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Keto Tip: “Light” or “Low-Fat” Products are the Devil!

Keto Tip: “Light” or “Low-Fat” Products are the Devil!

Back in the 80’s when the low fat craze was really starting to take off, we were inundated with low fat or lite products on the store shelves.  Every where you looked, there was low fat yogurt, margarine, lite dressing and anything else you could think of.  And believing that low fat was the way to go, we all started buying these products and put billions into the pockets of these food companies.

Well what happened next?  Oh that’s right.  We all got fatter. And had to be put on blood pressure medicine.  And had to start taking statins.  And rates of cancer increased.  And rates of Alzheimer’s increased.  Clearly something was wrong but it took a little time to figure what that was.  Turns out when you take the fat out of food, it tastes horrible do you have to doctor it up with added sugars and grain fillers to make it palatable.  And what makes you fat?  Oh yeah, it’s sugars and grains.

All those years wasted eating margarine instead of butter and low fat mayo did nothing but make us sicker.  At least now we know what’s going on and can make a better decision at the grocery store.  Avoid low fat or lite foods like the plague and eat the higher fat options with no added sugar.

Choose butter over margarine.  Eat the high fat yogurts and sour creams.  Choose the full fat milk over the 2%.  Make your own dressing or just use oil and vinegar.

Losing weight and getting your health back is made decision by decision and the majority of those decisions are made at the grocery store.  Make good decisions there and half the battle is done!

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Keto Tip: Eat More Salt on a Ketogenic Diet!

Keto Tip: Eat More Salt on a Ketogenic Diet!

You've been told all of your life to eat LESS salt. Well, if you're on a Ketogenic Diet the opposite is true and here's why.

I said last week that most issues with the Ketogenic Diet can be fixed by doing one of three things; drink more water, eat more salt, or eat more fat.  Last week we talked about water, now let’s talk about salt.

Of all the things that were difficult for me to start to do once I started eating on a Ketogenic diet, it was probably upping my salt intake that really messed with me the most.  All my life I have had high blood pressure and of course, the first thing the Docs tell you to do is cut your salt intake.  You may have heard of the DASH diet that consists primarily of veggies, lean protein, low fat dairy, fruits and whole grains and no added sodium.  Well guess what that diet also happens to be low in?  That’s right, our old friend sugar.  And according to a 2010 University of Louisiana study, reducing your dietary sugar has a much bigger impact on your BP than added salt.

Why is that?  Here are 3 reasons.

Hydrophilic Effects of Sugar

One reason is that sugar is hydrophilic, in other words it tends to absorb water.  So if you have high levels of blood sugar it will tend to absorb water creating a larger volume of fluid in your veins and arteries.  This increased volume raises blood pressure.

Insulin Resistance Blocks Magnesium

Insulin helps your body store magnesium but if you are insulin resistant (and if you are obese, you are by definition insulin resistant) your cells wont take up the insulin or the magnesium that come along with it.  Magnesium stored in cells relaxes your muscles and without it, the blood vessels become more rigid which increases blood pressure.  On a personal note, once I started taking these Magnesium supplements I saw a huge drop in my overall BP as well as an easier time sleeping through the night.

Fructose Elevates Uric Acid

The metabolization of Fructose produces uric acid which blocks nitric oxide in your blood vessels.  Nitric oxide increases your blood vessels elasticity so anything that inhibits nitric acid will increase blood pressure.

Just by way of a personal story, I reduced my salt intake for years and never really had any success in lowering my bp but after I cut out the sugar I saw an almost immediate 20 point drop in my bp and after I started taking Magnesium supplements, I saw another 15 point drop.  Granted, my bp was WAAAAAYYYY high at 200/160 but it has gotten progressively better on a ketogenic diet.

So that’s why you should avoid sugar if you have high BP but what about eating more salt?  It turns out salt is not only beneficial but absolutely necessary on a ketogenic diet.

Here is the primary reason:

Salt and Other Minerals are Not Stored as Much on a Ketogenic Diet

When you start cutting out the carbs, you also start reducing the amount of Glycogen your body stores since glucose is required to make glycogen.  Glycogen is stored in a roughly 1:4 mix with water in your muscles so as glycogen levels drop, you also start shedding a large amount of stored water.  This is why weight loss is so rapid in the first few weeks of a LCHF diet, most of what you are losing is that stored water and along with the stored water you are also losing salt and other trace minerals as they are flushed out with the water.  Replacing that water and salt is crucial, especially in those first few weeks.  In fact, the dehydration that can occur if you don’t up your salt and water intake is why many people have the “keto flu” or a miserable feeling while their body is switching over to being fat adapted.  It is crucial, not only in those early days but for however long you stay on the ketogenic diet, that you always take special care to drink enough water and add enough salt to your diet, as much as 3500-5000 mg of sodium per day.

Of course, no dietary changes should be undertaken without a doctor’s supervision but I am amazed at the massive improvement I’ve seen in my health since cutting out the sugar and carbs and upping my salt intake to go along with it.

Have you had similar experiences?  I would love to hear about them, just leave a comment below to join the conversation!

You've been told all of your life to eat LESS salt. Well, if you're on a Ketogenic Diet the opposite is true and here's why.

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Keto Tip: 5 Reasons You Need To Drink More Water on a Ketogenic Diet!

Keto Tip: 5 Reasons You Need To Drink More Water on a Ketogenic Diet!

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It’s often been said that most problems you run in to on a ketogenic diet can be solved by doing one of three things; drink more water, eat more salt, or eat more fat.  Over the years as I’ve done this, I’ve found this adage to be fairly accurate as most of the “tweaks” I’ve done to get over a plateau or speed up my weight loss has been some variation of these 3 things.

Probably the most powerful part of that truth is to drink more water.  I’ve seen over and over again how upping my water intake leads to faster weight loss and a healthier overall feeling as I continue on this little weight loss journey of mine.

Here are 5 reasons you should be drinking more water on a Ketogenic Diet

Replaces Lost Water

This is something I just didn’t know when I started cutting out the carbs and wasn’t prepared to deal with in those early days.   Your body stores glycogen in water in your muscles.  As your body burns through that stored glycogen and you don’t replace it because you aren’t eating carbs, your body’s water stores get depleted as well.  This is why you tend to lose up to 10 lbs in the first week on keto and also what causes the “keto flu” or the miserable feeling that happens just before you switch over to being fat adapted.  That feeling is caused by mild dehydration and can be shorten tremendously just by drinking more water.  Like I said, that would have been awesome to know in those early days.

Suppresses Appetite and Curbs Cravings

This is another one of those things that I really wish I had known early on but every time you have a hunger pang or a sugar craving, just drink some water and they go away fairly quickly.  In fact, even though I’m almost 2 years into this journey of mine, it is still the ever present glass of water on my computer desk that keeps me on the dietary straight and narrow more than anything else.  It took a while but I eventually trained myself to drink water first when I’m hungry before reaching for a snack.

Puts Less Stress on the Kidneys

Your kidneys do yeoman’s work to filter all the junk out of your blood so make their life easier by drinking more water.  Think of the water as a lubricant that keeps your kidneys working smoothly.

Improves “Keto Breath”

Sometimes as you slip into ketosis, the breath ketone acetate can cause bad breath.  More water helps reduce the effect of acetate on your breath and keeps your breath minty fresh.

You Metabolize Fat Faster

I’m going to be honest here and say I don’t really understand the science behind this.  Everything I’ve read throws this out as fact and never bothers to explain exactly why drinking more water would help your body break down and use fatty acids more efficiently.  All I can tell you is that when my weight loss slows down, the culprit is almost always the fact that I haven’t had enough water.  Once I bump up my water intake, the weight comes off again.

So drinking water is great for your health but how about some tricks to help you drink more water.  We got that too!

Keep Water Close

It’s a lot easier to drink water if the water is always around.  Keep a water glass near you and full at all times. You will be surprised at how quickly you will power through a gallon or more a day just by always having it around.

Flavor Your Water

Stay away from anything with sugar obviously but try cutting a few lemons or limes and putting it in the water and see if it tastes good to you.  About a month ago I started drinking water with a little Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in it because there is some evidence that it speeds up weight loss and found I liked the taste.

Salt Your Water

A little salt in your water will make it taste better and help your body retain more of it.  Just a pinch is all you will need.

I hope these tips help you drink more water and lose weight faster!

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10 Tips For Eating Keto When You Are Eating Out!

10 Tips For Eating Keto When You Are Eating Out!

10 Tips For Eating Keto When You Are Eating Out!

There is probably nothing trickier than eating out on a Ketogenic diet.  Ok, there are probably lots of things trickier but nothing I have to deal with in my day to day life.  Here are a few tricks I’ve learned to try to navigate these difficult waters.

Don’t let them put that bread/chip basket on the table – There is nothing in the world more tempting to me than a big basket of chips and salsa, I can tear through multiple baskets of chips in one meal.  The only way I could get past that was to just stop letting the waiters bring it to the table.  If you are sitting with other people that want to eat it, just ask them to push it over closer to them.  Your health isn’t worth a little cheating.

Get your eggs whole – This one was VERY shocking to me when I found out.  My brother used to be a cook at Denny’s and he told me that in order to make their scrambled eggs and omelettes fluffier, they add pancake batter to them.  No wonder I stopped losing weight after I would eat breakfast out!  Turns out this is common practice with most big chains like Denny’s, IHOP and Waffle House.  You can do handle this one of 2 ways, either request they don’t do that or just order whole fried eggs.  I would also request the eggs be cooked in butter or bacon grease because I’m not sure if they use any kind of seed oils to cook with.

Always order vegetables for the side – Restaurants would prefer you get one of their carb filled options as a side because it’s cheaper.  Be sure to replace the rice or beans with some sauteed or steamed veggies, then ask for extra butter.

Check the online menu – If you will Google the restaurant you are about to eat at, they will usually have an online menu with dietary information and possibly even ingredients.  Then just look through that until you find something with no added sugars or grain fillers

Call ahead to ask about anything you are unsure about – If you still aren’t sure, call ahead and ask a few questions.  As long as you don’t time your call with a super busy time for them, they are usually eager to help.

Stick with the “big piece of meat” dishes on the menu – I tend to stay away from the fancier dishes and just order the dish that consists mainly of a big piece of meat.  I’m usually going with the steak or a chicken breast or a pork chop.  A restaurant around here does a chicken breast covered in Mozzarella cheese with green chiles sauteed and poured over it and it is amazing or if I’m at a Mexican restaurant the steak fajitas are usually a safe bet.  I try to stay away from anything with a sauce (like pot roast or enchiladas) or some crazy seasoning blend that’s difficult to see if it contains sugar.

Remind yourself that one meal isn’t worth undoing your progress – This was had for me at first.  I really liked to cheat when I ate out and then it would take me a week to undo the damage to my weight loss.  No chips and salsa are worth all that.

Order Oil and Vinegar for your dressing – Ordering a salad?  Try to get olive oil and vinegar as a dressing. (not a vinaigrette) Most other dressings use seed oils as a base or contain sugars.  No bueno.  If you can’t do that, my emergency salad dressing is a few squeezed lemon wedges and salt.

Order extra meat, cheese and bacon – Sometimes the thought gets into your head that if you aren’t eating the bread then there is no way you will not be hungry before your next meal.  While one of the strengths of a ketogenic diet is you don’t really get hungry too often, I know that the psychology of having less food on your plate can be difficult to deal with, especially in the beginning.  Just order extra meat and cheese.  When I’m at a burger place, I get the biggest burger I can order with multiple meat patties, bacon, cheese, avocados if I can get it and plenty of veggies.  It tastes awesome and I’m not hungry afterwards.

Don’t be afraid to order individual ingredients – Sometimes you just have to order weird to stay on your diet.  I met me son at Taco Bell once and had to basically construct a taco salad out of individual ingredients.  I ordered a double helping of beef with veggies and sour cream.  Not bad and kept me in ketosis.

I hope you enjoyed these 10 tips for staying in ketosis when you are eating out.  Please feel free to follow me on Instagram or join us in the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge Facebook group!

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Keto Tips: Cheat Days Hurt!

Keto Tips: Cheat Days Hurt!

As dedicated as I am to losing weight with a ketogenic diet, I have to admit that from time to time I succumb to temptation and eat something I shouldn’t.  I usually rationalize it by saying it by telling myself that I have been doing great for a long time now and that a cheat day isn’t a bad thing.  And then I step on the scale the next morning and am brutally reminded of one horrible truth, Cheat Days Hurt.

Just to give some hard numbers of what cheat days can do to you, let’s take a look at what happened to me last week.  On Sunday July 31st, Dian and I were invited to a special screening of Bad Moms at Studio Movie Grill and a meal and drink were included.  I’m a frugal (read: cheap) guy so I of course partook in the free food which was a hamburger and french fries.  Total carbfest.

That morning I clocked in at 248.8 lbs and was feeling good because I was finally south of 250.  Monday morning I was back up to 251.0, 2.2 lbs from one meal!  The worst part was that it took me over a week to get my weight back down below the 248.8 I started at.  That’s an entire week+ of weight loss efforts totally undone by one cheat meal and I didn’t even have a dessert!  And I’m not even talking about the fact that all those grains I ate caused inflammation and made my knees hurt for the first time in forever.  I was so angry!  It wasn’t worth it at all.

You have to keep in mind that if you are obese, the chances that you are very insulin resistant are very high.  Like pretty much 100%.  That means that every carb you eat will have a much greater effect on you than someone who isn’t as insulin resistant.  It’s just one of those horrible truths you have to come to grips with, Cheat Days Hurt.

Here are a few things you can do when the temptation strikes.

Drink Water

You will be surprised how often the urge to eat something carby is really just thirst in disguise.  Take a few sips and see if the urge goes away.

Drink something with a Sweetener

There are times when I just want something sweet on my tongue so I drink something with a sweetener.  This can be tea with a little Sweet n Low and lemon (my go-to) or a diet soft drink or something else you prefer.  I know a lot of people really enjoy Kombucha but I wasn’t too impressed by it when I had it.

Just Wait

Sometimes you just have to wait it out.  When the urge strikes, give yourself 5 minutes before you do something about it.  You may find that the urge goes away.  This has become an important trick for me when I have to stay up late and want a little late night snack.

Have Keto-Friendly Snacks available

Maybe a slice of cheese, pork rinds, olives or some deli meat.  Just replace that urge for a carb with something that won’t cause a huge insulin spike.

Hope this was helpful!

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