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The Keto diet, short for ketogenic diet, has become a buzzword in the world of nutrition. So let’s dive into the juicy details and mystery behind this popular weight loss trend.

The Keto diet is the Atkins diet that has been sold to you again. 

Every few years, a new diet becomes the current obsession. Keto is having its moment. But before then it was the Atkins diet, South Beach, Cabbage diet, Body type diet etc. The list goes on and on…

So what is the Keto diet?

Keto is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet. The primary goal is to shift the body into a state of ketosis, where it relies on fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

Interestingly, Russell Wilder introduced the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy in children. Researchers figured out that seizures were happening because of glucose in the brain. Glucose being from carbohydrates. 

So they thought, what would happen if we take away the glucose? And they did. When these kids consumed high-fat diets with no carbohydrates, the seizures stopped. They also found one of the side effects was that it changed the way in which they stored and burned fat.

Initially, the ketogenic diet was mainly considered for treating epilepsy in children for about ten years. However, its popularity declined as medications for epilepsy became more common. And that’s when the low-carb diet craze for weight loss began.

How does ketosis work?

Imagine your body is like a car. Normally, it runs on glucose from carbs – bread, rice, pasta. But if you cut down on these carbs, your body goes, “where’s my usual fuel, glucose?”

When glucose is MIA, your body starts breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketones, through a process called lipolysis. Ketones become an alternative fuel source, providing energy for your body.

But to actually be in ketosis, it’s crucial to not only limit carbohydrates, but consume enough fat. The macronutrient distribution typically ranges from approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. 

It also requires your body a few days to get into the state of ketosis. Then, you measure to see whether or not you are in ketosis. Usually by pricking yourself with a needle to measure blood ketone levels. Alternatively, you can go to the doctor for a urine or breath test. On that note, a side effect of being in ketosis is that you have a smelly breath. Just an FYI. Sounds fun, right?

What can I eat on the Keto diet?

The list of things you can eat is far shorter than what you can’t. That’s for sure. It’s very restrictive. You can expect to eat lots of meat, eggs, fish, avocado, nuts, butter, oil, heavy cream, full fat yoghurt, cheese, and low-carb vegetables. But let’s be real, a plate filled with avocado, eggs, and a sprinkle of cheese might not be everyone’s ideal breakfast.

Like cutting out carbs isn’t hard enough… you’ll also need to hustle to get all of the different nutrients your body needs. Such as; vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Fibre is also a big one.

So if you are doing Keto, you absolutely need to be doing it under medical supervision. You have to be taking some kind of supplementation. And you have to be doing regular blood tests to make sure that you’re okay. It’s a whole lot of work.

Keto- high fat, moderate protein, low carb and no fun.

Keto for weight loss

I don’t know about you, but I’m a shitty person when I don’t eat carbs. So before you decide to go on a diet like Keto for weight loss, ask yourself: can I do this for the rest of my life?

Yes, you will lose weight by doing this kind of diet. But can you maintain it? Can you sustain it?

Keep in mind following a ketogenic diet is not something you can do for the long term. You need to transition out of ketosis at some point. It’s almost like the whole diet approach stems on a in-out, on-off mentality.

Restrictive diets, like Keto, only set you up to fail in the long run. Research looking at the long-term efficacy of weight loss programs shows that over half the weight participants lost was gained back within two years. After five years, more than 80% of the lost weight was regained.

Can Keto help with sugar cravings?

Following a Keto diet, you will get a reduction in the cravings you have for carbohydrates and sugar. But that’s only provided you stick to it.

Let’s say you have one deviation on the weekend and eat a cookie or a piece of bread. Not only do you kick yourself out of that state of ketosis. But once you’ve had a taste for the thing that you’ve deprived yourself of, you set yourself up to feel crazy around these foods.

So if you want to become obsessed with sugar and carbohydrates, go on a Keto diet. But if you want to stop focusing on your weight as the problem, and a low-carb diet as the solution – you need to find a better approach.

Is the Keto diet safe?

When you create a huge imbalance in macronutrients, good things aren’t going to happen. The strict focus on high-fat foods may contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease. And the potential lack of fibre can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an imbalanced gut microbiome.

The restrictive nature of the Keto diet may result in nutrient deficiencies, as it limits the variety of food groups consumed. Potentially leading to inadequate levels of essential vitamins and minerals.

And let’s not forget it may also lead to disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s all very serious stuff to take into consideration. As a dietitian and nutritionist, I do not recommended the Keto diet.

When you see a diet that restricts things like fruit and vegetables, let that be a warning signal. That’s a shonky diet. But to be honest, all diets suck. Not only are they unsustainable, but also leave you feeling miserable and obsessed around food.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be pricking my skin to check my ketosis levels. Have weird smelly breath. Or miss out on social occasions because I can’t eat what everyone else is eating.

WANT TO EAT HEALTHILY WITHOUT DIETING?

Check out Back to Basics. It will help you take the guesswork out of food, so you can be healthy without obsessing. 

Oh, and don’t forget to grab my free meal plan! You can download it here. Disclaimer: This meal plan is unique and might surprise you.

What type of eater are you?

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