Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet for the Night Shift
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.
By: Robert Eilers | NightOwl.FIT Community | August 20th 2017
The Ketogenic Diet, or Keto Diet as it is better known, is the new trend in diets these days. I can’t throw a stone when listening to my podcasts without hitting someone talking about the keto diet. In previous weeks I discussed eating for your body type, in the post, we covered how certain people were adapted based on their body types to certain macronutrients, protein, carbs or fats. Typically myself I use a high-protein Paleo style diet but in the interest in exploring my body more I decided to give the keto diet a try, and with great success. The Keto diet is a diet that is based more heavily on healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and very low-carb. This type of diet would work well for not only those that are more healthy fat adapted but for the other body types as well. The keto diet certainly worked well for me.
Want your own 4-week starter plan that will not only kick-start your health but give you more energy? Then check out my 4-week night shift diet plan in the store.
In a standard diet typically the body uses the carbohydrates in the foods you eat as its energy source.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body
Under normal circumstances, this isn’t always a bad thing if you are eating healthy carbohydrates such as leafy greens, sweet potatoes, or other healthy vegetables. However, this isn’t always the case. Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis on the Keto Diet
The “keto” in the word ketosis comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”. This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.
Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to blood sugar).
Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then consumed as fuel in the body, including by the brain. This is important as the brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones.
Keto for Fat Burning
On a keto diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off.
Around 20 scientific studies show that, compared to other diets, low-carb and ketogenic diets result in more effective weight loss.
Keto Diet for A Better Brain
It’s a common misconception that the brain needs carbs. The truth is that the brain happily burns carbs when you eat them. But if you don’t eat too many carbs, the brain is happy to burn ketones instead.
This is an absolutely necessary function for basic survival. As the body can only store carbs for a day or two, the brain would quickly shut down after a couple of days without food. Alternatively, it would quickly have to convert our muscle protein into glucose – a very inefficient process – just to keep the brain going. That would make us waste away quickly. It would also ensure that the human race could hardly have survived all those millennia before we had 24-7 food availability.Fortunately, our bodies have evolved to be smarter than that. Normally we have fat stores that last so that we can survive for many weeks (if not months) without food. Ketosis is how the body makes sure that the brain can run on those fat stores too.
Bottom line: We do not need to eat any carbs at all. The brain can happily run on fat.
Getting Started on Night Shift With Keto Diet
If our want a great resource to get you started on the Keto diet check out the book by Mark Sisson Keto Reset Diet. I will have a review up soon. Read on.
Keto is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs. Your nutrient intake should be something around 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.
Typically, anywhere between 20-30g of net carbs is recommended for everyday dieting – but the lower you keep your carbohydrate intake and glucose levels, the better the overall results will be. If you’re doing keto for weight loss, it’s a good idea to keep track of both your total carbs and net carbs.
Understand that these are net carbs. The net carbs are your total dietary carbohydrates, minus the total fiber.
Here are some foods you can and cannot eat on the Keto Diet
Do Not Eat
- Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
- Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
- Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
- Tubers – potato, yams, etc.
- Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
- Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, etc.
- Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- High-Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
- Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
- Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
My Favorite Keto Diet Products
Almond Flour – I always love Bob’s Red Mill Products for pretty much anything, and for recipes that require baking, Almond Flour is far better than traditional flour.
Coconut Flour – A traditionally sweeter flour by Bob’s. This is highly absorbent, cheap, and a bag will last you a long time.
Coconut Oil – I honestly use mostly coconut oil when I cook because of the amazing taste it gives my food. And all the added wonderful healthy fats.
MCT Oil – Quick clean energy for your coffee or for your recipes.
Liquid Stevia – Extremely sweet, a little goes a long way. I add a few drops to a lot of our desserts to give them a subtle sweetness.
The keto diet may not be for everyone but there is certainly something to be learned from it. Many of the fruits and vegetables you consume on a keto diet are high-quality limited carbs, which is a good thing. So even if you don’t choose to follow its principles there is something to be learned from it.
For more information you can read our complete guide to the ketogenic diet for the night shift.
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