Updated: Sep 24, 2018
On average, I typically get asked about the keto diet minimum once per day and I am constantly overhearing people talking about it at the gym or at the coffee shop. It has become all the rage, gaining popularity on social media and has even started the trend of bullet proof coffee and intermittent fasting (more on that another day!). Recently I posted an Instagram photo about a fitness model (who shall remain nameless) claiming that her keto diet plan has people losing weight super fast and that it "actually shuts down your kreb cycle turning you into a fat burning machine"... uuhhh no, that isn't how it works. So, I'll try to break it down here for you in simple terms.
What Exactly is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food to burn for energy. Glucose (aka carbohydrates) are your body's preferred source of fuel. It typically likes to conserve protein for rebuilding tissues and hormones. When the body runs out of glucose and glycogen, it relies on fat stores from food and the body for energy. Fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol and ketones are a by product produced by the liver. Ketones fuel your brain when there is no glucose available.
Low carb diets have been around for decades. Remember the Atkins diet or South Beach diet? Keto differs as it is high fat, moderate protein and low carb. Traditional low carb diets are usually higher in protein and contain a moderate amount of fat.
The ratio for a keto diet is 60-75% of calories from fat, 15-30% from protein and 5-10% from carbs.
So What Can You Eat?
Think avocados, nuts and seeds, bacon, meat and seafood, eggs, oils, dressings, low carb veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and leafy greens, full fat dairy products, butter, berries and dark chocolate.
What You Can't Eat:
You are not going to see starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, quinoa, oats or rice on a keto diet. There is no fruit except for berries in small amounts
Who is Keto Good For?
The keto diet was originally used to help those who suffer from epilepsy and seizures. It has since been proven to aid in weight loss and been used to treat clinical issues such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and PCOS in women. I highly suggest you see a professional before embarking on the keto diet to help with these issues.
Keto is extremely hard to maintain for the long term. Low carbohydrate intake can make you feel sluggish and fatigued. It can also lead to brain fog and imbalances in your mood. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast feeding or those with liver or kidney disease.
There hasn't been enough research out on the keto diet to say if it is beneficial for the long term or if it has any consequences of doing so.
Most trending diets can act as a short term solution to a more difficult problem, especially if weight loss is the main goal. Yo-yo dieting can lead to unhealthy relationships with food and body image, cause binges and create overall feelings of unhappiness. Carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet providing essential nutrients, helping to balance hormones and fuel the brain. They should not be deemed as a "bad" food.
If you are interested in the keto diet for weight loss, try to make small, gradual changes first towards a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle. If you truly want to try the keto diet to see if it benefits you, I am all for it! But before you decide to go out and eat a pound of bacon, consult with a naturopath or nutritionist (hi!) to make sure you are doing it correctly and safely. Always do your research first!
Hope that was helpful! Drop a comment below if you are interested in keto or have tried it. What was your experience? I would love to know!