Want to get your New Year’s weight-loss resolution off to a fast start? Experts and real women agree the wildly popular keto diet is a fantastic way to go — especially if you take some key advice from health expert and author of Wheat Belly ($12.89, Amazon), William Davis MD. “There’s a lot of variation in the way people use keto strategies, and almost everyone can be doing it a little differently and getting far better results,” Davis claims. “The solutions I’m talking about are so darned simple and powerful,” says Dr. Davis. Proof: Folks are using his “speed keto” strategies to drop up to 45 pounds in a single month!
Standard keto diets get about 70 percent of their calories from fat, 25 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs — a formula that prevents the body from making enough blood sugar to fuel itself, activating a natural process “that turns stored fat into an alternative fuel called ketones,” explains Dr. Davis.
Fat automatically burns up to 900 percent faster. Bonus: “The body and brain love ketones, so you should feel energized and upbeat while they’re in your system.” Ketones also kill hunger and — at least in theory — make keto eating effortless. Yet there’s a simple reason millions never fully experience these benefits.
The #1 Keto Blocker
While keto eliminates most grains, Dr. Davis reveals that wheat often still dramatically slows a keto dieter’s progress. Why? Because gluten, a wheat protein used for texture in baked goods and processed foods, is hiding in literally hundreds of seemingly keto-friendly options. We’re talking deli meat, pre-shredded cheese, mustard, cooking spray, protein powder, preservatives, even gum.
“As gluten digests, it releases compounds that travel into the brain and directly impact its function,” reveals Dr. Davis, who says growing evidence shows that modern wheat is addictive, inflammatory and promotes belly fat. “One big effect is on appetite. It makes an average person want 400 extra calories a day. People think they’re being keto, yet they’re taking a potent appetite stimulant. It’s why they can’t stick to the diet. Eliminating hidden wheat is a game-changer.”
Also key: Compounds in gluten “trigger most autoimmune disease, including the most common thyroid disease. It can damage your thyroid until it can’t keep your metabolism and energy up,” Dr. Davis adds. “Removing gluten can help even when prescription meds don’t.”
So how do you avoid hidden wheat? The FDA can help! When wheat or gluten aren’t clearly listed as ingredients, the FDA requires an alert since wheat is such a common allergen. Just steer clear of anything with a label that says Contains: Wheat or wheat products.
The Fiber-Keto Secret
Another surprising reason many keto diets stall: “They often regard fiber as an afterthought,” notes the doc. And that’s a big mistake: “Growing research shows fiber is a crucial trigger for weight loss.” Turns out, fiber in plants feeds good bacteria in our GI tract — and that bacteria is now proven to make us crave healthy foods, block absorption of excess calories and amp up metabolism.
Bolstering good bacteria has also been shown to improve or reverse problems with the hormone insulin “that cause a host of health problems and block weight loss for nearly 70 percent of adults,” Dr. Davis says. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate lots of keto-friendly veggies — especially onion, jicama, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, asparagus, and mushrooms. Also go for fiber-rich fat sources like avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds. “Fiber makes wonderful things happen!”
Turbocharge Keto Meals
Dr. Davis says as long as you’re losing, you don’t have to worry about tracking carbs. Simply aim for 2 servings of fat, 1 moderate serving of protein and 1–2 cups of non-starchy veggies per sitting; also enjoy a serving of berries each day. After 30–60 days, Dr. Davis recommends adding a daily serving of beans for even more fiber. And, of course, be sure to read labels, avoiding hidden wheat and gluten. As always, get your doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Breakfast — 1 cup coconut milk, 2 Tbs. chia, 1⁄4 tsp. vanilla, stevia to taste; mix well and chill to set. Garnish with berries.
Lunch — 1 serving shrimp, 2 cups fiber-rich veggies (like greens, onion, jicama), 1⁄2 avocado, oil, vinegar, and seasoning to taste
Snacks — 2 eggs “deviled” with guacamole, 1 handful macadamia nuts, and/or 1⁄2 cup celery with cream cheese
Dinner — 1 serving steak with 1⁄2 cup mushrooms and 1 cup asparagus sautéed in olive oil or butter, seasoning to taste
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.