Who Does Best On Keto?

Who Does Best On Keto?

You may have heard the term fat-burner. By consuming limited carbohydrates, the body begins using fat for energy. This is a normal physiological process.  Fat is more satiating so if keto is done properly people tend to need to eat less but feel full. 

What I see often see in clinic is people who don’t eat enough protein.  Keto tends to help with this because you start by tracking your protein intake.  Protein has higher nutrient density than other foods.  It also more satiating for this reason.  When people are low in protein they are also low in essential micronutrients as well. This can cause cravings and a hunger that seems to never end.

Blood Sugar Dysregulation 

Keto is stabilizing stabilizing for blood sugar.  Those with insulin resistance or hyperglycemia can benefit from a ketogenic diet.  Just to be clear, metabolic ketosis is what we are talking about.  Don’t confuse this with ketoacidosis, an acute condition that can occur to diabetes.

Both conditions involve ketone production but the second happens because insulin is unavailable at the cellular level. This dangerous condition produces much higher levels of ketones and is a medical condition that looks much different than metabolic ketosis.  Blood sugar dysregulation is very common.  I see it almost daily in my practice.  

If you have followed my work you’ll know how important blood sugar regulation is for maintaining physiological homeostasis ranging from hormones to brain health.  

Epilepsy & Neurodegenerative Diseases

We have known for a long time that a ketogenic diet has excellent outcomes for certain conditions. Drug resistant epilepsy is one especially when used in children.  The side effects of seizure drugs have some of the worst side effects.  Using diet to avoid long-term use has changed the lives of epilepsy patients. Other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s also show promising results.

Cancer Research

This is an area that requires more research however we’ve know of anecdotal evidence where cancers disappear with extended metabolic ketosis. Interestingly the method used to detect cancer uses a radioactive form of glucose.   This reflects the fact that cancers use more glucose than normal tissues.  

Digestive Disorders

Patients with recalcitrant gastrointestinal issues like SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and IBD (like Crohn’s and Colitis) tend to benefit from a lower starch diet.   In many cases keto or intermittent fasting provides symptom relief so people are doing this intuitively.  Keep in mind that simpler sugars (monosaccharides) are sometimes easier for these people to tolerate.  Fruit is a better source of simple sugar than processed foods which are what some people reach for when they are in pain but require energy.  Energy from fat can be a good solution that is actually helping with recovery from the infection or inflammation. 

Keto 101

Protein is the best place to start.  Most organisms do not overeat protein.  We have a hard-wired cut off point for protein because of how satisfying it is.  If you don’t get enough protein, you’ll try to find nutrient minimums by eating larger amounts of other foods that likely don’t have as good a nutrient profile. 

The next step is to limit carbs to 20-30 grams per day.  There are tools to help you learn how to do this that I go into below.  Once you get started it becomes just a new way of eating.  In the long-term carb cycling can be better for gut health.  This means choosing a day or two a week where you increase carbs. By including some of the resistant starches and prebiotic fibres you replenish the beneficial bacteria. 

The last step is to fill the rest of your energy needs with healthy fats.  For gut health use a variety of fats, not just saturated fats. I’ll talk more about who benefits from “a mediterranean keto diet’ in a follow-up article.  Basically everyone benefits from consuming adequate amounts of EPA/DHA from fish and MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) from olive oil & nuts. 

Understanding Macronutrients

We know humans can thrive on any macro nutrient ratio. There is evidence of populations like the Inuit thriving on a fat-based diet. This is also true of a high protein or a high carbohydrate diet. We are highly adaptable! This is not one-size fits all, meaning any diet needs to be individualized & will change depending on activity levels, stage of life, lifestyle etc. 

I’ve trialed a few different tools for tracking macronutrients. Initially these make it much easier to get a sense of what you are eating. MyFitnessPal is a popular one that many of my patients use.  I prefer Cronometer.  It give you a sense of your micro and macronutrients and is easy to use.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

In the next couple articles I’ll address who should be cautious when trying a ketogenic diet and why electrolytes are so darn important!  

 

 

 

What I Recommend for Birth Control & Fertility

What I Recommend for Birth Control & Fertility

Why I Have Never Used the Pill

The most popular form of birth control in the industrialized world is the pill. Ninety-nine per cent of women have used this synthetic hormonal contraceptive at one time. Despite evidence indicating there are health risks associated with it, one-quarter of women using non-permanent forms of birth control choose the pill. Other options used are the patch, implants, injectables, vaginal rings, condoms and IUD’s. Ten percent use fertility awareness methods. Vasectomies make up 13%.

The pill depletes our healthy gut bacteria and can cause yeast overgrowth or other infections. Dysbiosis in the gut has been linked to migraines, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, psoriasis, depression & even infertility. Often women who have been on the pill for years can have trouble conceiving.

To metabolize hormonal contraceptives, the liver requires extra B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. If your diet is poor & your digestion is inhibited then you won’t have these essential nutrients available to you. Other health issues are likely to arise.

The pill is prescribed commonly for many reasons including fibroids, pain, PCOS, skin issues, PMS and heavy cycles. Its often paired with an anti-depressant for mood issues. Evidence indicates that most women know the pill affects their whole body. One of the main negative side effects is on mood.

I’m part of that 1% who never took the pill. So what have I done instead?

Get to Know Your Cycle

Strengthening your natural menstrual cycle is an excellent way to optimize your health in general. If you want energy, a libido and the ability to get pregnant then track your cycle. Maybe you simply want to enjoy sex without fear of harming your body. I know a master herbalist with teenage daughters who agrees with this approach. We don’t want to suppress the body’s wisdom. We want to get to know it, respect it & work with it.

There are 3 simple ways to know when you ovulate: waking temperature, cervical position and cervical mucus. The last two require that you to be intimate with your body. Learn how to contact your cervix. Notice the monthly discharge that comes with feeling aroused or a sensation in the ovaries which some women experience. Temperature can be charted by technology. I suggest trying all these methods & relying on two.

Tracking Devices

The Lady Comp takes your temperature and tracks your cycle. This device will chart what is happening for your fertility. It lets you know with a simple red, green or yellow light. On the green days you don’t have to worry at all. Our fertile window is about 6 days so the rest of the month will be in the green meaning good to go.

The longer you use it the more data you have. There is a six hour window in the morning to take you temperature but it has to be taken upon waking. Any movement or activity will alter your temperature.

There are many devices and apps available to make tracking temperature easier. This is just one that also offers a fertility aspect.

Fertility and Influencing Gender

If a baby is what you want then you can get the baby version of Lady Comp. It allows you to turn it to the best time to make babies and how to optimize your chance of having a boy or a girl. It can do this b/c male sperm move faster and female sperm last longer.

Risks associated with Contraception

Estrogen dominance, blood clots, osteoporosis and cancers are all associated with long-term use of hormonal contraception. I’m not going to go into detail about this but have a look at this research for more information.

The copper IUD can lead to chronic inflammation and deplete the body of zinc because zinc balances copper. It can also have a negative impact on gall bladder function.

Many of my colleagues agree that this era of birth control use on a massive scale will be looked back on as a very strange time in the history of women’s health.

Get Your Sexual Partner(s) On Board

Thirteen percent of men choose to have a vasectomy. The rest of them can get on board with understanding women’s cycles. The best partner knows his partner’s cycle better than she does. This allows her to relax, feel safe and enjoy herself.

Talk about fertility, family planning and why you do or don’t want a baby. Fertility is an integral part of sexuality. A woman’s ovulatory cycle can be a fun part of your sex life.

Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you.

 

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