Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer.
Two years ago, I dropped 30 pounds (and kept it off) by doing the Whole30 and continuing to eat well in the months that followed. During the 30 days on the program, I lost 11 pounds. And for me, completing it helped me form healthy habits (like reading labels and not smothering everything in cheese), taught me how to cook an arsenal of healthy recipes I actually enjoyed eating and most importantly (and the reason why I do it every January), showed me how incredible my body feels when I'm not pumping it full of sugar and alcohol. These lessons stuck with me well past the 30 days, allowing me to drop an additional 19 pounds by April of that year and finally reach my goal weight.
"One of the primary places where you are going to see metabolic changes on any kind of diet is in your gastrointestinal tract -- and that can include a change in bowel habits often experienced as constipation," says Sondike, who is also credited with conducting the first published, randomized clinical trial on low-carb diets. The reason, Sondike tells WebMD, is that most folks get whatever fiber they consume from high-carb foods such as bread and pasta. Cut those foods out, and your fiber intake can drop dramatically, while the risk of constipation rises.
Carbohydrate has been wrongly accused of being a uniquely "fattening" macronutrient, misleading many dieters into compromising the nutritiousness of their diet by eliminating carbohydrate-rich food. Low-carbohydrate diet proponents emphasize research saying that low-carbohydrate diets can initially cause slightly greater weight loss than a balanced diet, but any such advantage does not persist. In the long-term successful weight maintenance is determined by calorie intake, and not by macronutrient ratios.
Self-reports, along with data from certain trials, indicate that very low-carb diets or ketogenic diets might increase symptoms like fatigue, constipation, brain-fog and irritability in some people — side effects that have been nicknamed “the carb flu” or “keto flu.” However, this is usually the case when cutting back carbs dramatically to just about 5 percent to 10 percent of total calories. These side effects usually clear up within 1–2 weeks of changing your diet, after your body adjusts.
Generally speaking, dieters are advised to eat between 20-30 grams of carbohydrates per day in order to maintain ketosis. To put this into perspective, a quarter cup of steel cut oats has 29 grams of carbs and a banana has roughly 27 grams of carbs. So if you have a few bites of oatmeal or a small piece of fruit, whoops! That's your carb intake for the day.
It’s easy to find more guidance online, but a book also makes a handy reference. "The Paleo Diet," for example, outlines basic Paleo principles and offers three “levels” that allow for different degrees of cheating – three “open meals” per week on the “entry level” plan, two on “maintenance” and just one on “maximal.” Depending on the level, you might also get “transitional” condiments (low-fat dressing and salsa) and drinks (coffee, beer or wine in moderation) to wash down the meat and plants. You can use the levels as you like. Start with the first and move gradually to the more restrictive – or just stay put. For more dramatic changes, head right to the third.