So what’s the deal with all this this keto diet talk? Should you do it? Is it worth all the hype?
The truth of the matter is, it’s an unrealistic long-term diet that is rarely done the right way. To some, the keto diet might bring images of coconuts, olive oil, avocado, and salmon to mind, but more often than not, many a keto dieter meals include bacon, steak, butter, sour cream, ranch dressing, and an assortment of cheeses and I can’t bring myself to get on board with that!
Disclaimer: The keto diet is medically suggested in some cases such as people with certain types of cancer or epilepsy, but of course under the direct supervision of a medical professional.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
I want to be completely transparent and just lay down the facts. The whole point of the keto diet is to put your body in ketosis. Ketosisis a metabolic state where your body switches from using glucose as energy to using ketone bodies. In other words, your body is using fat instead of carbs for energy. A proper keto diet requires you to get about 70-80 percent of your calories from fat, while only allowed 10-15 grams of carbohydrates per day! That can be achieved by eating just a single apple, and you know what they say… an apple a day is all you can eat to make ketosis stay! Well, maybe I made that up.
The real problem has to deal with the minimal protein intake that is required.The whole point again, is to force your body to deplete its glucose stores and instead break apart your fat molecules. Since the day you were born, the body is programmed to use carbohydrates as energy, so it naturally will do everything it can before running out of its glucose stores. Essentially, your body thinks you are in starvation mode as you are missing a key macronutrient. When this happens, protein takes the limelight and this is when your body begins to break down your own muscles. Minimum protein intake is required because if you ingest more than the absolute least amount of protein that it needs, it will immediately break it down into carbs. Unfortunately, there is no one guideline that works for everyone. Protein is extremely beneficial for weight loss as it increases the thermic effect of food keeping your metabolism working and your stomach full. It’s a main macronutrient that keeps our muscles functioning, our hair beautiful, and our nails strong.
Diets are for the birds
- My philosophy is never to deprive or starve yourself but to eat the right nutrient rich- foods. With that being said, I am not in favor of the ketogenic “diet” especially, for the four letter word “diet”. Nutrition is ever evolving, moving far away from the old-school dieting methods and more towards a healthy nutritious lifestyle. Set yourself out to reach goals and maintain a healthy diet regimen for the rest of your life.
- Diets are usually followed for a short period of time and if weight loss results, it is followed with weight regain as soon as you resume prior habits. Lifestyle changes work, diets don’t.
- Going Keto is not a sustainable way to live. For one, it’s emotionally exhausting and can even be paired with disordered eating. I don’t know about you, but permanently giving up carbs for me, is really hard and quite frankly gets boring! I’m not necessarily saying you’re going to eat pizza and fries, but maybe you’ll want some quinoa in your kale salad or a yummy piece of juicy watermelon during the hot summer months.
- “Keto FLU”Upon first cutting out carbohydrates and relying on fat to keep your body fueled, symptoms felt by dieters are consistent with that of the flu. Jennifer M. Brown, R.D., a faculty associate at Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion said “these include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, poor sleep, difficulty with exercise, and constipation, all resulting from extreme restriction of carbohydrates.”
- Funky Breath-I’m not sure about you, but bad breath is not appealing. “When the body goes into ketosis, it’s common for the breath to start smelling like acetone because of the breakdown of acetoacetic acid.” For reference: “Acetone is the chemical that gives nail polish its smell.” Alix Turoff, R.D., C.D.N., C.P.T., a dietitian and personal trainer.
- H20- For starters, the initial weight loss is mostly water weight because your kidneys are flushing out more water. Alix Turoff says: “as you limit carbohydrates, your body produces less insulin, and glycogen stores (how carbs are stored) in the muscles and liver are depleted. For every 1 gram of glycogen that’s depleted, you lose about 3 grams of water.”
- Let’s say you do finally reach ketosis, which takes at least 5 days for the body to achieve, there is a possibility that you have too many ketones circling your blood making it too acidic. When this happens, too much calcium is released from your bones causing dangerous consequences. Do I need to mention that one mistake meal or in keto-world, one “cheat meal” can kick you out of ketosis where you need to start the whole process over?!
- With a diet so high in fat, potential side effects are high cholesterol levels, constipation, and digestive issues from the lack of fiber. The long-term effects of eating like this is not well-known and is speculated to be unsafe.
- Though you may very well lose weight, most people on most diets gain the weight back (and sometimes even more) when they go off the diet. This is common in many dieters because radical shifts in what you eat are hard to maintain for long periods of time.
I am not here to tell you what to do, but I don’t want anyone falling subject to fads and have misconceptions about what they are doing, like drinking a buttered coffee and thinking you are in ketosis.
Investing in a nutritionist will help you to discover what a healthy nutritious lifestyle means to you and specific foods your body needs to be the best version of yourself.