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    What is the Keto Diet?

    What is the Keto Diet?

    What is the Keto Diet?

    Have you heard of the keto diet? I’m betting you have since just like intermittent fasting, it’s a hot topic in the health and dieting industries. For many who are interested in trying it or are in the beginning stages of making this lifestyle change, the amount of information and misinformation can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

    The ketogenic diet is a very-low-carb and high-fat diet. It can result in significant reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in glycemic control. We’ve all been told glucose and carbohydrate is where we get fuel from and that’s true – blood glucose is important for fuel – but there’s an alternative fuel source called KETONES.

    And the brain actually prefers it!

    Ketones are an incredible source of energy from fat!

    Living a Keto Lifestyle

    I’ve followed the keto lifestyle for a little over 20 years now and I am not exaggerating when I say that it completely changed my life. I stumbled onto keto after getting extremely sick with Epstein-Barr, battling chronic fatigue syndrome, brain fog, depression, and fibromyalgia. Through my research, I read that a keto diet could help with autoimmune issues and inflammation—at least according to a few trailblazers on the message boards. It sounded like my autoimmune issues didn’t have to hinder me my entire life. They didn’t have to be a death sentence, and there might be some hope. The more I researched the ketogenic diet, nutritional ketosis, and ketone bodies, the more convinced I became that this was the solution to my health woes. After a few weeks following the keto diet, I started noticing an improvement in how I was feeling, and it was becoming noticeable by those around me as well. To say I was thrilled is a huge understatement.

    Keto Food Pyramid

    The keto diet can be beneficial to many people for an assortment of reasons, and it can be customized to fit your bio-individuality. There are three main factors that led me to sticking to the keto diet: it cuts out all nutrient-deficient foods, it helps me to feel full and satisfied and it has cognitive-enhancing effects and there is the weight maintenance effect as well.

    Keto and Diet Studies

    In a review of 23 weight-loss trials published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Tulane University found that both low-carb and low-fat diets led to weight loss, reduced waist circumference and improved metabolic risk factors with no significant differences between diets. They concluded: “These findings suggest that low-carbohydrate diets are at least as effective as low-fat diets in reducing weight and improving metabolic risk factors. Low-carbohydrate diets could be recommended to obese persons with abnormal metabolic risk factors for the purpose of weight loss.”¹

    One of the best and most reliable examples is the A TO Z Weight Loss Study, a randomized trial conducted by a group of Stanford researchers led by Dr. Christopher Gardner. In the trial, the researchers compared four popular weight-loss diets—Atkins (low-carb and high-fat), LEARN (low-fat), Ornish (low-fat) and Zone (technically considered lower carb)—and they found that women following the Atkins diet lost more weight and experienced more favorable metabolic effects after 12 months compared to the other diets.²

    In another recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association—the DIETFITS clinical trial, which randomized 609 overweight or obese adults to a healthy low-fat or a healthy low-carb diet for 12 months—both diets led to similar weight loss and metabolic health improvement (e.g., reduced fasting glucose and insulin). Notably, the low-carb diet led to more favorable improvements in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.³

    One of my favorite aspects of the DIETFITS trial was the emphasis on diet quality. The lead physician Dr. Gardner and his team put a tremendous emphasis on high dietary quality for both groups, which is important because traditional low-fat diets often lead to reduced diet quality due to the low-nutrient density of heavily processed, convenient, pre-packaged low-fat foods (e.g., refined grains, added sugar).

    Remembering Bio-individuality When Starting a Keto Diet

    I love sharing my story and experience with keto. There are two important items I want to mention regarding the keto diet or any change to your diet. The first is that you are making a lifestyle change. You have to find what works for your life and your body. Keto worked phenomenally well for me and my lifestyle and while I know it can work for many others, it won’t be a fit for everyone. We have to keep in mind bio-individuality. All of us are different. Our bodies need different things, our lifestyles require different things. Experimentation is one of the most important things to keep in mind. You’ll never find what works for you without it. Experiment with the keto diet to see if it works for you, try carb-cycling, try the Mediterranean diet or the Paleo diet. Find what works for you and don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t—just make adjustments.

    The second is that when making a lifestyle change, you must grant yourself grace. I know that it’s great to imagine your life on keto—to feel the renewed energy of eating clean whole foods and being free of sugar addiction—but I also know that imagining the keto life and adopting it can be two vastly different things.

    I am a firm believer that nothing needs to be done perfectly. Even I can get thrown off my diet when life gets crazy, or I get too busy, or I find myself in an airport with only 40 minutes between flights. So, when life gets crazy, and you grab a cookie or two don’t despair and throw all of your hard work out the window. Just get back on track with your next meal.

    More Keto Tips

    If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that I frequently share posts about my favorite keto products, keto foods to choose from when you’re making meals and snacks, and how I order when I go out to eat. These are some great ideas for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by all of the information out there. And if you’re still struggling with how to implement this into your life, I recommend not overcomplicating it. Start slowly by focusing on the types of whole foods I list in my 7 Keto Foods to Boost Energy post.

    Make sure you also follow The ENERGY Formula Facebook Group as we share our favorite keto recipes.

    Original article may be found directly on Shawn's site. 

    Stay connected with Shawn Wells:

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

     

    “low-carbohydrate diets are at least as effective as low-fat diets” Hu, T., Mills, K. T., Yao, L., Demanelis, K., Eloustaz, M., Yancy Jr, W. S., … & Bazzano, L. A. (2012). Effects of low-carbohydrate diets versus low-fat diets on metabolic risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. American journal of epidemiology, 176(suppl_7), S44-S54.

    A TO Z Weight Loss Study” Gardner, C. D., Kiazand, A., Alhassan, S., Kim, S., Stafford, R. S., Balise, R. R., … & King, A. C. (2007). Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. Jama, 297(9), 969-977.

    ^the DIETFITS clinical trial” Gardner, C. D., Trepanowski, J. F., Del Gobbo, L. C., Hauser, M. E., Rigdon, J., Ioannidis, J. P., … & King, A. C. (2018). Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion: the DIETFITS randomized clinical trial. Jama, 319(7), 667-679.

    How To Eat Healthy In College

    How To Eat Healthy In College

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)

    College students are no strangers to full class loads that include cramming for exams, late-night studying, and regular assignments or projects. Many students take on part-time (and some even full-time) jobs to keep some money in their pocket, be it for course materials they may need, some weekend spending money, or trying to get ahead on their savings. While everyone works for that end-goal or "light at the end of the tunnel" there's no doubt things can be hectic and feel like they might never let up.

    But amidst the chaos in trying to keep the pace going and not fall short on whatever deadlines you may face, it's of the utmost importance to NEVER neglect your health.

    Sometimes it seems like all you have time for between classes and studying is to reach for a pack of ramen, an energy drink, or some fast food on the corner. And while all food is sustenance in some way, WHAT you put in your body determines just how far and well you'll be able to perform both physically and mentally.

    While I'm not here to bore you with a word problem, assuming you hear enough of those in math class already, think of your body and mind as a car. You have a long trip ahead of you and need to ensure your car doesn't just drive as long as you need, but that you won't have any permanent breakdowns along the way. Knowing your car runs on a certain type of fuel, ask yourself: what would putting the WRONG fuel in my car do for my journey? Would it be able to function optimally to get me where I need to go?

    You see, food is the same.

    By choosing relatively unprocessed, whole-food sources you're providing your body with the ability to remain healthy and your mind the opportunity to remain focused on the demands placed on it. Of course, this can be easier said than done, as those quick grab-and-go types of foods aren't just convenient (and often cheaper than the healthy stuff), they tend to taste better too. But the keyword here is "cheap" and opting for foods that give you the RIGHT nutrients offer you more than just "growing big and strong.”

    Back in my college days, I put a lot of the wrong fuel in my body. Sleepless nights studying were often fueled by too much caffeine and convenience store snacks. This often came at the cost of lethargy, low energy throughout the day, and just feeling like I was in a constant mental fog no matter how much I slept or tried to get into a studying groove during my classes.

    How I wish I had ICON Meals then!

    What I enjoy most about them is how they don't just give healthy options to choose from (be it their weekly Signature Menu or their custom meal options) but they all taste great. These days my routine stays just as busy between auditing classes from my degree as well as running my own web development company. This keeps me extremely busy and I don't have time to stop what I'm doing to cook every single meal, much less spend my weekend grocery shopping, cooking, and prepping the following week's meals in advance.

    ICON Meals doesn't just take the guess-work out of what I'm going to eat, they save me massive amounts of time I wouldn't have otherwise, allowing me to grab a healthy meal and keep grinding away at everything on my plate (pun intended).

    Even when I DID start taking care of myself with a proper fitness and nutritional routine I never considered a meal-prep/delivery service before. But if I'm going to spend the money grocery shopping just to spend chunks of time weighing and cooking the food only to package it up for when I need it, why not just have ICON Meals do the majority of it for me?

    All the food is properly weighed out and comes from REAL food that isn't processed. It's minimally seasoned (especially the custom meals) so I can spice dishes up a different way if I want to. They have options for protein, carb, and vegetable sources I enjoy having regardless of whether I made them myself or used them!

    Treat your body right by feeding it right. Remember that good practices make good habits and that even after your time at school, things stay busy. For that reason alone, while your education sets your career up for success, ICON Meals sets your nutrition, body, and mind up to keep you going.

    Stay connected with blog author Michael Mastrucci on

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!