Intuitively, we all know the most effective dietary plan. It's not a diet trend. It's not a flashy new product. Whether it is low-carbohydrate, high-fat, high-protein, low-calorie or otherwise, the most effective diet is full of healthy, real foods and perhaps most importantly, one that you'll stick with.
One big challenge with almost every diet is the difficulty of sustaining it as a lifestyle. This is especially true if the diet requires foods that are not readily available or make eating with others more difficult.
For years, I have been at the forefront of healthy diets. I have worked one-on-one with patients, looked at decades of research and promoted healthy eating as a primary preventive health tool. I have pioneered a revolutionary plan recommending the highest-quality, healthiest keto diet available. My patients and readers have had great weight loss and health success with it.
In fact, the keto diet has been a lifesaver for many who have absolutely needed to lose weight, drastically improve blood sugars or want to live long, healthy lives. However, I unexpectedly discovered a problem. The keto diet has proven to be a tough diet to follow throughout life.
What's more, I found that many keto dieters revert back to old eating habits while continuing with some keto dietary strategies. This has become an issue and a hugely damaging combination. Ketogenic diets must be followed closely to stay healthy and maintain good results. When they are combined with the standard American diet, they create a hybrid diet far too high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats and processed foods.
The Keto Hybrid Diet Downfall
The best ketogenic diets stay strictly low-carbohydrate. They become even better when the fats used are healthy ones such as omega-3 fats from fish, monounsaturated fats from olive oil and avocados, medium-chain triglycerides from MCT oils and more.
However, some ketogenic dieters include large amounts of saturated fats from animal sources while following the diet. Often, saturated fats from red meats, butters, creams, bacon and more become the default fat and foundation of their diets. Amazingly, this can still work in terms of weight loss. However, for health's sake, a high saturated fat diet can lead to inflammation and numerous diseases, especially cardiovascular disease.
If a keto dieter begins to fall back into old habits, including consuming more sugar, refined carbs and processed foods while continuing with a high saturated-fat diet, the results can be devastating. This is an extreme standard American diet, and it's become too common with those previously on a ketogenic diet.
What's the specific harm? A high saturated-fat, high-sugar diet leads to inflammation. This type of diet is often described as a Western diet. Inflammation lies at the heart of almost all modern chronic diseases.
Dieters who fall into this combination can also experience high cholesterol, need for and/or use of statin medications, insulin resistance and altered blood sugars, joint pain, muscle aches, nasal congestion, sinus issues, fatigue, brain fog, memory problems, dementia, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, food sensitivities, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and weight gain.
While ketogenic eating can be extremely effective for weight loss, improved blood sugars and healthy cholesterol levels, it is simply difficult for many to follow as a long-term diet lifestyle.
Although I still believe in the benefits of healthy ketogenic diets, I have always been more interested in providing real solutions for my patients than hypothetical improvements. Once I realized keto may not be the answer for everyone in the long term, I put all of my research, experience and time spent with patients together to form a new solution.
A New Approach: Beyond Keto
For me, it's never been about a trendy diet or new health craze. It's always been about people. It's about results and great health. I am interested in healthy lifestyles—in all aspects—and long-term diet solutions a person can stick with for life. Furthermore, it's about meeting people where they are and helping them achieve their health goals within their own schedules, constraints, budgets and families.
What's more, I wanted a dietary program that would enable patients to prevent most diseases from the start and throughout their lives.
Now, I am introducing a new approach to diet—one that will enable you to prevent most diseases starting today and continuing throughout your life. It's a lifestyle program with the goal of great health outcomes and effective disease prevention.
It's the best of the keto diet combined with the best of the Mediterranean diet.
While I have seen great success with both the ketogenic diet and the Mediterranean diet separately, I've found that a combination approach is the healthiest and most effective.
First, the keto diet offers initial, efficient benefits with weight loss and improved blood sugars.
Then, the Mediterranean diet allows for continual healthy-eating success, whole body health, better digestion and a lifestyle of great health outcomes while enabling people to live long, healthy lives.
Here's how to use both diets for your best health.
Beyond Keto Part One: The Best of Keto: Beyond Keto starts with all the best, healthiest aspects of the keto diet. This phase will produce great results for weight loss, optimal blood sugars, less hunger and a "reset" for eating. For anyone who's struggled with eating the same unhealthy foods for years, a dramatic change is often the shake-up they need to see results. This is part one.
While in the keto phase, dieters will experience all the amazing benefits of ketosis. They will produce ketones that will reduce hunger, provide amazing natural energy, support mental focus and encourage healthy weight loss and maintenance.
However, this keto diet is not your typical keto diet. Part one's emphasis is on healthy monounsaturated fats and medium chain triglycerides with less saturated fats. It also contains fewer processed meats, fried foods and red meat than what's typical on keto.
Inflammation. Despite keto's success, diets that are high in saturated fats and processed meats can lead to an increase in inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is at the heart of most chronic diseases, and any healthy diet should aim to reduce it while achieving long-term health goals.
Beyond Keto Part Two: The Best of the Mediterranean Diet: Once weight-loss goals are achieved on the keto diet, part two of Beyond Keto transitions you to the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has been proven over centuries to support full body health. It's especially beneficial for heart health, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of cancer, optimal blood sugars, gut microbiota and metabolism.
The Mediterranean diet is based on healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and seafood. In addition, it's full of colorful plant foods like vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, salads and healthy, low-sugared fruits.
Unlike keto, the Mediterranean diet also allows for some whole grains and does not include many saturated fats. With Beyond Keto, you'll also make a few alterations to a classic Mediterranean diet.
Beyond Keto emphasizes the amazing foods in the Mediterranean diet while limiting any refined carbohydrates and sugars. Again, refined foods and sugars can increase inflammation in the body.
I have championed the Mediterranean diet throughout my career and know my patients can follow it as a healthy lifestyle for their entire lives. Now, when combined with keto in the Beyond Keto Plan, I believe it will allow you to efficiently meet weight goals and improve blood sugars, then establish a healthy diet for life that continues to prevent disease.
It's All About Health: Beyond Keto Results
Scientific study, experience and decades of research all point to key approaches for a healthy lifestyle: achieve a healthy weight, maintain a healthy weight and fight inflammation.
My novel new diet approach focuses on all of these. The results are clear.
A combination of the best of the keto diet followed by the best of the Mediterranean diet will simply support great outcomes. Here's what you can achieve with Beyond Keto.
A healthy weight for your entire life. The obesity epidemic is plaguing our communities, our country and our world. Almost every disease—and even short-term illness—can be contributed to, linked to or exacerbated by obesity.
A healthy keto diet is an amazing tool for efficient weight loss. In fact, many keto dieters experience weight loss within the first two weeks of dieting and continue to see it for months to come.
Then, a healthy Mediterranean diet continues to support weight loss, belly fat loss and maintenance. Its focus on lean proteins, seafood, healthy oils, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables provides a wonderful well-balanced, satisfying dietary lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight.
Great energy, vitality and mental focus. One of the wonderful things about ketones is the energy and mental focus they provide. As you use the keto diet in part one, you will experience these wonderful compounds made naturally by the body on a low-carbohydrate diet.
Then, as you transition to a Mediterranean diet lifestyle in part two, you can maintain great energy and vitality with the abundant variety of healthy foods it includes. Rather than experiencing the ups and downs of a high-sugar diet, you will enjoy steady, youthful energy from delicious, colorful whole foods.
Optimal blood sugars, reduced risk of pre-diabetes and less metabolic syndrome. An amazing aspect of both the keto diet and the Mediterranean diet is the improvement of blood sugars.
Both diets, in Beyond Keto, remove harmful refined starches while focusing on healthy fats, high-fiber beans, peas, lentils, vegetables, lean protein and low-glycemic fruits such as berries.
Part of the improvement comes from weight loss. Then, the foods themselves support better blood sugars. As you consume proteins, healthy fats, high-fiber beans, peas, lentils, vegetables and low-glycemic fruits rather than processed, refined foods, the body responds with less insulin resistance, better blood sugars and improved health.
In fact, the Mediterranean diet has been shown in study after study to improve blood sugars while reducing the risk of pre-diabetes, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Optimal cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and heart health. First, if you are overweight or obese, weight loss is the best path you have for supporting your heart health. You can achieve this with both parts of Beyond Keto.
Then, you can continue to encourage great heart health as you learn to eat foods that reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, support healthy cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and optimize blood pressure. The foods in the Mediterranean diet work to support heart health and achieve great health in all these aspects.
A healthy diet loaded with antioxidants and void of ultra-processed foods. One of the worst dietary habits plaguing humans worldwide is the consumption of ultraprocessed foods. Ultraprocessed foods are high in processed sugars, high in processed fats and loaded with processed chemical ingredients.
In fact, experts agree that ultraprocessed foods are killing us. In a recent study of more than 100,000 participants, researchers found that consumption of ultraprocessed foods is significantly linked to an increase in the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. Previous studies have found that ultraprocessed foods increase the overall risk of death.
There is no room for ultraprocessed foods in Beyond Keto. In fact, it focuses on fresh, real foods that are vibrant in color and full of nutrients. Rather than processed food in a wrapper, you can look forward to a lifetime of lean proteins, colorful vegetables, fresh herbs, seafoods, healthy extra-virgin oils and more. These foods deliver healthful antioxidants to your body that fight oxidative stress and inflammation.
Improved gut microbiota. Amazingly, Beyond Keto will also combine the keto and Mediterranean diets to improve gut health. This is great news for the millions of people who suffer from less-than-optimal gut function.
New studies and research have found the Mediterranean diet specifically improves gut microbiota and its associated metabolism functions. The diet's prebiotics from healthy fibers along with healthy fats and polyphenols support gut health, hormone balance and metabolism.
Less systemic inflammation. Did you know it's not just high cholesterol that causes failing heart health and blocked arteries?
It's the wrong kind of cholesterol, and the harmful inflammatory response of the body that harms the heart and arteries and allows plaques to form.
At the center of most heart health issues—and almost all modern diseases—is inflammation. When the body responds with strong inflammatory reactions, it harms every cell, organ and system.
The Mediterranean-keto combination in Beyond Keto specifically fights inflammation.
In fact, the weight loss achieved and omission of refined sugars and starches in part one is the first defense. Then, the lifestyle of a healthy weight combined with a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods will continue to fight inflammation in the body in part two with the Mediterranean diet.
Reduced systemic inflammation can change your health outcomes. You can prevent disease by fighting inflammation with great nutrition and a healthy lifestyle with Beyond Keto.
You can go beyond a quick-fix of temporary weight loss. You can achieve efficient weight results and then transition to a healthy way of eating for your entire life.
With Beyond Keto, you can stave off disease, maintain a healthy weight and combat inflammation. You can improve health from your cells to your organs to your entire body. Take the best of these two great dietary approaches and live a healthy lifestyle, for your whole life, with Beyond Keto!
READ MORE: Interested in learning more about optimal health? Find the most current health articles at health.charismamag.com.
Don Colbert, M.D., was a board-certified family practice doctor for more than 25 years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas, Texas. He is also board certified in antiaging medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and has received extensive training in nutritional and preventive medicine. He has sold more than 10 million books and is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, having treated more than 50,000 patients in his years of practicing medicine.
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