Keto Diet Australia: A complete guide that answers all your questions
Keto Diet Australia: A complete guide that answers all your questions
- What is the Keto Diet?
- Ketones and fat adaption – how does it work?
- What are the benefits of the Keto Diet Australia?
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Neurodegenerative diseases and Mental Health
- Digestive disorders
- Skin conditions
- How to start the Keto Diet
- Precautions and side effects of the Keto Diet
- Combatting side-effects of Keto Diet
- Who is not advised to follow a Keto Diet?
- Tips to help you follow the Keto Diet
- Keto sample meals and nutrition
- How we can help
How to follow the Keto Diet for the most successful outcomes
Do you have questions about the Ketogenic or Keto Diet Australia?
These days, many people are successfully losing weight and improving their health by ‘going keto’.
“Some tout it as a cure-all for everything from diabetes to cancer, while others express skepticism or disagree with some aspects of the diet.”Chris Kresser
But is a Keto diet right for you?
Following a rigid diet can be confusing, especially if it’s a radical departure from your usual dietary habits. How do you sort out the facts and interpret the latest research? Who is a good candidate for keto and who should avoid it? How does someone successfully adhere to a ketogenic diet?
The Functional Medicine approach to the ketogenic diet offers the support you need to walk you through planning a low carb diet and how to integrate it into your routine meals.
Let’s answer some questions and see how, with expert advice, the Keto Diet may work for you.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb food plan.
The typical macronutrient ratios are:
- 60 to 75 percent of calories from fat
- 15 to 30 percent of calories from protein
- 5 to 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates
Ketones and fat adaption – how does it work?
By strictly limiting dietary carbohydrates, your body shifts from burning sugar (glucose) for energy to burning stored body fat.
As stored fat is broken down, your liver produces ketones, a type of fatty acid, and sends them into your bloodstream where your muscles and other tissues use them as fuel. 1
Fat adaptation, the process of tapping into your body’s fat stores, is a long-term metabolic transition to burning fat instead of carbs.
Most people burn a combination of fat and carbs, but those on the keto diet primarily burn fat. By contrast, a high-carbohydrate diet causes the body to rely on glucose for fuel, while rarely tapping into fat stores for energy.
What are the benefits of the Keto Diet Australia?
The process by which the body switches to using ketones for energy, known as nutritional ketosis, has a variety of beneficial effects on the body. It can help combat a range of health conditions, including:
Weight loss is the primary reason people use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. 2
Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss:
- A satiating effect with decreased food cravings due to the high-fat content of the diet.
- A decrease in appetite-stimulating hormones, such as insulin and ghrelin, when eating restricted amounts of carbohydrate.
- A direct hunger-reducing role of ketone bodies—the body’s main fuel source on the diet.
- Increased calorie expenditure due to the metabolic effects of converting fat and protein to glucose.
- Promotion of fat loss versus lean body mass, partly due to decreased insulin levels. 3
If a person eats a high-carb meal, this can lead to a spike in blood glucose, especially in a person with diabetes.
A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with both type 1 and 2 diabetes. It allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a low but healthy level.
The lower intake of carbohydrates in the diet can help to eliminate large spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.
Metabolic syndrome describes a collection of signs of poor health that are linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The signs of metabolic syndrome include a large waist size, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, low HDL levels and elevated blood sugar levels. 4 The Keto Diet has been seen to impact an individual’s metabolic syndrome positively and in a relatively short time frame.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age and is associated with obesity. In a study, a ketogenic diet led to significant improvement in weight, percent free testosterone, and fasting insulin in women with obesity and PCOS over a 24-week period. 5 It has also been shown to increase fertility. 6
Neurodegenerative diseases and Mental Health
A growing body of literature suggests the ketogenic diet may be beneficial in certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. In these disorders, the ketogenic diet appears to be neuroprotective, promoting enhanced mitochondrial function and rescuing adenosine triphosphate production. 7
Some studies suggest that the keto diet may reduce inflammation and help treat digestive disorders such as IBS and Crohn’s disease. The Keto Diet provides less fermentable fibre, thus reducing gas and reactions in some people.
By eliminating simple carbohydrates and thus reducing insulin, you are able to correct hormone imbalances, sebum production and the body’s excess inflammation — all of which can cause acne.
Also, omega-3 fatty acids are good for both hair and skin. By increasing healthy-fat intake (especially sources of omega-3s, such as wild caught salmon and walnuts) may help soothe dry, itchy and scaly skin. By avoiding omega-6 fats, such as vegetable oils, many people see reduced inflammatory acne.
How to start the Keto Diet Australia
Step 1: Find your macronutrient ratio
How much you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake to reach nutritional ketosis varies for each individual. Finding your optimal macronutrient ratios for getting your body into ketosis requires some self-experimentation with the recommended ranges.
Most people don’t need the very high fat, low protein version of the keto diet to see the diet’s benefits. In fact, including plenty of protein will satiate your appetite while facilitating fat loss and preventing muscle loss. A Functional Medicine health practitioner will be able to assist you in finding the right ratio for you.
Step 2: Don’t count calories
Tracking your macronutrients means you don’t need to count your calories. Try using an app to journal your food intake and ensure you stick to your optimal macronutrient ratio.
Step 3: Regularly test your ketones
Ketone urine strips can be purchased from most chemists. One cheat meal, cheat snack or alcoholic beverage will usually throw you out of ketosis so it’s important to check your ketosis status with urine strips daily to ensure your macro ranges are right for you.
Precautions and side effects of the Keto Diet Australia
As your body gets used to the Keto Diet and the process of ketosis, you may experience some uncomfortable side effects, including the following top two:
The “Keto Flu”
As your body adjusts to a low carbohydrate intake, you may experience symptoms such as brain fog, headache, insomnia, irritability and digestive issues.
These symptoms are commonly referred to as the “Keto Flu” and are caused by the glycogen loss, low insulin levels and dehydration that frequently occur when you suddenly cut back on carbs.
Know that these symptoms will pass, especially if you make sure to drink plenty of water, replenish your electrolyte levels and eat sufficient protein and calories. At the most, it may take a couple weeks for the keto flu to subside, but for most people, this uncomfortable period passes within a few days.
Constipation is very common on a keto diet, or any low-carb diet, because you’re cutting back on fibre-rich whole grains and fruit.
Combatting side-effects of Keto Diet Australia
Eat lots of fibre
It’s easy to eat lots of meat, cheese and oils on a ketogenic diet at the expense of optimal fibre intake. Be sure to eat plenty of colourful non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bell peppers, mushrooms) because the fibre in these foods will keep things moving through your digestive tract.
Drink more water
As people typically experience body water loss when starting a ketogenic diet, you also need to remember to drink lots of water. Your digestive tract needs water to keep faecal matter soft and moving through your intestines.
Try resistant starch
Resistant starch passes through the small intestine intact and therefore doesn’t count as a dietary carbohydrate. Instead, it travels to your large intestine, where it’s used to feed beneficial gut bacteria. Try adding a teaspoon of resistant starch, such as raw potato starch or green banana flour, to your keto smoothie each day to keep your gut happy.
Take a probiotic and eat fermented foods
The beneficial bacteria in probiotics and fermented foods help prevent sluggish digestion and promote healthy bowel function.
Who is not advised to follow a Keto Diet?
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have gallbladder disease or no gallbladder
- suffering from kidney stones or kidney disease
Tips to help you follow the Keto Diet in Australia
- Eat enough calories and protein
Not eating enough calories can cause fatigue and insomnia, while an insufficient protein intake promotes weight gain and muscle loss.
Track your food intake with an app such as Carb Manager Keto Diet App to help you visualize your macronutrient intake and ensure that you don’t under eat calories or protein.
- Add supplemental fat
Fat is the primary source of fuel on a ketogenic diet. Supplementing with specific types of fat, particularly coconut oil and medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, can help you get into ketosis faster.
- Drink apple cider vinegar
Drink 1 – 2 tablespoons prior to meals in a small amount of water to promote digestion and ketone production.
- Increase your salt intake
The body excretes more salt on a keto diet than standard diet. Consumes an extra ½ -1 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt daily in food.
- Increase electrolytes
Magnesium and potassium may also be reduced when following a keto diet. Try to eat plenty of foods rich in these nutrients. This includes leafy greens such as spinach and kale, nuts and seeds, mushrooms and avocado.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are bad for the body and may disrupt your keto attempts. If you must use a sweetener, look for a more natural alternative such as stevia.
- Keto snacks
Make sure your snacks are meeting the keto guidelines. Popular keto snacks include coconut butter, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds etc.
Some sample Keto meals
|Scrambled eggs on a bed of sautéed greens with pumpkin seeds||Eggs with grated cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes||Grilled salmon with a salad of mixed leafy greens and tomato||Smoothie containing almond milk, nut butter, spinach, chia seeds, and protein powder|
|Omelette with mushrooms, broccoli, and capsicum||Grass-fed beef burger (no bun) with guacamole, tomato, and kale salad||Pork chops with non-starchy vegetables of choice||Sticks of celery and capsicum with guacamole|
Smoothie containing almond milk, nut butter, spinach, chia seeds, and protein powder
Chicken, prawn and avocado salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil
Cajun spiced chicken breast with cauliflower rice and Brussel sprout salad
Boiled Eggs, small handful of nuts
A guide on ‘what to eat’ and ‘what not to eat’ on a Keto Diet
|Meat and poultry||chicken grass-fed beef, organ meats, pork, and turkey||breaded meat, processed meat||low fat meat, such as skinless chicken breast|
|Dairy||butter and cream full fat cheeses, including cheddar, goat cheese and mozzarella full fat yogurt||ice-cream, milk, non-fat yogurt, sweetened yogurt|
|Fish||local wild caught fish mackerel, salmon||crumbed fish|
|Nuts and seeds||macadamias, chia seeds, almonds, flaxseeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, unsweetened nut butters||chocolate-covered nuts, sweetened nut butters, and cashews|
|Oils and fats||avocados coconut products fruit and nut oils, such as avocado, coconut, olive, and sesame olives||margarine shortening vegetable oils, including canola and corn oil|
onions, celery, eggplant, leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, capsicum, and other non-starchy vegetables
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and other starchy vegetables
|Fruits||bananas, grapes, pineapple, citrus fruits, dried fruits||berries|
|Beans and legumes||all beans, chickpeas, lentils|
|Condiments||herbs and spices lemon juice mayonnaise with no added sugar salt and pepper vinegar salad dressings with no added sugar||barbecue sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, salad dressings with added sugar, sweet dipping sauces|
|Grains and grain products||baked goods bread breakfast cereals crackers oats and pasta rice and wheat|
|Beverages||almond or flax milk water and bone broth unsweetened teas and coffees||beer and soda, sugary alcoholic drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks||low carb alcoholic drinks, such as vodka|
|Others||artificial sweeteners candy coconut sugar fast food processed foods sugar|
How we can help support you with Keto Diet Australia
Remember it is important to consult your health practitioner before you try ketogenic dieting as the Keto Diet isn’t for everyone.
At Advanced Functional Medicine, we will:
- work with you to understand your unique needs
- walk you step by step through planning for and starting a low carbohydrate diet
- provide tools and practical tips for integrating the diet into your routine including meal planning, shopping, cooking and dining out
- help you maintain motivation and accountability
Call us or fill out the form below to find out how you can start following the Keto Diet Australia, safely and effectively.