Ketogenic whole food lifestyle means cutting out highly processed foods, especially grains, sugars, and highly inflammatory vegetable seed oils from your diet. Macronutrients are received from healthy fats; moderate protein; and limited carbohydrates. The idea is to eat as clean as we can, prioritise organic and local produce. – This lifestyle has proven to be a powerful way to prevent disease and restore health e.g. lifestyle diseases such as obesity, fatty liver, heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes, respiratory diseases, hypertension, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer.
The health benefits of ketogenic wholefood lifestyle include for example the following:
- Satiety and shedding weight with sustainable results.
- Reversing insulin resistance related weigh-gain, fatigue, and brain fog.
- Inflammation related aches and pains disappear.
- Improved blood pressure and blood sugar results.
- Being able to reduce or even stop medication – manage or reverse chronic conditions.
Hormonal Changes Behind Problems
Insulin resistance is a resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in increased blood sugar level. The hormone insulin helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood. With insulin resistance, the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Glucose can’t enter the cells and so it builds up in the blood.
Insulin resistance is a lifestyle disease following the high intake of processed carbohydrates and sugars. Insulin resistance can further lead to hyperinsulinemia and many diseases. The common symptoms of insulin resistance are gaining weight in the middle body, fatigue, cravings, and brain fog.
Extensive stress can also be behind stubborn weight gain. Chronic stress raises cortisol and insulin levels, lowers ketone levels and thus inhibits normal fat burn.
Female menopausal weight-gain is also due to hormonal changes that eventually lead to insulin resistance. When a woman enters peri-menopause her hormones oestrogen and progesterone reduce. As the oestrogen levels decrease during peri-menopause, fat storage moves from hips to the middle body instead. Also hunger hormone ghrelin and loss of muscle mass play their roles in the menopausal weight gain.
Shedding Weight Without Hunger
Ketosis is a state whereby body uses dietary and stored fats as a fuel instead of glucose. When sugar, grains and other starch are limited to less than 50 grams per day in Low Carbohydrate High Fat (LCHF) or below 20 grams in Keto diet per day your body does not produce adequate glucose for energy but frees up stored fat. Liver further converts these fats into ketones, which your body uses as a fuel instead.
The beauty of being fat-adapted is that you are not constantly hungry.
Ketogenic whole food combined with intermittent fasting will further assist in reaching ketosis. Intermittent fasting refers to a practise whereby we limit our eating within certain window within each 24-hour cycle.
But What About…
The ketogenic whole food lifestyle turns the conventional food pyramid upside down. There is increasing research-based evidence that low fat high carbohydrate nutrition simply does not work for people that are insulin resistant. Also ethics of the research promoting the health benefits of highly processed carbs (e.g. cereals) and highly inflammatory vegetable oils (e.g. canola and sunflower oil) are questionable and often funded by companies producing medicines and processed foods.
The below diagram based on nutrition in clinical practise illustrates the changes in various health markers between patients on very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet versus low fat diets (Source: Hite, A.H., Berkowitz, V.G., Berkowitz, K. (2011). Low-carbohydrate diet review: shifting the paradigm. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 26(3): 300-308.)
I am inviting you to further empower yourself with research-based information on low- carbohydrate high fat and keto nutrition. Especially if you are a health professional. You may access the various courses of the Nutrition Network through my affiliate link below:
Also listen to the Recipes for Resilience vlog with Doctor Hassina Kajee, an Integrated Medicine Practitioner, where we discuss health and wellness from a holistic, client-centred point of view.
Should you have any underlying chronic illnesses, changing your nutrition should be closely monitored by a health professional too. – Often, within first few weeks, there is a need to adjust chronic medication while your body starts restoring its health. Also, there are certain health conditions whereby any lifestyle change needs to be vetted by a medical doctor.
Pauliina Mapatha is a positive intelligence and life coach, nutrition advisor, COMENSA Credentialed Practitioner. She established her own consultancy company in 2006 and has found her passion for supporting individuals and organisations with change, transformation and wellness. Her twenty-year management experience in both the government and non-profit sectors helps her to work both with systems and people.