4 Simple Tips to Have Success With The Keto Diet
By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS
Contributor: Stephanie Wu
The ketogenic diet (or the keto diet) is all the buzz these days! The idea is that a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet puts your body into a state of ketosis – where your metabolism shifts and your liver produces ketones, as an energy source. The focus is that eating something high in ‘good’ fat, rather than high in carbs, will keep you feeling fuller longer and snacking less.
(You might want to check out our blog Why Am I Gaining Weight on the Ketogenic Diet? for more information on the keto diet!)
Sounds simple, right? Well, you’d be amazed how difficult it can be to stick to a low/no-carb, high protein, high-fat diet for an extended amount of time. Have no fear, here are a few tips to help you along your Keto Diet journey!
1) Go co-co loco for coconut oil!
Coconut oil has lots of good types of fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). The body quickly absorbs these, then sends them to the liver. Here, they are rapidly converted into ketones or used immediately for energy. The process is so efficient, that eating just a spoonful of coconut oil can actually help curb your hunger.
It has also been suggested that the consumption of coconut oil is one of the best ways for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and others with nervous system disorders to increase ketone levels. There is also research that shows that fat sources with MCTs helps us to stay in ketosis longer and with less fluctuation.
What to do: Consider starting with one teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil a day and increase to three tablespoons over the week. The unrefined oil contains more health benefits than the refined version.
2) Test your ketone levels!
Knowing how your body is responding to your diet and any changes is important. Imagine preparing for a track event without knowing any of your times on the course!
Monitoring your ketosis progress is easy using ‘keto sticks’ or glucose/ketone meters that can be found at local drug stores. This will show you how your body is reacting to your dietary changes or if something needs to be changed.
Be aware, though, keto sticks are not always accurate. Your results might show that your ketone count is lower than it actually is. It all depends on how long you have been on the Keto Diet. The longer your body is in ketosis, the more your body is able to utilize ketones for energy and not discard it through the urine…which is what you use to check it with the stick.
How to get around this? Try to measure your ketone levels with a glucose monitor that can measure ketones also. They are a little more expensive, but the results are more accurate.
3) Consider investing in a food scale.
While nutrition fact labels are a diet’s best friend, sometimes interpreting the serving size numbers can be difficult. What in the world does 44 grams of rice look like??
The solution to trying to eyeball amounts and ‘guesstimating’ is to invest in a food scale. This will greatly help you to avoid crossing the line between burning glucose or ketones. In fact, consuming an extra tablespoon of almond butter can be 3 grams of extra carbs that are not part of the keto-diet. This is important because a few extra carbs here and there, may affect the amount of ketosis in your body.
4) Have snacks for on-the-go!
No one likes being on the run and getting the ‘tummy grumbles’. I suggest stocking up or preparing keto-friendly snacks in advance. In this way, when time is of the essence, it’s quick and easy to grab something and go. Here are some keto-friendly snack ideas:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Meat jerky
- Cheese sticks
- Pre-cooked bacon
- Keto Balls
* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.