written by Dr. Lisa Sachdev
You survived the great pandemic. You were responsible and stayed home for 10 weeks to "flatten the curve", but what affect did this have on your own curves? Did you stay up late binge-watching Netflix? Did you also binge on take-out dining and comfort food? Did you have the time, discipline and creativity to exercise in your living room or was most of your time spent glued to a computer screen or television? Now that you're venturing out again will your friends still recognize you? Getting your hair done requires a simple visit to your stylist but getting back into your normal clothes may prove to be a difficult task.
If you've put on pounds this spring do you have a plan to get back down to your normal weight? Exercise is a good idea, but simply increasing your activity isn't likely to result in significant weight loss. There is truth to the cliche, "You can't outrun your diet." If you need to lose weight you'll need to create a caloric deficit and optimize your hormone levels, unbalanced hormones can hinder weight loss efforts.
In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans have become very popular. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. Low carbohydrate diets are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets. Ketogenic diets force your body to switch from burning sugar (glucose) derived from carbohydrates to burning ketone bodies, a type of fuel produced by the liver from stored body fat. Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose weight and improve overall body composition but adhering to a ketogenic diet can be tricky. It requires you to deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Dietary protein intake must also be specific, consume too much protein and your body converts it into glucose, consume too little and you may sacrifice muscle mass.
It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis, and even longer for your body to adapt to utilizing ketones for fuel, a process known as “keto adaptation”. During the first few weeks you may experience symptoms known as the “keto flu”. Symptoms of keto flu may include mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, hunger, dehydration, muscle cramps, and constipation. Persons who have underlying health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes or who take prescription medications can experience rapid changes in blood pressure, hydration and blood sugar levels. Medications may need adjustment as the body adapts to the rapid change in metabolism.
In addition to being challenging to adhere to, when done incorrectly or for extended periods of time ketogenic diets can cause nutritional deficiencies, kidney stones, gallbladder disease, thyroid abnormalities and liver problems. Ketogenic diets may not be successful for dieters who lack the proper education in nutrition, physiology and biochemistry. Some prescription medications may also be contraindicated on a ketogenic protocol, medical supervision is recommended for safety and success.
Done correctly ketogenic diets can be a powerful tool for rapid and effective weight loss and improve metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance. For those interested in trying a ketogenic program but who need assistance our clinic offers the Ideal Protein protocol that is physician supervised and simple to follow. Weekly coaching sessions include education, support, and biometric analysis to monitor progress. For more information on this program register one of our free seminars.