With the constant rise in popularity with the ketogenic diet, it is easy for someone like me to take for granted that everyone knows a thing or 2 about the diet. So before I begin diving into what to avoid, let’s dive a bit into what you are or about to dive into.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a dietary lifestyle where you eat in such a way you shift your body’s primary source of energy from sugar (glucose) over to fat (ketones). This shift in energy occurs when daily carbohydrate intake is lowered to no more than 30g of net carbs while embracing healthy fats and moderating protein consumption. This shift in energy is needed to help regulate your body’s hormones and improve your insulin resistance.
This is mainly the reason why keto is rising in popularity. It helps support the reversal of insulin resistance which is a leading cause of a wide range of problems including diabetes, pcos, obesity, cancer, dementia, high blood pressure and strokes just to name a few. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) defines insulin resistance as the state in which your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond so well to insulin. This in turn causes the cells in the body to struggle with absorbing glucose and nutrients.
NIDDK also goes on to say that as much as 1 out of 3 adults face complications brought on by insulin resistance. This is why I am such a huge proponent for people adopting a ketogenic lifestyle.
Feast, Fast and Repeat
You had me at feast and lost me at fast! That’s the response I usually get from people when I tell them about intermittent fasting along with the ketogenic diet. So let’s very briefly dive into what is intermittent fasting (IF).
IF is basically where you abstain from ingesting any food or beverage that may cause a spike in insulin. This abstinence, commonly referred to fasting window, usually occurs for 16hrs. After your fasting window has closed, your 8hr eating window open up. From this point, you would go back to consuming your ketogenic meals.
Another way of looking at, keto provides the body with the nutrients it needs and fasting provides the environment for the body to utilize the nutrients for survival and recovery. These methods both work together in helping the body improve its insulin resistance.
I have written an article explaining 5 simple steps on how to begin a ketogenic diet. Click here for more details.
So Here’s The Scenario
You have started following a ketogenic lifestyle along with intermittent fasting. You have managed to eliminate sugars, processed carbs, artificial sweeteners and vegetable oils. So far so good!
You have managed to lose weight, improve your energy levels and start improving your health. In most cases, removing those things mentioned above are more than enough to jump start your progress. Jump starts are great as long as you are progressing. The question that remains for most people is, “What happens when I hit a plateau?”. Another question people ask is “Why aren’t I seeing enough weight fall off?”.
This is about the point where I start looking at your food labels for a common culprit.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Enters…
MSG!? Really? I don’t even eat American style Chinese food so I don’t have to worry about that. If your response wasn’t similar, consider yourself smarter than me when first starting keto. Although I heard of this product before and how I should avoid it, I never really knew what the hell it was and why it is so bad for you. So let’s begin there…
So What The Hell Is MSG Anyway?
As explained by Dr. Eric Berg, MSG is labeled as a flavor enhancer. This product is used by major food companies as a way to intensify your taste buds. This makes food taste better than it really is normally. Now before you go thinking that to be a good thing, this product allows food companies to increase profits at the cost of quality.
Just in case deception wasn’t enough, MSG also creates addiction by directly stimulating serotonin production within the body. But wait! There’s more… Monosodium glutamate also increases insulin production by up to 300%. So while you have ditched excessive sugars, processed carbs and vegetable oils, you are likely consuming insulin spiking foods loaded with MSG.
MSG is virtually in all of your favorite foods and in many cases, hiding under a different alias.
MSG Is Hiding Right Under Your Nose
As I said before, monosodium glutamate is literally in thousands of foods. It is in foods ranging from yogurts, pastas, chips and your favorite seasonings. Before starting keto, I wasn’t aware just how many seasonings and foods contained modified food starch (another name for MSG).
This is only what I remembered to take a pic of before I started trashing things. There were about 2 to 3 times more that I ended up trashing.
Here is a short list of other popular foods containing MSG. Does any of your favorites make the list?
- Americanized Chinese Food
- Bread (including some low carb varieties)
- Pop Tarts
- Candy Bars
- Yogurt (including healthy varieties)
- Granola Bars
- Canned Soups
- Fast Food/Dine-In Restaraunts
- Instant Noodles
- TV Dinners
- Hot Pockets
While I have you here, the names listed below are alternative names used on nutrition labels to cover up the fact that they are putting MSG within your food.
- Modified Food Starch
- Modified Corn Starch
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Ok? So What Now…
The main thing is keeping yourself aware of what you are putting in your body. Read your labels, find alternatives, cook at home whenever possible, or try something new. These simple tweaks can help make a huge difference in your keto lifestyle and improving your overall health.
I strive to avoid MSG and its many aliases whenever possible. A strategy I implement is getting rid of all foods and seasonings in my house that contain this product. This helps provide more balance during the times in which I am subjected to it when going out to eat. There are several companies out there making foods and seasonings without adding MSG into them. Google it!
If you are struggling with your keto journey in trying to get healthy and lose weight, look no further than the back of your labels. MSG just might have a devilish hand in the mix.
If you have any thoughts, comments or feedback, please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
If you know anybody following a ketogenic or low carb diet and can benefit from this, share it with them too. Let’s help each other live our happiest and healthiest lives.
Black N Keto