The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is everywhere. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ve probably heard of someone who’s doing it -- to improve their health, their energy levels, or their fitness.
The beginner’s guide to keto (with a Body Ecology twist)
The ketogenic diet isn’t just a fad. It has some history behind it. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, the ketogenic diet was used as a treatment for epilepsy.1
Once you understand the basics of the diet and how it affects the internal functions of the body, it’s easy to understand its health benefits.
The ketogenic diet gets its name because it puts your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body burns fat for fuel. Taking lipase and the other powerful digestive enzymes found in Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes can help your body digest fat more efficiently.
Within the past 20 years, ketogenic diets have boomed in popularity in the health and fitness communities for a wide range of reasons. You may have heard of well-known interpretations of the ketogenic diet like the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet, among others.
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Your body already knows that carbs can burn quickly and quite well. When you eat carbs, you'll get a fast and rapid burst of energy. In comparison, fat and protein are utilized by the body more evenly, offering a steadier, slower burn without the carb crash. Reducing carbohydrates on a ketogenic (higher fat) diet also helps to regulate blood sugar; glucose from carbs is no longer being used as the primary source of energy.
In ketosis, your body will:
- Produce ketones for energy when fat is broken down in the liver.2
- Switch its fuel source from fast-burning carbs to slow-burning fat.3
- Tap into fat storages for daily fuel and energy.
The extensive research on the ketogenic diet might be enough to hook you:
- In 2010, Johns Hopkins researchers confirmed the keto phenomenon we saw play out in the 1920s and 1930s. Child and young adult patients treated with a high-fat ketogenic diet were able to effectively control multiple, severe, and even daily seizures without long-lasting side effects.4
- Johns Hopkins researchers also found the ketogenic diet to be a safe and effective option for those with the rarest and severest type of epilepsy in 2017.5
- In 2016, University of Florida researchers found a low-carb, high-fat diet rich in coconut oil to slow the growth of glioblastoma, a highly aggressive brain tumor that is the most common in adults.6
- The ketogenic diet may also promote recovery after serious injury, reverse kidney failure, manage schizophrenia, and relieve gout.7,8,9,10
Since the ketogenic diet hinges on using your body’s fat storages for energy, you might have guessed -- or seen -- that it can trigger weight loss too.
In 2004, 83 obese patients were put on a 24-week ketogenic diet. After the 24 weeks, the patients’ weight and BMI significantly decreased. HDL-cholesterol went up, LDL-cholesterol went down, triglycerides lowered, and blood glucose levels also greatly decreased. For weight loss and the many health benefits that can come with it, research indicates that a long-term keto diet works.3 (As a note: The ketogenic diet is often used alongside intermittent fasting for quick results. Please consult your doctor before starting a new diet or fasting plan.)
The ketogenic diet is what I have been recommending as The Body Ecology Diet for close to 25 years, with a few key differences. The Body Ecology Diet is a system of health and healing. It’s designed to get your gut health and your body's health back on track. On The Body Ecology Diet, you'll eat plenty of veggies -- ideally, 80 percent at each meal -- and you'll also get plenty of your fat from avocados, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil.
"It has been one month, and my son has gone from using five word approximations to using over 50 words with two and three word combinations." - Read more Body Ecology testimonials here.
You’re not keto if you’re not digesting your fat
For those who have been following the recommendations of The Body Ecology Diet, the good news is that you're probably already keto, even if you don't know it. But the ketogenic diet is a naturally high-fat diet, and the success of The Body Ecology Diet hinges on digestion.
To put it simply, if your body isn't digesting the fats you eat, you're not getting the most out of your diet.
Many keto programs recommend specific fat-digesting enzymes to take while on the diet to help your body process the large amounts of fat you’re going to eat. Again, these are the same enzymes that I’ve been recommending for decades on The Body Ecology Diet to form a foundation of healthy digestion and to help your body fully absorb the nutrients in all the foods you eat -- including fat.
For diets like keto and Body Ecology, high in healthy fats and vegetables, giving attention to your digestive system and liver can make all the difference. Try to:
- Take full-spectrum digestive enzymes before or during meals, and as needed. Body Ecology's Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes contain an active 14-enzyme blend to improve the digestion of fats, proteins, and fiber. Supplementing lipase enzymes -- found in this blend -- can help your body to better break down fat, compensating where your pancreas may not produce enough lipase to accommodate a high-fat diet.
- Increase bile flow in the liver to expedite fat digestion. The liver may be your body's unsung hero; it has everything to do with how well you digest. Body Ecology's LivAmend contains a potent blend of four different herbs known to strengthen the liver, stimulate bile flow, and improve elimination. Stimulating bile ensures fats are digested properly and eliminated efficiently. The liver also produces bile to help the body flush its toxins.
Eating more fats and vegetables, on keto or on The Body Ecology Diet, requires specific enzymes in large amounts to help your digestive system break down these nutrients. Without these enzymes, nutrients aren't assimilated completely, and uncomfortable digestive symptoms can occur. Without these enzymes, your body won't be able to use and process the fat, vegetables, and protein you eat and transport them to where they are needed.
The Body Ecology Diet can help to reset your gut and support your body as it heals. Download your what-to-eat cheat sheet.
Ready to go keto? What you can eat on The Body Ecology Diet
Now that your body is equipped to digest fat, you're halfway there. The Body Ecology Diet is, in most ways, already aligned with ketogenic principles. The Body Ecology Diet also has its own set of 7 Principles that can help to guide how you eat to support your health and healing.
If you're going keto and are on The Body Ecology Diet, there are many different foods available to you. Like:
- Eggs and meat. Following The Body Ecology 80/20 Principle, fill your plate with 20 percent meat at each meal, along with 80 percent non-starchy vegetables. Only eat pork on occasion.
- Healthy fats. Keto-friendly fats from avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil are all included in The Body Ecology Diet. But, here’s where The Principle of Uniqueness comes in: High-fat foods may work well for some and not others. I see this most often with fats like coconut oil and butter. Remember, you are the expert on your body. Use digestive enzymes, cleanse your liver, and watch how well you digest fat to see what you can tolerate.
- Fermented foods. Enjoy cultured vegetables, kefir, and probiotic liquids liberally and often.
The importance of using enzymes to digest fat can't be stressed enough, whether you're practicing keto, modified keto, or keto on The Body Ecology Diet. Once you turn 40, enzymes in your body begin to decrease. As you get older, you may find it even harder to digest fats and some other foods. Taking digestive enzymes at each meal can help. With this daily support, you'll be able to break down your food, absorb the nutrients you eat, and minimize gas and bloating -- while reaping all the benefits of a high-fat diet.
By Donna Gates
What To Remember Most About This Article:
The ketogenic diet is popular for a reason. When you go keto, your body goes into a state of ketosis. It starts to burn fat for fuel. Carbs give the body a fast source of energy; proteins and fats burn slow and steady. With a healthy, high-fat diet -- like the ketogenic diet or The Body Ecology Diet -- your body will begin to access its fat storages to use for its daily energy.
A high-fat ketogenic diet may help to:
- Alleviate mental illness
- Control seizures
- Protect against brain tumor growth
- Support healing after injury
- Trigger weight loss
But when you're not digesting your fat, you're not getting all the benefits from your diet. Diets like the ketogenic diet and The Body Ecology Diet are high in healthy fats and vegetables. Taking a daily digestive enzyme can help your body to break down fat; supplementing lipase will allow your body to adjust to a high-fat diet if your pancreas is not producing enough of this enzyme. Supporting the liver with herbs known to stimulate bile can also aid in fat digestion, while improving elimination.
If you're on The Body Ecology Diet, you may not realize that you're probably on the ketogenic diet already. Even better, on The Body Ecology Diet -- where you can enjoy eggs, meat, large amounts of healthy fats, and as much cultured vegetables, kefir, and probiotic liquids as you want -- you'll be fully digesting your fat as you heal your body.
- Bailey EE, Pfeifer HH, Thiele EA. The use of diet in the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Feb;6(1):4-8. Review.
- LaManna JC, Salem N, Puchowicz M, et al. KETONES SUPPRESS BRAIN GLUCOSE CONSUMPTION. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2009;645:301-306. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-85998-9_45.
- Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology. 2004;9(3):200-205.
- Patel A, Pyzik PL, Turner Z, Rubenstein JE, Kossoff EH. Long-term outcomes of children treated with the ketogenic diet in the past. Epilepsia. 2010 Jul;51(7):1277-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02488.x. Epub 2010 Feb 1.
- Mackenzie C. Cervenka, Sara Hocker, Matthew Koenig, Barak Bar, Bobbie Henry-Barron, Eric H. Kossoff, Adam L. Hartman, John C. Probasco, David R. Benavides, Arun Venkatesan, Eliza C. Hagen, Denise Dittrich, Tracy Stern, Batya Radzik, Marie Depew, Filissa M. Caserta, Paul Nyquist, Peter W. Kaplan, Romergryko G. Geocadin. Phase I/II multicenter ketogenic diet study for adult superrefractory status epilepticus. Neurology, 2017; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003690 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003690.
- R. T. Martuscello, V. Vedam-Mai, D. J. McCarthy, M. E. Schmoll, M. A. Jundi, C. D. Louviere, B. G. Griffith, C. L. Skinner, O. Suslov, L. P. Deleyrolle, B. A. Reynolds. A Supplemented High-Fat Low-Carbohydrate Diet for the Treatment of Glioblastoma. Clinical Cancer Research, 2015; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-0916.
- Neuroscience 2009, Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
- Michal M. Poplawski, Jason W. Mastaitis, Fumiko Isoda, Fabrizio Grosjean, Feng Zheng, Charles V. Mobbs. Reversal of Diabetic Nephropathy by a Ketogenic Diet. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420184429.htm2011; 6 (4): e18604 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018604.
- Ann Katrin Kraeuter, Heather Loxton, Bruna Costa Lima, Donna Rudd, Zoltán Sarnyai. Ketogenic diet reverses behavioral abnormalities in an acute NMDA receptor hypofunction model of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 2015; 169 (1-3): 491 DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.10.041.
- Emily L. Goldberg, Jennifer L. Asher, Ryan D. Molony, Albert C. Shaw, Caroline J. Zeiss, Chao Wang, Ludmilla A. Morozova-Roche, Raimund I. Herzog, Akiko Iwasaki, Vishwa Deep Dixit. β-Hydroxybutyrate Deactivates Neutrophil NLRP3 Inflammasome to Relieve Gout Flares. Cell Reports, 2017; 18 (9): 2077 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.004.
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