What is the Keto Diet?
A ketogenic diet refers to a low-carbohydrate way of eating that encourages high-quality proteins and healthy fats. The reduction in carbohydrate intake allows the body to shift toward a metabolic state that promotes the breakdown of fats rather than sugars. The breakdown of fats results in the production of ketones and your body enters a metabolic state known as “ketosis”. In a standard American diet, 15% of caloric intake comes from proteins, 35% comes from fats and 50% comes from carbohydrates. In a ketogenic diet, 20% of caloric intake comes from proteins, 70% from fats and only 10% from carbohydrates. Research suggests that people who follow a ketogenic diet have improved mental acuity, less risk of insulin resistance, improved weight loss outcomes, increased energy and improved cardiovascular health.
What is an Alkaline Diet?
If you have been homeschooling your kids during the pandemic, the term “alkaline” may be pretty familiar! Alkalinity is a measure of the pH scale, which refers to the total hydrogen ion concentration in a solution. The more hydrogen ions available, the more acidic a solution becomes and the less hydrogen ions available, the more alkaline a solution becomes. The pH scale ranges from 1-14. A neutral pH is 7, and human blood is about 7.4, which makes it slightly alkaline. The ocean has a pH of 8.1 and the optimal pH for a pool is also 7.4, which is equivalent to human eyes and mucous membranes. Optimal soil pH for best bioavailability of nutrients is 6-7 for fruit and vegetable farming. Acidic soils with pH less than 6 have reduced calcium and magnesium and alkaline soils with pH greater than 7 may result in unavailable minerals such as iron, manganese, copper and zinc. As a result of the agricultural revolution in the last 10,000 years, our soils have become much more acidic and conventional farming techniques lead to a diet that is poor in magnesium, potassium and fiber, but rich in saturated fats, simple sugars, sodium and chloride (salt!).
While your actual blood pH shouldn’t veer off from 7.4, the types of food you eat can modify your pH in your saliva and urine. Measuring these values is a good indication of cellular health! In general, vegetables and fruits lead to a more alkaline urine pH and grains, meats, dairy, sugar, caffeine and processed foods and sodas lead to a more acidic urine pH. In fact, soda has a pH of 2.5! When you consume a majority of acidic foods, you can induce a state of “chronic low-grade acidosis” which leads to inflammation, insulin resistance, a decrease in bone density and the inability for your body to metabolize important minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Conversely, if you consume mainly alkaline-rich foods, you can benefit your overall health in a variety of ways. Research suggests that an alkaline diet favors bone growth, prevents bone loss and reduces osteoporotic fracture risk. This is of huge importance to women especially, who are at greater risk for osteoporosis as they age and as they go through menopause. Alkaline foods also increase lean muscle mass, optimizes availability of minerals such as magnesium, and reduces chronic inflammation. Magnesium is a crucial mineral that has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, reduce headaches and improve digestion. Nutrient soil depletion along with an acidic diet means that up to 80% of Americans are low in this important mineral! You can supplement with magnesium, but if your urine pH is not more alkaline, it will not become bioavailable.
If you are worried that you may be low in some of the minerals discussed here, we have a few different types of pharmaceutical-grade nutrients you can supplement with. At Pacholec Center for Weight Loss, we carry bio-available Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate as well as a Mineral Blend (MinRex) to help you replenish your cells and achieve a more alkaline state. You can pick these supplements up in either our online store or in either of our Lutz, FL or St Petersburg, FL locations.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting refers to meal timing restrictions and while there are many types of fasting intervals that are observed, the most common and successful is the 16/8 ratio of fasting/feeding. The process of fasting activates autophagy, which allows the body to digest its own cells and tissues and removes harmful toxins, damaged proteins, and increases the production of ketone levels. When intermittent fasting is combined with the keto diet, it allows the benefits of autophagy to be achieved more efficiently.
Autophagy is achieved when the body is starved of protein and when carbohydrates are restricted, so combining keto with intermittent fasting increases efficiency and leads to faster ketosis, faster weight loss, decrease in oxidative stress and inflammation, enhanced mental acuity and more stable blood sugar levels.
For women particularly, intermittent fasting works best with a 15/9 or 16/8 window. This means that you should fast for 15 or 16 hours between dinner and breakfast (7pm-10am) and then eat two healthy keto-alkaline meals with a protein shake or light meal in the 8 or 9 hour feeding window. We have a variety of pharmaceutical-grade protein meal replacement shakes that are keto-friendly, so ask your practitioner for more information at your next visit or browse our online store!
If you have never tried intermittent fasting before, start slow! You can start with a 12/12 window and work your way up to 15/9 or 16/8. The most difficult issue with intermittent fasting is going to be changing your existing habits, such as eating comfort foods, late night binging, snacking between meals or eating a carb-heavy breakfast early in the morning. Give yourself time to adjust and set goals to achieve. If you feel like you are craving a late-night snack, try some hot water with lemon or herbal tea. Hot drinks also give us a sense of comfort and can trick your brain into feeling like you have been satiated.
There is an overwhelming amount of research on how intermittent fasting is beneficial, especially for women! Health benefits include reduced breast cancer risk, reduced risk for menstrual problems, assistance managing PCOS symptoms, reduction in body weight, improved reproductive health in early adulthood, improved mental health during menopausal transition, decreased risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease, as well as reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress levels.
How does the Keto-Alklaine Diet combined with Intermittent Fasting Work?
If you are struggling with weight loss, menopause, insulin resistance, brain fog or other hormonal imbalances, this may be the diet for you! Our practitioners will work with you to make sure you are adhering to the keto-alkaline diet and intermittent fasting properly and eating appropriate foods. You will begin a ketogenic plan to consume at least 70% of your caloric intake from healthy, alkaline fats found in dark, leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds. 20% of your caloric intake should come from high-quality, non-processed organic or free-range beef, poultry or fish. Eating pounds of bacon will not provide you the results you are looking for here! Our physician supervised ketogenic program provides a comprehensive nutritional guide with individualized recommendations from our providers to help you stay on track.
Why is it best suited for menopausal women?
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of menopause and hormonal shifts is weight gain, specifically abdominal visceral fat (i.e. that stubborn belly fat which never seems to go away no matter how much you diet and exercise), which is also the most difficult to get rid of! Too much weight gain can also exacerbate menopausal symptoms, like mood swings, sleep problems, decrease in lean muscle mass, and increase in hot flashes. It may also lead to insulin resistance, which increases your risk for heart disease, dementia and diabetes. Getting older is so much fun! While it may feel like all of this is out of your control and many traditional doctors will just tell you it’s the consequence of aging, don’t get disheartened! Our practitioners at Pacholec Center for Weight Loss are specifically trained to help women overcome hormonal imbalances, lose weight and achieve a life full of energy and good health! Our practitioners will first work with women to achieve optimal hormonal balance through bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Once your hormones are on the right track, the weight may start falling off on its own, or you may need an extra dietary push in the right direction. Our practitioners will work with you to help you overcome stubborn weight loss by incorporating the keto-alkaline diet and intermittent fasting. As discussed above, there is a plethora of research on how well this approach works, especially for women! Call either of our Lutz, FL or St Petersburg, FL locations for more information and to start your journey towards better health today!
Pharmaceutical-Grade Keto Diet Supplements Recommended by Dr. Pacholec, Ms. DeNeve and Dr. Williams:
Metagenics Ketogenic Shake (Chocolate or Vanilla): 20g of fat, 5g of MCT per serving + 25 essential vitamins and minerals. You can add additional fats to your shake by blending avocado, almond butter, peanut butter, chia seeds or shredded coconut for extra flavor and fat.
Designs for Health KTO-360 Powder (Vanilla): 16g of total fat, 16 g of protein from collagen peptides and only 3 g net carbs. This meal replacement shake features collagen peptides and fats from avocado oil powder, grass fed butter powder and the medium chain triglyceride caprylic acid (C8).
Designs for Health KTO-ElectroPure: this unflavored liquid can be added to your drink of choice to help combat “keto fatigue” by replenishing your body with important electrolytes including 75 mg magnesium and 300 mg chloride sourced from ionic trace minerals, 150 mg sodium (from seawater), and 150 mg potassium (as potassium chloride). Workout enthusiasts will also benefit from using this liquid after a workout to replenish their cells!
Designs for Health KTO-C8 100: 100% pure caprylic acid sourced exclusively from coconut oil. Each 1-Tbsp serving provide 14 grams of caprylic acid convenient for adding to coffee or tea, using in shakes and smoothies, or incorporating into recipes as needed. There are four main types of MCTs (C6, C8, C10 and C12) and C8 is the most efficient at increasing ketone levels and is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
Designs for Health KTO-Bar: This coconut hemp chocolate functional food bar contains 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and only 2 net carbs, making it an ideal and convenient snack or meal replacement for anyone following a low-carb or keto diet. It’s generous fiber supply also makes it a good candidate for people following the keto-alkaline diet as well!
Metagenics Keto Soup (Savory Chicken Flavor): 14 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs and 3 grams of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) per serving. The soups come in individual packets and you just add water and serve! A quick, convenient, and easy way to stay on top of your keto diet. Try adding a tbsp of ghee or a serving of MCT Oil for extra fat intake.
Metagenics Exogenous Ketones (Berry Blast Flavor): 1 scoop of the beta-hydroxybutyrate salts mixed with water induces acute ketosis within 15-minutes!
Metagenics Phyto Moringa Powder (Berry Blast Flavor): This meal replacement shake will help you stay on top of your keto-alkaline goals! Formulated with the 70:20:10 ratio of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, it also contains grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen peptides types I and III to support skin, nails, bones, and joint health. MCTs are sourced from coconuts, organic moringa leaf extract, and an organic phytonutrient blend of 12 superfruits, greens and herbs to help you stay on track with your keto-alkaline diet.
Most of these products can be purchased on our online store and all of these products are in stock at Pacholec Center for Weight Loss locations in Lutz, FL and St. Petersburg, FL. Call one of our offices for more information or to make your next appointment!
Is BHRT Right for you?
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy can relieve traumatic symptoms associated with menopause, perimenopause, PMS, (premenstrual syndrome), and andropause (commonly referred to as male menopause). These symptoms can include night sweats or hot flashes, depression or anxiety, sleep problems, fatigue, poor weight control, weak libido or sexual dysfunction. Dr. Pacholec offers hormone replacement therapy using bio-identical hormones at both her St Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations for patients with estrogen, progesterone or testosterone imbalances. Hormone imbalances can affect both women and men, so if you are feeling any of the symptoms listed above, call Dr. Pacholec at either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL location today!
Enhance and Improve Your Quality of Life!
Once optimal hormone balance is achieved, Dr. Pacholec's patients report enjoying enhanced energy levels, heightened mental function, improved sexual arousal, and increased immunity. Additional benefits to bio-identical hormone therapy can include smoother skin tone and texture (less wrinkles), thicker hair and those few extra pounds tend to become much easier to lose!
As you age and your hormones decrease, the way that you gain weight, and where you tend to store fat, also changes. Hormones, after all, are the chemical signals that direct your body processes, including metabolism (the rate that your body burns calories). Re-balancing your hormone level to that of a more youthful state through bio-identical hormone therapy can jump-start your metabolism – turning your body into a leaner, fat burning, muscle building machine. But turning back the clock with bio-identical hormones can only get you so far; establishing healthier nutritional habits will be equally vital to your ongoing success. Request a consultation for hormone replacement therapy and weight loss with Dr. Pacholec at either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL location today to find out what you’ve been missing!
FAQs Regarding Bio-identical hormones
What are Bio-identical Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones (three types of Estrogen, as well as Progesterone and Testosterone) are extracted from plant sources. These extracted bio-identical hormone molecules are precisely identical to, and are entirely indistinguishable from the hormone molecules found in our own bodies. The body immediately recognizes bio-identical hormones as its own and puts them to use. Dr. Pacholec offers bio-identical hormone optimization therapy at both her St Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations, primarily through the use of trans-dermal creams.
What do Hormones do in the Body?
Hormones are chemical signals (proteins, peptides, amino acids and steroids) secreted by various glands and cells, which are carried throughout the circulatory system, stimulating cell receptors and physical responses to the chemical messages throughout the body.
Balanced hormone levels are associated with decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, increased bone density, increased energy levels, improved skin tone and texture, increased sexual function, and improved immune system function. Alternately, hormone imbalance can drastically and negatively affect your feelings of well-being, your libido, your regulation of blood sugar, weight, your rate of aging, strength and stamina, and can reduce your body’s ability to heal or fight infection.
Are Bio-identical Hormones Safe?
Bio-identical hormones are safe and effective alternatives to synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Multiple clinical studies dating over 70 years show that natural, bio-identical hormone therapy does not cause cancer. However, a large-scale study known as the Women's Health Initiative, did find that women treated with a popular synthetic estrogen replacement product had a measurably increased rate of breast cancer, and researchers decided to halt the study. Again, only synthetic, chemical progestins were used in that study, not the natural, bio-identical hormones such as those utilized by Dr. Pacholec at both her St Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations.
While recent studies of synthetic hormones (Premarin) have identified an increased risk in heart disease in women, other research has suggested a protective effect against heart disease with the use of bio-identical hormones in the proper balance. There may also be beneficial effects in the prevention and reversal of bone loss (osteoporosis), improvements in memory and concentration, as well as the growth, healing and repair of body tissues.
Are bio-identical hormones approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration)?
Yes! Bio-identical hormones are FDA approved. A number of bio-identical products are available commercially. Bio identical hormones are created by a specially-contracted compounding pharmacy, so that every patient receives a treatment customized precisely for their particular needs.
What is the difference between bio-identical hormones and synthetic hormones?
Synthetic hormones, under the brand names Premarin®, Provera®, and Prempro® are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and are not identical in structure to the hormones produced by the human body. For example, Premarin is created from the urine of a pregnant horse. Naturally-occurring bio-identical hormones come from plant sources, including soy and yams, and are biologically identical to the hormones produced by the human body.
BHRT in the news
Dr. Pacholec enjoys keeping her patients up to date on the most recent research regarding medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy and anti-aging medicine. You can find a summary of the study findings from a recent report regarding BHRT below, or request a copy in person at your next consultation with Dr. Pacholec in either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL office location.
The latest report (12 September 2017) from the Women’s Health Initiative Hormone Therapy trials revealed that post-menopausal women treated with hormone therapy had NO increased risk for all-cause, cardiovascular or cancer mortality over a follow-up of 18 years. This was reported by JoAnn E. Manson, MD of Harvard Medical School. The study included 27,347 participants in two randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trials.
The data from this research fully supports the newly released 2017 position statement on hormone therapy from the North American Menopause Society. This new information will hopefully alleviate concerns that many patients and physicians have about the initiation of hormone therapy and its potential to cause cancer.
Summary of the study findings can be found here
Bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT)
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement is prescribed by Dr. Pacholec at both her St Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations. She is a Board-Certified Fellow by the American Academy of Anti- Aging & Regenerative Medicine.
Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) consists of using standard doses of commercially available synthetic hormones without considering each person’s individual hormone profile. Many doctors and patients have abandoned this “one-size-fits-all” approach for HRT.
An individual approach to HRT, using Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), pin points a person’s exact hormone levels, and identifies which hormones are needed to balance their hormone deficiency. Studies show that BHRT in physiologic doses (equivalent to what your body used to make) produces more positive benefits and fewer negative effects than synthetic hormones. The difference between synthetic and bio-identical hormones is in their chemical structures and functionality. Synthetic hormones are often produced from animals, are not identical to those made by the human body and do not act in the body as human hormones do.
Bio-identical hormones (derived from plants such as soy or yam), are both chemically and functionally identical to those produced by human reproductive organs and adrenal glands. There are a multitude of symptoms that can improve with the proper prescription of BHRT including fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes, bloating & swelling, weight gain, “belly fat”, depression, memory disturbance, concentration and many more.
Dr. Pacholec is a Board Certified Fellow with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Regenerative Medicine. She would love to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal imbalance with you at your next office visit at either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL locations. Dr. Pacholec believes many chronic illnesses can be prevented as a person ages with proper nutrition, exercise, use of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and bio-identical hormones as needed. Call either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL location to schedule your next visit today!
Barbara Pacholec, MD
Dr Pacholec is Board Certified in Bariatric Medicine and Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. She has run a successful practice specializing in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine for the past 20 years in Lutz, FL in Tampa Bay. In January 2018, she opened a satellite practice in St Petersburg, FL which also specializes in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy, and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine.