The foundation of a ketogenic diet is the proportional regulation of your macro-nutrient intake. It requires your daily macro consumption to be high fat (60-80%), moderate protein (15-30%), and low carbohydrate (5-10%). This diet is popular for a reason. Many people have found enormous success losing weight and improving their overall health on this diet. There are also many people who have adopted the tenets of this diet as a long-term lifestyle, even after reaching their weight goal.
As with any diet change, you should consult your physician about possible deficiencies, imbalances or disruptions that may occur as a result of the nutritional changes you are making. This is especially true if you are considering a ketogenic diet and have had your gall bladder removed, which can cause fat malabsorption. One thing your doctor may caution you about is the effect of the ketogenic diet on the digestive process. The potential digestive consequences of such a high fat nutritional profile is something keto dieters would be well-advised to take into account. This is where enzyme supplementation can come into play.
There are thousands of enzymes in our body, and they support tens of thousands of functions. Most people’s digestive systems aren’t optimized for a high fat diet, due to a lifetime of heavy sugar and carbohydrate consumption. The body makes specific enzymes for the digestion of each macronutrient. Lipids (fats) are more difficult for the body to break down. If you aren’t producing enough of the right kinds of enzymes to digest a high fat intake, or if you have had your gall bladder removed, you may experience problems such as occasional heartburn, indigestion, gas, bloating or loose stools. You could always try to increase consumption of high enzyme foods; however, the requirements of a ketogenic diet complicate that approach. Many high enzyme foods aren’t allowed on the keto diet due to their high carbohydrate compositions. Additionally, many enzymes that we would naturally get from our food are destroyed when we cook or process it. These two realities make it harder to increase enzyme intake with food alone. Thankfully, this problem can be addressed through enzyme supplementation.
The lipase enzyme can be a smart addition to a ketogenic diet. Lipase is the primary enzyme involved with the digestion of lipids (fats). It hydrolyzes the lipids to form fatty acids and glycerol. The pancreas must be able to handle producing high amounts of lipase when you are on a high fat diet, and supplementation can relieve some of that burden. If you are deficient in Lipase, you may be at risk for high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol, which can put you in jeopardy of developing heart disease.
Protease is the digestive enzyme that aides in the breakdown of high protein foods. These enzymes break down the proteins via hydrolysis of peptide bonds into smaller chains of peptide bonds or yet smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of our cells, tissue and muscle. They also play a vital role in the transport and storage of nutrients in our bodies. Because meat and eggs are fundamental to this diet, your protein consumption will likely see a substantial increase. If you’ve ever known anyone on a high protein diet with digestion and gas issues, then you will understand the argument for supplementing with protease to aid proper protein digestion.
The failure to supplement enzymes is widely regarded as the biggest mistake you can make while on a ketogenic diet. Enzyme supplementation is often a good idea, whether you’re on a ketogenic diet or not. By taking enzyme supplements, you can optimize digestion with each and every meal, which means you’ll get more nutrients out of the food you eat.
For more information on the enzymes and processes involved in fat digestion, you can read our blog “Enzymes for Fat Digestion.”
To aid in the digestion of a high fat diet like the ketogenic diet, try supplementing with Enzymedica Lypo Gold.
To assist with more general digestive issues, try supplementing with Enzymedica Digest Chewables, Enzymedica Digest, Enzymedica Digest Basic +Probiotics, Enzymedica Digest Basic, Enzymedica Digest Gold +Probiotics, or Enzymedica Digest Gold with ATPro.
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