Hello everyone, I hope you are all well!
I touched on something in our last article about diets. We have mentioned them many times before and discussed ways we can reduce pain by eating in a certain way.
Recently I have had success shifting some unwanted lb’s and as we have said many times before, the more weight you lose the more pressure you are taking off weight-bearing joints.
As well as weight loss I have also experienced feelings of increased energy, improved quality of sleep and more mental clarity.
Sounds good eh?
Well, those are the benefits I have experienced I am not saying everyone needs to be doing this diet I am simply giving people an answer when they ask what is the best diet for arthritis?
In my opinion and after the different diets and ways of eating that I have tried, I feel this has shown the best results for overall health not just for arthritis.
As with most diets, it won’t be for everyone and different ways people are already eating will put them off this diet but we will talk more about that.
The ketogenic diet
A lot of you will already be familiar with this diet and it is proving quite popular at the moment.
There is often a flavour of the month diet and this seems to be it, the truth is that the thinking and basis of this diet have been used time and again for years to aid weight loss.
Deep down people know that the best thing you can do to lose fat is to reduce carbohydrates and focus on eating natural fresh products.
This is in essence what the ketogenic diet promotes, did you know on a keto diet you actually eat fat in order to lose fat?!
Why does that work?
Choosing your fuel
The body is a vessel that needs fueling so it can give us the energy to perform tasks. It can either take fuel from glycogen stores or fat stores.
When eating a carbohydrate such as a baked potato the body converts it into glucose which means our blood sugar spikes and the glucose we don’t use is kept in glycogen stores ready for when we need it.
A couple of problems with this is that it isn’t a good idea to keep spiking our blood sugar levels throughout the day. This can lead to sugar crashes, dependence and craving of sugar.
Secondly is the issue of storing the glucose for when we need it.
We may only use a little and then the next day have a meal with pasta or rice this means there is even more glucose being stored and how do we notice that storage, it shows as body fat and weight gain.
You may think that if you exercise enough to use all the glucose that you consume from the carbohydrate then it’s fine but remember the sugar spike in the blood, the sugar crashes and dependence.
What is the alternative then?
When you look at macronutrients, which are the percentages of food types that we eat, a common template is 50% carbohydrate 30% protein and just 20% fat.
If we then look at the breakdowns that are advised whilst on a ketogenic diet we notice a big difference;
5% carbohydrates 25% protein 70% fat.
WOW. I know, I just knew you where thinking that, what a huge difference that is but won’t we be lethargic and have no energy with such little amount of carbs?
At the start I said our bodies can run off two different fuel sources. If we stop consuming a mass amount of carbs we are no longer creating stores and stores of glucose (body fat).
Our bodies have a look around sort of a stocktake if you will, they notice there is no longer a stream of carbohydrates coming into the body.
Think of it as a factory you have two lines running constantly, one carbs and one fats for a long time the line with the carbs has been the busier line more product has been packed up and stored from this line than the other.
Suddenly the tables have turned and the workers notice that the line with the fats is now the busy line and there isn’t much coming down the carb line. So the workers run over to the busy line and start packing and storing that.
All the glucose stores that have been packed away get used up through our daily activities and exercise, then when there is nothing left the body looks for an alternative to run off and what it finds is the fat stores.
Your body will now start to burn the fat stores as fuel meaning you will lose weight (body fat).
So let’s explore this a little further.
People may think if you are consuming a load of fat then you will be prime for a heart attack or stroke and the answer to that lies in what fats you consume.
I believe the argument for natural produce comes in here. Many foods that have been altered and manufactured with additives can contain things like trans-fats which aren’t good for you at all.
Healthy fats can be things like fatty meat like lamb, avocados, nuts and nut butter are healthy fats, olive oil is full of healthy fats.
For things such as bacon and sausage whilst I do eat them I still limit how much I have. They are full of saturated fats and it is still recommended that you do not over-consume foods that contain this.
This point leads nicely on to the next topic – Dirty Keto
For those of you wanting a more in-depth idea of what’s good and bad on keto, you can check out our keto board on Pinterest here.
This is the term that refers to somebody who is doing a keto diet, losing weight but is ultimately unhealthy and that’s because they aren’t eating good, clean fats.
Let’s face it it’s silly to think that consuming sausage, bacon, cheese and things like that EVERY DAY is good for you, even if you are losing weight.
As with most ideas of a healthy lifestyle, balance is key.
And we still need to have balance, all we are doing is shifting the priority fuel.
Consume healthy fats, a little saturated, eat wild caught fish, consume green leafy vegetables these are carbohydrates that will not spike your blood sugar and cause fat stores.
I think of dirty and clean keto like this;
For those of you who have an outside burner like a chiminea, when you burn painted wood or manufactured things that have chemicals like laminate flooring it produces a thick black smoke.
When you burn the natural wood pieces made for burning it produces a clear white smoke. Consider this the clean keto and the thick black smoke is dirty keto, so make sure your body is producing the right smoke so to speak.
So what are the benefits of keto?
We have already discussed how the system of keto means you will lose body fat.
If following a ketogenic diet in the clean healthy way the benefits you can expect are;
More mental clarity and focus, less brain fog.
Vast improvement in energy levels.
Reduction in cravings such as sugar.
Less risk of chronic disease.
There are other benefits for vanity such as clear skin and anti-ageing effects but just look at the last two benefits there, particularly the last one.
Reduced inflammation, absolutely the thing we need when suffering from such a disease as arthritis!
Another big benefit, in my opinion, is breaking the sugar addiction, this addiction is prevalent in the modern diet and you may not even think you are addicted.
Try looking at what products you eat that contain sugar and sweetener, bear in mind the different names it goes under such as fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, dextran, galactose, aspartame and so on.
There are plenty of these different names it helps to hide sugar content from us, so learn as many as you can look out for them on labels, don’t consume any and see how bad you crash.
A common issue to those starting a ketogenic diet is for a few days near the start people complain of feeling ill and under the weather, this is commonly known as ‘keto flu’ I believe it is linked to the reduction in sugar and withdrawal symptoms.
Since being on a keto diet for a couple of months I have lost a stone in weight whilst seeing an improvement in muscle mass, have more energy than I have had for a long time and sleep really well.
Of course, there are people out there reading who may be vegetarian or vegan and feel they would struggle for things to eat on keto.
My advice would be to use the power of the internet and do your own research to see what you could eat and if you feel you could cope on a keto diet.
This article is in answer to the question what is the best diet for arthritis?
In my opinion after the ones I have tried I have found the ketogenic diet to be the best and it makes sense to me why it works.
People may think they are eating an anti-inflammatory diet already because they avoid obvious inflammatory foods, the problem is things like carbohydrates that spike blood sugar and cause excess body fat is causing inflammation.
Not to mention the ever-growing diabetes epidemic but that’s a discussion for another day.
As always we look forward to hearing from you comment below or on our social media, there are new followers every day so it should provide some interesting discussion.
Take care, speak soon,