Low Carbohydrate Diet:
Are you struggling to lose weight? Have you been told you have insulin resistance? Or, are you just looking for a healthful dietary approach to reduce sugar and insulin levels in your body? If any of these apply to you, I recommend that you consider adopting a low carbohydrate- high nutrient density diet. Learn the basics about and how to implement this type of low carbohydrate diet from the experts at Dietdoctor.com:
If you want to take the low carbohydrate diet to the next level (especially for those who are looking to lose weight and treat insulin resistance and diabetes), I recommend learning about the ketogenic diet.
Here’s a great explanation of the ketogenic diet for beginners, from Dietdoctor.com:
The best video series I’ve seen on this subject is by one of the leaders in this dietary approach, Dr. Stephen Phinney:
Visual guides of foods and drinks you can eat on the ketogenic diet, from Dietdoctor.com
(Click on the image, below, to be redirected to the page of visual guides)
- Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet, Third Edition: Using a Low-Carb, Fat-Burning Diet as Metabolic Therapy
- Keto for Cancer: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy
Glucose Ketone Index:
I recommend tracking your ketone and blood sugar levels, and calculating your “glucose-ketone index” (GKI) to make sure you are in the desired nutritional ketosis zone.
Below are some fairly widely accepted glucose-ketone index (GKI) numbers for different conditions or treatments:
- A GKI of between 6-9 demonstrates a low level of ketosis, which is appropriate for weight loss or maintaining optimal health and weight.
- A GKI of 3-6 demonstrates moderate levels of ketosis, which is appropriate for addressing many common metabolic diseases including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or obesity.
- A GKI of less than 3 is a high level of ketosis, which is typically used for addressing epilepsy and cancers. Entering this very low number/high level of ketosis periodically each year can be beneficial for anyone hoping to use ketosis for disease prevention.
- Anything above 9 generally means no ketosis.
Making Sure You Get Adequate Nutrients:
When you are focused on weight loss or weight maintenance (or any other goals), making sure you are getting adequate amounts of nutrients in your diet is critical.
One of the best resources to help you select foods with the highest nutrient density that can fit into your goals (i.e. therapeutic ketosis, fat loss, insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, etc.), is Marty Kendall’s Optimising Nutrition site. He has a bunch of free downloadable PDF cheatsheets that contain lists of foods you can eat for each goal:
To make the ketogenic or low carbohydrate diets more effective in helping you to lose weight and reverse insulin resistance, I recommend that many of my patients incorporate intermittent fasting. Learn more about this from one of top authorities on this subject, Dr. Jason Fung:
- The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
Fasting Mimicking Diet:
If you want to try the popular and clinically-proven fasting mimicking diet, called Prolon (which includes a full 5-day meal plan, shipped to your house), you’ll need to use a healthcare practitioner code to order this diet (mine is: “Lawenda9937”). You can order the diet here:
You can do your own FMD without paying for the Prolon meal plan, you can do this by eating avocados. Read this blog post to learn more:
Calculate Your Daily Calorie and Macronutrient Needs:
One of the first things I recommend to patients who want to adopt any of these dietary approaches is to figure out their daily caloric and macronutrient (carbohydrate, fat, protein) requirements. To do this, use an online calculator. Here are my favorites:
Diet Logging Apps:
The best way to know if you are sticking to your caloric and macronutrient needs (and limits) is to use a dietary logging app that has barcode scanning feature to automatically enter nutritional data. These are the top two:
- MyFitnessPal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com
- Cronometer: https://cronometer.com (more extensive nutrient tracking than MyFitnessPal and used by many in the Ketogenic community)
NOTE: One novice mistake is tracking your intake of “total carbohydrates.” When maintaining a low-carbohydrate diet (such as a ketogenic diet), you really should only be concerned about the “net carbohydrate” intake. Net carbs are the type of carbs that have an impact on your blood sugar, while the other carbs (such as fiber) are not digested, absorbed and converted in sugar.
Know The Net Carbs
To calculate you net carbs, subtract the fiber from the total carbohydrates. Read more about this here: https://www.ketovale.com/how-to-calculate-net-carbs/
The diet logging apps do not account for “net carbs,” so you will either need to search for food items that someone has entered into the system with ‘corrected carbohydrates’ or you will need to do the simple correction yourself.
Weighing and Measuring Your Food:
Digital Food Scale
You will want to invest in a digital food scale so you can measure the weight of the foods you are consuming. This will ensure that you are more accurately accounting for the amount of calories and nutrients in your diet.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
If you cook, you likely already have these. Buy a set if you don’t own one. Sometimes it is easier to measure the food and drinks in cups or spoons than it is on a scale.
Blood Glucose-Ketone Monitors and Lancet:
Blood Glucose-Ketone Meters:
If you want to know how you are doing on a daily basis in maintaining your blood sugar and ketone levels, I highly recommend the purchase of a blood glucose-ketone meter (urine and breath ketone measurements are not accurate). Here are the top two:
- Keto Moto: https://keto-mojo.com (I personally use this one, as the test strip are the least expensive)
- Precision Xtra: https://www.diabetescare.abbott/precision-xtra.html
My favorite lancet device (because it’s the most comfortable on the market) is Genteel: