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What is a Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet (WFKD)?

Over the past 2-3 years, the Ketogenic diet has gained a lot of popularity. Originally formulated in the 1920’s as a therapy for children with epileptic seizures and used with children who didn’t respond well to medication, the ketogenic diet has hit mainstream media, mainly because of its multitude of benefits for the general population.

The original ketogenic diet, also known as the standard ketogenic diet has since been adapted to create a number of variations on this dietary protocol, including a well-formulated ketogenic diet (WKFD), which can be followed long-term.

Different Types of Ketogenic Diets

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

This is a very-low carb diet, moderate protein and high fat diet. What that means is it contains 70 to 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and about 5-10 percent carbs. A standard ketogenic diet has shown success in helping people lose weight, improve blood glucose, and improved heart health. 

Very-Low Carb Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) 

A standard ketogenic diet is very-low-carb and therefore a VLCKD will usually refer to a standard ketogenic diet. 

Calorie Restricted Ketogenic Diet

This diet also follows the standard ketogenic diet but is restricted to a set amount of calories. This version of a ketogenic diet has been used to treat certain types of cancers by starving malignant cells of glucose.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

Similar to a standard ketogenic diet except carbohydrates are consumed around workout times. The reason for this is because carbohydrates consumed before or after will allow for the body to process the foods more efficiently, since our muscles demand for energy increases when we workout. This style of keto was designed for individuals who tend to workout regularly and high intensities or for long durations of time.

Where did a Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet come from?

The term well formulated ketogenic diet (WFKD) was coined by two scientists Drs Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, who have worked continuously researching low-carbohydrate nutrition for over 30 years.

Are there Long-Term Benefits?

The valuable effects of long-term nutritional ketosis include reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced cravings and hunger, as well as improved metabolic health and weight loss.

Characteristics of a Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet

A proper understanding of a WFKD is necessary in achieving maximum benefits of nutritional ketosis. Here are the primary features of a WFKD:

Promotes Sustained Ketosis: To maintain sustained ketosis, carbohydrates should be kept between 20 to 30g per day on average. However, since there is a variance in carbohydrate tolerance, some individuals can tolerate up to 50-60 g/day and remain in ketosis. There is some debate over whether you should count total carbs or only net carbs (total carbs - fiber) so some personal experimentation will be required.

A moderate protein intake is also an important part to a sustained ketogenic diet as eating too much protein can cause your body to uptake the protein as glycogen and kick you out of ketosis. On a WFKD, protein intake tends to range between 1.2-2.0 grams/kg of body weight.

Fluid and Mineral Management: the primary focus for a keto diet is macronutrients, but the key to this lifestyle is to also focus on minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. This is especially important for athletes on a low-carb diet, as these minerals are depleted much more rapidly with intense exercise. Adding a pinch of Himalayan pink salt into a glass of water a few times/day is an easy way to increase mineral consumption while on a WFKD.

Macronutrients composed mainly of whole foods: a well formulated ketogenic diet focuses on macronutrients that are mostly comprised of vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy, and berry fruit, keeping nuts and seeds at a minimum.

Energy intake will come from dietary fat: the majority of fats come from mono-unsaturated and saturated sources from the foods themselves or as natural added fats. Protein remains constant at this point while fat intake may increase to meet caloric needs.

Any ketogenic diet under 1000 kcal/d whether from real food or a prepared formula meal does not qualify as a WFKD due to lack of nutrients and calories.

If the intention is to use a WFKD to treat, manage or reverse a chronic condition such as diabetes, the diet needs to be monitored and followed long term.

A therapeutic WFKD requires expert supervision, since it does not follow traditional dietary guidelines.

Counting calories or restricting calories is not necessary. While most diets restrict the number of calories to be consumed, a WFKD allows the individual to eat fat, lose weight and improve metabolic health

Nutritional Ketosis can be achieved safely through a well formulated ketogenic diet for a variety of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. 

If you have any questions on a well formulated ketogenic diet or nutritional ketosis contact us at any time.

About the Author: Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee is a New York State Certified Dietician-Nutritionist, who has been counseling individuals on sustainable weight management and disease prevention for over 20 years. Her mission is to empower individuals to obtain healthy food relationships and to clearly understand the concept of food as medicine. Lisa chose to create a functional nutrition practice where what, why and how we eat are all part of the conversation. There is no One-Size-Fits-All dietary approach, but Ms Jubilee has experienced great success utilizing specific dietary protocols such as intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, low carb/ketogenic dietary regimens and AIP (autoimmune protocol) in her practice. In 2006, Lisa co-founded Living Proof Nutrition Strength Pilates, a private nutrition, HIST (high intensity strength training) and Pilates studio, located in midtown Manhattan.

As of March 2020, in order to continue to service her clients and the public at large during the Covid-19 pandemic, Lisa has begun offering all of her nutrition counseling and support services remotely. Feel free to contact Lisa with any questions: Lisa@livingproofnyc.com