In my practice, I often get clients who arrive saying they’ve tried a ketogenic diet but have had disappointing results. They tell me they have either reached a plateau in their weight loss, or, they never really saw any weight loss at all. If that sounds like you, then I urge you to consider the following:
- Not enough fat. Without ladling supplementary oils onto your food and into your drinks it’s actually quite challenging to get the majority of one’s calories from fat. Add to this the fact that we are surrounded by carbohydrate-based snacks in a low-fat-obsessed world. If you don’t eat enough fat on this diet, it won’t work because you won’t make enough ketones to use as fuel. They simply get dumped into your urine instead. Start journaling your diet in an app that tracks calories from fats, protein and carbohydrate, aiming for 75% calories from fat.
- Not enough vegetables. It is a complete misconception that all vegetables are carbohydrate-based. Celery? Zero carbs, zero calories. Spinach? Zero carbs, zero calories. If you think keto forbids veggies, then hear this: you NEED these watery vegetables for their fibre (to keep your bowels moving), their water content, and to buffer the acids generated by the highly acid-forming nature of the ketogenic diet. Without vegetables, your blood must borrow alkaline minerals from the bones to neutralize all the acidity that amino acids and fatty acids contribute. This depletes bone density and may contribute to increased risk of fracture. Start loading up on vegetables that grow above ground and see what happens.
- Too much protein. If you cut your carbs, don’t eat enough fats and fill up on animal protein sources, your body has no choice but to transform some of that protein to glucose to give your brain and muscles energy. That’s right: it sounds like magic, but the body can do this conversion , called gluconeogenesis—in times of need to keep you alive. The ketogenic diet is NOT a high protein diet. By the way: the body has no way to store extra protein, so it either dumps it into the feces or turns it into glucose (in the absence of carbs and fat). So don’t overdo it! Cut it back.
If you’re still stymied by the ketogenic diet, contact me for an assessment and we’ll figure out a plan for you!