My 45-year-old patient Brenda arrived with an "I've seen it all" attitude. Ever since she could remember, she'd been on a diet (her mom started her on Weight Watchers at 13). She had tried exhausting fitness regimens and spent countless money on things like weight-loss supplements and "fat camps" (as she called them) and took her to many doctors, all of which never seemed to help.
I love cynical patients like Brenda because I can finally help them get the results they've lacked so long. My Keto-Alkaline™ Diet, which juxtaposes a traditional ketogenic diet's many benefits with a focus on alkaline foods, came about after years of research and working with thousands of patients.
Four ways the ketogenic diet can transform your health:
As an obstetrician-gynecologist and functional medicine and hormone specialist, I found the missing link that made ketogenic diets so difficult to follow. So before they shift into ketosis, they spend a week eating alkaline-rich foods. Once they're alkaline, they shift into ketosis by eating about 50 to 70 percent healthy fats, 20 to 25 percent protein, and about 5 to 8 percent healthy carbohydrates.
For Brenda, that meant healthy fats like wild salmon along with tons of leafy and cruciferous vegetables. She loved how decadently she ate, and just as importantly, the many positive side effects of this altered ketogenic diet—many of which are immediate and impressive, which help patients stick with the plan.
1. Get in the mood
Many of my patients notice changes in their passion in the bedroom when they start a ketogenic diet. Many of these are women in perimenopause, a time when already overstressed adrenals struggle to provide the sex hormones their ovaries once produced. Unfortunately, a high-carbohydrate diet means their adrenal glands crank out more stress hormones like norepinephrine, adrenaline, and cortisol, and as you likely know—stress is a total mood killer.
The diet helps balance your sex hormones as well as insulin and your stress hormone cortisol. As Brenda quickly discovered, hormonal balance does wonders for libido. She went from not in the mood to frequently frisky in just a few weeks' time. Dietary fat is crucial for regulating your body's sex hormones, and on the ketogenic diet you'll eat plenty of delicious wild-caught fish, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, and other healthy fats. These healthy fats also improve absorption of vitamin D, a precursor for your sex hormones.
2. Lose weight
The ketogenic diet delivers impressive fat-loss results. It works by suppressing your appetite and stabilizing appetite-modulating hormones like ghrelin and leptin. Because you're not getting that constant sugar surge, levels of your fat-storing hormone insulin also stabilize so you don't get those blood sugar spikes and crashes that lead to hunger and cravings.
Being in ketosis also lowers inflammation. Studies show that chronic inflammation is a surefire ticket to fat gain and metabolic syndrome, while an anti-inflammatory diet can help you lose weight. My clients consistently report feeling satisfied with this diet, as they don't feel restricted and get to eat delicious fat-rich foods while losing weight. One study looked at the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet on obese patients and found that it significantly reduces body weight and body mass index (BMI) while improving lipid profile and blood glucose levels. Researchers have also confirmed that longer-term ketogenic diets are completely safe.
3. Have more energy
You know the scenario: You grab that sugary, caffeinated pick-me-up, you feel great for about 30 minutes, and then, bam… You want to lay your head on your desk and pray 5 p.m. rolls around soon. A high-carbohydrate diet spins your energy all over the place, and that blood sugar roller coaster crashes really hard. But a ketogenic diet steadies blood sugar levels, providing slow, sustained all-day energy so you're focused, energized, and fulfilled. Research has shown that mitochondria—those little power plants within your cells—actually prefer ketones as fuel. Ketones significantly decrease free radical damage, protecting your mitochondria. Ketones can even help create new mitochondria, optimizing energy levels in the bargain.
4. Prevent or reverse chronic disease
Being inflamed can keep you overweight, running on empty, and feeling uninspired in the bedroom. Plus, chronic inflammation puts you at risk for nearly every disease on the planet. Because the keto diet's principles powerfully support your body's natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms, it has the potential to reduce your risk for chronic diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.
And because it optimizes blood sugar and insulin levels, you can potentially prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome complications. I have seen this occur in many clients. One study among people with type 2 diabetes found that a ketogenic diet dramatically improved glucose concentration could discontinue or reduce diabetes medications. (But please never reduce or discontinue any medication without your doctor's approval.)
So whether you're a ketogenic newbie or want to give your ketogenic diet an upgrade, you can enjoy some—or all—of these benefits.