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!
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.