I first published a post on Keto in July of 2018. At that time a few clients were asking me about it and I could see the trend developing online in the wellness community.
Flash forward to now and Keto seems to be everywhere! Many of my friends have successfully tried it. Keto guides, articles, and books abound. Even my mother-in-law asked me about it over Thanksgiving dinner (I’m lucky that she’s such a great supporter of the work I do!).
What about you? Are you curious about this Keto thing?
What is Keto?
Keto (rhymes with Cheeto, but otherwise has nothing to do with it) is short for ketogenic. Eating a diet that’s ketogenic means that your body has shifted to a state of ketosis where you’re burning ketones for energy.
But wait a sec–what are ketones? Here’s Mark Sisson’s explanation from his book The Keto Reset Diet:
“Ketones are a source of caloric energy in the body that are used by the brain, heart, and muscles in the same manner as is glucose (sugar.) They are produced in the liver as a by-product of fat metabolism when–owing to extreme restriction of dietary carbohydrates–insulin, blood sugar, and liver glycogen levels are very low. Most people go through life never getting anywhere near this state, and never experiencing the almost magical effects of this natural superfuel.”
How Do You Go Keto?
In general, a Ketogenic diet is framed as a high-fat/moderate protein/low carb way of eating. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s my general approach for the Nourish Facet Plan. It’s the basic way to break your body’s dependence on glucose for energy so it can begin using fat (in particular, your own stores of body fat) instead.
When you eat carbohydrates (or, to a lesser extent, protein), your body releases insulin. This prompts your liver to produce cholesterol for storing the energy from your food. But when you’re in a relatively fasted state, your low insulin levels signal your liver to produce ketones for energy instead.
In other words, eating more fat DOES NOT equal making more ketones. It can help in modulating your hormones. It’s nourishing, satiating, and helps your food taste delicious. But the most important factor for going keto is fasting for periods—no snacking between meals and only eating within a certain time frame such as 8-12 hours daily.
So Is the Nourish Facet Plan Actually a Keto Diet?
The short answer is maybe, sometimes.
The proliferation of info about keto makes the process seem very straightforward and simple. It’s not. You can take my word for it or listen to this Dr. Cate Shanahan interview to hear how incredibly complex it really is.
There’s even confusion about knowing if you’re actually in ketosis. You can (fairly) reliably test for the presence of ketones with portable blood or breath meters, but they’re expensive. Urine test strips are cheap but also very unreliable.
To make matters even more confusing: Even if you do use a reliable method, the presence of ketones doesn’t mean everything’s great. As Dr. Cate points out, high levels can come from the burning of amino acids that comes with the breakdown of muscle.
You don’t want to break down muscle.
(A quick side note to address the confusion about keto being dangerous. Ketones are an effective and efficient form of energy that we evolved using. There’s nothing dangerous about being in ketosis. But if you’re diabetic or have severely-impaired liver function and can’t produce enough insulin to deal with periods of high blood sugar, you can enter a dangerous state called ketoacidosis. Skipping a meal, or even a few meals, won’t do this to you. Eating higher fat with lower carbs won’t do this to you. But, as always, let your body be your guide.)
So the longer answer is the Nourish Facet Plan may put you in ketosis and it definitely switches you over to fat burning, making it a very wonderfulness way to eat!
The Nourish Facet Plan Is Still Your Best Plan
There are studies that have looked at the benefits of being in ketosis, such as the modification of gene expression that may reduce cancer, turn on longevity genes, and modulate the immune system. But (and once again, I have to credit Dr. Cate for this insight) “those studies are looking at people on ketogenic diets–not necessarily whether they’re actually producing ketones or not–so these beneficial genetic modifications may actually come from burning fat.”
Burning fat for energy is pure wonderfulness, especially when that fat is coming from our body stores. And it’s easy to do:
Nourish your body with a colorful array of vegetables, healthy fats (avoid those industrial seed oils!), and a moderate amount of high-quality, pastured (or vegetarian) protein.
Eat more when you’re hungry. Eat less when you’re not.
Drink enough water.
Avoid, or severely limit, sugar.
Try not to snack and fast for at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
When you follow these guidelines, you’ll probably go in and out of ketosis, which is how we evolved eating. Feasting and fasting. Moving and resting. Moments of stress and moments of calm.
Remember: This isn’t revolutionary, this is evolutionary!
If you want to know if this way of eating can work for you, please reach out and talk to me. I find all of this wellness fascinating so you don’t have to!
Wishing you wonderfulness!