The best keto supplements
Our handyman was almost unrecognizable. He had lost 60 pounds in a few months, and he said it was all due to the dirty keto diet. A recap: the dirty keto diet doesn’t require you to worry about the quality from the source of your nutrients, while clean keto, if you will, is all about high quality nutrition.
“Last night, I ate four bacon cheeseburgers with extra blue cheese, swapped my usual soft drink for a diet, and skipped the buns and fries… gave my dog the crust. “
I guess the dog is not on the keto diet.
Yes, these meals are technically keto, but they’re also low in important nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants.
If you’ve browsed a grocery store or drugstore, or scoured the internet for nutrition, you’ll find plenty of products marketed as keto supplements. And while we’re big supporters of getting all the nutrients you need from the food you eat, with some diets, like dirty keto, you won’t get that. So, should you be taking supplements to, uh, supplement your diet?
Let’s look at our handyman again. He vowed that he would never eat carbs of any kind, again he might not be aware of what it means to cut out entire food groups. It is easy to miss out on a number of important nutrients, and in the long run this can lead to certain nutrient deficiencies.
Until a gentle education can convince him that eating fruits and vegetables (yes, carbs) will support his goals, it’s time to talk about the best keto supplements to fill the nutritional gap.
When you are on a keto diet, it is not uncommon to experience constipation and poor digestion. This is because some of the best sources of fiber, which keep you regular, include vegetables, fruits, beans, or whole grains. When you cut them out, it’s hard to hit the daily recommendation of 25-35 grams of fiber.
“A well-formulated keto diet doesn’t have to be devoid of all fiber, as fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is really important for nutrient absorption in the gut and aids in the elimination of waste through the colon,” explains Jordan Mazur, Director of Nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers.
Not to stress our DIY friend, but four double bacon cheeseburgers isn’t quite a fiber-based meal.
This is where a fiber supplement can come in handy. But it’s important not to overdo it too soon or you’ll live in the bathroom. Consider starting with a supplement that provides 5-10 grams of fiber per day and see how your body responds.
Let’s face it: every time you take out an entire food group (or groups), you’re going to be missing something. Trying to fill this gap is smart. Green supplements – powdered mixes of green fruits and vegetables ready to be mixed into shakes and smoothies – can help fill nutritional gaps in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and probiotics.
It’s easy to get lost in an ocean of greenery when choosing a supplement. Your best bet is to pick one that is tested by third parties, like Informed Choice or NSF.
Probiotic / digestive enzymes
When you cut out or significantly reduce carbohydrates, your body must adapt to stop digesting carbohydrates and increase its digestion of fats and proteins. Remember, the idea of the keto diet is that your body runs on ketones instead of glucose, the sugar found in carbohydrates.
Your body can do it, but it’s not very efficient and it can be difficult for some.
“To help relieve some of the digestive issues while adjusting to fat, include digestive enzymes to be prepared and aid the digestive process while avoiding uncomfortable symptoms,” says Mazur.
Choose third-party certified supplements that contain protease, lipase, and amylase.
Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of bodily processes, including regulating blood sugar, muscle cramps, supporting the immune system, and your body’s stress response.
Magnesium is most commonly found in foods like beans and fruits, which are typically eliminated or significantly reduced when you are on a keto diet. To fill this gap, supplementation of 200 to 400 mg per day might be a good choice.
And yes you can Eat too much magnesium, so it’s important to take stock of how much you’re getting from a multivitamin supplement, green leafy vegetables, and your whole foods before taking a magnesium supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, for example, are considered healthy fats. Since many keto diets, especially dirty keto, contain a lot more red meat (which is high in saturated fat), it’s important to make sure you balance that with healthy fats, like omega-3s. While the bad reputation of saturated fat is changing, it is still important to balance it with omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a small 2015 study, men who ate a keto diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids had greater decreases in triglycerides, insulin and inflammatory markers compared to those who did not.
When choosing an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, aim for at least 1000 mg of EPA + DHA.
Electrolytes, like sodium, play an important role in muscle contraction, including your heart. Switching to the keto diet can lead to increased fluid loss from the body, especially during exercise, which can not only affect performance, but can also be dangerous.
Some research, like this 2017 article published in Sports medicine, also suggests that athletes on the keto diet may experience excessive loss of electrolytes through sweating.
One way to increase your sodium intake is to add bouillon cubes to your meals, according to Jeff Volek, Ph.D., RD, who has researched (and followed) the keto diet.
But adding too much sodium can wreak havoc on your heart, so if you have high blood pressure, it’s best to talk to your doctor.
You can also add electrolyte tablets to your water bottle for mid-workout hydration.
Because electrolytes require a delicate balance, if you think it would be beneficial to add a supplement, your best bet is to work with a registered dietitian.
Taking a multivitamin, whether or not you’re on the keto diet, can help you get the nutrients you need. And if you are After the keto diet, or any other restrictive diet, a multivitamin is even more important.
Read the labels and choose a multi that provides 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and has been certified by a third-party source, such as USP, Informed Choice, or NSF.
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