food grocery list, you have to consider these top 5 keto superfoods.
Beef Liver: It has abundant protein and is a nutrient dense powerhouse with bioavailable B-complex vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat. If you can find it, look for organic, grass fed/pasture raised beef liver.  Liver also contains folic acid, iron, chromium, copper, zinc and Co-enzyme Q10. It is particularly beneficial for its bioavailable iron and increasing hemoglobin level in the blood. Women during their menstrual cycle often become low in iron. Dr. Benjamin Bikman was once asked in an interview if he had to choose just one food to eat if he was stranded on a deserted island and he said beef liver.

Beef Liver
Asparagus: Has loads of fiber and prebiotics, potassium, and is a rich source of glutathione which is the master antioxidant. The average serving size is 6 spears or 1 cup, and it has only about 5 grams of carbohydrates. Foods that do not have any carbohydrate in them, or are very low, cannot be tested and be given a glycemic index score, so asparagus has a glycemic index of 0. Asparagus also has 2.5 percent of the prebiotics Inulin and oligofructose and can prevent constipation on the Ketogenic Diet.

Asparagus is perfect for eating a low carbohydrate diet. Wrap 3 or 4 asparagus spears in bacon and put them in the oven or better yet, on your smoker, and you have a wonderful low carb meal.

Avocados: High in healthy, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and more potassium than a banana. I wrote an entire blog post on the Ketogenic Avocado that can be read here>

Salmon: Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Salmon is one of the best sources of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, Protein, B Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium,  and contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin.  The best is the king or chinook salmon, it is prized for its high-fat content (omega-3s) and creamy rich flavor. Sockeye is much easier to find, you know it's sockeye when you see a deep-red flesh. Salmon are fantastic sources of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain development, which they get from eating phytoplankton. DHA is stored in salmon’s fat, and a 4-ounce serving of salmon provides 2,400 mg omega-3s. Look for wild-caught salmon, many "farms raised" are grown in crowded pens where they are treated with antibiotics and can be infected with parasites.

Grass-fed, whole milk Kefir might be the most nutritious food on planet earth! Here is a detailed video on how to make Keto Kefir!

Milk Keto Kefir: Made (fermented) with grass-fed, whole milk. Kefir has 14 times more probiotics strains in it than yogurt and is loaded full of vitamin A and D, K2, CLA, calcium, protein and has acetic acid, which is the acid that makes apple cider vinegar so healthful. During fermentation, the culture eats most of the lactose, so it's fairly low in carbohydrates. An international Nobel prize-winning researcher, Elie Metchnikoff (1908) found that kefir activates the flow of saliva, probably due to its lactic acid content and its slight carbonation.

Kefir stimulates peristalsis (pushing food thru the colon) and digestive juices in the intestinal tract. It is also highly effective in restoring the intestinal flora of people who have recently used antibiotics. Kefir is predigested due to the fermentation process which makes itself tolerable to those people with lactose intolerances. Probiotics like Kefir can have a therapeutic effect on your entire digestive and immune system.

Kefir grains
The story of kefir is based on a 2,000-year history and mentioned by Marco Polo. The history of Kefir revolves around the Caucasus mountain region, the people there are famed for their extraordinary longevity and many accredit this to their regular consumption of kefir. Hospitals in the former USSR used kefir to treat conditions ranging from atherosclerosis, allergic disease, metabolic and digestive disorders, tuberculosis, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders.

You can buy them on Amazon here. Be advised there are two different kinds. There are cultures and grains. The cultures only last for a limited time, but the grains can last forever.

Robert N. Bryant

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Are Processed Foods Killing You?

Is Sugar Toxic?

Almost all my articles end up leading back to discussing insulin. The level of insulin in your body has a direct correlation to your long term health. Dr. Ron Rosedale, MD, explains, “Cells become insulin resistant because they are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin.” Elevated insulin levels over an extended period of time are primarily responsible for diabetes and prediabetes. 65% of adults over 45 have either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

So what is causing these massive insulin spikes in the American population? High carbohydrate processed food with refined sugars are the leading culprit.

The increase in metabolic diseases like diabetes directly correlates to a rise in starch and sugar consumption in our diet. Today, Americans consume on average 29% more grains and bread than they did in 1970, that's about 122 more pounds a year. We now eat about 57 pounds of extra sugar a year! In 1970 we only ate on average 23 pounds of sugar a year. Here's a shocker, in the year 1700 average Britain and American ate only between 2 and 4 pounds of sugar a year!

Even more dangerous than table sugar (sucrose) is high fructose corn syrup. The fructose from high fructose corn syrup needs to be converted to fat or glycogen by the liver before it can be used as fuel. If there is too much, the fat gets stored in the liver and contributes to fatty liver disease. It is estimated that between 80 to 100 million Americans have fatty liver disease. By the year 2020, it is estimated to become the leading cause for liver transplants, even causing more transplants than hepatitis C. It's also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). With NAFLD, Alcohol doesn't destroy your liver, fat does and it's not because of fat, it's because of sugar.

How to Cure a Fatty Liver (video)

And it's not just the sugar you add or drink. Researchers from the University of North Carolina conducted a detailed survey of processed foods and drinks in American grocery stores and found that 60 percent of them contained added sugar of some sort. A lot of the foods that we consider healthy are really very unhealthy because of the high sugar content. For example skim milk, yogurt, granola, and banana. Yes, one single banana has 27 grams of fructose carbohydrates. Remember Sugar is Sugar is Sugar. The digestive tract digests all sources of carbohydrates into simple sugars called monosaccharides. “Your body has no idea if it came from table sugar, honey, or agave nectar. It simply sees monosaccharide sugar molecules,” explains Amy Goodson, MS, RD.

Here is a timeline of how the American diet has changed over just a few years.

In 1992 cancer rates climbed to 510 new cases for every 100,000 people in the U.S.

In 1997 an estimated 19.4% of U.S. adults were categorized as medically obese and in 2004 the percentage climbed to 24.5 %.

In 2005 Americans ate about 100 pounds of added sugars each year, up from about 40 pounds in 1900.

According to, there was a 1,000 % increase in the consumption of high fructose corn syrup between 1970 and 1990.

In 2008 the obesity rate for adult Americans was 32.2% of men and 35.5% of women.

By the year 2050, it’s estimated there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, costs associated with dementia could be as much as $1.1 trillion and 1 out of 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s. There was an 89% increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between the year 2000 and 2014. Insulin resistance has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and some are calling Alzheimer's type 3 diabetes. You can read the study here>

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the years between 2008 and 2016, the obesity rates rose sharply from 34% to 39% in adults. Even more troubling is with our children. Youth obesity rates went up significantly. Between the years 2000 and 2016 the childhood obesity rates went from 13.9% to 18.5%. Any parents out there reading this? Children are not exempt from insulin resistance and diabetes and feeding children excess sugar early in life can absolutely contribute to them developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome later in life.

So let's recap: Carbohydrates are broken down into Sugar/glucose and cause insulin to rise in the body. Excess sugar and insulin over time contribute to fat storage and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance contributes and has been linked to a whole host of metabolic diseases like Diabetes, fatty liver (NAFLD), Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Cancer and even Alzheimer's disease. A food product labeled "low fat" does not necessarily mean it is a healthy food choice.

Robert N. Bryant

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Introducing Sugar (where is it hiding?)

There is a current trend in America to reduce sugar consumption. 

BUT......Did you know you are eating way more sugar than you think you are?

Yep, food manufacturers are putting it in everything (hidden sugars). Sugar is in things that we don't usually expect to find it in like yogurt, peanut butter, granola, barbecue sauce, fruit cups, apple sauce, ketchup, salad dressing, chocolate milk, instant oatmeal, dried fruit, soy milk, bottled tea, beef jerky, tomato sauce, and protein/energy bars.

The US population on average is consuming approximately 15 teaspoons (60 grams) of added sugar per day. Alarmingly, we are consuming between 10 and 25% or more of our total daily calories from added hidden sugar.

Children are even getting fatty liver disease now. This recent study showed children drastically lowered the amount of fat and inflammation in their livers by cutting soda pop, fruit juices and other foods with added sugars from their diets.

If they know it's unhealthy, why does the food industry put so much sugar in everything?

Because they want to make money by selling their products and they know that sugar is addictive. The food industry hires hundreds of chemists, physicists, and neuroscientists to make sure you grab that granola bar or extra cookie. For this article, I will call them "sugar scientists." They even have their own language when they are evaluating their sugary concoctions. They talk about "mouth feel"  and "maximum bite force," "sensory-specific satiety," (which is how fast a snack loses its appeal as it's being consumed).

The bliss point:

The food industry uses a phrase called the bliss point. Every sugary snack has to meet the "bliss point" criteria to make it from the laboratory to the grocery store.  The sugar scientists' experiment with their formulas until they hit the perfect ratio of just enough sugar to make people want more, but not too much to make people think it's too sweet. That is called the bliss point.

I think it's important to understand that sugar is not helpful for good, long term health. Sugar in any form will raise blood sugar and cause a massive spike in insulin. Sugar is sugar is sugar, however, you name it. Lactose (milk) and fructose (fruit) are just as dangerous as table sugar (sucrose). They all raise your insulin. Food manufacturers try to sneak sugar into everything they can. They call it different things to confuse the consumer. There are about 56 different names for sugar and 68% of all barcoded food sold in the US has added sweeteners.

Don't fall for the labeling on the package that says "natural" or "healthy" or "low fat".  Obviously, anything called sugar, sucrose, glucose, fructose, anything that says syrup, juice or crystals, molasses, caramel, maple syrup, sucanat, barley malt, dextrin, dextrose, ethyl maltol, lactose, maltose, agave nectar, maltodextrin. Natural agave sugar or organic honey is no better than table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Sugar alternatives, while they might not raise your blood sugars, will still cause an insulin spike. It's like your body tastes sweetness so it releases insulin in preparation for the sugar it thinks it's getting. In this study on artificial sweeteners, participants that took sucralose (Splenda) showed a 20% increase in insulin secretion. Even though they are calorie free, artificial sweeteners react with receptors on the tongue that make people think they are consuming something sweet. Research has even shown that the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas are capable of detecting sweet foods and drinks and respond by releasing hormones, such as insulin. Artificial sweeteners can adversely affect metabolism even in small amounts.

Scientists have also found that artificial sweeteners damage the beneficial bacteria in the stomach. Natural sweeteners like Stevia and Monk are probably the healthiest, but some think they have an odd aftertaste. I personally use Xylitol, it's a sugar alcohol with a very low glycemic index. Yes, I know it causes an insulin spike, but I have had success using it and it's about the closest tasting to real sugar that I have found. The only downsides are it can cause slight digestive problems in some people.

Also, Xylitol's sweetness level is about equal to real sugar, so in recipes, you can swap it out in an equal 1:1 ratio. Xylitol contains just 3 calories per gram and 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon. But, all the carbohydrates from sugar alcohols aren't fully digested.

As a comparison, glucose has a glycemic and insulin index of 100 each.

Here is a list of sugar alcohols and their glycemic and insulin index values:

  • Erythritol: Glycemic index 0, insulin index 2
  • Isomalt: Glycemic index 9, insulin index 6
  • Maltitol: Glycemic index 35, insulin index 27
  • Sorbitol: Glycemic index 9, insulin index 11
  • Xylitol: Glycemic index 13, insulin index 11

Curious about how healthy fruit sugar (fructose) is?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Constipation on the Ketogenic Diet

How Can We Prevent Constipation on the Ketogenic Diet?

By creating a hospitable environment in the gut for your host microbiota by eliminating toxicity. Microbiota toxins are antibiotics, alcohol, anti-inflammatory drugs, excess sugar, and artificial sweeteners. To prevent Keto Constipation you must also introduce the correct ratio of vitamins, minerals, water, prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber. 

Improving digestion is dependent on healthy intestinal microbiota.

I get this question quite often and I have even experienced the constipation problem myself when I started on the Ketogenic Diet. The first thing we have to understand is that our bodies are different now, we fuel it differently and we don't put as much junk into it. So we just aren't creating as much waste as before and probably won't have as frequent of bowel movements as what we are used to.

There are some things that you can eat that will get things moving in your colon a little faster, however. Basically, there are three external things we can consume to make our entire digestive system more efficient. Soluble and insoluble fiber, prebiotic fiber and probiotic bacteria. Fiber helps to provide bulk and the probiotic beneficial bacteria feed on the prebiotic fiber which together helps digest the food we eat. When you sit down and come up with your Keto Diet Grocery list make sure to include plenty of green leafy vegetables and asparagus.


It's a lot more complicated than that and scientist are still discovering new ways the stomach, through its gut bacteria, signal the body and mind. Healthy gut bacteria has positively been linked to a strong immune system. When an infant is born he/she does not have a built up immune system and hasn't developed the proper gut bacteria. That's one of the reason breastfeeding is so beneficial, the mother passes beneficial bacteria to the infant through her breast milk, which strengthens the infants' immune system. Beneficial bacteria can even inhibit harmful bacteria.

How To Prevent Keto Constipation (Video)

So how does all that keep us from being constipated? 

We have to work to keep our gut bacteria healthy and strong. Antibiotics kill all our gut bacteria, so after a round of antibiotics, we have to jump-start our gut bacteria again. Kind of like a starter culture when we ferment kimchi or sauerkraut.

The best way to jump-start and maintain our beneficial gut bacteria is through the consumption of milk kefir. I drink it on an almost daily basis and it's one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I recommend using organic, grass-fed, whole milk to grow the culture. They call the culture "grains" and you can get them from a friend or buy them off Amazon. I am going to write a complete article on making Kefir soon so check back.

The (culture) grains consume most of the lactose and make it Keto friendly. After about 24 hours of fermentation, the milk turns into a tart, creamy delicious drink, kind of like liquid yogurt. Each batch varies, but Kefir has about 6-8 grams of carbohydrates, 6-8 grams of protein and 12-15 grams of fat. Calcium, Vitamin D, K2, B complex vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, bioactive compounds, digestive enzymes, organic acids, and peptides. The organic acids are similar to what makes apple cider vinegar so healthy.

How to Make Milk Kefir (Video)

But the star of the show is the symbiotic culture of bacteria or better known as probiotics. Kefir has 61 different strains of bacteria, far more than any other fermented dairy product. As a comparison yogurt has between 4 and 6 different strains of bacteria. It also contains a probiotic called Lactobacillus kefir, which is only found in kefir. This unique probiotic has been shown to inhibit bacteria including salmonella, Helicobacter and E. coli. Kefir is regarded as one of the most healthy foods on the planet.

The cure for constipation on the Ketogenic Diet is Prebiotics: Inulin and oligofructose to the rescue!

Inulin is an oligosaccharide and a noncaloric carbohydrate that is found in a variety of other carbohydrates called fructans. The beneficial bacteria need some food to eat while it's in your stomach. That's where prebiotics like inulin comes in. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that feed the microbiota of the large intestine. Both inulin and oligofructose have been shown to be the most powerful prebiotics. Oligofructose and inulin, from chicory root, have been shown to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Not only will inulin help keep you regular by ensuring your stomach bacteria remain healthy, but this study shows that inulin/oligofructose and the subsequent fermentation process reduces the risks for colon cancer.

Here is another amazing study that shows that inulin reduces inflammatory markers and improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.

Here is another promising study that shows inulin improves lipid metabolismcan reduce triglycerides and lower very low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).

Here is an example of supplemental inulin you can get on Amazon.

Inulin and oligofructose

The best foods with Inulin and oligofructose are asparagus, chicory root, garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke, and dandelion greens.  Most green leafy vegetables have some combination of Inulin and Oligofructose (prebiotics) in them.

Here is a list of some Keto approved foods and their percent of inulin* and oligofructose** content:

1. Chicory root: 41.6* and 22.9**
2. Jerusalem artichoke: 18* and 13.5**
3. Garlic (raw): 12.5* and 5*
4. Asparagus (cooked): 2.5* and 2.5**
5. Dandelion greens (cooked): 9.1* and 7.3**
6. Onions (raw): 4.3* and 4.3**
7. Leeks (raw): 6.5* and 5.2**

*Source: Presence of Inulin and Oligofructose in the Diets of Americans.

Taking citrus pectin will also help prevent keto constipation. 

Apple and orange pectin (oligosaccharides) are derived from the peels of apples and oranges. Their fiber cannot be absorbed by the body, therefore, are calorie free.  Also, pectin seems to protect probiotics from gastric acids and pancreatic juices.

Additionally, prebiotic pectins protect and feed your intestinal microbiota and have antioxidant and anticancer abilities. How ironic, the most healthy part of the fruit is in the skin.

Add probiotics to your diet to heal the gut and improve Keto Digestion

fermented kimchi
Fermented Probiotic Kimchi

The best source for probiotics is kefir (milk, coconut, water), greek yogurt, cheese (blue, gouda and brie) and sour cream. Fermented foods are also a great source of probiotics. You can ferment almost any vegetable. Kimchi, sauerkraut, cucumbers (pickles) are the most popular, but Beet Kvass is my favorite.

If you have never tried beet Kvass you are really missing out. It's easy to make yourself at home. Here are instructions on how to make beet Kvass. If you let the beets ferment long enough the culture eats most of the sugar, similar to milk Kefir and the lactose consumption. Kombucha also has probiotics, but it's usually too high in sugar to be Keto approved.

How to make Beet Kvass (video)

And then there is fiber:

Bring on the bulk. You will get most of your bulk-forming fiber by simply eating vegetables, but I have found a few tricks that work to increase the fiber and help with bowel regularity. I mix about a tablespoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in a cup of unsweetened, plain, flax or macadamia nut milk. Stir it up, let it sit, stir it up again, wait for it. You get the idea, the chia seeds will eventually absorb the liquid and thicken up into a gel. You can even mix a bunch up with coconut milk and coconut oil and let it sit and it will almost turn into a pudding that you have to eat with a spoon.  Another supplement you can take is psyllium husk powder capsules. It's the same thing as Metamucil, but Metamucil has to much sugar in it, so look for the plain capsules. Walmart has a generic brand that's very inexpensive.

Magnesium Citrate helps with Keto Constipation.

Another helpful tool is the electrolyte magnesium citrate. The recommended minimum daily intake of magnesium is only 327 mg a day. The latest government study shows that 68% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, it plays a role in proper nerve and muscle function and blood sugar regulation. A recent study shows that adults that don't consume the recommended amount of magnesium are 1.48 and 1.75 times more likely to have elevated inflammation markers as defined by the C-reactive protein test. Inflammation in the arteries is far more responsible for cardiovascular disease than elevated cholesterol. Magnesium citrate works to ease constipation by pulling water into the intestines. This water combines with the dry feces and makes it smoother to pass. Nutrients and medications that work in that way are called osmotic laxatives.

Magnesium citrate is very effective against constipation because it's the most bioavailable form of magnesium. This study found on PubMed, compared the bioavailability of three common magnesium preparations (amino-acid chelate, citrate, and oxide). After 60 days the citrate group showed the greatest (P = 0.027) mean salivary magnesium concentration.

Not to give all the publicity to magnesium citrate, but electrolytes in general help with regularity. Sodium (salt), potassium and chloride also play a role. So don't be afraid of adding extra salt to your food and eat vegetables for your electrolytes. Supplementing your diet with magnesium citrate might be helpful.

So there you have it, be patient and eventually, you'll get used to your new bowel movement routine, but feeding your gut properly with fiber, prebiotics and probiotics will give you multiple benefits even more important than regularity.

See also how to improve keto digestion.

Ever heard of the Keto Flu? Here are 5 ways to prevent the Keto Flu>>

Robert N. Bryant

Friday, January 11, 2019

An Interview with Keto Connect

Introducing Matt and Megha

They are not doctors, professors or scientists, but Megha and Matt of Keto Connect have found a way to connect with the average Ketogenic community on an amazing scale.  Last I checked they had almost 585,000 subscribers on Youtube. They also have four published books and as of this writing, their “Keto Made Easy” book is ranked #16 on the Amazon best sellers list.

I think what makes them so special is the natural, relaxed way they explain the Ketogenic lifestyle in terms that the average Joe can relate with. They don’t have the most expensive backdrop for their videos, they are usually shot in a casual fashion with them relaxing on the couch or cooking in their kitchen. Sometimes you see their cute pets Julius (dog) and Miley (cat) popping in and out of their videos.

They understand the average person and customize their content for people that are on a budget and for people that want to enjoy life a little, but still eat low carb. Their “Fat Bomb Bible” book has given me recipes for some delightful snacks. Their keto cheesecake and cauliflower crust pizza are two of my favorites.

I also really enjoy their “shopping on a budget” series. It’s always challenging to shop for ketogenic friendly groceries and they help you find stuff on a budget.

Their recent video debunking Jillian Michaels’ anti-keto video was epic. They systematically and logically touched on all of her points and destroyed her, they laid out just how wrong she was. Unlike Miss Michaels, Matt provided scientific studies to debunk her negative comments. They kind of touched on a point at the end that someone paid her off to discredit the Ketogenic Diet. Was the sugar, grain or pharmaceutical industry behind it?

You could tell Miss Michaels clearly hadn’t done her research because some of her points were beyond silly and just inaccurate. It almost seemed like Miss Michaels just Googled the Ketogenic Diet and started making stuff up.  As an example, Matt and Megha brought up the point that Miss Michaels claimed that the Ketogenic diet reduced autophagy. Huh? That is beyond ridiculous because intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet is the only diet that actually stimulates autophagy.

So kudos to Ketoconnect for exposing Jillian Michaels as the fraud that she is. It is uninformed, so-called "experts" like Jillian Michaels that are responsible for spreading so many false rumors about the Ketogenic diet.

Keto Connect didn’t solicit me to write this glowing review and they certainly didn’t pay me or anything. I just wanted to highlight their success story. I love the stories about small peeps starting with nothing and through hard work, rising to the top of their chosen field. Since they have almost half a million subscribers on Youtube, anyone reading this has probably already connected with them, but if not, give them a gander. They have greatly helped me with my Ketogenic Journey.

Here are the transcripts to the interview I conducted with Matt and Megha of KetoConnect:

1. How and where did you two meet? 

We met in San Francisco through an online dating app called OkCupid.

2. How and why did you get started on Keto and how long have you been eating a Ketogenic Diet?

We have been on a ketogenic diet for 4 years and we first got started after Matt saw That Sugar Film. He found out about the diet on Reddit and we decided to give it a try! We had both always been very health conscious (or so we thought) and tried several different diets to find what made us feel best, but cutting out all sugar was never really a thought to us, until we found keto. After going through the dreaded keto flu we came out on the other side feeling great - more energy throughout the day, less snacking overall and better moods so we had to reason to stop.

3. Both of you look to have a normal body weight, so why are doing Keto and have either of you ever been obese? 

Prior to starting keto we were both more likely considered underweight. Diets have never been about weight loss for us, but more so about finding a way of eating that is sustainable, enjoyable and makes us feel good. We were always looking to improve our health and keto gave us that. I think a lot of people come to realize after starting a keto diet that not everything is about weight loss or looking good in a bathing suit, but that becoming healthier and feeling good day to day takes priority. 

4. What experts do you follow to gain scientific knowledge about the Ketogenic diet? 

We love following Mike Mutzel on YouTube. He interviews all the low carb/keto experts and puts those interviews up on his channel for free, and he is also a wealth of knowledge so any questions we have regarding health we always through at him. In regards to experts/researchers we have learned a lot from, Dave Feldman who has done a lot of research on cholesterol, Ben Bikman who has great info on protein on a keto diet, and Sarah Hallberg from Virta Health who did a one year study showing the reversal of type 2 diabetes using a keto diet. The list obviously goes on, but those are just a couple that come to mind. Hopefully, we will see more research on low carb/keto diets come to surface.

5. What does your family's think about you eating a Ketogenic Diet? 

Neither of our families plan on going keto anytime soon, but they don't fight us on it ever or make comments anymore about what we don't eat certain foods. After 4 years of living this way I think they now understand our eating style and they do their best to accommodate it when we visit.

6. Keto is very popular now, Do you think the Ketogenic diet will remain popular long term or will it fade away like the Adkins diet did? 

The keto diet won't always be as popular as it is now with all the news and media coverage, but it will always be a great option and something people seek out for weight loss and bettering their health. There is a lot of science and people backing this way of eating, which to us means it will always have its place!

7. What special projects are you working on now for the future,  so your fans can know what to look out for? 

We are currently working on our second cookbook that should be out in the coming months, and we have a couple other projects we are working on in the background we can't share too much on at the moment. We love continuing to create content for our food blog and youtube channel and engage with our audience! You can always get a hold of us on Instagram Live at 9am EST which we do every day or shoot us an email at

Thanks for the interview Keto Connect!

Robert Bryant

Monday, January 7, 2019

5 Ways to Prevent the Keto Flu

What is Keto Flu?

The Keto flu is not really the "flu", but a combination of metabolic conditions that can make one feel uncomfortable or drained in the beginning phase of a ketogenic diet. It is due to the adaptation of the body as it is being forced to switch fuel sources from carbohydrates and glucose to fat and ketones.

It is also caused by the flushing of glycogen and electrolytes from muscle cells.

There is also the theory that some people have withdrawals due to the elimination of sugar from their diet (sugar addiction).

Not everyone gets the “Keto flu,” but those that do report some of the following symptoms: Difficulty sleeping, constipation, digestive issues, fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, irritability, lethargy, and lack of focus, nausea, drowsiness, sugar cravings, cramps, dizziness, and lightheartedness.

*Instruction on how to make a healing Keto Flu drink (tonic) listed below.

There is a combination of causes for the Keto Flu.

Sugar and carbohydrate addiction from years of eating refined carbs and especially sugar can become very addictive and can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Just like a drug abuser that can't get any drugs, the sugar addict feels ill. Here is an interesting study that shows sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

The other likely cause is metabolic inflexibility. Your body has not adapted to using fat as energy and has not yet become efficient at it. Your mitochondria, liver, and gallbladder haven't developed the ability to convert all that fat to energy yet. Your body needs time to "learn" how to do it. You have burned glucose for energy your entire life and now, all of a sudden, you are trying to make it burn fat as energy. It's going to take some time and patience for that to happen.

Eating a ketogenic diet can force your body to start burning fat and the fat adaptation process can take approximately 3 to 4 weeks. Expect to feel drained with a lack of energy until you become fat adapted.

The biggest reason for the Keto flu though is the flushing of the electrolytes out of our cells. One of the first outcomes of the ketogenic diet is the release of excess water weight. You are probably retaining a lot of excess water weight and you can expect an approximate 10-pound weight loss in the first 10-14 days due to the ketogenic diuretic effect. When I started Keto my fingers, face and ankles lost their swelling almost immediately.

When we are consuming a high carbohydrate diet, our body stores lots of glycogen. Glycogen is a form of sugar that is stored in our muscles and liver to use as energy. With every gram of glycogen, the body stores approximately 3 grams of water. When restricting carbohydrates while on the ketogenic diet, our glycogen stores progressively deplete and at the same time flush the excess stored water. As we lose this water, we also lose electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

This ketogenic fat burning effect can also improve the conditions of a fatty liver.

A low glucose environment also means a low insulin environment and remember insulin is the master storage hormone. So we also lose water due to a reduction in insulin levels. Higher insulin levels stimulate our kidneys to retain sodium (salt), so when our insulin levels drop, the stored sodium is excreted. We lose even more water as we excrete our electrolytes through urination. Also, if we are sweating we lose even more electrolytes through our sweat glands.

How to Prevent Keto Flu (Video)

How do you prevent the Keto Flu?

1. Cut the carbohydrates slowly for successful keto.

The first thing to remember is to ease into the ketogenic diet gradually. You don't have to start fasting on the first day and you don't need to go extremely low carb on the second day. Slowly lower your carbohydrate intake over a few days or even weeks. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and gradually reduce other carbohydrates. Flaxseed meal is a good addition to your diet as the fiber makes you feel full and helps with regularity.

Start counting your daily carbohydrate intake. As an example, lower your carbohydrate intake to 150 grams the first week, then 100 grams the 2nd week and then by the start of the 3rd week you can begin full Keto with 30 grams a day. Lack of patience is one of the reasons People are not successful on the Ketogenic Diet. 

Some people suffer from sugar withdrawals. Sugar is a mood altering chemical similar to other addictive drugs. It is commonly referred to as having a "sweet tooth" and is not taken seriously enough. The spike of blood sugar creates a euphoria similar to cocaine and methamphetamine. Some people actually have physical withdrawals from cutting out sugar and that withdrawal can feel like a flu-like symptom. The only "cure" is just abstinence. Over time the addiction will subside.

2. Eat more vegetables and add salt to your food. 

Drink water, add extra salt to your food and eat green leafy vegetables.  World-renowned pro-ketogenic Doctors Phinney and Volek recommend 3-5 grams of sodium per day which averages around 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of salt. Bacon, by the way, has a lot of salt in it.  Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage are all great food choices. The vegetables will help with your keto digestion (prebiotics), give you slow release, low glycemic carbohydrates, and most importantly,  vitamins and minerals.

3. Take extra electrolytes for keto balance.

Take a sugar-free, calorie-free electrolyte supplement.  Take supplemental magnesium citrate. If your potassium levels become to low, you could develop a condition known as hypokalemia.  It can cause fatigue, insomnia, depression, muscle fatigue, and cramping. It can also cause cardiovascular complications such as an abnormal heartbeat. Spinach has 800 mg of potassium per cup and milk kefir has about 400 mg per cup. Eat plenty of avocados and sprinkle some salt on them, avocados are high in potassium. Use cream of tartar, it has 495 mg of potassium in one teaspoon.

Here is a keto flu drink (tonic) to help with the keto flu. 


  • 1 cup of filtered water.
  • 1 serving of sugar-free electrolyte powder.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • 1 serving of magnesium citrate (200-400 mg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt.
  • 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 squirt of lemon juice

*If you develop night cramps, get up and drink some keto drink (tonic). You can keep some in the refrigerator ready to go. 

Keto Tonic Ingredients

4. Work on getting fat adapted before losing weight.

Speaking of fat, make sure you are eating enough fat so you become fat-adapted. 
MCT oil can help with the fat adaptation process. Your body has to adjust to a new fuel source (ketones) and your liver has to heal before you can get fully adapted. The adaptation process can take between 3-6 weeks. Sometimes while you are "adapting" you have flu-like symptoms where you feel drained and exhausted. Don't give up though, it will be worth it in the long run. If you start dragging you can snack on:

  • Olive oil/coconut oil (teaspoon)
  • Bulletproof coffee
  • Macadamia nuts/walnuts
  • Sardines
  • Cheese (hard)
  • Green/black olives
  • Salted pieces of avocados
  • Pumpkin seeds

Nutritional yeast is also a recommended supplement because the extra B vitamins will help with energy metabolism. Additional supplementation of good a B-complex vitamin will help, especially the bioavailable form of B-12 (Methylcobalamin).

The other supplements I recommend are:

  • Fish oil capsules
  • MCT oil
  • Carnitine tartrate
  • CoEnzyme Q10
  • Vitamin E
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Creatine and HMB 
  • Vitamin D
  • Enzymes (lipase and protease)
  • Matcha (green tea)


5. Fix your keto digestive health. 

Constipation and difficult bowel movements can sometimes be associated with Keto flu. You are taking in less waste and energizing your body with a new fuel source,  so you should expect to have less frequent to your bowel movements. In time you will get used to it and adapt as you increase your intake of vegetable, prebiotics, and probiotics. You can read how to improve your Keto Digestion here.

In conclusion, don't let the keto flu scare you away from the Ketogenic Diet. I didn't even get it and many people don't. If you follow the above steps, you probably won't get it and if you do, it will be very mild.

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