I’ve learned many things on my keto journey, and on the top of the list is how fiber-rich (yet keto-friendly) foods can enhance the metabolic power of a ketogenic diet. In fact, I am so passionate about this topic that I wrote an entire book uncovering the ins, outs, and controversies surrounding fiber on keto diet. This exploration led me to a whole new version of the ketogenic lifestyle, and I call it: High Fiber Keto.
In the keto world, there is always controversy among experts when it comes to dirty vs. clean keto, the optimal sources of fat, the optimal carbohydrates, supplements and yes, even fiber! Keto fiber is controversial because it is a carbohydrate, one that the body can’t digest on its own, but has many amazing health benefits. So the question becomes, how do you meet your fiber needs in the context of a keto diet?
Fiber, very simply, is a carbohydrate that your body doesn’t have the enzymes to break down, so it isn’t absorbed into the body as glucose. Soluble fiber passes through and absorbs water to provide bulk and help you to feel full. Insoluble fiber helps your digestive system stay on a regular rhythm. There are also specific prebiotic fibers found in certain foods that actually feed the beneficial bacteria in your colon, balancing the microbiome.
Fiber is found in plant foods and eating fiber-rich foods has an array of metabolic benefits, supported by a robust body of research. Diets high in fiber-rich whole foods are associated with longevity, heart health, stable weight, better digestion and overall better metabolic health, including reduced blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
In today’s day and age of the industrialized, Standard American Diet, much of the natural fiber has been stripped away leaving high carbohydrates (sugar, flour) without the vitamins, minerals, plant nutrients and fiber the body needs to effectively metabolize the carbs. This food environment characterized by fast, highly processed food is a breeding ground for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, inflammation – and all of the chronic conditions we face in this modern world.
Interestingly, people who move from countries where traditional food systems are still in place, come to the West and develop these metabolic diseases just as their diet and lifestyles change to meet the new standard diet. This is exactly what happened to the women in my family when we moved from Europe to the United States when I was young. Understanding this connection, and what is needed to reverse it, continues to be a huge driver of my work and my passion for keto. Not just any keto diet, mind you, but keto done the right way with specific attention to high fiber keto foods.
90% of Americans don’t eat enough fiber and chances are if you are reading this, you might need to pay a little more attention to fiber, no matter your diet. Specifically, in regards to keto, fiber is key!
For those of you just dipping your toes into keto, a ketogenic diet is one that is high in fat (typically around 75% of daily calories come from fat), moderate protein (15-20%) and low in carbohydrates (5-10%). This macronutrient distribution allows the body to make a metabolic transition from using sugar (glucose) as the primary fuel to using fat in the form of ketones. A ketogenic diet can mimic the metabolic state of our ancestors during times of food scarcity and allow the metabolism to reset.
Although originally used for seizures and neurodegenerative disease, the ketogenic diet holds great promise for weight loss, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other chronic, inflammatory conditions. On a personal level, keto has absolutely changed my life and reduced eczema, the inflammatory skin condition that I’ve struggled with since childhood.
The traditional keto diet will just focus on the carbohydrate restriction and increasing the fat, instead of paying attention to food quality, nourishment and meeting the body’s nutrient needs. That’s a huge departure from my High Fiber Keto diet plan that takes keto to the next, healing level. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – or throwing the fiber out with the carbs – I’ve come to see that we can really have the best of both worlds.
Both fiber and a ketogenic diet are beneficial for lowering blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, decreasing weight, improving digestion, supporting the microbiome, taming sugar cravings, reducing inflammation and so much more. By focusing on high fiber, yet low carbohydrate foods along with including good fats and high-quality protein, not only will keto be more satisfying and delicious, but you will also 10X your metabolic benefits.
I’m so excited to share more of this information with you in the near future, as I’ve poured my heart and soul into the High Fiber Keto project, and I can’t wait to continue sharing what I’ve uncovered with all of you.