Amp Up Your Santa Barbara Summer with the Keto Diet!

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly

In the summer, Santa Barbara comes to life. And with longer days and warmer nights, there is no better time to take advantage of everything our beautiful city has to offer.

It’s during this time of the year that I truly feel the need to utilize every second of every day.  From camping to hiking to starry night dinners with friends at the Lark, it’s vital that I have the energy to do everything I want to.

This is why I recently decided to go into ketosis.  I had never truly done the ketogenic diet before, but for the past decade I had been enjoying the low-carb, paleo diet.  As a result, it felt like a natural progression; something I should at least try.

And I’ve got to admit, I feel AMAZING.

From a new found calmness, minimal cravings, to improved workouts, I have not regretted my decision to take this next step once.

With ketosis, you can lose weight fast and feel more energized, making you ready to handle whatever those Santa Barbara sandy shores and sunny skies throw your way.

Simply put, the ketogenic diet is a natural way to recalibrate your body’s metabolism and dramatically improve its overall ability to function.  In following the diet, your body will reward you by feeling and performing better, while dropping unnecessary body fat fast.

In fact, a 2014 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health argues that the ketogenic diet is “one of the most studied strategies in the recent years for weight loss,” with numerous studies showing “that this kind of nutritional approach has a solid physiological and biochemical basis and is able to induce effective weight loss” (Paoli 1).

And it even makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

We know that our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not have abundant sources of carbohydrates in their diet, as we do today, and therefore had low levels of glucose circulating in their blood.

In fact, there were times when they would go for weeks at a time with no food at all, so no glucose was on hand to nourish brain and tissues for vital functioning. The solution was an evolutionary adaption of another source of internal fuel: ketones.

Today, this adaptation of ketosis can be useful for weight loss. To get into ketosis the average person would need to get about 70 percent of their energy intake from fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, fish, eggs and grass-fed meat while keeping their protein below 25 percent and carbohydrates under five percent.

But there is so much more that can be gained from this nutritional approach.

Besides being an effective method for weight loss, the ketogenic diet can help with: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic illnesses, and cognitive functions.


Prior to scientists’ ability to produce insulin outside of the body, researchers implemented “a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LCKD) in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes” (Yancy 2005). Their research showed that this method is very effective in lowering blood glucose, and thereby reducing or eliminating medications for patients with type 2 diabetes.


While regular cells within our bodies can shift between processing glucose and fat as sources of energy, studies have suggested that cancer cells cannot.  Consequently, by implementing the ketogenic diet, we “may ‘starve’ cancer cells” (Durham VA Medical Center 2008)!

Heart Disease

Despite the Ketogenic diet being considered a ‘high-fat’ diet, studies have shown that it does not raise our overall cholesterol, and therefore risk of heart disease.

In fact, a high-fat diet is shown “to reprogram liver cells to dump their fat content, increase HDL (the good cholesterol), and reduce lipoproteins (associated with heart disease)” (Wellmann 2016). This is because cholesterol is influenced by trans-fats that are present in sugary processed foods – not the more healthy fats like fish, avocados, and olive oil.

Cognitive Functions

By utilizing ketones, as opposed to glucose, our hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning, is able to increase mitochondrial enzymes and energy metabolism while decreasing the oxidative stress caused by using glucose.

With this concept in mind, recent studies have shown that ketone bodies “lead to significant cognitive improvement in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in three to six months” (Wellmann 2016), making the ketogenic diet a possible way to counter the effects of neurodegenerative diseases.

Chronic Illness

Again, by utilizing ketones rather than glucose in a high-fat diet, and consequently increasing our mitochondrial enzymes, we may reduce the “probability of chronic illnesses” (Wellmann 2016) like autoimmune diseases.

I realize that this new information may seem overwhelming and daunting.  If you have questions or you’re interested in learning more about how you can make this work for you, please feel free to contact us at (805)680-9506 or contact us here!