Low-carb diets are nothing new, but The Atkins Diet made it famous. They helped pioneer some of the research into a ketogenic diet and helped us figure out why low carb works to help people lose weight, lower cholesterol levels, and feel better.

For most people, it works well. But, for some people, low carb diets can make them sick. We're going to go over what’s going on when you low carb diet and who should be using a low-carb diet, so you can gain the health benefits without any negative consequences. 

But first, we want to share a little tale.

Our Friend Chris’ Story

Chris was 24, active, and looking towards his future. He regularly worked out but started sticking to a more vegetarian diet rich with rice and pasta. He even made good choices, sticking to whole grains rather than white, refined pasta and rice.

However, his cholesterol was 333, and he was overweight with migraines every other week.

Finding out his cholesterol was dangerously high was the kick in the pants to figure out how to be healthy. Face with a lifetime of medication and feeling miserable, he decided to change is life.

After some research, he ran into the Atkin’s Diet. He read reviews and what the doctors thought of the plan. He believed in the claims it would cure every problem he had.

Sticking with the plan, in 4 months, Chris lowered his cholesterol to 187, lost 30 lb, and felt better than ever. After a year, Chris’s cholesterol was still low, and he lost 60 lbs altogether. 

15 Years Later… the weight was still off, and he was still healthy.

The Facts on Ketogenesis

Fortunately for Chris, his body responded very well to low-carb dieting.

Many people talk about keto diets, ketogenesis, and measuring their ketones. But, most people don’t know what that means.

Ketogenesis is the natural process where fat is metabolized to produce ketone bodies and then these ketones are used for energy production. It occurs naturally at all times but becomes the primary source of energy in times of fasting, carbohydrate restrictions, and starvation conditions. A ketogenic diet was a way to stop diabetes before the development of insulin.

Your body goes through ketogenesis as a normal, natural biological process. When you fast or do low-carb dieting, you restrict or eliminate the number of carbs, which is the body's preferred energy source.

Ketogenesis is a way to quickly lose weight by eliminating stored body fat. It’s exceptionally good at removing excess body fat around the middle of the body, one of the most significant indicators of heart disease and poor health.

To obtain a state of ketogenesis, carbohydrates should be restricted to less than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day. To do this safely, you should be under the supervision of a nutritionist or health coach with vast experience using low-carb dieting. 

Fortunately for us, the coaches here at Custom Health Centers have that experience, plus access to nutritionists and doctors to make sure everybody who goes to our programs remains healthy.

Who Should Use A Low-Carb Diet

Most people can go through low-carb dieting safely. But, there are exceptions.

Those who have diabetes have to be very careful with the number of sugars they consume and should use low-carb dieting with caution. You have to make sure you balance your sugars without causing spikes or depressions, which can be debilitating. If done right, it can do wonders.

People with kidney issues or potassium imbalances (or those who take medication that causes potassium retention) should not do low-carb dieting on their own. Because of the increased ketone production processed in the kidneys, those ketones place a considerable strain on the organ that could cause kidney failure.

People at risk for osteoporosis should also use caution. Some research suggests an increased risk of excreting calcium and magnesium because of the protein-rich diet. However, by including calcium and magnesium-rich foods and supplements in your diet, you can offset this risk.

How to start a low-carb diet right now

You don't need to jump on the ketogenic diet right away. You can get a lot of benefits by making these three changes to your diet that naturally lower your carbs:

  • Switch out bread and pasta (high carb, low nutrient foods) with vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes (some are high carb, but very nutrient-dense)
  • Switch out soda and juice (high carb) for water (zero carbs)
  • Start exercising

You can also talk to one of our coaches here at Custom Health Centers about getting some supplements that will help overcome nutritional deficiencies and advice on how to supplement to avoid losing excess amounts of calcium and magnesium, which will keep your bones strong.

February 08, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson