In recent years, the keto diet has grown in popularity. Is it worth the hype or is it just another one of those trendy diets that go out of fashion as quickly as they came in? Let’s find out!
This week, we will look at the Keto diet to see if it is right for you! Keto is short for the ketogenic diet. It alters the way food energy is utilized in our body through a high-fat, low-carbohydrate eating pattern. It was introduced back in the 1920s, as a treatment for seizures disorders and epilepsy. However, today, it has become a popular lifestyle choice for improving metabolic health and reducing weight.
How does the keto diet work?
Typically, our primary source of energy are the carbohydrates included in our diet. This comes from sugar, grains and fruits and vegetables. After digestion, carbohydrates are then converted into glucose that fuels our muscles, brains and overall metabolism. When you are on a keto diet, your carbohydrate intake is limited. When enough carbohydrates in your body are not available, our body starts using fat as the number one metabolic fuel. It breaks down our stored fat and converts it into ketones. Now, our body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it utilizes fat as the primary source of energy.
The Keto Diet Breakdown
An typical standard, balanced diet based on1500 calories includes:
Percentage of Carbohydrates: 40% (600 calories)
Percentage of Protein: 30%. (450 calories)
Percentage of Fat: 30% (450 calories)
In contrast, here’s how the classic keto diet is structured based on 2000 calories:
Percentage of Carbohydrates: 5-10% (100 - 200 calories)
Percentage of Protein: 15-20% (300 - 400 calories)
Percentage of Fat: 70-75% (1400 - 1500 calories
Your keto diet is going to be abundant in eggs, fatty fish, meat, cream, butter, cheese, nuts and seeds, oils, greens, avocados, spices and herbs. Keto diets tend to be higher in calories however one myth is that you can have as many calories as you want. Even though you can have more than on other diets, you still have to manage your caloric intake. Keto dieters also limit grains, alcohol, sweets and sweet beverages, bread, fruits, potatoes, legumes or beans.
What are the benefits of a Keto diet?
There are several benefits of the keto diet. For one, if your goal is rapid weight loss, it works. Donna from NJ told us she quickly lost a lot of weight when she started the diet at 53 years old. She was strict for 8 months and felt great while she was on it. Donna has for the most part been able to maintain the weight loss over time. We also heard from Shelly from Maryland who told us she too felt better than ever when following a strict keto diet. With the immediate weight loss, the pressure on her knees
was minimized and she was more active than she had been in years.
The other benefit is that once you dump sugar and flour from your diet, you lose weight in your mid-section. As we age, it is so difficult to lose the “menopause middle” so with the elimination of the carbs and sugar, a flatter stomach is possible. Appetite reduction is another benefit. Carbs turn to sugar and sugar stimulates your appetite so once you remove both carbs and sugar from your diet, you will see a noticeable reduction in food cravings. Shelly also told us something a lot of people say when they are on a keto diet – they feel satisfied, which makes it easier to stick to, because of the amount of protein and fat in the diet.
A Keto diet has been shown to be beneficial for your overall metabolic health. It seems to enhance insulin resistance, blood sugar control, and triglyceride levels. Even with the increase of meat in the diet, even cholesterol levels and blood pressure are often better managed. Something else to keep in mind is because of the keto boom, there are a ton of products on the market that are great substitutes for the sugary snacks and carb filled meals we are accustomed to eating.
Keto diets have their pitfalls too!
Adopting and maintaining ketosis can be a challenge because there are limited food choices available for any low-carbohydrate diet. Some dieters have side effects when living a keto lifestyle. Donna shared that she had the “keto flu” when she started out. Our bodies detox from the sugar and carbs so in response and they experience a whole host of flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, irritability, vomiting, nausea, constipation, mental and physical fatigue, difficulty with sleep, fruity-smelling urine and bad breath. Be prepared – it can last up to a couple weeks! You do have to be careful with keto when it comes to weight loss. Sure, you can lose weight quickly but start cheating on the diet, you might find that the weight quickly returns. If you want to transition off the keto diet, you need to slowly increase your carb and sugar intake or you might find yourself back to your original weight in no time.
Keto Recipes and Products
If you are someone who has perpetually been on a diet, it might feel weird at first to be “dieting” and eating heavy cream, butter, meat and full fat cheese! One of the great pluses of a keto diet is that you eat foods that are often highly restricted on other diets. If you are looking for some great keto recipes to get started, there are lots of options from delish to get you started. If you think you can’t live without snacks you have grown accustomed to eating, KETO and Co has amazing options to satisfy any sweet or salty craving. Be prepared – it’s a little pricey but the options can help keep you on track!
So, is keto diet fad or fab?
If you are relatively healthy and can tolerate its side effects, you may try the keto diet for managing your health or losing weight. Just remember that many benefits and risks of this diet still remain unknown, so be careful about adopting it as a long-term lifestyle choice. Make sure as with any diet, don’t forget other lifestyle changes that will benefit your health and well-being such as at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, hydrate, manage stress and look after your mental well-being. A keto diet is definitely not for everyone! Talk with your doctor before starting this or any other diet to ensure it is a healthy option for you.
Next week, we will explore an alternative diet option. Is Keto right for you?