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Should you go keto?

As registered dietitian nutritionists, we’re always keeping our eyes on the latest trends in the nutrition world, and one thing we keep seeing pop up is the keto (aka ketogenic) diet.

Many of you have been asking if you should give the keto diet a shot, since it seems like everyone has a friend, coworker, or family member that’s on the keto diet and loving it!  After all, even a couple of our guy friends who swore they’d never diet, have been tempted and admitted that they just may try this since the high fat and protein diet appeals to them.  So we figure it’s about time we put our two-cents in and talk about the ins and outs & ups and downs of the keto diet!

Here are some of your most frequently asked questions about going keto, and our take on the diet as a whole, starting with the facts about the diet:  Psst… check out our healthy & decadent Avocado Chocolate Mousse (have just a couple bites and it may even fit on the keto diet!)

What is the keto diet, and why is everyone suddenly going into “ketosis”?:

The keto diet is a low carb diet where your body produces ketones to be used as energy instead of using carbohydrates for energy. When you eat a diet that isn’t as low in carbs, your body uses carbs for energy and uses fat for other things like carrying fat-soluble nutrients, lining your body’s cells, and more.

When you cut out most carbs, your body can no longer rely on carbs as a source of energy and gets shocked into a state of “ketosis,” where your body converts the fat you’re eating in place of carbs into energy.

The goal of a keto diet is to force your body into ketosis, which some studies show can help promote weight loss, lower blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics and improve cognitive function. So naturally, many people are trying this diet for the alluring possibility of losing a few pounds. While the research is conflicting on whether going into ketosis itself can cause long-term weight loss, the fact is that many people do lose weight on this diet simply because it cuts out a large amount of foods– most carbs!—and because they are eating more whole foods and less packaged and processed foods.

Any diet that cuts out a food/ or many foods, especially foods that people tend to overeat, will generally result in weight loss. Whether or not the diet is sustainable and/ or healthy is something else to consider.)

In order for your body to stay in ketosis, you’d have to eat about 70% of your calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs, consistently.

Consistency is key with keto – if you slip up and fall out of that fat/protein/carb range, your body likely won’t be in ketosis anymore—and many of the associated health benefits slip away!

How can I avoid overeating while on the Keto diet?

No matter which diet you’re on, planning is an important part to being healthy.  However, since the keto diet falls so low in nutrients since so many healthy foods and food groups are eliminated, it’s especially important to plan your meals when you’re on the keto diet.

Also, if you are doing the diet to truly reach the state of ketosis, you do have to plan to limit carbohydrates—so you can’t simply just grab a piece of fruit when you’re hungry or you won’t be in ketosis.  You definitely should pick a start date and make sure you’ve set up your pantry and fridge for success.

Choose foods like eggs, avocados, plain Greek yogurt, low-carbohydrate vegetables, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts.  Ideally, you should talk to a registered dietitian (like us) to help you plan before you start the diet, it’s not easy to do it alone.

Plus, you may want help tracking your diet to make sure you are reaching the ideal ratio of protein, carbs and fat for the keto diet—70% calories from healthy fats, 20% protein and 5-10% from carbs.

(Use full-fat yogurt or sour cream in our Lemon Dill Salmon recipe for a keto-friendly option!)

But what about healthy fiber?? Are fruits & veggies out?

Fiber is very important in any diet for regularity, gut health and disease prevention.  It’s very difficult to meet the recommendations to get at least 25 grams of fiber a day when you’re following a keto diet because keto diets are extremely low in the foods that contain fiber (fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains). Fiber also contains prebiotics to help keep your digestive tract healthy, so you should try to get it through nuts, avocados and non-starchy vegetables, herbs and spices, and berries if they fit in your carb limit.

Fruits are very controversial among keto followers. Most fruits are too high in carbs to eat on the ketogenic diet, but small amounts of berries are OK because they are lower in carbs than other fruit and high in fiber. Raspberries and blackberries are a good source of fiber and they’re packed with antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and fight against disease.

Non-starchy vegetables (think leafy greens and most green veggies and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower) are generally low in calories and carbs, and in order to stay in the tight guidelines to keep carbohydrate levels down, choosing them while also paying attention the to the grams of carbs is helpful.

Veggies with 1 g of carbs per cup (like spinach) can be compared to others that can range to 8 grams per cup.  In general, the recommended veggies are leafy greens and most green veggies and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, kale, as well as peppers, asparagus, fresh herbs and spices, tomatoes and onions, celery, zucchini, Swiss chard and cabbage.

(get the recipe for this avocado tuna salad with kale when you sign up for our 21-Day Body Reboot!)

What kinds of fat should I eat on the keto diet?

Avocados! The monounsaturated fat is heart-healthy and avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals.  Fattier nuts and seeds are great too—pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and cashews. Salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are heart healthy options that are rich in inflammation-fighting omega 3s (and super important to off-throw the balance of all of the high saturated fat foods, as well as the inflammation they create in the body). Olive oil is a heart-healthy oil to use as well.

Ok, but do I have to drop my skinny martinis?

Yep – alcohol is a no-go on the keto diet.

When you drink alcohol, your body views it as a toxin and many body processes are temporarily stopped to process the alcohol in your liver, since your body’s priority is ridding toxins.  This means fat burning is slowed, since you’re using fewer fatty acids to make ketones—which is obviously the opposite of the goal of people following a keto diet for fat loss.

You’ll also get drunk faster since your tolerance will be lower since your liver is metabolizing alcohol much faster since you’ll have no glycogen stores for the body to burn through first (glycogen stores are created from carbohydrates).  The more drunk you are, the lower your inhibitions and the more likely you’ll be to fall off the very low-carb, keto diet.  Plus, alcohol, like beer and cocktails have a significant amount of carbs, so that is something to take in to consideration.

Here are a few ideas of what keto meals might look like!

Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps:—chicken, chili spice, curry powder, garlic, onions cooked in a couple of tablespoons of ghee, cauliflower rice, and a dollop of plain sour cream

Breakfast “bagel”: An avocado cut in half and filled with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. Think of the avocado as the bagel.

Keto Salmon Salad: salmon, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, walnuts, and avocado with mixed greens

So tell me, should I try the keto diet?!

Honestly, it’s not our cup of tea. And if you’re someone who drinks milk with your tea, it’s probably not for you either. 😉 In order to truly get the benefits of being in ketosis, you’d have to stay in ketosis. And that’s REALLY tough because that means continuously eating about 70% of calories from fat. Even something as simple as a chicken breast could be too high in protein without enough fat to keep you in ketosis, ruining any of the benefits you’d be getting from the diet in the first place! It’s also super difficult to get enough fiber while on the keto diet – and without adequate fiber, we’d be constipated all the time and our face would show it too 😉 as we’d seriously worry about our digestive health. The keto diet is so restrictive that we really wouldn’t enjoy eating with such intense restrictions, and we’re ALL about loving the foods that we eat!

If you’re looking to take charge of your health, we’d recommend trying something a bit more sustainable that still gets you results so you can enjoy more freedom with your food and keep eating the foods you love – all while still losing weight!

Both our 1:1 counseling sessions & Our 21-Day Body Reboot program do just that – you’ll learn how to make healthy choices and indulge in the foods you love while losing weight, and with our program you get to do it with support from us and alongside a community of motivated people just like you!

This is why FAT is In

If you get our e-newsletter, in early May you opened one titled “Kale is out, Fat is In“, and then only days letter received our newsletter that read this:

 

You know that moment when you hit “send” and your heart sinks?  We just had one.  Ugh… after a hectic Mother’s Day and one twin not proofreading another twins’ work, someone got a little trigger happy (we won’t mention names, but I will say that it was the twin who is 17 minutes older 🙂 ). She did have good reason for the hurry– we wanted to let you know about our amazing friend Heather’s free weight loss class before the upcoming class enrollment closed.

 

So, our last email newsletter was missing a piece—and now we have to let you know why Fat is In.  (And just for the record, kale is alwaysin” in our book.  BUT just because we’d never turn our back on our green lov-ah 😉 (that just happens to aid weight loss efforts, help the liver in its’ detox process, fight cancer…, the list goes on and on…), does that mean that we have anything against a little bit of fat being “in“!  Heck no!)

 

So here is the quick Skinny on Fat.

  1. Fat can keep you lean. It provides satiety (takes 6-8 hours to digest while carbs take 1-4 hours, protein takes 4-6 hours to digest), so fat stays with you for a while so you won’t be turning to more food soon after eating it.  Just be aware that each bite of fat does contain more than double the calories (9 calories/ gram) of carbs or protein (both have 4 calories/gram), so you do want to keep portions in check. And be sure to choose THE RIGHT FAT (see below).

 

Fat works magically for some of our clients, and not as great for others…Wonder if fat works for you?

 

  1. a. Try this fat test: As you likely know, one of the ways our weight loss clients are most successful in their efforts is by using our strategy to fill up on veggie crudité (or steamed veggies [not doused in oil or butter]) with spices, vinegar, and a large tea (or water) before going to a meal (you can read more about this here — all about our pre-veggie meal) and they generally eat at least one cup (or more) 50-100 calories before the meal and it saves them from swallowing hundreds of calories at the meal.  However, we have several clients, who find the same satiation in snacking on a little bit of fat before the meal. They have 10 almonds (70 calories) and a large tea (or water) and it takes the edge off hunger and they eat much less than they would have if they didn’t use this strategy. So tomorrow before you head out for dinner, try the veggie/water strategy.  The next day try the 10 almond/water strategy. Or reverse that order. See what works better for you and let us know in the comments below! (For us, the fiber that we typically don’t get from a restaurant meal to keep a gal regular 😉 and the volume of weight from the veggies works better to keep us more satiated-and we know we’ll get plenty of fat at the meal.)

 

Eating out Rule we give our clients: Have a veggie (and tea/water) pre-meal before going to dinner–or on your way there.  Veggies fill you up with nutrients, like potassium, fiber and very few calories.  You’ll avoid arriving at the meal ravenous, be able to make a rationale decision about what you’ll eat…and you’ll eat less of the heavy stuff.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT FAT: When it comes to fats, not all are created equal. While controversy surrounds this topic, research shows you should think “Mediterranean” eating style when choosing your fats. Aim to replace saturated fats from foods like butter, bacon, sausage, etc., and trans fats from crackers and baked goods and other foods that contain partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils with “good” fats from monounsaturated fatty acids (found in olive oil and avocados [see our avocado recipes like our Chocolate Avocado Mousse]) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in sunflower and safflower oils) that contribute to your heart health by decreasing triglycerides and your total cholesterol levels.” Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats also are great for fighting inflammation and are critical to healthy brain function.

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2. Fat acts as a nutrient booster. Translation: Eating a little fat with your meals helps you to absorb more nutrients from the meal.  This means if you eat salads or veggies and don’t have a little bit of fat with them (a teaspoon will do the trick!)1, you can’t absorb all of the nutrients, specifically fat soluble superstar vitamins like A, beta carotene, D, E and K.  Luckily, in most meals, there is plenty of fat to absorb nutrients in your veggies).  Try this Nutrient boosted Mini Fritattas which have just enough fat to do the trick.  Also try this Portobella Pizza.

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3. Fats moisturize skin and hair from the inside, keeping them lubed and healthy– and they’re important for your body’s hormones and essential fatty acids. Try this Strawberry & Citrus Salad with Avocado to moisturize your skin.  Fat is in! 🙂

 

Psst.. looking for more skin-boosting benefits? Check this out– how veggies work their magic

 

….On the flip side, if you feel you’ve gotten a little too much fat from heavy foods and want a good “detox” drink to feel better and get your mind and body back on the healthy track, drink this Strawberry Citrus Flush.

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4. Fats help to maintain body temperature and you actually need fat on your body—and not just on your rear end for sitting (although it certainly does seem to be the year [or decade!] of the bountiful boot-ay!)—fat pads your organs.

 

Calorie count:
Check this out to help you to keep portions in check:

1 level tablespoon oil= 120 calories (watch out; this one gets most people into calorie overload—and is responsible for much of the weight gain we see in new clients!)

1 slice whole grain bread = 90 calories

¼ avocado = 100 calories

1 apple = 80 calories

15 Almonds= 100 calories

*Note: We’ve noticed that some of our clients can have a level tablespoon of nut butter or several almonds and be satisfied for hours, while other clients find this does nothing for them.

 

1–Judy D. Ribaya-Mercado, Jeffrey B. Blumberg et al, “Carotene-rich plant foods ingested with minimal dietary fat enhance the total-body vitamin A pool size in Filipino schoolchildren as assessed by stable-isotope-dilution methodology,”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  2007;85:1041-9  -t- 

 

 

 

Coming soon… our on-line 21-Day Body Reboot program (we are so excited about it!). The 21-Day Body Reboot is a customized program designed to jumpstart fat loss, rejuvenate your body, boost energy, and help you make long term changes that will improve your health.  If you’re interested in receiving more information about it when the program is available, please add your name here.

 

How’d you do on the FAT TEST? Leave your comment below, can’t wait to hear!

4 Ways To Prevent Social Eating From Getting the Best of Your Waistline

 

 

Are you influenced by your friend’s eating choices when you eat out with them?  Drink a little more alcohol?  Indulge a bit more than if dining alone?

 

 

4 WAYS TO DINE SOCIALLY COLLAGE_logo

 

It turns out obesity may just be a “socially transmitted disease.”  In other words, social groups influence one another’s eating and exercise habits.  Although a recent study just came out showing this, did we really need a study to tell us we eat more when we’re with our friends?  (“Another round of drinks for the table!” sound familiar?)  However, the study does call attention to social overeating so we can strategize and prevent the weight gain that comes with dining with friends.  Here are our top 4 tips.

 

 

1. Make a foolproof plan by always having a veggie pre-meal before you go so that no matter what is ordered, you won’t be ravenous and devour it all.  Also have warm tea before you go to help pacify you so you’ll eat less. Tea contains the amino acid theanine which brings on a mental calmness and relaxation so you are better able to make a rational decision.
2. Set a three bite rule.  Typically in a group many foods that are ordered are calorie bombs.  Allow yourself three bites of each of the unhealthy items and eat more of the better options.  You won’t be hungry because of your pre-meal so this will be easier.  Having limits set in advance will help to keep you in control.  As for your veggie pre-meal, load up on any veggie that will fill you with nutrients and fiber, but without the calories.  Good examples:  Bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, carrots, etc.
3. Be a leader, not a follower.   Take charge and order for the group.  Make healthy suggestions that won’t set you up to feel guilty and heavy after your meal.
4 .Plan in advance what you will and will not eat to set limits and not just eat willy nilly.  For example, if you go to your meal knowing that you’re following the 3-bite rule when it comes to the unhealthy items and that you’ll start your meal with a veggie based soup or salad, and eating more of the healthy items, then you’ve got a plan!

 

 

For a healthy eating plan and delicious recipes, please check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure.

 

 

The recent dining study

Simple Smack- Down Apple Snack

simple apple snack

Ladies and Gentlemen: Are you looking for the perfect “pick-me-up” snack? Look no further than our Simple Smack-Down Apple Snack (say that 10 times fast! J) recipe.  This snack is the sure-fire way to get your energy revved and beat those afternoon lulls! It’s pack with quality carbohydrates for energy  and healthy protein and fats to sustain the boost—and it’s less than 200 calories – the perfect balance!

 

Simple Smack-Down Apple Snack

 

Ingredients

1 medium apple (we go for the Fuji variety, which is sweet like candy, really!)

1 TBSP Sunflower Seed Butter

 

Directions

SIMPLY: cut your apple as desired and dip into the sunflower seed butter. ENJOY!

 

Nutritional Information, 1 Serving

195 calories, 8.3g fat, 62mg sodium, 195 mg potassium, 28g carbohydrate, 5.4g fiber, 4.0g protein

 

*Sunflower Seed butter is a delish and healthy alternative to peanut butter for those with allergies!  It’s also a great way to get vitamin E, fiber and protein.

 

 

For a 10-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart and Detox Plan and a Get Healthy Program please check out The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure!

 

 

Check out our other great recipes!

Edamame Hummus

Italian Spiced Chicken

Veggie Frittata Bites