If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
No shocker here: It turns out that the Military Diet isn’t quite the unique weight loss solution it’s made out to be. “This [diet concept] has been dressed up differently and brought out to dance before,” says Kimberly Gomer, R.D., director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center. In other words, a restrictive three-day plan is nothing new in the health industry.
A computer program such as KetoCalculator may be used to help generate recipes. The meals often have four components: heavy whipping cream, a protein-rich food (typically meat), a fruit or vegetable and a fat such as butter, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Only low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables are allowed, which excludes bananas, potatoes, peas and corn. Suitable fruits are divided into two groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they contain, and vegetables are similarly divided into two groups. Foods within each of these four groups may be freely substituted to allow for variation without needing to recalculate portion sizes. For example, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green beans are all equivalent. Fresh, canned or frozen foods are equivalent, but raw and cooked vegetables differ, and processed foods are an additional complication. Parents are required to be precise when measuring food quantities on an electronic scale accurate to 1 g. The child must eat the whole meal and cannot have extra portions; any snacks must be incorporated into the meal plan. A small amount of MCT oil may be used to help with constipation or to increase ketosis.
Short-term results for the LGIT indicate that at one month approximately half of the patients experience a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency, with overall figures approaching that of the ketogenic diet. The data (coming from one centre's experience with 76 children up to the year 2009) also indicate fewer side effects than the ketogenic diet and that it is better tolerated, with more palatable meals.
Digestion is sneaking its way into the spotlight more and more these days, and for good reason—it does a heck of a lot of work. Think of it like a plumbing system: when food makes its way through your body, the digestive system works to turn calories into fuel you can burn for energy, or uses them to build the body's tissues, says Pines. Along the way, that food is also broken down so your body can absorb important nutrients and eliminate toxins and waste. When digestion is poor—i.e. there's a backup from undigested food or the pipes are leaking due to food sensitivities, the pipes won't work properly. As a result, "vitamins and nutrients aren't sufficiently absorbed, you become tired and bloated, your metabolism slows, and your body hangs onto belly fat." Once again, the fix to your problem relies in good ole' fiber and probiotics. These foods are a great place to start.
You may not think of them as a weight-loss food, but eggs are packed with protein, which helps curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast were able to lose twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels. And egg whites in particular are a good source of branched-chain amino acids, which help keep your metabolism running smoothly.
It is possible to combine the results of several small studies to produce evidence that is stronger than that available from each study alone—a statistical method known as meta-analysis. One of four such analyses, conducted in 2006, looked at 19 studies on a total of 1,084 patients. It concluded that a third achieved an excellent reduction in seizure frequency and half the patients achieved a good reduction.
She also says that cutting certain foods and drinks out of your diet point-blank, like soda, can be difficult. "While I’m no fan of sodas — they’ve have been linked to weight gain, and have no nutritional value — banning them without offering a substitute might backfire because people feel deprived. Deprivation can lead to rebellion and giving up on weight loss." Sticking to the meal plan is the hard part — but if you can do, you will lose a couple of pounds, the professor says. "If you actually follow it... then yes, you’ll certainly lose weight. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds of 'real weight' in 3 days though. If you lose 10 pounds, then most of it is water weight."
Boredom is dangerous and so easily leads to weight gain. While free time gets perceived as relaxing, it actually makes me feel anxious, which can lead to bad eating habits. My busiest days are the ones when I tend to focus less on my food and more on what I need to get done. That's why I always try to fill my schedule with things that make me feel productive—so I don’t find myself rummaging through the pantry for a lack of something to do.