After two attempts to try to follow the classic ketogenic diet, I came up with the Gottfried Protocol, a view that worked for me and could work for many women. It’s a modified ketogenic diet that starts with detoxification, and is still missing from the classic ketogenic diet that most women need to burn fat. It includes more carbohydrates that support women’s hormonal balance. [Editor’s note: The classic ketogenic diet is generally a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet.]
The three pillars of the protocol are detoxification, nutritional ketosis, and periodic low-pressure fasting. The sequence is important. The three columns are followed for four weeks. Then you add healthy carbs in five-gram portions to define the carbohydrate threshold. Hundreds of women have been successful in my medical practice. More information on each step:
Step 1: Detoxification. Detoxification cleanses the liver of toxins and eliminates recirculating hormones that adversely affect your metabolism. Clinically, we call this metabolic detoxification. For most of my female patients, their bodies are not well detoxified. So we integrate things that help in this protocol, such as more polyphenols plant-based foods, including oils; cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower; and dark green leafy vegetables. And doing shit on a daily basis is also important for the detoxification process.
Step 2: Nutritional ketosis. Your body goes into nutritional ketosis when you follow a diet plan that is high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. I have adjusted the classic ketogenic diet to increase carbohydrates to make it more effective in restoring female insulin levels. With this diet, you are still eating a lot of vegetables and consuming an extra tablespoon of virgin olive oil (occasionally medium chain triglyceride oil) along with prebiotics and probiotics. We monitor clean carbohydrates and other macronutrients, calculate your ketogenic ratio, and if you’re willing to do so, we’ll measure your glucose-ketone ratio (more on this in the book).
Step 3: Periodic fasting. What I love most about regular fasting is that it is the back door for ketosis. This type of fasting means that you should not eat for twelve to twenty-four hours in a single day. Regular fasting improves the balance of many hormones (e.g., insulin, ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol) and causes a metabolic change that removes insulin and glucose. Fasting can help regulate inflammation, increase brain function and reduce blood pressure, and modulate leptin to make you happy.
Insulin moves glucose into your cells.
Leptin tells you when you are full.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that controls blood sugar levels and regulates metabolism and inflammation.
Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, tells you when you’re hungry.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism.
Testosterone is involved in muscle growth and repair, sexual drive and mood.
Growth hormone deficiency can help accumulate anxiety, premature aging, fatigue, and belly fat.