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Introduction to Using Ketosis to Support Energy Nutrition

In addition to the energy nutrition of my Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) or Gut-Immune Restoration Intensive Nutrition (GRIN) food plans, many people benefit from more intensive carbohydrate restriction as a further strategy to support energy and reverse chronic fatigue.

There is growing evidence that ketogenic diets, also known as nutritional ketosis, are good for us. Diets that combine intensive energy nutrition with very low levels of carbohydrates have been shown to enhance energy production and promote neuroplasticity (how the brain heals and improves function).

My Experience

In my experience, once a nutrient-dense ketogenic diet becomes a well-established part of someone’s lifestyle (in addition to other foundational health-enhancing lifestyle characteristics) increased energy is the expected outcome.

While there is much to understand about the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet, it is well established that carbohydrate reduction along with a diet rich in nutrition, including healthy fats, has profound health benefits. Periods of ketosis may augment these health benefits.

What is Nutritional Ketosis (AKA a Ketogenic Diet)?

Nutritional Ketosis

Yikes—that sounds foreign and scary—and hard! But it’s not. In fact, nutritional ketosis is a powerful food strategy that supports energy and brain health and is actually quite simple (though not easy—it requires, like all new habits, that thing we’re really afraid of—change).

A ketogenic diet is simply a food strategy that supplies ample fat and restricts the intake of carbohydrates enough so the body switches over to using fat to make energy.

I will argue that the most beneficial, health-promoting version of a ketogenic diet that you should consider doesn’t just restrict carbohydrates. It intensifies nutrition through optimal energy nutrition, supplies a rich supply of healthy fats, and restricts carbohydrates enough to cause ketosis.

How Nutritional Ketosis Works: Basic Energy Chemistry

The making of energy in our bodies depends on the availability of small carbon molecules to use as fuel. We get these carbon atoms primarily from glucose (sugar) and fatty acids (fat).

Our energy chemistry extracts energy from these carbon molecules and stores them, ultimately, as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the chemical energy we use throughout our bodies. It sustains us, keeps us alive, and drives all the business of the body.

Diets high in fat and very low in carbohydrates (simple sugars as well as complex carbohydrates) will lead to a fundamental chemical shift in how we make energy. With sugar not available, we gradually adapt to using fat to make energy. To do this, the liver converts fatty acids derived from dietary fat or adipose tissue into ketones, hence the term “nutritional ketosis.”

Bottom Line:

With nutritional ketosis, energy is made from fat instead of sugar.

We can intentionally shift from sugar-based energy metabolism to fat-based energy metabolism. We do this by reducing our carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake sufficiently to increase ketone production through a shift in what carbon atoms we use to make ATP.

It Works for Me

After many years of experimentation (food is one of my favorite playgrounds), I’ve figured it out, it’s become second nature, and, most importantly, I’ve accomplished what I was looking for: good energy and a proven way to protect my future wellbeing. I’ve taught this to numerous clients who’ve gone on to have great success with nutritional ketosis as a tool for managing energy and healing their brains.

For those who know me, I’m always preaching that there’s no more important “bio-marker” for good health than how we feel. Good energy and wellbeing are what motivate us the most to stick with any new food plan.

FINE or GRIN slightly modified for ketosis supports not just energy, but what comes with it and makes it all worthwhile: passion, purpose, enthusiasm, joy of life! And it passes my test for a science-based strategy for sustaining that energy, while protecting my precious energy-rich, energy-dependent brain throughout my life.

The Health Benefits of Nutritional Ketosis

Science on the health benefits of nutritional ketosis has been exploding in the last decade and is strongly suggesting cleaner, more efficient biological energy production. Very low carbohydrate eating with sufficient healthy fat appears to protect our brains, promote neuroplasticity (brain healing), and reverse the effects of damage due to energy depletion and neurodegeneration.

Health Depletion of the Standard American Diet

Most Americans are adapted to using sugar as the primary fuel for energy production because the standard American diet (SAD) is high in carbohydrates (sources of sugar), and relatively low in healthy fat. We know these diets are associated with the tsunami of chronic and degenerative illnesses we all know well: obesity, vascular disease, cancers, autoimmune disorders, dementia, chronic fatigue, and many more.

Our Ancestors Had it Right

Our remote ancestors (think hunter gatherers, pre-agriculture foragers), on the other hand, for whom sugar was scarce and famine was more likely, were much more adapted (by necessity) to using fat for energy production. We know that many hunter gatherer tribes (both ancestral and those still inhabiting the earth), were/are healthier than we are. This is due, in no small part, to differences in how we manufacture and use energy.

We Are Our Ancestors

In no small part we are our ancestors. It may be hundreds or thousands of years later, but we have their same DNA. On that basis we have the same need for appropriate nutrition for optimal DNA expression and physiological function.

Inherited from our ancestors, we also thrive on low sugar nutrient dense diets. We’re healthier when we eat minimal amounts of sugar, plenty of health fat, and nutrient-rich foods.

There are no known health benefits of a high carbohydrate diet. Sugar-based energy metabolism is an adaptation to modern diets that has many disadvantages and has played a large part in our epidemic of low energy and chronic disease.

Health Advantages of Nutritional Ketosis

How are Energy and the Brain Related?

As a high consumer of energy, the brain thrives on it, and is very sensitive to the fallout of impaired energy production. When we optimize how we create energy and manufacture it in a clean and efficient way, we nourish and protect the brain.

How to Create a Nutrient-Dense Ketogenic Diet

Start with a nutrient-dense, healthy food plan such as my Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) or Gut-Immune Restoration Intensive Nutrition (GRIN) food plans.

In addition to optimal nutrition, both of these food plans remove common food irritants and toxins that injure the gut and promote systemic inflammation. Then, induce ketosis (see below) by modifying the amounts of dietary carbohydrates and fats you consume.

My Nutritional Ketosis Food Plan is Not Like the Others

You may notice that my version of a Nutritional Ketosis food plan is different than many others. That’s because I’m interested in much more than just getting into ketosis. I want to do it in the healthiest possible way, maintaining nutrient density and minimizing inflammation potential.

Ketosis alone is not enough to optimally support energy production. You’ve also got to emphasize energy nutrition.

How to Get Your Nutritional Ketosis Food Plan Started

If you eat a plant-based whole foods diet, are already following a “paleo” style food plan, an autoimmune or anti-inflammatory diet such as FINE or GRIN, or eat very few carbs, nutritional ketosis will not be hard for you to adapt to.

If you are starting from a standard American diet (SAD), you will have more of a challenge ahead of you, but you’ll feel great—it’s totally worth it!

First: Get Organized

Read through the rest of this article, then prepare your grocery list and think about your menu. For help with the nuts and bolts work with a Functional Nutritionist or knowledgable Functional Medicine practitioner.

Consider your sources of healthy protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These will be the mainstay of your diet until you shift into ketosis. Make a list of your favorite proteins and fat. Review the carbohydrate content of the healthy complex carbohydrates you’d like to consume.

Use Healthy Protein Sources

Emphasize pasture-raised meat, poultry, eggs, wild-caught fish, collagen, and hemp seed. Include organ meat (liver and heart) for additional energy nutrients.

Use Healthy Fat Sources

Stock up on avocados, avocado oil, fatty fish (wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, pasture-raised meat, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut cream, and high fat nuts (macadamia nuts). High quality oils can be added to meat and vegetables for cooking or as dressings quite easily.

Use Low Carbohydrate-High Nutrient Density Plants

Use dark green leafy varieties, cruciferous vegetables, onions and garlic, olives, and avocados.

What to Avoid or Use Sparingly in Your Healthy Ketogenic Energy Food Plan

Dairy

Because I am concerned with total health, I do not generally recommend dairy products (a common immune system irritant) as fat sources.

Starchy Vegetables

Avoid all starchy vegetables initially (carrots, sweet and white potato, peppers, squash, tomatoes, peas, green beans. You may be able to eat small amounts once you’ve converted to ketosis without falling out.

Fruit

Avoid all fruit initially. You may be able to add dark berries once you’ve transitioned fully into ketosis.

Beans, Legumes, and Grains

And, of course, avoid all the high-carb content beans, legumes, and grains.

Nuts and Seeds

Use with caution: nuts and seeds. These are common drivers of inflammation and have significant carbohydrate content.

Measure Ketones

  • Obtain urine ketone strips (“ketostix”) to test urine for the presence of ketones. You can order these from Amazon.
  • Make note of your urine ketone readings from ketone strips: first morning, and 2-3 times throughout the day.
  • Note that any degree of + ketone results on the strips is evidence of being in ketosis–the readings do not have to be high.
  • You may want to track your blood ketone levels, though this is more for geeks (like me) and not at all necessary. Ketone testing meters and test strips are available on Amazon. Ketone levels in the 0.6-1.5 mmol/l range are average once you have converted.

Count Carbohydrate Grams

In general, you will be keeping carbohydrate intake to around 20-30 grams of “net carbs” (net carb grams=total carb grams minus total fiber grams).

 Determine Your Healthy Protein Needs

  • Total daily protein needs: 0.5-0.8 grams protein per pound body weight, depending on activity level.
  • Sedentary: 0.5; Highly active 0.8. This will be your total daily protein intake.

 Determine Your Healthy Fat Needs

  • Total fat will likely need to be around 100 grams plus per day to achieve ketosis. This varies amongst individuals.
  • Divide approximately 100 grams of fat between your meals and the MCT oil you put in your morning beverage.
  • Use an organic source of MCT oil (medium-chained triglycerides derived from coconut oil) as an excellent fat supplement: start with 1 teaspoon per day in your morning tea, coffee, or water and gradually work up to 1 Tablespoon (or to “bowel tolerance”). Eventually you may use 1/2-1 Tablespoon 2-3 times per day to help drive ketosis and stave off potential hunger.

Drink Plenty of Water

In fact, a quart more per day during the initial weeks will offset some of the water losses that result from the shift in metabolism.

Add Healthy Nutritional Supplements

We’ve found by doing food analysis in our Center that most ketogenic food plans are deficient in potassium and tend toward deficiencies in other minerals, including magnesium and zinc. If you don’t consume organ meat you’ll also be at risk for energy nutrient insufficiency.

And since protein can induce gluconeogenesis, leading to higher glucose levels and lower ketones, many folks following ketogenic diets reduce their protein intake while trying to convert to a fat-burning metabolism. This can lead to protein deficiency.

It’s wise to supplement with high quality supplements particularly in the beginning of a nutritional ketosis plan or for long-term ketosis.

Nutritional Supplements to Use While On a Ketogenic Diet

  • a high quality multivitamin-mineral supplement
  • an electrolyte supplement with additional potassium and magnesium
  • add additional salt to food–preferably pink Himalayan salt

Track What You Eat and Drink

Start a diary and track your daily protein, fat and net carb intake. You will need to do this until you learn the macronutrient contents of the foods you commonly eat. You can use My Fitness Pal app for this, or a good old fashioned notebook, pen, and a chart from one of my articles (see below) or an internet source.

Be Patient

The process of shifting into ketosis may take several weeks, less for those already eating a low sugar, low carb diet. Patience is the essence as you experiment with relative net-carb, fat, and protein intake.

Common Challenges and Solutions to the Nutritional Ketosis Food Plan

I’m bloated and constipated.

  • This is common as the gut responds to reduced fiber, dehydration, increased fat-to-carb ratio, or gut flora changes.
  • Add magnesium buffered chelate to your daily regimen: 150-300 mg once daily. Gradually increase dose as needed.
  • Be sure to take a daily probiotic with lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and saccharomyces–15-30 billion organisms. You can also use small quantities of fermented vegetables.
  • Eat as many low net carb veggies as you can to increase fiber.
  • Stay well hydrated–remember, your fluid needs will be increased in the beginning.

My first morning ketones are always negative–what am I doing wrong?

  • During an overnight fast the body will shift into “gluconeogenesis,” as part of a stress response to the fast itself. The liver makes glucose which raises blood glucose levels and reduces ketones.
  • Increase the fat in your evening meals.
  • Take a serving of MCT oil at bedtime: 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon.
  • Be patient–this will gradually shift as your body’s energy metabolism changes.

I feel hungry all the time.

  • This one always surprises me–what? with all that fat?
  • This is food plan is not about calorie restriction–eat your fill, please.

I feel weak and wimpy.

  • This is to be expected during the first several weeks as you transition into using fat to make energy.
  • Take good care of yourself and be patient.
  • Some feel that supplementing with exogenous ketones makes them feel better during the transition. You can buy these on Amazon.
  • For those of us already eating relatively low carb, this is much less of a problem.

 I’m having a hard time staying in ketosis, though am following the fat and carb guidelines.

  • The overnight fast without fat may be stimulating gluconeogenesis (see above).
  • You may be eating too much protein–another stimulant for gluconeogenesis (via insulin release). Adjust your protein intake back and make sure net carbs stay low and fat high.
  • Step up exercise. Unplanned sedentary days will lead to reduced utilization of glucose stored in the liver. Exercise keeps stored glucose low and drives ketone production to maintain energy.

When I cheat it takes many days to a week to get back into ketosis.

  • This will be true in the beginning stages of transition from sugar to fat energy metabolism.
  • Once you’ve been in ketosis for at least several weeks, you’ll find that you’ll recover ketosis quite rapidly after a cheat meal or higher carb day. I’ve been at this so long that I go right back in within several hours.

I’m just dying for a dessert!

  • Blend a few frozen berries in coconut cream (skim the cream off full-fatted culinary coconut milk). Add a drop or two of stevia to sweeten, if desired.
  • Make fat bombs–delicious!
  • Have a few high-fat nuts, like macadamias.

How Long Should You Stay on a Ketogenic Diet?

From the standpoint of science, we haven’t worked that answer out yet.

In my point of view, it will vary from one individual to another, depending on their health problems and goals. Nutritional ketosis is very likely not an eating strategy that can be sustainable without significant supplementation to provide the nutrients missing from a food plan that includes so few plants.

Nutrients Missing or Deficient from a Ketogenic Diet

  • Phytonutrients (the vast array of plant-based complex nutrients that provide antioxidant protection and detoxification support)
  • Minerals (sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, zinc)
  • Protein (many folks must sacrifice protein to achieve ketosis—protein metabolism leads to gluconeogenesis)

Who Should Avoid Nutritional Ketosis?

Are there folks for whom nutritional ketosis could be harmful? I think so.

Considerations for Potential Harm by a Ketogenic Diet

  • The ability to digest and absorb the large quantity of fat needed to achieve ketosis.
  • The ability to successfully switch energy metabolism from carbohydrates to fats.
  • Having adequate nutritional reserve to offset the nutrient deficits in this food plan.
  • Having resilience in the [brain-thyroid-adrenal-mitochondrial (BTAM) energy operating system] to absorb the stress of this food plan.
  • The special needs of some athletes.

Folks Who Should Avoid Strict Nutritional Ketosis

Pregnant or Lactating Women

This is due to the much higher nutritional demands of mom and fetus or infant. Though, there are likely instances, such as in metabolic syndrome, when a mother would benefit from a nutrient-dense ketogenic diet for conception, pregnancy, and beyond. This would require close monitoring of nutrient need and support from high-quality supplements to fill in nutrient deficits.

Athletes

Many athletes, particularly those whose sport require quick, explosive movements (versus endurance athletes) need a source of carbon atoms they can utilize very quickly to make energy. Glycogen, a storage form of sugar made by the liver, is a preferred carbon source over fatty acids.

Those with Fat Malabsorption or Gallbladder Disease

Folks with these issues need to consume much lower amounts of fat in their diets than can sustain and ketogenic diet until their problem has been resolved.

Those Struggling with Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue always raises the question of a problem with the Brain-Thyroid-Adrenal-Mitochondrial (BTAM) energy operating system. Every aspect of the BTAM is essential for the manufacturing of energy and supporting the body through times of stress and challenge.

While ketogenic diets can improve physiological energy production, I think this can only occur in the setting of an adequate supply of energy nutrients. In the face of chronic fatigue or persistently high levels of stress and overwhelm, a ketogenic diet may exacerbate the energy deficit and problems associated with it.

Intermittent Fasting Enhances Ketosis in Nutritional Ketosis

Intermittent Fasting is a great adjunct to the ketogenic diet. It enhances ketosis and makes it easier to achieve and sustain.

Intermittent fasting simply means that you lengthen your overnight fasting period and shorten the interval during the day when you eat your meals. It does not mean going a whole day or days without eating anything, and I generally do not recommend this.

Lengthen your overnight fasting period from the usual 10-12 hours to as much as 16-18 hours. You may use MCT oil (or other healthy fat) in your first morning beverage and may repeat as necessary to stave off hunger. This is a great way to drive ketosis without much effort.

Intermittent Fasting is NOT Prolonged Fasting

If you’re worried about prolonged periods of food deprivation–which you should be–Intermittent Fasting is NOT about going days with no food.

Prolonged Fasting Can Be Dangerous

In fact, I think prolonged fasting is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. We may have enough carbon atoms stored away in our bodies to sustain a prolonged fast (think sugars and fats), but the proteins we need constantly to drive all the business of our bodies must be harvested from our muscles when there’s no protein coming in via the diet.

In addition, prolonged fasting requires critical nutrients to be shunted out of many key areas of our bodies–including our brains. This supports the processes most necessary to keep us alive.

Prolonged Fasting Challenges Our Adrenal Reserve

We also depend on robust adrenal gland reserve of hormones (cortisol, aldosterone) to supply and circulate the carbon atoms needed for energy production. A deficit of adrenal nutrients or insufficient energy nutrition driving any aspect of the brain-thyroid-adrenal-mitochondrial (BTAM) energy operating system can lead to energy depletion.

See, energy production is a complex integrated system. Areas of unanticipated lack of reserve will lead to a stressed physiology and myriad potential problems.

What Intermittent Fasting IS

Intermittent Fasting is really a misnomer when thinking about the common parlance of “fasting” as prolonged periods of not eating. But in reality, Intermittent Fasting is not a prolonged fast. Technically speaking, we fast as we sleep overnight. We fast between meals. We fast whenever we’re not eating. Most of us go periods of many hours without eating–this is fasting.

Extended Overnight Fast

With Intermittent Fasting, as it is commonly done, we extend the overnight fasting period and shorten the interval during the day when we eat.

I have done this by prolonging my overnight fast from my previous ten to twelve hours, to my current seventeen to eighteen hours. Then I have just two meals within the remaining six to eight hours of my day. I’ve discovered some good hacks for making this painless, as I’ll go into in just a bit.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

I started experimenting with Intermittent Fasting about two years ago as a way to create more energy, resilience, and mental clarity for myself and to learn more about it for my clients who I thought would benefit from it. There are interesting tidbits of science as well as a wealth of anecdotal “data” that suggest promising potential health benefits.

While there is much work needed to nail down the relationship between intermittent fasting and good health, much of what we do know comes from studies done on animals.

Intermittent Fasting, as with any food and eating strategy, is hard to study in humans because there are so many variables involved. For me there are many unanswered questions about why IF is so beneficial.

Unanswered Questions About the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Is Intermittent Fasting good for us because it reduces calories?
  • Because we benefit from what we don’t eat?
  • Because those of us who do it are healthier to begin with and care about living a healthy lifestyle?
  • Because of its effects on the microbiome?

See, it’s murky. So, what I glean from the science are suggestions about how it may benefit us, not solid facts.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Benefit Our Bodies

  • Reducing our intake of common food irritants and toxins: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, food allergens, high caloric-low nutrient density processed foods, food-laden pesticides.
  • Improving energy production in our bodies: through changes in the expression of genes that are involved in mitochondrial energy production.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Helping us shift metabolically from using sugars to fats for making energy (a processes we call, “ketosis,” a cleaner, more efficient way to make energy).
  • Reducing our overall caloric intake.
  • Reducing the damage to our cells and tissues by oxidative stress (induced by eating).
  • Protecting our brains (increases levels of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), known to protect stressed brain cells; increased removal of damaging proteins and debris that are associated with dementia and neurodegenerative disease).
  • Reducing blood sugar and insulin levels, and increased sensitivity of cells to insulin.
  • Fat loss leading to reduced obesity-related health problems.
  • Favorable effects on the gut microbiome.
  • Improved sleep.

How Intermittent Fasting Can Benefit Our Everyday Lives

  • Making it more convenient–one less meal to worry about!
  • Ramping up energy for those things in life we care about.
  • Clearing the mind for better focus, less distraction, more creativity.
  • Improving exercise tolerance–once we’re adapted to it, we’re more fuel efficient.
  • Reducing digestive stress.
  • Making us more disease resilient–inflammatory disorders, blood sugar problems, neurodegenerative diseases.

How to Prepare for Intermittent Fasting

Should you just jump into it? I think it depends on what your current eating strategy is.

Could it hurt you? No–done right, you’re not depriving yourself of important nutrients or calories–this is not a calorie restricting food plan. You will not be starving.

But if your current diet is high in grains, sugars, and refined carbohydrates your metabolism will be highly adapted to using sugar for energy production. When you remove that sugar for a prolonged period of time–even just a few hours–the drop in blood sugar that occurs may set off an uncomfortable alarm response–stress hormones like adrenaline, designed to ramp up sugar availability by signaling the liver to make more, may make you feel uncomfortable (shaky, anxious, irritable, starving) so you seek sources of sugar.

If that sounds like you, you’ll need to prep your body first, something you should be doing anyway to get away from the long-term ravages and short-term blah of a high sugar and carbohydrate diet. Your body will shift from sugar to fat as its main source of energy as you change how you eat.

Get Ready for Intermittent Fasting

  • Adopt the FINE or GRIN food plan, depending on your general health needs. Or,
  • For two to four weeks, take out all grains (they are digested quickly into sugars–even “healthy” whole grains), refined and processed foods, and all obvious sources of sugar.
  • During this time, continue to eat your three meals per day, and include healthy proteins, plenty of fat (you will not go hungry), and a wide variety of plants.
  • At the end of this period, begin to lengthen the time between your last meal of the day and your first meal the next day. You can do this gradually, or in large jumps.
  • Make sure you stay well hydrated (at least 3-4 quarts of non-caffeinated liquid per day) and well rested during this time.
  • As your metabolism shifts to using fat to make energy, you may feel more tired. Hang in there–this will pass shortly and will be worth it!

My Intermittent Fasting Strategy

After much experimentation (food is my playground!), I’ve come up with an Intermittent Fasting strategy that works well for me and has been easy to incorporate into my life:

I eat my last meal of the day between 6 and 7 pm, depending on the day.

First Thing in the Morning

When I wake up in the morning, I drink 16 ounces of water right away and have 16 ounces of green tea (I use Sencha ground green tea for its exceptional antioxidant content) and put in about 2 tablespoons of coconut cream (this is the mostly fat-cream that separates out from the liquid in canned culinary coconut milk) and 1 tablespoon of MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil. These are fats that do not require digestion, are not stored as fat, do not create an insulin response, do not trigger an inflammatory response, and head straight to my mitochondria to support energy production. The added fat to my tea also staves off hunger and keeps me in ketosis throughout the day. This technically sustains the fast as it bypasses all the problematic aspects of eating food.

First Meal

When I eat my first meal varies depending on my day, but typically occurs between noon and 3 pm. I occasionally forget to eat when I’m super busy or focused on a project.

I then eat two meals within that remaining six to eight-hour window. One of them will be quite large. They both consist of healthy sources of protein and fat, and lots of plants.

Improvising

Not every day is exactly like this, but this is pretty typical. I now find that if I do eat breakfast, which I did recently on a vacation, I’m okay because I don’t eat crap, but I don’t feel as light or vigorous. But that’s all okay. It’s not about being perfect, but resilient enough to still thrive when things don’t go just as we would like.

You Do You

Your Intermittent Fasting strategy will not necessarily look just like mine. I’ve adopted it as a daily strategy, but you might prefer to do it on an occasional basis. Be playful with this process. There’s no right way–just what serves you best.

Common Intermittent (IF) Fasting Pitfalls for Beginners

Fear of Hunger

IF is not a calorie restrictive diet and the use of fat during the “fasting” period staves off hunger.

Fear of Not eating the Socially “Prescribed” Three Meals Per Day

I can’t speak for everyone–we’re all different and have unique needs, after all. But both science and peoples’ experience suggests that we are more finely tuned energy and resilience machines when we eat less often.

Jumping Straight from the “Standard American Diet” into Intermittent Fasting

It’s better to allow our body to adapt from using only sugar to make energy to more use of fat to make energy. See above–Get Ready for Intermittent Fasting.

Missing the Emotional Benefits of Eating More Frequently

Yes, we all use food for comfort or to numb out, and for sheer pleasure. I have found that my two meals per day are way more pleasurable–eating is a highly anticipated treat.

Trying to Be “Perfect” or Do it Exactly as Others Do

Everything will always be an experiment and you’ll find what works best for you.

Beyond Nutritional Ketosis and Intermittent Fasting to Boost Energy

Of course, as you know by reading my article series on healing chronic fatigue and boosting energy, food is just one aspect of the roadmap to our healing life. The most perfectly executed, nutrient-dense (ketogenic or otherwise) food plan will never take you where you want to go if you’re passing over good sleep. Or movement. Or if you lives are filled to the brim with toxins, irritants, and distractions.

See where I’m going with this?

Let’s put our healing food plan into its proper context: back to the roadmap of our healing life: Your Beautiful Energy Roadmap.

Resources

Mark P Mattson, et al. Intermittent Metabolic Switching, Neuroplasticity and Brain Health. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2018.

Dariusz Wlodarek. Role of Ketogenic Diets in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease). Nutrients. 2019.

Craig C. Mitoprotective Dietary Approaches for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Calorie Restriction, Fasting, and Ketogenic Diets. Med Hypothesis. 2015.

Hussein Dashti MD, et al. Long-term Effects of a Ketogenic Diet in Obese Patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004 Fall; 9(3): 200-205.

Frank Lefevre MD and Naomi Aronson, PhD. Ketogenic Diet for the Treatment of Refractory Epilepsy in Children: A Systematic Review of Efficacy. Pediatrics. April 2000; 105(4): 1-7.

Robert Krikorian, et al. Dietary Ketosis Enhances Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment. Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Feb; 33(2): 425-427.

Maciej Gasior, et al. Neuroprotective and Disease-Modifying Effects of the Ketogenic Diet. Behav Pharmacol. 2006 wep; 17(5-6): 431-439.

John Trepanowski, PhD, et al. Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017; 177(7): 930-938.

Bauer J, et al. Evidence-Based Recommendations for Optimal Protein Intake in Older People: A Position Paper from the PROT-AGE Study Group. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2013 Aug; 14(8): 542-59.

Functional Medicine Nutrition: Lisa Scranton, MS, RDN, LD. Contact her at The Center for Medicine and Healing Arts.

Karyn Shanks, MD. Brain Food: Feed, Heal, and Protect Your Brain. 2017.

Amanda Hughes. The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook. 2016.

Martina Slajerova. Sweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb Diets. 2016.

Karyn Shanks MD. Healing Foods: My Favorite Healthy Fats. 2016.

The Ultimate Start-Up Guide to the Ketogenic Diet. 2017.

Chris Kresser. A Complete Guide to the Keto Diet. 2019.

Karyn Shanks MD. How to Heal Chronic Fatigue—Your Beautiful Energy Roadmap. 2019.

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Karyn Shanks MD

About the Author

Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-seven year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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