By Tammy-Lynn McNabb, RHNC – Registered Holistic Nutrition Counselor
You probably have heard of low carb, low glycemic, reduced carb and ketogenic diets. What all of these programs have in common is the practice of reducing carbohydrates in the diet while increasing fibre. The ketogenic diet recognizes the importance of including healthy fats, along with proteins, in your daily meals, as this contributes to the diet’s success because both are meant to keep you fuller longer.
Is ketogenic a fad diet or a mainstream way of eating?
For over 17 years I have followed low carb living by consuming carbs that aren’t high on the glycemic index. That would mean that refined grains and sugar are almost always avoided in favour of an alternative, fibre-rich grain like flaxseeds and sugar substitutes like stevia or xylitol. All of my fruits and vegetables are low on the glycemic index and have a measurable amount of fibre.
How does a low carb- ketogenic diet work?
The diet works by reducing the number of carbs you consume, which then puts you into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, have numerous health benefits.
So why have diets like the Ketogenic diet gained traction over the years? Ketogenic diets may have benefits including potentially combating diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. It also produces fast results (if you get yourself into ketosis and your body uses your stored fat for energy). Always remember that the initial, often dramatic, weight loss will only be temporary unless you maintain your new eating routine. This diet (like any other) can only be effective if you are interested in consuming the foods you are allowed to eat. And preparation is always key. You need to clean out your pantry and fridge of all of your sugary, high carb treats and stock up of foods compatible with the diet. Eating whole foods, that are fresh and nutritious is your best ticket to success.
Fibre In Your Diet
In many diets, fibre is an important part of your weight loss journey. Bulking up your colon with fibre ensures success in maintaining weight loss. Here are 5 fantastic sources for fibre I consume on a daily basis:
What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is the indigestible material of a plant that passes through your digestive system either completely undigested or broken down in the large intestine. Fibre assists in the removal of internal waste through the colon and is crucial in maintaining healthy digestion. There are two types of fibre – soluble or insoluble. Each type is digested and used differently by the body.
Soluble fibre: Soluble fibre can dissolve in liquids and becomes a gel-like substance as it moves through the digestive tract. Soluble fibre, as it expands in your system, gives you a feeling of being full as it slows digestion. Soluble fibre is readily found in fruits and legumes (which are not advised on a ketogenic diet) and some vegetables. Soluble fibre is an ingredient commonly used in low-carb and keto packaged foods in the form of isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs) and soluble corn fibre.
Insoluble fibre: Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre does not dissolve in liquids. Also known as “roughage”, it aids in digestion and promotes the elimination of waste. Commonly used for constipation and irregularity, insoluble fibre should be consumed by everyone, not just those following a keto diet. Insoluble fibre is the predominant type of fibre found in vegetables, especially the low-carb, nonstarchy options that are great for a ketogenic diet.
Consuming fibre on a ketogenic and low carb diet
Many presume that a keto diet consists of fatty foods, meats, eggs, cheese oil, and high-fat dairy. This was true back in the late 90s but eating a reduced carb diet has come a long way since then. With access to the internet and a multitude of information, we have learned the role healthy food can play in our diets. The evolution of plant-based eating continues to educate us on how plants play a vital role in the way a healthy diet is structured. We also look at the ethical implications food has in our day to day lives. Long gone is the overconsumption of animal-based foods. Many of us now look at alternatives to these foods and choose to consume a plant-based equivalent instead of one derived from an animal source. We are also more educated in the vital importance of how food can be used as a form of therapy. We acknowledge that food, and how it is consumed, has healing and medicinal properties. Where we once turned to pharmaceutical medicine for healing, we now look to our diet.
Following a well-formulated and balanced, the ketogenic diet should include regular amounts of low-carb vegetables, high fibre intake, along with quality sources of fats and protein. In a keto diet, the fermentation process of insoluble fibre during digestion can contribute to ketogenesis (the production of ketones). The easiest way to ensure you meet adequate fibre intake in your diet is to include a high fibre supplement like ground flaxseeds. I enjoy adding a tablespoon of flaxseed meal in my morning smoothie. I also have a recipe posted for a high fibre flaxseed bread. Another great source is roasted flaxseeds on top of my meals each day.
Keto diet or not – eating fibre rich foods daily will ensure you are supporting your digestive system and colon which will help in keeping many diseases at bay!