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New diets are seemingly introduced each day, typically with some kind of celebrity endorsement and a series of dubious claims. One diet that has stood the test of time is Keto, which has exploded in popularity over the last few years, with promises of weight loss, improved blood glucose levels, and a host of other health benefits. And for some, the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has worked miracles, though others find it less effective, restrictive and challenging to adhere to for the long-term.
Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D., a metabolic scientist based here in Utah who is the best-selling author of the book, "Why We Get Sick," came to Keto through his research on low-carbohydrate diets and insulin resistance - his area of expertise.
"The human clinical science on the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet on improving insulin sensitivity, increased fat loss, improved brain health and much more is undeniable," said Bikman. "Because of my research, I am asked to speak at low-carb and keto conferences and seminars around the world, and have been able to see firsthand where a lot of people get dieting and Keto all wrong."
Science behind Keto
Bikman says that the science behind the Keto diet is well-established. "Your body can either use glucose or fats for energy needs," said Bikman. "The body readily uses glucose, which most people get in abundance from the high carbohydrates found in the standard American diet."
"But the terrible downside from your body trying to process that constant glucose load is that most people end up becoming insulin resistant, which leads to significant health and metabolic issues," said Bikman. "In fact, a recent study showed that 88% of adult Americans are metabolically unhealthy - there's an urgent need for people to change how they're eating."
According to Bikman, burning fat is a superior way of providing daily energy needs, and it can give rise to a beneficial molecule called ketones. "When you restrict carbohydrates for several hours, it forces your body to break down body fat into molecules called ketones," said Bikman. "This process - a state of ketosis - obviously reduces body fat, but also helps in many other noticeable ways, like increased energy, enhanced mental clarity, reduced craving for sweets and more."
Should everyone do Keto?
With seemingly clear scientific support for the keto diet, the obvious question for Dr. Bikman is, "Why isn't everyone doing it?"
"It's true that most people would benefit from a low-carb or keto diet, though there are some reasons it doesn't work out for everyone," said Bikman. "However, those reasons have almost nothing to do with whether it works; instead people tend to struggle when there's insufficient education, inconsistent motivation, and inconvenience."
Where people go wrong with Keto
"Getting started on Keto can be overwhelming for some people," said Bikman. "Not only can it be challenging to learn the particulars of the new diet, but as your body adjusts to burning fat and ketones instead of glucose, you may even temporarily feel worse before you start to feel better."
Bikman says a bit of education—and understanding that it can take up to a few weeks to feel better on the new diet—will make all of the difference for new and current keto followers. And it's the education portion of Keto where Dr. Bikman shines, as his many interviews, national podcast appearances and videos on YouTube (with millions of cumulative views) attest.
"As I got involved in the Keto community, I was encouraged to see that people were appropriately minimizing carbs, but I grew concerned at how many people focused disproportionately on consuming dramatic amounts of one or two types of fat, and many weren't consuming near enough protein," said Bikman. "Now, dietary fats have been wrongly vilified for decades, and there's a great need for people to consume more healthy fats, but not at the expense of protein."
Don't fear protein
There is abundant debate on protein in and out of the Keto community. "Some people consume protein to excess in an effort to build or maintain muscle," said Bikman. "While others avoid protein because they think it will kick them out of ketosis."
"To oversimplify things, I'll just say that both camps' debates aren't based in complete, current science," said Bikman. "Too much protein does spike glucose, and much of the protein is wasted; however, too little protein may reduce muscle mass and cause other issues."
For Keto adherents, Bikman shares that the little-known hormone glucagon is the saving grace to not fearing increased protein consumption. "Glucagon helps counteract the insulinogenic effect of protein," said Bikman. "A good rule of thumb is to consume roughly 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight every day."
"People should know that not all proteins are equal," said Bikman. "Beef, eggs, collagen and salmon are among the best protein sources and backed by human clinical studies, while any plant protein will be inferior due to the incomplete amino acids, the anti-nutrients that prevent absorption and the concentration of heavy metals found in many popular plant protein products."
Eat the rainbow of (healthy) fats
Bikman is quick to add that protein should always be consumed with fat, just as nature intended. "There is what I call a 'divine' one-to-one ratio of protein and fat in nature's perfect foods," Bikman said. "Eggs and beef, for instance, have roughly one gram of protein to one gram of healthy fat."
"By consuming fat and protein in equal parts, the protein actually works better, you keep insulin levels low, you'll feel fuller, and stay in ketosis," said Bikman.
What concerns Bikman is that many Keto followers consume too much of one or two types of fat. "You see people who are over-consuming bacon, or heavy cream, or MCT oil," said Bikman. "Those have a wonderful place in a diet, but you're just not getting the full spectrum of essential fats that your body needs and thrives on."
"For optimal health benefits, I encourage people to 'eat the rainbow' of healthy fats from short-, medium- and long-chain sources," said Bikman. "Conversely, we should avoid processed seed and vegetable oils as they are the most prevalent in processed foods and do real harm to our health."
Using research to help others
Bikman realized that while he continues publishing scientific papers and doing the occasional interview and podcast, he could do more to assist those that don't always have the time, knowledge or discipline to eat healthy. In response, Bikman and his co-founding team of nutrition and industry experts recently created HLTH Code Complete Meal.
"Ideally, we all would have the knowledge, time, discipline and budget to plan, purchase and prepare perfect meals," said Bikman. "But it simply doesn't happen; people get busy, they get stressed and they make unhealthy choices that derail their health goals."
Bikman says these carefully formulated meal shakes are designed to keep people in ketosis, and promote healthy weight management, gut health, brain health, even hair, skin and nail health. HLTH Code Complete Meal features an optimized, science-backed blend of protein, collagen, a full spectrum of healthy fats, apple cider vinegar, probiotics, fiber, vitamins and minerals—with no added sugar or any artificial ingredients.
"HLTH Code Complete Meal is based on research, not fads," said Bikman. "An incredible amount of work went into making this nutritionally balanced and optimized, yet we worked just as hard to ensure that it tastes really good so that people would use them consistently."
A satisfying, nourishing meal
"These are by FAR the BEST meal replacement shakes I've EVER had. and I've tried many. These win by a long shot. They taste like heaven PLUS they're keto friendly, and I'm keto so win, win, win. 100% HIGHLY recommend them. Couldn't love them more," said one reviewer.
Another reviewer shares, "They are tasty. In addition, they fill me up and keep me full for the entire afternoon. I have managed to pass a weight loss plateau by using these as my lunch every day at work."
Yet another reviewer said, "I've been drinking this for 5 months to break my intermittent fast and I'm in my best shape and down 21 pounds. I can't recommend this enough!! Plus it has a great flavor!! What's not to love??"
Can HLTH Code make weight loss easier?
According to Bikman, the best health starts with the right blend of nutrition. Increased energy; feeling more vibrant; a stronger immune system; a clearer mind; improved gut health; and an improved appearance are some of the benefits from improving one's nutrition.
"The comprehensive benefits of HLTH Code Complete Meal are especially helpful if you're trying to lose weight," said Bikman. "Weight loss is rarely easy. There has to be the right changes in both hormones and caloric balance to signal to the body that it's time to start burning, not storing, fat."
Bikman adds that based on the best available studies on human metabolism, along with exercise, HLTH Code Complete Meal helps people lose weight without the need for counting every calorie.
If you're nervous about trying something new and making changes to your nutrition plan, don't be. Bikman stands by his HLTH Code Meal Replacement products and is willing to guarantee your satisfaction.
"You have nothing to lose (except those extra pounds) and everything to gain—in terms of wellness and confidence," said Bikman.
Indeed, if you've been looking for improved wellness and healthy weight management, then HLTH Code Complete Meal Replacement may well be your answer. For exclusive savings on your first order, visit getHLTH.com and enter the discount code KSL at checkout.