The Perfect Ketogenic Breakfast

The Perfect Ketogenic Breakfast

While originally derived to help treat children’s epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has been picking up speed in the weight loss world. This high fat, low carb diet has its followers consuming less than 30 grams of carbohydrates for an entire day. With such a low intake of carbs, your body must find other ways to make the energy it needs for daily functioning. Therefore, your body goes into a state of ketosis, which basically means your body starts to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.  This allows all of the fats you are eating, as well as any excess fat in your body to get used up for this energy conversion process, which in turn causes you to lose weight.

What Can You Eat For Breakfast?

Being on such a low carb diet, automatic breakfast foods, like cereal, pancakes, or french toast are out of the question. So, what’s left? Eggs and breakfast meats are a common staple for those following this kind of diet. There are lots of recipes available to help you keep your diet varied so you don’t get bored of eating scrambled eggs and sausage every morning. Things like a crustless quiche, or scrambled egg cups with veggies can be great grab-and-go options if you are in a hurry in the morning.

And, what can you eat if you’re not an egg person? While eggs are a great source of protein, there are still plenty of things to eat without ever having to touch an egg. Ingredients like cottage cheese or almond butter are great ways to start your day off right. Try putting cottage cheese with some big slices of tomato, or having a few tablespoons of nut butter with an apple!

Ketogenic Breakfasts Without Ketosis

Many people have claimed that even while not being on a full-time ketogenic diet, eating a ketogenic style breakfast helps them start their day off better. While you may not be in a state of ketosis, because you do not follow the diet all day long, having a breakfast that is high in fat and protein, while keeping the carbohydrates to a minimum can kickstart your metabolism to work better throughout the day. Many athletes and trainers follow this diet for their morning meal and have said that if they try to eat carbs in the morning now, they feel tired and lethargic for the rest of the day. This is not to say these athletes don’t eat carbs during the rest of their day, but avoiding them in the early hours helps their metabolism keeping them feeling right throughout the day!


We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  But, when we load that meal up with carbohydrates, its not working for us the way we want!  Whether you have decided to follow a ketogenic diet for your entire meal plan, or are just trying to jumpstart your metabolism in the morning, lowering your carbohydrate intake and raising your fat and protein intake can make sure you’ll be on the right path for the rest of your day.

The Low-Down on the Ketogenic Diet

The Low-Down on the Ketogenic Diet

It’s been hailed as the miracle diet – the one that turns conventional wisdom on its head and encourages you to eat fat, and lots of it, to burn fat. There’s scientific evidence that shows that it really does work. It has the support of some real heavy-weights (no pun intended) in the international medical and scientific fraternity. No wonder then that the high-fat, low-carb diet – more accurately called the ketogenic diet – has taken the diet and nutrition world by storm. Everywhere you go, everyone you speak to is either doing it or knows someone who is.

So, if you haven’t tried it yet, and you have a few (or a lot of) pounds to shed, you might be wondering whether to join the keto revolution.

Not so fast. For every keto-acolyte out there who swears by the diet, there are probably a few nay-sayers.

Why the Controversy?

Let’s start with looking at exactly what a ketogenic diet is and how it works.

The first thing to recognize is that it is not new, or even revolutionary. It’s been used for about 100 years – initially to help control epileptic seizures.

Its adoption as a weight loss tool came much later and was popularized in the 1970s by the famous Dr. Atkins Diet. Today, there are many variations of the Dr. Atkins Diet, but the goal is always the same: to get to a point at which the body uses fat rather than carbohydrates as its primary source of fuel. This is known as ketosis. In a conventional diet, it’s usually the other way around. By changing the balance of your fuel (calorie) source, to acquire between 75% and 90% of your calories from fat, 6% to 20% from protein, and only 2% to 5% from carbs, your glycogen-levels (carbs are stored as glycogen in your body) will soon be depleted and you enter a state of ketosis.

Most studies – but not all – show that being in this ketosis state will promote weight loss. And once you are in a state of ketosis, the high proportion of fats you consume make you feel full which is something few other weight loss plans can lay claim to. If you don’t feel hungry, you are less inclined to cheat. And if you don’t cheat, you will continue to lose weight. Right?

In theory, yes. The problem is that most people find it really difficult to stick to eating no more than about 50 grams of carbs per day. That basically means no potatoes, no pasta, no fruit, no sweets, no wine (or other alcohol), no honey, no starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potatoes, no pulses, no whole grains… no, no and no. From a pure health perspective, think of all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and prebiotics your body will be missing out on too. Many people also report feeling depressed and moody while eating a strict ketogenic diet, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, bad breath, and constipation are also common side effects.

There is also the risk of developing a potentially fatal condition known as ketoacidosis when ketosis is allowed to go too far.

Bottom Line

Some people do well on a ketogenic diet, losing weight initially. However, few are able to maintain it as a lifestyle diet and if not careful, can develop unwanted and possibly dangerous side effects.

The Difference Between Ketosis And Ketoacidosis

The Difference Between Ketosis And Ketoacidosis

Although they sound the same, ketosis and ketoacidosis mean two very different things. They share a common root word which is ketones. That is because both processes result from the production of ketone bodies because of the chemical reactions that are driving the body’s metabolism. Despite their common root, ketosis and ketoacidosis have strikingly different qualities.

Differences in their starting point

Ketosis begins when the body is starved of carbohydrates. This could either be because the person is fasting or because they are following a low-carbohydrate diet. When there is not enough glucose available from carbohydrates, the body switches to using fat as a source of energy. While breaking down carbohydrates for energy produces lactic acid, breaking down fats produces ketones.

In the case of ketoacidosis, the trigger is a lack of insulin which causes a reduced glucose uptake. This occurs quite commonly in diabetic patients. The same process unfolds, where the body breaks down fat and produces ketones, but the combination of the acidic ketones and the sugar causes what is called diabetic ketoacidosis. There are other causes for ketoacidosis such as a heart attack, alcohol misuse, cocaine use or sepsis.

Differences in their signs and symptoms

The only real way to tell if a person is in ketosis is if they have an acetone smell about their breath or when they perspire. This is because acetone is a ketone and it is the form in which the body excretes ketones.

Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, displays a variety of medically detectable symptoms. These include:

  • Feeling thirsty/dehydration
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath tiredness and feelings of confusion

Conducting a urine dipstick test can also give a good indication of whether a person is beginning ketosis or is suffering from ketoacidosis. A urine dipstick test for the presence of ketones can give the person an indication of the concentration of ketones in the urine. A person is considered to be in the initial stages of ketosis when their ketone levels are greater than 0.6 mmol/L. Between 0.6 and 3 mmol/L is considered to be nutritional ketosis and anything greater than 5 mmol/L is considered to be at risk for ketoacidosis. There are also blood tests that can be done but these are not conducted at home.

The prevalence of ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is a leading cause of death in young diabetic people. Between 2% and 5% of people die from ketoacidosis. The age distribution for people who suffer from ketoacidosis is as follows:

  • Younger than 30 years old: 36 percent
  • Between 30 and 50 years old: 27 percent
  • Between 51 and 70 years old: 23 percent
  • Older than 70 years: 14 percent

Treatment for ketoacidosis

Ketosis can easily be reversed by eating carbohydrates again. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, requires some medical interventions. These include replacing fluids orally or through a drip, replacing electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride, administering intravenous insulin and eliminating other problems such as a heart attack or sepsis.

In both cases of ketosis and ketoacidosis, it is a good idea to keep a decent record of the foods you eat each day. That can help you to maintain ketosis and to avoid ketoacidosis.

What To Expect On A Ketogenic Diet

What To Expect On A Ketogenic Diet

You may have heard many health experts talk about the ketogenic diet and praise it as the ultimate formula for weight loss. But, what exactly is it all about? A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that limits the intake of carbohydrates and places emphasis on foods that are rich in protein and fat.

During the ketogenic diet, the body burns fat to produce energy. The body produces small molecules called ketones. The way to produce ketones is to eat a limited amount of carbs and moderate amounts of protein.

Ketones are produced from fat in the liver. Thereafter, ketones are used in the body and the brain as fuel. The brain cannot function solely on fat, it needs the ketones for energy. When you are on a ketogenic diet, your body transitions to a fuel supply that functions mostly from fat. The quickest avenue to reach ketosis, when the body produces ketones, is by fasting.

People use low-carb diets mostly for weight loss, but it has other health benefits such as reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, as well as metabolic syndrome.

Which Foods To Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?

To reach ketosis, the most important thing that you need to do is limit your intake of carbs. The recommended intake of daily carbs is below 20 grams.

Foods to consume:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Fish and seafood
  • Natural fats

You should avoid foods such as bread, juices, beer, pasta, and candy. When it comes to drinking, you should consume only coffee, tea, water and red wine.

What To Expect?

  • The biggest benefit of being on the ketogenic diet is losing weight, obviously. In order to achieve any weight loss, you will have to limit the number of calories that you consume and make sure that you are highly active. Health experts have advised you to reduce 500 calories on a daily basis. When you reduce the intake of carbs and calories you lose weight, and fat helps you to feel full for a longer period, thereby, you eat less frequently.
  • The other benefits of being on a low-carb diet are linked to your health. Studies have proven that a low-carb diet can prevent or improve certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Research has also shown that low-carb diets are able to improve high-density lipoprotein cholesterol more than other carb diets.

What Are The Risks?

If your body is used to a certain amount of carbohydrates on a daily basis and then you drastically lower the amount, your body may have an adverse reaction. Some of the most common symptoms of being on a ketogenic diet include bad breath, headache, skin rash, fatigue, and constipation or diarrhea.

Since the intake of carbohydrates is very restricted, you may experience a deficiency in vitamins and minerals in the long haul, as well as increase the risk in several chronic diseases. For you to remain healthy, you need to choose foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats and healthy proteins.

Ketones, MCTs And The Benefits For Your Health

Ketones, MCTs And The Benefits For Your Health

Words like ‘ketones’, ‘MCTs’ and MCT oils continue to gain a lot of coverage in health circles, particularly in the context of the ketogenic diet, which advocates a high fat, low carb approach to nutrition. Ketosis is the state our bodies go into when the body cannot turn to its default fuel source – carbohydrates – for energy. It then has to turn to those stored fatty deposits and start burning them. This is why the ketogenic diet is linked to a loss of belly fat in particular.

Let’s unpack the terms ‘ketones’ and ‘MCTs’ in particular.

Ketones and MCTs explained

The body can use various energy sources for fuel or to keep functioning. If it were a house, for example, it could use the traditional source of electricity (glucose from carbohydrates), or an alternative source such as gas or solar energy (ketones), or a combination of any sources. The combination is what happens when you limit your carbohydrate intake, as this then forces the body to use stored fat deposits to release energy. Ketones are the byproduct of this process.

MCTs – or medium-chain triglycerides – raise ketone levels in the body, and seem to do so particularly well when carbohydrates are inhibited, although this isn’t strictly necessary. Triglycerides are another term for fats. All MCTs are saturated fats, which have traditionally garnered a bad reputation, but studies such as those published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (January 2014 issue) have shown that not all saturated fats are the same. The critical difference is whether they are made are long-chain or shorter in nature, such as medium-chain.

The shorter the chain, the fewer the compounds, the easier the fat is to break down and absorb in the body. MCTs such as those found in supplement form or coconut oil are despatched straight to the liver during digestion, where they are used to provide fuel and carry oxygen to the muscles. They are not stored in deposits such as the belly, for example.

This is why in addition to improving blood flow and helping athletes train harder for longer, MCT intake has also been shown to help reduce stomach circumference.

Ketones and MCTs: The benefit to epileptic sufferers

It has long been known that diet plays a critical role in drug-resistant epilepsy – with fasting, in particular, helping to reduce seizures. Later on, it was proven that this was due to the body going into ketosis when fasting took place, with ketones helping to regulate the brain signals that bring on a seizure. Consequently, MCT-rich diets are now a recognized part of treating epilepsy that does not respond to drugs.

Ketones help to reduce inflammation

Diseases as diverse as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and multiple sclerosis have one underlying common factor: they produce inflammatory effects in the body.

A recent Yale School of Medicine revealed that a single ketone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, directly curbs inflammation. Scientists are consequently beginning to gain a better understanding of how ketones are helpful in managing these diseases and reducing their effects.

While more discoveries around ketones and MCTs are being made all the time, it is becoming increasingly clear that MCT-rich foods and supplements are a boost to bodily health in even more ways than initially projected.